It’s not enough to render the soul immortal as they have. . James 4:17.Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. Somehow, we must confess both that God has a role in bringing evil about, and that in doing so he is holy and blameless. 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. . Nothing about that model implies that God commits or approves of sin. e.g. [3] There are various advantages and disadvantages among the different terms. 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. Despite this denial in a major Reformed confession, Arminians regularly charge that Reformed theology makes God the author of sin. The inherent contradiction in this statement is apparent. He cannot sin, … Of Free Will. Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. . . Your email address will not be published. In fact I shall argue later that it provides us a reason to deny that. The Westminster Confession of Faith is still used as an expression of sound biblical doctrine. Chapter III "Of God's Eternal Decree" God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of … . The Westminster Confession. 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. The Westminster Confession itself explains that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. The We stminster Confession of Faith Chapter I Of the Holy Scripture I. To deny this, or to charge God with wickedness on account of it, is not open to a Bible-believing Christian. The following is from The Doctrine of God, Chapter 9, “The Problem of Evil,” by John Frame. 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]. I. God has used His almighty power, wisdom, and goodness to bind His creatures to act in a sinful way. I. . I. 1. Westminster theology is a doctrine of hope and confidence. I. Thus, every sinful act was predetermined from eternity past and is in perfect agreement with what God willed and ordained. It is an integral supporting document in the explanation of their doctrines. The confession states that the fall and all other sins were foreordained by divine providence; however, the confession also teaches that sin "proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God". Chapter III. The excerpts below (and in the next 3 parts of this series) are not available elsewhere on the web. Chapter III of the Westminster Confession. Start studying Westminster Confession of Faith. The Westminster Confession of Faith appears to explicitly state that God is the author of sin. Nevertheless, the authors of this confession denied such a claim. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor by … It then directly contradicts these claims by stating that God neither authors those actions, nor approves of them. “Let no one say when he is tempted,” writes James, “‘I am being tempted by God,’ First, they insisted that God is holy and righteous while decreeing sin. With one breath they say that nothing happens outside of God’s will, that God is in control of all things, that He alone is sovereign, and that He, according to His almighty power, wisdom, and goodness, has bound or compelled man to sin. One can make something which is entirely different from oneself. 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. “What I have maintained about the diversity of causes must not be forgotten: the proximate cause is one thing, the remote cause another.” (Calvin. Yes, man is responsible for his wicked actions; and no, God is not the author of sin. This makes us by nature children of wrath. He orders and governs their actions. Nevertheless, the authors of this confession denied such a claim. 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.1 So the [Westminster Confession] says that God “neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin” (5:4). All Rights Reserved. The Westminster Confession and Catechisms speak of sin in two ways: the definition of what sin is and the sinful condition of humanity. Not only this, but God has determined every action in advance. 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 assume that if God brings about evil in any sense, he must therefore approve it and deserve the blame. 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. The 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith is highly esteemed among Calvinists. Many of these are extra-scriptural terms; none of them are perfectly easy to define in this context. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable;1 yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God… God does bring sins about, but always for his own good purposes. We’re on a mission to change that. 5. God is holy, so God cannot be responsible for creating and causing sin. 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. Instead, they repeatedly contradict themselves. Let us consider some of those that are most frequently discussed. Consequently, John Calvin concludes that if God wills and desires a sinful action, He must have a good and holy intention for it. Both cannot be true. Now theologians have found it difficult to formulate in general terms how God acts to bring about those sinful actions. The plight of all humanity is that we are lovers of sin and sons of disobedience. 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. Required fields are marked *. The headings are added; the paragraphs are Dr. Frame’s. 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]. . 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 … Despite this denial in a major Reformed confession, Arminians regularly charge that Reformed theology makes God the author of sin. Ch3 of the W.C.of F. says "neither is God the author of sin". 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. 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. 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. We are told that everything that happens—good or bad—is part of God’s will. Not at all. But I am not conflating the two (nor does the Westminster Confession of Faith). 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. Of the Holy Scripture; Of God, and of the Holy Trinity ... 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. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God. Of Free Will. How can we be expected to accept this? I. "Of God's Eternal Decree". The following piece may be the least known, but most important, short document of the Westminster Assembly. 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. 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. The term authors is almost universally condemned in the theological literature. THE WESTMINSTER STANDARDS ON SIN. That language is certainly problematic, since we usually associate cause with blame. What other conclusion could be reasonably drawn? In a situation like this, none of the possibilities is fully adequate. because it illustrates how God can decree all things, yet be free of sin Himself 6. 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. God cannot be the author of sin because he is entirely holy and righteous. Is God the Author of Sin? He is not the author of evil and does no malevolence, for this would be contrary to His holy nature. 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. The twin truths that God decrees sin but is not the author of sin must be held together in tension. The confession affirms both because the Bible teaches both, but it does not attempt to reconcile them completely, only to declare what the Bible declares without diminishing one truth in favor of another. Is God disapproving of His own wisdom, will, and governing?” Sadly, we are again not given an answer. Dr. Frame and P&R Publishing have graciously given us permission to quote his Doctrine of God at length. ↩, David Mathis is executive editor for desiringGod.org and pastor at. But as we saw [in chapter 8] libertarian freedom is incoherent and unbiblical. God is not, in fact, really like the little boy staring through the candy shop window. decree with respect to everlasting state of men and angels God is holy, so everything God wills and desires must be holy. How can this be? They are logically inconsistent. 1 1 John 3:4.Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. if someone makes a cake they do not become a cake themselves. 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. 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 Westminster Confession of Faith provides us with a beautiful example of the contradiction inherent in the theology and writings of Calvinists. 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