Monday, March 8, 2010

God's Forensic Responsibility for Sin

It is easy to get into a circular argument when it comes to the responsibility for mankind's sin. Blaming it on the Devil doesn't cut it in my estimation, it only temporarily deflects the issue. Since the Devil did not fashion himself, nor his parameters of action, how can he be seen as the ultimate cause? Blaming it on the sinner is certainly more justified, but not without it's own philosophical problems. Whether one says (as would a Calvinist) that it was predetermined by an omnipotent God; or one says (as would an Arminian) that it was foreknown by omniscient God and allowed in his omnipotence, all paths lead back to God, the singular, and great initiator!

God, it seems to me, acts like he is responsible for sin. When one is omnipotent and omniscient there is just no avoiding the responsibility for what ensues from what he starts. It is similar to the responsibility that a parent shoulders when his or her rambunctious child throws the baseball the folks gave him for his birthday through the neighbor's window. The parent may not be the author of the act, but bears the responsibility for the potentiality of it just by giving the kid the ball--or even just for being called, "Mom," or "Dad." What any decent, reasonable parent does at that juncture is take responsibility by either paying for the damage outright, or negotiating a settlement the offended neighbor feels is justified.

God acts something like that responsible parent. He gave mankind God-like capacities, he endowed them with freedom of will, he certainly was not surprised by their failures. Though there is ample evidence that in the early church many thought the Devil was the "abused" neighbor, I don't think inspired scripture bears that out. They do, however, paint clearly the picture of God taking upon himself the rectification of the situation caused by his erring children. God is not the author of sin, that tag has to remain with us; but I, for one, am thankful he stood up and took the forensic responsibility for it.


  1. I agree that since God is able to do everything; that He could be called responsible under definition #1 below. He has certainly born the penalty, and has thus taken responsibility.

    The problem is that some would hold to Him being responsible as in #3. That I don't accept. If someone's grown child commits murder, are they guilty for allowing him to grow up, and gain the ability to murder?

    God is responsible for allowing free choice, but isn't the architect of evil. Apparently a lot of people have trouble with this one.

    1.answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management (often fol. by to or for): He is responsible to the president for his decisions.

    3.chargeable with being the author, cause, or occasion of something (usually fol. by for): Termites were responsible for the damage.

  2. Cindy,
    I agree with you without reservation.

  3. That was great. Permit me to use this on our Sunday School class. Will be starting our first lesson for our new Sunday School program, the first topic will be salvation, and this will be a great article.

    Thanks SLW.

  4. Marvin,
    As with anything on this blog, if it can be of service to you in the cause of Christ, use it with my blessings.

  5. Great illustration. You've made a difficult concept seem very simple.

  6. Thanks Jul,
    You know that's what I aim to do most of the time and wind up missing the mark!

  7. Wow! Jul said it. That was broken down for the simple folk. So thankful that God takes on the responsibility for us.

  8. Yeah, Tony, I'm glad Jesus taught us to call him "Father."


Any comment in ill taste or not germane to the post may be deleted without warning. I am under no obligation to give anyone an opportunity to call me names or impugn my motives or integrity. If you can't play nice, go somewhere else and play.