After detailing the account of creation in Genesis 1, God tells us that He “saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). This statement rules out any notion that God created man with a sinful nature. Scripture makes abundantly clear that God is not the author of evil. We know the story in Genesis 3 of how our first parents listened to Satan in the form of a serpent, disobeyed God and thus became sinful. While they did not immediately die physically, before God they became “dead in trespasses and sins” spiritually, yet quite capable of walking in them (Eph. 2:1-3).
As we go on to the account God gives us in Genesis 4, we see that the first sons born to Adam and Eve were sinful human beings. Cain’s sin is boldly and defiantly out in the open. That Abel too was sinful is evidenced by the sacrifice he brought in faith – an innocent animal whose blood must be shed. Cain’s sinfulness is repeated and further developed in his descendants. But going on to chapter 5, we read that “Adam … begot a son in his own likeness, after his image” (v. 3). Again and again in this chapter we hear the sad refrain “and he died.” “The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23 unequivocally tells us.
Our sinful natures are thus transmitted to us from our parents, for Psalm 51:5 adds to the above, “In sin my mother conceived me.” Job raises the question, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” and immediately answers it with the words, “No one!” (Job 14:4). Scripture does not mention genes nor does it tell us in scientific language the mechanism by which our nature is passed on to us. It does indicate clearly our parents’ responsibility for this nature; it never puts the blame for it on God. In another connection the apostle Paul writes to the Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption” (Gal. 6:7-8).
God is indeed “the Father of spirits” (Heb. 12:9). The term “father” in Scripture is often used in the sense of source, author or originator. He is never spoken of as the author of sin or evil. Yet in Isaiah 45:6-7 (JND) He says of Himself: “I am Jehovah, and there is none else; forming the light and creating darkness, making peace and creating evil: I, Jehovah, do all these things.” The New King James Version renders the term “evil” as “calamity,” and Scofield’s note on that expression tells us this: “One of the meanings of the Hebrew word ra (often translated ‘evil’) carries the idea of adversity or calamity, and it is evidently so employed here. God has made sorrow and wretchedness to be the sure fruits of sin.” Thus while God has ordained that every cause will have its effect, and that the effect of sin may be calamity or even destruction, we cannot rightly blame God for the problems we bring on ourselves, nor can we necessarily explain how God will have their effects produced. Thank God for that which He so freely offers: “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
Answered by Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org