Saturday, 16 January 2021

Calvinism and the authorship of sin




No attempt is made here to expound the Calvinistic teaching concerning the authorship of sin, although reading the quotes below supply us with many insights.  All I have tried to do here is show how clearly, succinctly and simply that Calvinism does NOT charge God with the authorship of sin and so (to employ the somewhat aggressive language of Scripture) to shut the mouths of the gainsayers. If any have a case against Calvinism, then let it be based on truth and not on falsehood and slander. No one can plead ignorance after reading these testimonies. For the sake of space, we have had often to truncate quotations as acknowledged by the use of the three dots (...) The reader is encouraged, where possible, to consult the original work for themselves to see the full quotation and the arguments that often accompany and support it. All we have done here is extricate the all important words of denial that cannot be gainsaid. Please excuse any layout deficiencies. 




I intend to add to this page as more information, at least to me anyway, becomes accessible. However, I have decided to upload the page immediately so that others will benefit from the work already done. I hope that it proves to be a good resource page not only to all who love and defend the Doctrines of Grace, but to any who have been grievously misinformed about this matter. Remember, any who tells you that "Calvinists believe that God is the Author of Sin" are simply not telling the truth. Abundant evidence below.  


 Westminster Confession of Faith (Presbyterian)

"...neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures..." (Decree of God 3:1)

 "...yet so the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin." (Providence of God 5:5) 

1689 Baptist Confession of Faith

"...yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature..." (Decree of God 3:1)

"...yet so the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God; who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin." (Providence of God 5:4)

Savoy Confession of Faith (Congregational)

"...yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature..." (Decree of God 3:1) 

"...yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who being most holy and righteous, neither is, nor can be the author or approver of sin." (Decree of God 5:4) 

Synod of Dort

"And this is the decision of reprobation, which does not at all make God the author of sin (a blasphemous thought!) but rather its fearful, irreproachable, just judge and avenger." (Article 15 on Reprobation)

"--that this teaching makes God the author of sin, unjust, a tyrant, and a hypocrite; and is nothing but a refurbished Stoicism, Manicheism, Libertinism, and Mohammedanism;" 
(Rejection of False Accusations)

Waldensian Confesson of Faith

"VI. That he governs and rules all by his providence, ordaining and appointing whatsoever happens in this world, without being the author or cause of any evil committed by the creatures, so that the guilt thereof neither can nor ought to be in any way imputed unto him."


 William Aimes

"So far was God from being the cause of sin in the first creation of man, that by no means can it be conceived, how God at any time can be the cause of of any sin, because, seeing sin is a defect, it can have no other cause but a deficient one; and God, seeing He is perfection, itself, can no ways, nor ever be deficient."  (The Substance of the Christian Religion. Catechism)

 Albert Barnes

"The universe; the creation, or still more particularly, the things of which the apostle is discoursing. He does not affirm that he[God] is the author of sin or of sinful thoughts; not that he creates evil, or that evil is designed to promote his glory." (Commentary on Romans 11:36)

"Do not err, my beloved brethren - This is said as if there were great danger of error in the point under consideration. The point on which he would guard them, seems to have been in respect to the opinion that God was the author of sin, and that the evils in the world are to be traced to him. There was great danger that they would embrace that opinion, for experience has shown that it is a danger into which men are always prone to fall. Some of the sources of this danger have been already alluded to. Notes, Jam_1:13. To meet the danger he says that, so far is it from being true that God is the source of evil, he is in fact the author of all that is good: every good gift, and every perfect gift Jam_1:17, is from him, Jam_1:18." (Commentary on James 1:16)

Theodore Beza

"The goodness of God, we call that essential property of his, whereby God is so exceedingly good, that from him can proceed nothing but good. 2. Whence it is, that evil is directly repugnant unto his nature, much less, can he be thought to be the author of evil. 3. And although a proof of God’s goodness, be poured upon every creature, general and particular: yet he doth not in the same measure, communicate the same unto all of them. 4. Now, whereas this goodness turneth unto the destruction of the wicked, the fault is their own; and that because they do either not embrace the same, with a sure confidence, or else do contemptuously refuse it."  (Proposition and Principals of Divinity)

 "It behooved God, being in time to execute the purpose of this eternal Predestination, otherwise he should be the author of sin (which cannot be) to create man good..."  (Proposition and Principals of Divinity)

"God therefore in appointing some of free-gift unto salvation, and others unto just condemnation; is neither author of sin, nor respecter of persons: but thereby sheweth himself to be the true God indeed."  (Proposition and Principals of Divinity)

 Louis Berkhof

"And as holy God, He cannot be the author of sin" (Systematic Theology p117)

"Scripture Data respecting the Origin of Sin...

1) GOD CANNOT BE REGARDED AS ITS AUTHOR. God's eternal decree certainly rendered the entrance into the world certain, but this may not be interpeted so as to make God the cause of sin in the sense of being its responsible author. This idea is clearly excluded by Scripture. [List of Bible refs] ... In the light of all this it would be blasphemeous to speak of God as the author of sin. And for that reason all those deterministic views which represent sin as a necessity inherent in the very nature of things should be rejected. They by implication make God the author of sin, and are contrary, not only to Scripture, but also to the voice of conscience, which testifies to the responsibility of man." (Systematic Theology p220)

John Blanchard

"To lay responsibility for sin at God's door is defective reasoning."  (Commentary on James 1:13)

Lorraine Boettner

"The Westminster Standards, in treating of the dread mystery of evil, are very careful to guard the character of God from even the suggestion of evil. Sin is referred to the freedom which is given to the agent, and of all sinful acts, they emphatically confirm that 'the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is, nor can be, the author or approver of sin.'" (Reformed Doctrine of Predestination p. 228) 

