Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 at 2:17 PM

Responding to James 1

In dealing with predestination, the question is immediately brought up from James 1:12-13
12Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
This would be a short response:

The book of James is very much about practical living (some call it the proverbs of the NT), and often stresses the Christian's responsibility. He is dealing with how a Christian responds to sin rather than addressing metaphysics (the underlying nature of the world). James is saying that our response to struggling with sin should not be "well God is sovereign so we can't do anything about it" and use that to give in to sin, but rather we are to wage war against sin.

Notice if we were to say metaphysically James shows that God could not be the "tempter" (and we should define that term), then James 1 would contradict 1 Kings 22:19–23 ,where God sends a lying spirit to tempt someone, 1 Samuel 16:14–23, 18:10, 19:9, where God sends a spirit to torment Saul, and 2 Samuel 24:1-3, 1 Chronicles 21:1-3, where parallel passages show that God is actually using Satan to cause David to sin

(As a side note, this would how I would answer an appeal to v. 17 as well, pointing out that it isn't talking about the underlying nature of things, since it is God who forms light and creates darkness, per Isaiah 45:7 which is talking about God, his uniqueness, and his sovereignty (aka metaphysics))

Thus the Bible is clear: God is creator and mover. The author and originator of all things (that have a beginning of course, something like "logic","love", "justice" flow from God's nature and thus have no beginning). In all of this, God is just and righteous. He works all things in accordance to His good, pleasing, and perfect will, for the glory of His praise. He uses all things, this includes evil, as part of His plan for His glory. (that is why I would say "evil is not good, but since evil is created and sustained by God, the creation and sustaining of evil is good.") Glory to God.


One followup thought. The control I am ascribing to God is much stronger than just tempter, for all a tempter can do is offer up some reward in exchange for some evil. He does not have control over whether or not the person chooses the evil or not. I believe it is God who works in us to choose evil or good. Every choice, foreordained and brought forth by God's sovereign will.

A better answer would be from Vincent Cheung and his book "The Author of Sin." It's the first entry in the pdf.

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Anonymous Puritan Belief said...

You have addressed very well the big doctrine of Original Sin. I constantly get stuck here and need to seek the Lord more on this.  


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