SIN: IS GOD RESPONSIBLE FOR SIN IN THE UNIVERSE?
I) FOREORDINATION = THE OVERALL PLAN FOR THE UNIVERSE WHICH IS DETERMINED BEFOREHAND BY GOD WHICH INCLUDED SIN
God foreordained, i.e., determined his plan for the universe beforehand - not as an ongoing, evolving, reactionary plan, to be adjusted one way or another depending upon circumstances. Indeed, all circumstances have occurred as part of God's foreordained plan for the universe.
[J. Dwight Pentecost in his book, "Things Which Become SOUND DOCTRINE", (Revell Publishing, Westwood, N.J., 1965), carefully discusses a number of terms found in Scripture which are critical to the understanding of God's calling out of believers to be faithful as it is taught in Mt 22:14, pp. 135-6]:
"To determine, to fix beforehand... ...Within this word is the thought that God possesses the ability to provide, with infinite precision, the things necessary for the ongoing of this universe which He has created. God planned all the details before the work of creation. God did not create and then sit down to decide what He would do with what had been created. As a careful Architect, God planned the use to which each part of creation would be put, the use to which each member within creation would be put.
A) [Eph 1:4-5, 11]:
(v. 4) "For He [God the Father, (v. 3a)] chose us [believers, (v. 1)] in Him [i.e., to be in Christ - to be saved, (v. 3b)] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight."
This truth is presented to us in Ephesians 1:4 [above] where the Apostle reminds us that God has chosen us in Him (that is, in Christ) before the foundation of the world... God's purpose was determined previous to the actual act of creation.... God, as an Omniscient God... ...was the Architect of a plan which included evil within it...
In Ephesians 1:5, Paul tells us that God has worked all things 'according to the good pleasure of his will....
(v. 5) "[In love, (v. 4c)] He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.
Then, in verse 11...
(v. 11) "In Him we were also chosen having been predestinated according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will"
God's purpose was to glorify Himself... God... predetermines His purpose, His goal, His aim, and His end in creation, and then God brings into existence that program which will fulfill His purpose and aim. Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians 2:7...
B) [1 Cor 2:7]:
"No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began."
From that verse we discover that foreordination has to do with the determining of a plan before the plan is put into operation...'''
II) DECREES = THE ACTS BY WHICH GOD ESTABLISHED THE CERTAINTY OF WHAT HE FOREORDAINED INCLUDED SIN
[J. Dwight Pentecost, op. cit., pp. 137-8]:
"[Decree is defined as] The act by which God established the certainty of what He has planned, or predetermined. By foreordination God determines what the program will be. By God's decree God establishes the certainty of that which He has foreordained.... Job 22:28 establishes the principle of a decree in these words:
A) [Job 22:28]:
"What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways." The decree of a king finalized a course of action. When God decreed a course of action, it finalized, solidified His plan and limited God to that specific course of action in the execution of His purpose to glorify Himself. In the prophecy of Daniel 11:36 we read...
B) [Dan 11:36]:
"The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place."
Daniel is recording the fact that God has issued a decree as to what His plan is; and God's decree will certainly come to fulfillment, for Daniel says, '...that which is determined shall be done.'
In Luke 22:22 it is stated...
C) [Lk 22:22]:
"[Jesus said] 'The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays Him.' The word 'determined' in that passage refers to God's decree by which God established what Jesus Christ would do during His earthly ministry, in His life, and in His death. It is to this fact that Peter refers in the Book of Acts where, in preaching to the nation Israel, he says (2:23)...
D) Acts 2:23]:
"This man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death." And again, in the same vein, we read...
E) [Acts 4:27-28]:
(v. 27) "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Thy holy Servant Jesus, Whom Thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel.
(v. 28) to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined to occur."
God had foreordained a certain program, and then God had established the certainty and irreversibility of that program by issuing a decree as to what would take place. The Apostle, proclaiming the facts concerning the death of Christ, points out that Christ's death was no accident, that Christ was not subjected, primarily, to the will of the Jews nor the will of the Gentiles, but that the Jew and the Gentiles were doing that which God - Who had foreordained the course of events - had settled and established by His decree would certainly come to pass. God in foreordination lays the plan and program; God, by His decree and His determinative counsel, establishes the certainty of that program..."
III) FOREKNOWLEDGE = WHAT GOD KNOWS WITH CERTAINTY WILL COME TO PASS BECAUSE HE HAS DECREED IT BECAUSE HE HAS FOREORDAINED IT AND THAT INCLUDED SIN
[Pentecost, op. cit., pp. 138-9]
"...Foreknowledge, as used in Scripture, refers to what God knows with certainty will come to pass because He has decreed that event. God knows all things, not only because He is an omniscient God, but because God by His decree has settled and established what will come to pass in fulfillment of His predetermined program. Foreknowledge, then, is the result of God's foreordination, or God's decree, of what would take place. God foreknows, not only what will take place, but the people who will be instruments in the fulfillment of His plan and His program. Foreknowledge has to do not only with what will take place but who will be included within the scope of God's program. It is that thought that is in mind when the Apostle writes to the Romans and says (8:29)...
A) [Ro 8:29]:
"For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, the He might be the firstborn among many brothers."
It is perhaps in connection with this verse, and in connection with the word 'foreknowledge,' that we have run into most of the difficulty in our interpretation. God did not elect certain individuals on account of foreknowing that they would accept Christ as Saviour but on account of His decree that they will accept Christ as Saviour.
A widely-held interpretation is that God has elected those Who He knows will accept Christ as Personal Saviour. This is an erroneous interpretation, for if God elected those who He knew beforehand would accept Him as Saviour then God has not foreordained, God has not decreed, God has not foreknown; but rather, God has exercised His omniscience, and has limited Himself by the will of man. God is no longer a sovereign God if He elects those who He knew would accept Him as a Saviour, those who would put faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God is then subject to the whims of the human will, and God cannot act upon, nor go beyond, the limits of the human will. Rather, what the Apostle writes in Romans 8:29 is the fact that God knew who would be included in His plan because He has foreordained and decreed that they would be included. We find the same truth is presented in 1 Peter 1:2 where Peter says that we were elect according to the foreknowledge of God...
B) [1 Pet 1:2]:
"[God's elect] who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood...."
Peter teaches that we were 'elect according to the foreknowledge of God...' The election is in keeping with the foreknowledge, not because of the foreknowledge, or based upon the foreknowledge. Foreknowledge says nothing of what God knew the individual would do but foreknowledge has to do with what God knew He would do with men. God foreordained; that is, He drew the plan. God, by His decree or by His determination, settled, solidified, and finalized the plan. Consequently, God in foreknowledge knows what He will do because of His foreordination and His decree."
So just as God has decreed that those whom He has elected will believe, so God has decreed that sin will come into the world as a result of the volition of angels and men. All men will inevitably commit acts of sin, beginning with Adam, with the one exception: our Lord Jesus Christ.
But is God culpable? No. Just as a man can raise his son properly and then send his son out on his own when he is grown to live his own life, to choose to do good or evil; and just as the son can choose evil, and just as the father knows that the son will probably at some time do something wrong, so the father cannot be held culpable? So much the more, God cannot be held culpable for creating man with a free will and as a result of this freedom man inevitably chooses evil.