" is ours to know that whatever God does He never deviates from His own perfect justice. In all the manifestations of His character He shows Himself  preeminently the Holy One. These deep workings of God are mysteries, which are to be adored, but not to be enquired into; and were it not for the fact that some persons persist in declaring that the doctrine of Predestination makes God the author of sin, we could let the matter rest there." (Reformed Doctrine of Predestinationp228)

 "But while God permits sin, His connection with it is purely negative and it is the abominable things which He hates with a perfect hatred." (Reformed Doctrine of Predestinationp.229)

"In regard to the first fall of man, we assert that the proximate cause was the instigation of the Devil and the impulse of his own heart; and when we have established this, we remove all blame from God." (Reformed Doctrine of Predestination p251)

Thomas Boston

"It is true, God decreed not the effecting of sin, for then he should have been the author of it, but he decreed the permission of sin. And though sin in itself is evil, yet God's permitting it is good, seeing he can bring good out of it; and it is just in him to permit it, where he is not bound to hinder it. Yet this is not a naked permission, whereby the thing may either come to pass or not, but such as infers a certainty of the event, so that in respect of the event the sin cannot but come to pass." (Of the Decrees of God)

"...God neither puts evil into the hearts of men, nor stirs them up to it: for, says the apostle, James 1;13. 'God cannot be tempted with evil; neither tempteth He any man.' And therefore He is not the author of sin. 
(Beauties of Boston)

John Brown of Haddington

"Since God's decree of reprobation neither inclines nor forces men to sin..." (System Theology on the Decree and Purposes of God. p.166)

 Alan Cairns 

"Sin entered the world by the voluntary act of man, though how a will created positively holy could respond to wicked temptations is not clear. What we do know is that God is not the author of it (James 1:13)." (Dictionary of Theological Terms) 

John Calvin

"But to draw out what is hid in our hearts is a far different thing from inwardly alluring our hearts by wicked lusts. He then treats here of inward temptations which are nothing else than the  inordinate desires which entice to sin. He justly denies that God is the author of these, because they flow from the corruption of our nature." (Commentary on James 1:13)

"But there are two things to be noticed here: when Scripture ascribes blindness or hardness of heart to God, it does not assign to him the beginning of this blindness, nor does it make him the author of sin, so as to ascribe to him the blame: and on these two things only does James dwell." 
 (Commentary on James 1:13)


"But since God blinds or hardens, is he not the author or minister of evil? Nay, but in this manner he punishes sins, and renders a just reward to the ungodly, who have refused to be ruled by his Spirit. (Romans 1:6.) It hence follows that the origin of sin is not in God, and no blame can be imputed to him as though he took pleasure in evils. (Genesis 6:6.) The meaning is, that man in vain evades, who attempts to cast the blame of his vices on God, because every evil proceeds from no other fountain than from the wicked lust of man. And the fact really is, that we are not otherwise led astray, except that every one has his own inclination as his leader and impeller. But that God tempts no one, he proves by this, because he is not tempted with evils. For it is the devil who allures us to sin, and for this reason, because he wholly burns with the mad lust of sinning. But God does not desire what is evil: he is not, therefore, the author of doing evil in us." (Commentary on James 1:13)

 "Because Peter seemeth to grant that the wicked did obey God, hereupon followeth two absurdities; the one, either that God is the author of evil, or that men do not sin, what wickedness soever they commit."(Commentary on Acts 2:23)

"I deny that God is the author of evil.." 
(Commentary on Acts 2:23)

"Hence it is evident that his [Satan's] whole nature is depraved, mischievous, and malignant. There must be extreme depravity in a mind bent on assailing the glory of God and the salvation of man. This is intimated by John in his Epistle, when he says that he “sinneth from the beginning,” (1 John 3:8,) implying that he is the author, leader, and contriver of all malice and wickedness." (Institutes of the Christian Religion: 1:14:15)

"For there is need of caution, lest we attend only to the natural ills of man, and thereby seem to ascribe them to the Author of nature; impiety deeming it a sufficient defense if it can pretend that everything vicious in it proceeded in some sense from God, and not hesitating, when accused, to plead against God, and throw the blame of its guilt upon Him. Those who would be thought to speak more reverently of the Deity catch at an excuse for their depravity from nature, not considering that they also, though more obscurely, bring a charge against God, on whom the dishonor would fall if anything vicious were proved to exist in nature. Seeing, therefore, that the flesh is continually on the alert for subterfuges, we must diligently guard against this depraved by which it imagines it can remove the blame of its own wickedness from itself to some other quarter,procedure, and accordingly treat of the calamity of the human race in such a way as may cut off every evasion, and vindicate the justice of God against all who would impugn it." (Institutes of the Christian Religion 1:15:1)

"In the same way is solved, or rather spontaneously vanishes, another objection, viz., If God not only uses the agency of the wicked, but also governs their counsels and affections, he is the author of all their sins; and, therefore, men, in executing what God has decreed, are unjustly condemned, because they are obeying his will. Here “will” is improperly confounded with precept, though it is obvious, from innumerable examples, that there is the greatest difference between them. When Absalom defiled his father’s bed, though God was pleased thus to avenge the adultery of David, he did not therefore enjoin an abandoned son to commit incest, unless, perhaps, in respect of David, as David himself says of Shimei’s curses. For, while he confesses that Shimei acts by the order of God, he by no means commends the obedience, as if that petulant dog had been yielding obedience to a divine command; but, recognizing in his tongue the scourge of God, he submits patiently to be chastised. Thus we must hold, that while by means of the wicked God performs what he had secretly decreed, they are not excusable as if they were obeying his precept, which of set purpose they violate according to their lust." (Institutes of the Christian Religion 1:18:4)


