So in bringing sin to pass he does not himself commit sin. God is not, in fact, really like the little boy staring through the candy shop window. God is holy, so everything God wills and desires must be holy. God's sovereignty would include the means God allows for wickedness to happen in our world. But it is equally clear … God has used His almighty power, wisdom, and goodness to bind His creatures to act in a sinful way. Of Free Will. WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH ... but wholly on God (who is truth itself), the author of it. *[3] It was man, not God, who actually performed the action, so God’s hands are clean. A book was circulated in London arguing that God is the Author even of Sin, this being purportedly for the benefit of saints taking comfort in this in their trials. Not only this, but God has determined every action in advance. This is part 1 of a 4-part series on how to talk about God's sovereignty over sin. However, even if this argument is accepted as true, it still fails to explain how God is not the author of the action. Dr. Frame and P&R Publishing have graciously given us permission to quote his Doctrine of God at length. If you get some help here, we’d highly recommend purchasing The Doctrine of God. decree with respect to everlasting state of men and angels But I am not conflating the two (nor does the Westminster Confession of Faith). According to this confession, God “binds” and “orders” in His “governing” of all things including “the first fall” and “all other sins of angels and men,” but is not the “author or approver of sin” because God is “holy and righteous.” God is said here not to merely grant His creation permission to sin, but that God binds them to sin. Is God disapproving of His own wisdom, will, and governing?” Sadly, we are again not given an answer. Ch3 of the W.C.of F. says "neither is God the author of sin". In their view, nothing less than libertarian freedom will serve to absolve God from the charge of authoring sin. A third question which comes to mind is, “If God’s creatures act in a way which is obedient to God’s predestination, wisdom, binding, ordering, and governing, then how can God not approve of those actions? Nevertheless, the authors of this confession denied such a claim. Chapter III of the Westminster Confession. The Westminster Confession. The inherent contradiction in this statement is apparent. What is predestination? if someone makes a cake they do not become a cake themselves. The Westminster Confession of Faith appears to explicitly state that God is the author of sin. 1 1 John 3:4.Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. I.God from all eternity, did, by the most wise andholy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordainwhatsoever comes to pass;[1] yet so, as thereby neither isGod the author of sin,[2] nor is violence offered to the willof the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causestaken away, but rather established. Covenant theology, Christ's mediation and … . They assume that if God brings about evil in any sense, he must therefore approve it and deserve the blame. Copyright © 2011 by Timothy Zebell. In his last three sermons, John Piper has made some provocative statements about God’s sovereignty over sin. Nevertheless, the authors of this confession denied such a claim. Despite this denial in a major Reformed confession, Arminians regularly charge that Reformed theology makes God the author of sin. To deny this, or to charge God with wickedness on account of it, is not open to a Bible-believing Christian. Chapter III "Of God's Eternal Decree" God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of … Of God's Eternal Decree. The 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith is highly esteemed among Calvinists. 1 So the [Westminster Confession] says that God “neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin” (5:4). ... God is not the author of sin nor does He offer violence to the will of His creatures. Chapter III. Then, with another breath, they say that God is holy, righteous, and is not responsible for sin. . Regarding the issue of sin, how it came about, and who is responsible, The Westminster Confession of Faith says: The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; 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.[1]. He cannot sin, … The excerpts below (and in the next 3 parts of this series) are not available elsewhere on the web. The Westminster Confession of Faith makes bold statements about God’s ordaining all things after the counsel of His own will from eternity past, binding His creatures to that will, and ordering or governing His creatures to accomplish His will. But as we saw [in chapter 8] libertarian freedom is incoherent and unbiblical. THE WESTMINSTER STANDARDS ON SIN. The headings are added; the paragraphs are Dr. Frame’s. “What I have maintained about the diversity of causes must not be forgotten: the proximate cause is one thing, the remote cause another.” (Calvin. . The following is from The Doctrine of God, Chapter 9, “The Problem of Evil,” by John Frame. Your email address will not be published. Somehow, we must confess both that God has a role in bringing evil about, and that in doing so he is holy and blameless. However, we are also told that God is not the author or approver of sin. Nevertheless, we are told that God is not the author of those actions. For further clarification of this issue, let us examine another portion of The Westminster Confession of Faith, “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”[2]. Words are the theologian’s tools. If that argument is sound, then a Reformed doctrine of the sovereignty of God does not imply that God is the author of sin. They state that because the sinful act was not actually performed by God Himself, but only by the creature, God is not responsible for the