Question: While I find it difficult to believe that God could be the cause of evil, there seems to be some pretty strong support for this idea from Scripture. Have you read No Place for Sovereignty: What’s Wrong with Freewill Theism by R. K. McGregor Wright? He agrees with Calvin and Luther that man has no free will and that God causes everything that occurs. He shows that even to reason with someone proves there is no free will: “...if the will bows to the logic of a valid argument, has it not given up its autonomy?” On page 180, Wright quotes, “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (Jn:1:3), showing that evil had to be made by God. But he excuses God from causing sin by saying that “God is not responsible for evil in the sense that he is not answerable to anyone” (p. 201). How do you respond to Wright?
Response: Far from “giving up its autonomy” to a “valid argument,” the will (aided by reason) decides to accept the argument and on that basis to act reasonably. This proves, not disproves, the will.
While much that Wright says is true, and his summation of philosophical and religious thought in Chapter 1 is informative, his book contains numerous false premises, irrationalities and unfounded conclusions—too much to deal with briefly. Yes, God is answerable to no one but Himself. However, this fact is irrelevant to Wright’s argument because God’s holiness will not allow Him to sin. Surely the God who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not [cannot] look on iniquity” (Hab:1:13), and who “cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (Jas 1:13), would not cause any of His creatures to sin or to be involved in any way with sin! Causing men to sin would make God the sinner’s partner and equally culpable.
The very suggestion that God would predestine and cause man to sin is contrary to the Bible and repugnant to our God-given conscience. Sin and wickedness is contrary to God’s will and thus could not have been willed by Him. This is so clearly established in Scripture that it needs no further proof here. Therefore any teaching that God causes sin must be false. There are hundreds of scriptures which refute Wright’s, Luther’s and Calvin’s error in this regard.
Yes, “without him was not any thing made that was made”; however, sin and wickedness are not “things,” but actions of people. Christ made very clear the source of evil: “For...out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,...” (Mk 7:21-23). Likewise, James declares that “man...is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (Jas 1:14). Man, not God, causes sin.