 10. From the exposition of both parts of the definition it follows that God is not the author of sin, the whole human race being corrupted by an inherent viciousness. "Let us have done, then, with those who dare to inscribe the name of God on their vices, because we say that men are born vicious. The divine workmanship, which they ought to look for in the nature of Adam, when still entire and uncorrupted, they absurdly expect to find in their depravity. The blame of our ruin rests with our own carnality, not with God, its only cause being our degeneracy from our original condition." (Institutes of the Christian Religion 2:1:10)


"Job, however, recognizes it as the work of God, saying, that what the Chaldeans had plundered, “the Lord” had “taken away.” How can we attribute the same work to God, to Satan, and to man, without either excusing Satan by the interference of God, or making God the author of the crime? This is easily done, if we look first to the end, and then to the mode of acting."  Institutes of the Christian Religion 2:4:2)


"This is what these fanatics conclude out of their own presumption when they decide that God is the Author of sin if He controls everything by His providence." (Sermon on 2 Samuel 12:7-12)


"Although, therefore, I thus affirm that God did ordain the Fall of Adam, I so assert it as by no means to concede that God was therein properly and really the author of that Fall." (Eternal Predestination of God p.126)


"Now, if I had ever asserted that the departure of the first man from God proceeded in any way from the inspiration or motion of the Spirit of God; if I had not, on the contrary, uniformly contended that Adam fell by the instigation of the devil and by the impulse of his own heart; then, indeed, Pighius might justly have made his furious attack upon me. But now, removing as I do from God all the proximate cause of the act in the Fall of man, I thereby remove from Him also all the blame of the act, leaving man alone under the sin and the guilt. While I thus teach, then, why does my opponent calumniously and wickedly slander me by asserting that I make the Fall of man " one of the works of God"?" (Eternal Predestination of God p128)

"There has been cast in my way the silly script of a certain worthless mortal, who, with all his vileness, boasts of being a defender and avenger of the glory of God by waging war against the Divine principle and doctrine:" That the world is so governed by God, that nothing is done therein but by His secret counsel and decree. Meanwhile, this miserable being sees not that when he is catching at fallacious pretences of clearing the justice of God from imputation, he is all the while utterly subverting His power, all which is, as it were, attempting to rend in pieces God Himself. But to give a colour to his profanity, he prefaces his undertaking not less wickedly than maliciously with the remark: " That God is not the cause of evil, nor wills sin." As if, when we claim for God the supremacy of all rule, we assert that He is the author of sin ! Now it is evident that JOHN CALVIN is attacked by this sentence. But it is well known that JOHN CALVIN is too far removed from the blasphemy with which this worthless being would charge him to need any lengthened protection of himself from its malignity. John Calvin constantly declares aloud throughout his writings, wherever sin is the subject of discussion, that the name of God is not to be mingled or mentioned with sin, because nothing is consistent with the character of God but rectitude and equity. How foul, then, is the calumny to involve a man, so long deserving well of the Church of God, in the crime of making God the author of sin !" 
(Eternal Predestination of God p.189-190)


"And yet we will not therefore say, that God is the author of evil: because, by , giving men over to a reprobate mind,” (Romans 1:28,) he does not exercise a confused tyranny, but executes his just, though secret judgments." (Comments on the Lord's Prayer)


BH Carroll

"That leads to this question, If, being naturally a Jew and circumcised according to the Jewish law, and keeping externally the ritual law did not save him, as chapter 3 opens – what advantage then hath the Jew? The answer to that is that to the Jews were committed the oracles of God, and they had a better chance of getting acquainted with the true plan of salvation. Then what if some of these Jews were without faith? That does not destroy that advantage; they had the privilege and some availed themselves of it. Does that not make the grace of God of none effect? In other words, if God is glorified by the condemnation of unbelievers, how then shall the man be held responsible? His answer is, "God forbid," for if that were true how could God judge the world? That supposition destroys the character of God in his judgment capacity. If God were the author of sin and constrained men by an extraneous power to sin, he could not be a judge. All who hold the Calvinistic interpretation of grace must give fair weight to that statement. Whenever God does judge a man, his judgment will be absolutely fair". (Commentary on Romans 2:17-4:25)


David Dickson

"In the most sinful affections, plots, and actions of the wicked against God's people and servants, God hath a holy hand, and is not the cause of their sin; for all the motions of the creatures which live, and move, and have their being of God, are made use of by the Creator as instruments, whereby He worketh His own just and holy work for His own ends: but, when men are about the same work for their sinful ends, what is holy on God's part, becometh sinful in them, as the crucifying of Christ was most holy on God's part and most sinful on His enemie's part: He turneth their heart to hate His people: to deal subtilely with His servants."  (Comments on Psalm 105:25) 


John Flavel

Although John Flavel does not use the actual words "God is not the author of sin" here in this quote, yet it is evident that this is his position: "Q. 3. But there are some evil things done in the world, do they fall under God's Decree? A. Though God doth neither approve them, nor necessitate men to commit them, yet he doth permit and suffer them to be done, and will turn them to his own Glory. Acts 4:27-28..." (Commentary on the Shorter Catechism)


Robert L. Dabney

"That God is not, and cannot be the author of sin, is plain from express Scripture, Jas 1:13,7; 1 John 1:5; Eccles 7:29, Ps 92:15; from God's law, which prohibits all sin; and from the holiness of His nature, which is incapable of it, and from the nature of sin itself, which must be man's own free activity, or else is not responsible or guilty." (p221 Systematic Theology on the Decrees of God.)