sin. Sin is transgression and lack of conformity to God’s law (WCF 6.6, WLC 24, WSC 14). A Biblical Look at the Argument of Second Causes. How can we be expected to accept this? So theologians need to give some careful thought about which of these terms, if any, should be affirmed, and in what sense. God from all eternity did by the most and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. CHAPTER 3. God, as the primary and efficient cause of all things, is not only the Author of those actions done by His elect as actions, but also as they are good actions, whereas, on the other hand, though He may be said to be the Author of all the actions done by the wicked, yet He is not the Author of them in a moral and compound sense as they are sinful; but physically, simply and sensu diviso [1] as … The Westminster Confession of Faith is still used as an expression of sound biblical doctrine. The Westminster Confession refuses to give ground on either of these truths because both are taught in Holy Scripture. [3] In a situation like this, none of the possibilities is fully adequate. The second way we might overturn the Westminster statement, is addressing the Greek word they are renderin in the Westminster Confession as “Heaven.” While it may not preclude the understanding of Westminster, Jesus actual statement is that the thief will be with him in Paradise. We are told that everything that happens—good or bad—is part of God’s will. Westminster Confession (A.D. 1647) by Matt Slick | Nov 25, 2008 ... yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. What other conclusion could be reasonably drawn? We’re on a mission to change that. If God had a holy motive why Jesus alone should fulfil the Law {total obedience} then God might have a holy motive to withhold from man the grace to obey His Law/command. The following piece may be the least known, but most important, short document of the Westminster Assembly. . This confession of faith clearly states that the fall of mankind, the rebellion of Lucifer and his followers, and every sin of man occurs because of God’s almighty power, wisdom, and goodness. First, they insisted that God is holy and righteous while decreeing sin. This Westminster Confession of Faith Study Workbook: Teacher’s Manual provides ... God is sovereign over all yet not the author or doer of sin? That language is certainly problematic, since we usually associate cause with blame. God foreknows and foreordains everything, including evil; nevertheless, he is not the author of sin. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass, yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. The Westminster Assembly requested the English civil Parliament to suppress this blasphemous book. Desiring God has received a batch of emails in response—some more heated than others!—questioning (or outright disagreeing with) God’s sovereignty over sin. Secondly, a typical mind will instantly link man’s being unchangeably bound by God’s almighty power to act in a sinful way with God’s being responsible for sin. Instead, they repeatedly contradict themselves. Let us consider some of those that are most frequently discussed. God cannot be the author of sin because he is entirely holy and righteous. e.g. God does bring sins about, but always for his own good purposes. Consequently, John Calvin concludes that if God wills and desires a sinful action, He must have a good and holy intention for it. There are various advantages and disadvantages among the different terms. . 1. Q: What is sin? This makes us by nature children of wrath. I. How can this be? Of Free Will. And as we saw [in chapter 4] God does bring about sinful human actions. Many of these are extra-scriptural terms; none of them are perfectly easy to define in this context. Some initial possibilities: authors, brings about, causes, controls, creates, decrees, foreordains, incites, includes within his plan, makes happen, ordains, permits, plans, predestines, predetermines, produces, stands behind, wills. God's sovereignty in the case we are considering has been displayed most prominently with the fact of His choice to create creatures with free will. The twin truths that God decrees sin but is not the author of sin must be held together in tension. It is rarely defined, but it seems to mean both that God is the efficient cause of evil and that by causing evil he actually does something wrong. Therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God. The Westminster Confession and Catechisms speak of sin in two ways: the definition of what sin is and the sinful condition of humanity. That man is responsible for his wicked actions is made so plain from the beginning of the Bible to the end that it is quite useless to cite individual proof texts. Unfortunately, even though they say and write such blatant contradictions in the space of only a few sentences, most of these contradictions are ignored or missed. God does harden hearts, and through his prophets he predicts sinful human actions long in advance, indicating that he is in control of human free decisions. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. One can make something which is entirely different from oneself. Lest there be confusion over language: the “author/story” model of God’s relation to creatures, which I [will advocate later], does not make God the “author of sin” in this sense. He is not the author of evil and does no malevolence, for this would be contrary to His holy nature. 5. ↩, David Mathis is executive editor for desiringGod.org and pastor at. The Westminster Confession of Faith in Modern English1 Prepared by Dr. James A. Hughes Contents ... the result that neither is God the author of sin nor is the will of the creatures violated, nor is the liberty or contingency of the creatures taken away, but rather established. 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