First, we need to clear some ground. The phrase "author of sin" doesn't actually show up in our Bibles, so we need a definition that people agree upon.
M-W Online dictionary defines "author" as:
1 a : one that originates or creates : SOURCE
1 a sounds like it's pretty much what any person would say "author" means. Is God the "originator or creator of sin?" is thus our question. A similar question would be, "Is God the author of evil?" or "Is God the author of Satan?"
Isaiah 45:7 states (KJV):
7I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."But wait," you may say, "all the other mainstream translations (ESV, NIV, NASB) all say 'calamity' or 'disaster.' And the Amplified bible translates it "evil" but adds a footnote that says, "Moral evil proceeds from the will of men, but physical evil proceeds from the will of God!" How can we justify "evil" when so many other translators disagree?
Well, basically, I disagree with those translations, and I'd like to show why I think "evil" is proper here, or if it's not proper here, it's certainly implied by the verse.
Well, to begin with, we can note that the hebrew word being translated "evil", ra, does denotes wickedness, evil, wrong, misery, distress as well as calamity, so it certainly isn't wrong to translate the word "evil." What we actually translate the word as is actually determined by context.
So what's the context? The context of the passage is God declaring through Isaiah that he will use Cyrus as God's instrument of judgment, and proceeds to defend the usage of Cyrus (a pagan king) as such an instrument of the Lord. What's God's defense of His actions here? Isaiah 45:
5I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
6that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
7I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
Notice the big emphasis upon "I am the Lord, there is no other." There is none besides Him. There is no other power. Notice God declares that he forms light and creates darkness. Most people assume that darkness exists by "necessity" because darkness is just where light is not. But here God is saying that He created both. Can we thus understand the passage in a figurative sense, that God is claiming that he creates all things? Yes, absolutely. God is saying that there is no other power in this world. Cyrus is His instrument, because everything is God's creation, everything is from God and for God.
God here presents Himself as the sole power here. He declares that there is nothing like Him. No other god. No other power. It isn't a battle between the forces of light and darkness, but it's God who reigns in all things.
So returning to our original statement. Even if the translation is not properly "evil" (and I'm unconvinced it can't be), the statement, "God created evil" is certainly implied by the passage.
From there, it is a simple matter to use the same argument that God is the sole power and thus author of all things to concluding that God is also the author of sin.
Let's propose some objections:
1) God being the author of sin is contradictory to His character.
We must be clear that being the author of sin/evil does not make God a sinner or God evil. On the contrary, God is good in all that He does, so it must be good for God to create evil, for God to create sin. To this we must confess that God's ways are higher than ours, and it is our sinful nature that prevents us from properly giving God the glory for all He does.
Nowhere in the Bible does it claim that God is not the author of sin or evil. If it did, we'd probably have a real contradiction on our hands =p. Thus it is entirely consistent with Scripture to say that God is the author of sin.
2) You're being a rationalist, prove it from Scripture.
The charge of a rationalist applies only to those who conclude that Scripture is irrational because it doesn't match up to one's picture of what reason is. To them, the cross is foolishness. For us as Christians, however, reason is one of the means by which we derive faithful interpretations from Scripture. After all, it is perfectly logical to understand that Buddhism is wrong from Jesus saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the light" without needing Jesus to also say "Buddhism is wrong. Hinduism is wrong. etc." This is why the Westminster Confession of Faith states in I.IV:
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from ScriptureBut even with discarding the objection, we can still go to Scripture and come up with explicit examples where God sends evil spirits:
Judges 9:23, 1 Samuel 16:13-15, 1 Kings 22:19-23,
We also have explicit examples of evil being credited to God's account:
Genesis 50:20 ("it" is in the feminine, matching only with "evil"), Job 2:10 (In crediting God with evil, Job did not sin with his lips), Acts 2:22-23
3) God doesn't create sin or evil, God permits it.
But where does evil come from? And what does it mean that God "permits" something? If we affirm that God is the principal and only power in this universe, how can God "permit" something without actively willing it? Is evil something that God "bears with" and "allows" or is it something that God is actively working to His glory?
Ephesians 1:11 states that we have been "predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will." God works all things according to the counsel of His will. And nowhere in the Bible is the accusation brought before God "you've created evil! This is unfair!" and God saying, "hold on here, I didn't create evil, you're wrong. I use secondary means to do evil." No, in the case of Job, in the case of Isaiah, in the case of Paul, God says, "who are you to question me?" He doesn't back away from the issue, but He affirms it and then asks, "So what?"
4) You're undercutting the hope Christians have. How can they hope in a God that creates evil?
Isn't this the real source of our hope? Not only does God make daisies out of dung, but God is also using the dung for His glory? This is our hope, that for those who love God, "all things work together for good." Not just a "God can use this," but a "God caused this, for His glory and for your good."
The bigger our picture of God's sovereignty is, the greater the hope we have. How can we not rejoice in a good Lord that sustains all things for His glory and our good? Satan cannot even blink an eyelash without God working in Him, how can we think Satan can do anything to us?
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[h] against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[i] 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written,
"For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Theocentric - Shall we attribute sin to God 1, 2, 3
Rebecca Writes - Authoring Sin
Vincent Cheung - Author of Sin
Martin Luther - Bondage of the Will
John Piper - Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained That Evil Be?, Why I Do Not Say, "God Did Not Cause the Calamity, but He Can Use It for Good."