"Now, it is vain for those to object that God's will cannot have anything to do with sinful results, even in this permissive sense, without making God an author of the sin, unless these cavilers mean to take the square infidel ground. For the Bible is full of assertions that God does thus foreordain sin without being an author of sin." (5 points of Calvinism)


James Fisher

"Q. 21. How can God concur with the sinful actions of men, without sin, of which he cannot be the author? A. Although God not only preserves and supports the faculties with which a man sins, but likewise previously, immediately, and efficaciously concurs to the substance, matter, or entity of the action, yet he by no means concurs to the sinfulness or wickedness of the act, Isaiah 10:6, 7." (On Q11 of Assembley's catechism)

"Q. 30. Can it follow, then, from this doctrine, that God is the author of our sin? A. So far from it, that, on the contrary, it evidently follows, that our state, both of sin and misery, is the bitter fruit of our own voluntary apostasy in the first Adam, as our covenant head, having sinned in him, and fallen with him in his first transgression." 
 (On Q18. Assembley’s Shorter Catechism explained by Q&A)


John L. Girdeau

"These special arguments are enhanced and confirmed by the general doctrine of the Scriptures that God is not the author of sin but its righteous punisher." (Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism Compared) 

"The Sublapsarian Calvinist - and he is the true Calvinist - is not committed either to the support of either party in the contest between the Arminian and the Supralapsarian. He is an interested spectator, except when his own position  is endangered by assault. As the battle advances, he cries, 'Strike on, Arminian! Wield the mighty principle that God is not the author of sin
"God is not the author of sin. The sinner is himself the author of it." 
(Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism Compared) 


"God is not the author of sin; nor does the Calvinist doctrine affirm that He is. On the contrary, it solemnly maintains that He is not, and teaches, that, in the first instance, man had the ample ability to refrain from sinning, and that he sinned by a free and avoidable election of his own will." (Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism Compared) 


Geneva Bible Notes 1599

"The third part of this epistle, in which he descends from outward temptations, that is, from afflictions by which God tries us: to inward, that is, to those lusts by which we are stirred up to do evil. The sum is this: Every man is the author of these temptations by himself, and not God: for we carry in our bodies that wicked corruption, which seeks opportunity forever, to stir up evil in us, from which eventually proceeds wicked behaviour, and in conclusion follows death, the just reward of them.” (Notes on James 1:13)


John Gill

"For to make God the author of sin, or to charge him with being concerned in temptation to sin, is a very great error, a fundamental one, which strikes at the nature and being of God, and at the perfection of his holiness: it is a denying of him, and is one of those damnable errors and heresies, which bring upon men swift destruction; and therefore to be guarded against, rejected, and abhorred byall that profess any regard unto him, his name and glory." (Commentary James 1:16)

"And since this comes from him, [God] he cannot be the author of evil, or tempt unto it. This is a settled and certain point, that all the good that is in men, and is done by them, comes from God; and all the evil that is in them, and done by them, is of themselves." (Commentary James 1:18)

"Whatever was done to Christ, either by Jews or Gentiles, by Herod or Pontius Pilate, was according to the secret will of God, the covenant he made with Christ, and the council of peace that was between them both: what they wickedly did, God designed for good, and hereby brought about the redemption and salvation of his people: this neither makes God the author of sin, nor excuses the sinful actions of men, or infringes the liberty of their wills in acting." (Commentary Acts 4:18)

Robert Haldane

"In all the above acts relating to men, [A reference to the cruel revenge which the heathen nations took on Israel etc.] God proceeds in conformity to His justice. He is infinitely just in hating, hardening, and condemning sinners, in adjudging them to punishment for their wickedness, and in placing them in situations in which, in the free exercise of their evil dispositions, they will do what the Lord has appointed for His own glory. Thus God orders events in such a manner, that, as in the passages above quoted, the sin will, through the wickedness of men: certainly be committed, while He is not the author of evil, but, on the contrary, of good." (Commentary on Romans 9:1-33)

 "That God does not harden any man in such a way as to be the author of sin, is most certain. But there must be a sense in which He hardens sinners, or the thing would not be asserted. From His conduct with respect to Pharaoh, it is obvious that sinners are hardened by the providence of God bringing them into situations that manifest and excite their corruptions." (Commentary on Romans 9:1-33)

Bishop Joseph Hall

"All evil motions, and counsels., are originally from that malignant spirit; that evil spirit could have no power over men, but by the permission, by the decree of the Almighty. That Almighty, as He is no author of sin, so he orders all evil to good; it is good as it is just; it is good that one sin should be punished by another; Satan is herein no more than the executioner of that God, who is as far from infusing evil, as from not revenging it." (Contemplations on the Death of Ahab.)

TC Hammond

"We can give no final answers to such questions as, 'Why did not God's foreknowledge lead Him to anticipate and prevent sin. both in the first man and also at its first entry into the universe (in whatever form this may have been)?' But we can state the following on the authority of revelation:

[i] God is not the author of sin.
[ii] God has no need of sin in order to enhance His glory, and He did not permit it solely to demonstrate His moral grandeur.

[iii] The subsequent responsibility of mankind in relation to sin is in no way diminished or excused on the ground that the men now living were not guilty of its inception."

[iv] God is not to be regarded as a 'party' to the repeated acts of sin - e.g. those of sex - which man has all too successfully perpetuated, nor is He to be held partly responsible for the perpetuation of vice simply because He has not withdrawn His sustaining power from the universe. If man freely chooses to misuse certain of his wonderful endowments and prostitute his remarkable abilities to base ends, it is scarcely just to blame God. (The Fall of Man and Original Sin - the origin of evil)

(In understanding Be Men)


Robert Harris

"And here he [Adam] must blame none but himself, for the evil that is befallen him: For the devil could not compell him to sin, much less did God necessitate him: it was man's own doing alone."  (The Way to Happiness: 24 sermons on the Beatitudes 1632)


Matthew Henry

"Again, God often brings good out of evil, and promotes the designs of his providence even by the sins of men; not that he is the author of sin, far be it from us to think so...” (Comments on Genesis 50:20)

 "But that, in this displeasure, he should move David to number the people is very strange. We are sure that God is not the author of sin; he tempts no man...God, as righteous Judge, permitted it, with a design, from this sin of David, to take an occasion to punish Israel for other sins, for which he might justly have punished them without this.” (Comments on 2 Samuel 24:1-9)

