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.