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The Source of Sin

God is not the source of sin; he neither commits nor wills nor prompts it (James 1:13). God made rational creatures who were capable of loving him freely and by choice and that meant they could freely choose not to love him—which is what some angels and all our race have done. How such disobedience is possible, while God is Lord of this world, we cannot conceive; that it is possible, however, is undeniable, for it has happened.

How did sin enter the cosmos? Scripture tells us that Satan and his angels rebelled against the Creator before man was made (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6), so that when the first human beings appeared “that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan” (Rev. 20:2) was there to trip them up (Gen. 3). And “the tempter,” the “ruler” and “god of this world” (1 Thess. 3:5; John 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4) still marauds with serpentine cunning and lion-like savagery. It is right to trace moral evil back to Satan as its patron, promoter, producer, director, and instigatory cause.

Where do the inclinations to evil which I find in myself, and so often yield to, come from? The Bible says their source is my own heart (James 1:13-15; Mark 7:21-23). Just as a cripple’s twisted leg makes him walk lame, so the motivational twist of my fallen heart—anti-god, anti-other, self-absorbed—constantly induces wrong attitudes and actions.

Your Father Loves You by James Packer, (Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986), page for February 24