 " And yet God is not the author of sin, but herein infinitely just and holy; for, though the greatest wickedness follow upon this giving up, the fault of that is to be laid upon the sinner's wicked heart. If the patient be obstinate, and will not submit to the methods prescribed, but wilfully takes and does that which is prejudicial to him, the physician is not to be blamed if he give him up as in a desperate condition; and all the fatal symptoms that follow are not to be imputed to the physician, but to the disease itself and to the folly and wilfulness of the patient." (Comments on Romans 1:19-32)

A.A. Hodge

25. "How may it be shown that God is not the author of sin? The admission of sin into the creation of an infinitely wise, powerful and holy God is a great mystery, of which no explanation can be given. But that God cannot be the author of sin is proved - [3 reasons given why God cannot be the author of sin [i] nature of sin [ii] nature of God [iii] nature of man as a free agent]" (Outlines of Theologyp 211)

26. "How may it be shown that the doctrine of unconditional decrees does not represent God as the author of sin? ...The doctrine of unconditional decrees present no special difficulty. It represents God as decreeing that the sin shall eventuate as the free act of the sinner, and not as by any form of co-action, causing, nor by any form of temptation inducing, him to sin." (
Outlines of Theology p.211)

24. 4th God neither causes sin, nor approves it, he only permits, directs, restrains, limits and overrules it. Man, the free agent, is the sole responsible and guilty cause of his own sin." (
Outlines of Theology p.268) 

Jamison, Fausset and Brown 

"As “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1Jn_1:5), He cannot in any way be the Author of sin (Jas_1:13), which is darkness (Joh_3:19). (Commentary on James 1:17)

Martyn Lloyd Jones 

"God does not cause evil in any sense or in any degree. He does not approve of evil. But He permits the wicked agents to perform it and then He overrules it for His own wise and holy ends." (Great Doctrines: God the Father , God the Son p.98)

Fredrick Leahy

"It is true that initially man had a free will: he could obey or disobey. But to see the history of the world revovlving around the axis of man's will would not be a Biblical approach. Yet while the Scripture declares that God 'works all things  according to the counsel of His own will' (Eph 1:11) it is made abundantly plain that God is not the author of sin (1 John 1:5) and man's will was never coerced." (Acts 2:23) So it is true to say that the fall of man took place according to God's will and God overruled that fall for His glory and for the coming of the 'last Adam',' in whom alone man might have eternal life. God is in heaven and we are on earth; therefore, as we stand before his inscrutable eternity our words must be few." (Eccles 5:2)"  (Victory of the Lamb: Commentary on Revelation)


Gresham Machen

"Shall He [God] not be able to use the evil actions of men for His own holy purposes? The Bible tells us plainly that He does so use those evil actions. Even they do not lie beyond His goverance as the great First Cause. Yet the Bible tells us with equal plainness that He is not the author of sin, but that sin is ever hateful to His eyes. Why he allowed sin to enter is the mystery of mysteries, but that He did so we are plainly told, and that He did so for some high and holy end." (Christian View of Man p101)


James Manton
"Well then, let us beware of this wickedness of turning sin upon God. The more natural it is to us, the more we should take heed of it. We charge God with our evil and sins divers ways, - ..."

[Manton gives a number of ways, including the blaming of Divine Providence] Commentary on James p.86

"When natural thoughts rise in us, thoughts against the purity of God, say thus: Surely God cannot be the author of sin, who is the avenger of it; He is at the same pass and stay of holiness, and cannot warp aside to evil...the Lord is no tempter, the author of all good cannot be the author of sin. " (
Commentary on James p87)

"If God tempeth no man, then it informs us that God cannot be the author of sin." (
Commentary on James 1:13)


"A similar distinction is sometimes drawn between God's directive will and His permissive will. The former refers to events which God sovereignly directs in His purposes of grace and judgment, the latter to events which God sovereignly permits. Though not always easy to apply in practice, this distinction is necessary to refute any suggestion that God is the cause of evil." (Know the Truth p.103)

Hanley Moule

"It [Scripture] appeals everywhere to the will as a true centre of free though finite causation. What it does put before us is the mystery and fact of the Supreme Will, in its absolute and all embracing freedom, dealing with all things from the eternal centre, so that finite personalities shall all have free play in genuine volition, and so that evil and its results are wholly of the creature, and not of God, and yet that in the summing up of things God shall be seen to have carried out His most holy will in the sum of all events." (Outlines of Christian Doctrine p.43)

John McPherson

"He [God] cannot ordain sin, for that is a contradiction of Himself, and though He has ordained the being who has originated sin, yet He is in no sense the author of it. ... The divine decree has no determining power over us." (On the Confession of Faith God's Eternal Decree 3:1 p47)


"God's relation to evil is only permissive, and not causal;  yet not merely permissive in the sense that He in no wise interferes in the course of a sinful development. When from other causes, other than divine, evil has originated, God is pleased to show His power over sinners and their sins, and so orders these, whether by limiting their scope or directing their course, that the end is not the overthrow but the establishment of His holy rule.  " (On the Confession of Faith Providence: 5:4 p 57)


John Owen

"1st. That what [God] doth is just and righteous; for so must all acts of supreme and absolute dominion be. 2dly. That he can be author of nothing but what hath existence and being itself; for he works as the fountain of beings. This sin hath not. So that though every action, whether good or bad, receives its specification from the working of providence, — and to that is their existence in their several kinds to be ascribed, — yet an evil action, in the evilness of it, depends not upon divine concourse and influence; for good and evil make not sundry kinds of actions, but only a distinction of a subject in respect of its adjuncts and accidents...God works, and man worketh; those agents have several rules. God works according to his rule; hence the action is good, as an action; — man deviates from his rule; hence it is sinful, in respect of its qualifications and adjuncts. Man writes fair letters upon a wet paper, and they run all into one blot; not the skill of the scribe, but the defect in the paper, is the cause of the deformity. He that makes a lame horse go, is the cause of his going; but the defect in his joints is the cause of his going lame. The sun exhales a steam from the dunghill; the sun is the cause of the exhalation, but the dunghill of the unwholesome savor. The first cause is the proper cause of a thing’s being, but the second of its being evil." (Sermon on Righteous Zeal encouraged by Diviner Protection: Sermon #3 Vol. 8 of his works)

Alexander Paterson 

"In what ever way we are to understand the expression, 'Lead us not into temptation,' it is evident, that God cannot be the author of sin." (Shorter Catechism Exposition Q. 106) 

Arthur Pink

"Remember that God is the Creator of the wicked, not of their wickedness; He is the Author of their being, but not the Infuser of their sin." (Sovereignty of God p.92)

"Let it be emphatically said that God does not produce the sinful dispositions of any of His creatures, though He does restrain and direct them to the accomplishing of His own purposes. Hence He is neither the Author nor the Approver of sin." (
Sovereignty of God p.146)

"But such a distinction is really no distinction at all, inasmuch as God only permits that which is according to His will. No such distinction would have been invented had these theologians discerned that God could have decreed the existence and activities of sin without Himself being the Author of sin." (
Sovereignty of God p.213)

"Thus, though God had decreed the Fall, in no sense was He the Author of Adam’s sin, and at no point was Adam’s responsibility impaired." (
Sovereignty of God p.220)

"Thus, though God is not the Author of sin, and though sin is contrary to His holy nature, yet the existence and operations of it are not contrary to His will, but subservient to it. God never tempts man to sin, but He has, by His eternal counsels (which He is now executing), determined its course." (
Sovereignty of God p. 221)

"It pleased God to leave our first parents without any immediate help from without, to the freedom and mutability of their own will. But that neither made Him the author of their sin nor brought them under any natural necessity of falling." (Doctrine of Man's Depravity p. 19)

"In introducing this aspect of our subject we cannot do better than set before the reader what A. A. Hodge pointed out in Outlines of Theology as … the self-evident moral principles which must ever be certainly presupposed in every inquiry into the dealings of God with His responsible creatures.(1) God cannot be the Author of sin." (Doctrine of Man’s Depravity p.87)

"We do not propose to make any attempt to enter into a philosophical or metaphysical inquiry as to how God can be the Creator and Maker of our beings (Job 31:15), the “Father of spirits” (Hebrews 12:9), and yet not be the Author of the sin now inhering in our natures." (Doctrine of Man’s Depravity p.88)


"In the preceding chapter we showed how Scripture casts light on the great moral problem of how an inherently corrupt nature originates in each child from the beginning of its existence without its Creator being the Author of sin. David declared, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). He described his depravity as innate and not created, as derived from his mother and not his Maker, showing that defilement is transmitted directly from Adam through the channel of human propagation."  (Doctrine of Man’s Depravity p.95)

"But does that make God the Author of sin? The culpable Author, no; for as Piscator long ago pointed out, “Culpability is failing to do what ought to be done.” ...  God is the efficient Author of whatever works of holiness men perform, but He is not the Author of their sins." 
(Doctrine of Man’s Depravity p259-260)


“But the carnal mind will still object. We are natively no other way than God has made us; therefore if we are born sinful and God has created us thus, then He, not ourselves, is the Author of sin. To such awful lengths is the enmity of the carnal mind capable of going: shifting the onus from his own guilty shoulders and throwing the blame upon the thrice holy God." (Doctrine of Man's Impotence p.39)


Yet this neither makes God the “Author of sin” nor man an irresponsible creature: God is holy in all His ways, and man is accountable for all his actions. Whether or not we perceive the “consistency” of them, each of these basic truths must be held fast by us; nor must one be so maintained that the other is virtually negative." (Life of David Vol. 2:98)

"God has foreordained all that comes to pass in this world, but this does not mean that He regards the wickedness of men with complacency, or that He condones their evil. No indeed. In their zeal to clear God of being the Author of sin, many have denied that He is the Ordainer and Orderer of it. Because the creature cannot comprehend His ways, or perceive how He is the Author of an act without being chargeable with the evil of it, they have rejected the important truth that sin is under the absolute control of God, and is as much subject to His moral government, as the winds and waves are directed by Him in the material sphere...Meanwhile, we content ourself by giving a quotation from the Westminster Confession: “God’s providence"  (2:130) [WCF quoted above]

"Though God is not the Author of sin, and can never be charged with evil, yet as the Governor of the universe, He is the Controller and Director of it, so that when it serves His righteous purpose even Satan and his hosts are requisitioned by Him: 1 Kings 22:20-22; Ezekiel 14:9, etc." 
 (Life of David 2:296)


NL Rice

"With the sinful actions of angels and men, His providential influence only is concerned. He permits their sinful dispositions, but does not produce them. Yet He does more than merely permit, he bounds, directs, restrains and controls their actions to His own holy ends. And as much as He simply permits and controls the sinful actions of men, He is not the author or approver of sin." (God sovereign and Man free)


Samuel Rutherford

"Question. Has God any hand in sin?

Answer: He suffers men to sin, and punishes sin and directs it to His own glory; but He neither allows, loves or commands sin." (Catechism Chapter 9  of "God's Providence" p22)

"Question: But is God not the author of sin, when He hardens men's hearts?
Answer: Not at all, for God, as the ruler of the world and judge, leaves men to harden their own heart, and so punishes sin by sin (Ps 81:11,12; Rom 1:24; 2 Thess 2:11-12) as that no guilt cleaves to Him."  (
Catechism Chapter 9  of "God's Providence" p22)

"Question: How can God then be free of sin if he works in sin?

Answer: The Lord can touch a serpent and not be stung, and as a good painter draws black lines in the image to make the white appear more beautiful, and the physician extracts good oil out of poisonous herbs, and the musician makes the mistuned harp to send out a plesant sound, even so God in the hardening of men's hearts does the part of a judge justly and holily." (Catechism God's Providence p22)


Robert Shaw

"We are certain that God is concerned in all the actions of His creatures; we are equally certain that God cannot be the author of sin; and here we ought to rest." (Exposition of the WCF Comment on Providence 5:4)


Charles Simeon

"If we mark only the expressions of m text, we shall be ready to draw from them very erroneous inferences and deductions. We shall be ready to say, 'If these people did only "what God's hand and counsel had determined before to be done." we must condemn them, they were only instruments in the hand of a superior power: and if there be any evil in what they did, it must be traced to Jehovah Himself, whose counsel had decreed it and who, by His power, stimulated them to the commission of them."  But all this is quite erroneous.  Though God had ordained these things, he never instigated any man to the commission of them; He only elevated men to situations, where, if they were so disposed, they might execute the evil that was in their hearts, and left them at liberty to follow their own will. ... "As for God, He cannot be tempted of evil; neither tempeth He any man." (on James 1:13)." (Discourses on the Bible: On Acts 4:27-28)


RC Sproul

"The Double-Predestination Distortion: The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God WORKS in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.  This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers." (On Double Predestination)


CH Spurgeon

"Perhaps some who hear me will say, "Then, sir in the case of Christians you make God the author of sin if you believe that their lives were ordained of him!" I never said so! Prove that I said it and then I will come before your bar and try to excuse myself. But until you hear these lips say, that God is the author of sin go your way and prove first of all what it means to speak the truth. I have not asserted any such vile doctrine..." (#33 sermon Ps 47:4) 


"Your destruction lies at your own door, because you sold your own soul at your own bargain, and you did it yourself. Did God influence Esau to do that? God forbid, God is not the author of sin. Esau voluntarily gave up his own birthright. And the doctrine is, that every man who loses heaven gives it up himself. Every man who loses everlasting life rejects it himself. God denies it not to him—he will not come that he may have life. Why is it that a man remains ungodly and does not fear God? It is because he says, "I like this drink, I like this pleasure, I like this sabbath-breaking, better than I do the things of God." No man is saved by his own free-will, but every man is damned by it that is damned. He does it of his own will; no one constrains him." (#239 Sermon on Romans 9:13)

"Thus far but no further did the Lord turn the hearts of the Egyptians. God cannot in any sense be the author of sin so far as to be morally responsible for its existence, but it often happens through the evil which is inherent in human nature that the acts of the Lord arouse the ill-feelings of ungodly men." (Treasury/David: Psalm 105:25)

 Charles C. Ryrie

"God has a plan (Acts 15:18) which is all inclusive (Eph. 1.11) which He controls (Ps. 135:6), which includes but does not involve Him in evil (Pro. 16:4) and which is ultimately to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:14)."

"The problem: The sovereignty of God seems to contradict the freedom or actually responsibility of man. But even though it may seem to do so, the perfection of sovereignty is clearly taught in the Scriptures, so it must not be denied because of our inability to reconcile it with freedom or responsibility. Also, if God is sovereign, how can the creation be so filled with evil? Man was created with genuine freedom, but the exercise of that freedom in rebellion against God introduced sin into the human race. Though God was the Designer of the plan, He was in no way involved in the commission of evil either on the part of Satan originally or of Adam subsequently. Even though God hates sin, for reasons not revealed to us, sin is present by His permission. Sin must be within God's eternal plan (or God would not be sovereign) in some way which He is not the author of it (or God could not be holy.)" (Basic Theology p.49)

Synod of Dort Annotated Bible

2Sa 12:12 . For thou didst it secretly; but I will do this thing take David’s wives, and give them unto Absalom, etc. Is God then the Author of Absalom's abominable sins? God forbid. Job 12:16 . With him is power and wisdom [or, the substance or being (of things.)] the straying, and he that maketh to stray is his. [the sense is; that without Gods providence, none can err or stray, nor bring others into error, which is to be understood generally of the erring and straying, not only of the body, but also of the Spirit: of the bodily straying we may see Psalm 107.4. of the spiritual Deuter.13.1. 1 Kings 2.20. Ezek.14.9.2. Thess.2.11. where they are ascribed to God; not as to an author or actor of sin, but as to a wise and holy Governor, and righteous Judge, and avenger thereof.]

Jam 1:13 . Let no man when he is tempted [Here the word tempt is taken in another signification then before, namely, for enticing or stirring up to evil or sin, which seeing Satan always doth, he is therefore also called the Tempter. Mat. 4. 3. 1 Thes. 3. 5.] say, [namely, as it seems that some did, who because afflictions (whereby men are enticed or stirred up to apostasy and other sins, to avoid them) are sent unto us by the providence of God, Gen. 45. 7. 2 Sam. 16. 10. from thence concluded that therefore God must also be an author of stirring up to evil happening by afflictions, which the Apostle here strongly confutes] I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, [Gr. Is untemptable by evils, i.e. cannot by reason of his perfect goodness, neither be stirred up to evil himself, nor yet stir up any man thereunto, seeing he cannot do that which is contrary to his unto, seeing he cannot do that which is contrary to his own nature, and which his nature abhors] and be himself tempteth no man. [that is, stirs up no man to evil.]

Jam 1:16 . Err not [Namely, especially in this point : that ye should hold God for an author of temptations or enticements to sin: for that is blasphemous] my beloved brethren.


Derek Thomas

"Nevertheless here is a mystery: * God foreordains everything that comes to pass *God is not the author of sin *God does not tempt us to sin *God does  not condone sin. How can this be? How can God ordain the occurrence of evil and remian free from the charge of being evil himself? This has been the problem of pain from the very beginning. Theologians have not always tried to answer it, partly because the answer involves grasping difficult concepts. And most answers are unsatisfying. The Westminister Divines of the 17th Century were merely content to state the issue without any attempt to reconcile: (Quotes Chapter 3 of the WCF)" (p.34)

"Who can fathom how God 'allows sin and evil' , but is not the author of it? Who of us can understand how God can bring Satan into the picture as he does in the opening chapters, saying unto him, 'Have you considered my righteous servant Job' while at the same time maintaining his own moral goodness and perfection?"  
(Mining for Wisdom: 28 Daily Readings from Job p.175)


"We see and hear of evil committed continually.  But if effectual grace did intervere, that evil would not be committed. Yet is God in no sense the author of sin." (More Work for John Wesley - A vindication of the Decrees and providence of God.)

"Consequently God is not the author of moral evil. I have affirmed before, and I affirm again, that God is the creator of the wicked, but not of their wickedness: He is the author of their being, but not the infuser of their wickedness." (More Work for John Wesley - A vindication of the Decrees and providence of God.)

"Nay, he [God] sometimes, but for wise and gracious ends, permits his own people to transgress : for he has the hearts and wills of men in his own hand, and inclines them to good, or delivers them up to evil, as he sees fit, yet without being the author of sin ; as Luther, Bucer, Austin and others, have piously and scripturally taught." (Observations on the Divine Attributes") 

Francis Turretin

'Two extremes are to he avoided. First, that of defect, when an otiose permission of sin is ascribed to God. Second, that of excess, when the causality of sin is ascribed to him. Between these extremes, the orthodox hold the mean, who contend that the providence of God extends to sin in such way that he does not involuntarily permit it, as the Pelagians say, nor actively cause it as the Libertines assert, but voluntarily ordains and controls it'. (Works Vol. 1 vii.i)


Bishop Ussher

"We must take heed lest we make God the Author of Sin...for that cast off all Conscience of Sin and all fear of God...nothing can be more blasphemous against God and pernicious to ourselves." (Body of Divinity p49)


 "...if God should properly will Sin, then He must be the Author of Sin; but He is not the Author of Sin:" (Body of Divinity p.50)


"Q. If God hath decreed the Works of the Wicked: Must not He of force be the Author of Sin and Evil? Ans: God is not the Cause of Sin and Evil, which He forbiddeth and condemneth, but Satan and Man..."  "Q. Does God work after the same manner by the wicked, that he does by the Godly? Ans: No. For God worketh by the ungodly, but not in them..."  (Body of Divinity p99)


"God being the author of every action (Acts 17:28) but the Devil and our concupiscience of the evil in it." (Body of Divinity p100)


"It is most truly said that God is not the author of sin, whereof He is the Revenger..." (Body of Divinity p101)"


Ralph Venning

"He [God] is so holy, that He cannot sin Himself, nor be the cause or the author of sin in another. He does not command sin to be committed, for to do so would cross his nature and will. Nor does he approve of any man's sin when it is committed, but hates it with a perfect hatred. he is without iniquity, and of purer eyes than to behold (i.e. approve) iniquity." (Habakuk 1:13)  (Plague of plagues p31)

 Thomas Watson

"But, some may say, "if God has a hand in ordering all things that fall out, he has a hand in the sins of men." I answer, No, by no means, he has no hand in any man's sin. God cannot go contrary to his own nature, he cannot do any unholy action, any more than the sun can be said to be darkened. Here you must take heed of two things: you must take heed of making God ignorant of men's sins; you must take heed of making God to have a hand in men's sins. Is it likely that God is both the author of sin, and the avenger of sin? Is it a likely thing that God should make a law against sin, and then have a hand in breaking his own law? God in his providence permits men's sins. "He allowed all nations to walk in their own ways." Acts 14:16. God permitted their sin, which he never would, if he could not bring good out of it. Had not sin been permitted—God's justice in punishing sin, and his mercy in pardoning sin, had not been so well manifested. The Lord is pleased to permit sin—but he has no hand in sin." (Body of Divinity - On the Providence of God p.122)

Westminster Confession of Faith Bible Annotations

"Here is the reason given, why we should not conceive that God is the Author of sin; and the reason is, that God is the Author of all good. Now if he should also be the Author of sin by tempting man unto it, there would be found a change in Him." (James 1:18)


G.I Williamson

"Scripture is equally insistent that God is not the author of sin. (James 1:13) The apparent contradiction has been expressed this way: (a) God is the author of all that is (b) Sin is (c) Yet God is not the author of sin. But the contradiction is only apparent. For God is not the author of all that is, although He has decreed all. Satan and his host (of men and angels are the 'authors' of sin, although God created them and decreed even their sin, although God created them and decreed their sin without being Himself the author of it." (Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes p. 50)

Jerome Zanchius

"...God therefore may be the Author of all actions (as he undoubtedly is) and yet not be the Author of evil.  an action is constituted evil  three ways - by proceeding from a wring principle, by being directed to a wrong end, and by being dne in a wrong manner. Now, though God, as we have said, is the effecient cause of our actions as actions, yet, if these actions commence sinful, that sinfulness arises from ourselves." (Absolute Predestination p47)

"Just so, God is the supreme Author of our action, abstractly taken, but our own vitiosity [depravity] is the cause of our acting amiss." (
Absolute Predestination p47)

"God is the creator of the wicked, but not of their wickedness; He is the author of their being, but not the infuser of their sin. It is most certainly His will (for adorable and unsearchable reasons) to permit sin, but, with all possible reverence let it be spoken, it should seem that He cannot, consistently with the purity of His nature, the glory of His attributes and the truth of his declarations, be Himself the author it." (
Absolute Predestination p89-90)