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THE NATURE OF GOD’S DECREES

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased ( Psalm 115:3).”

Through the years there have been many controversies that have troubled the Church of Jesus Christ. There have been fights over the person of Christ. There have been controversies over the correct forms of church government and discipline. Some of the most bitter, however, have been over the nature of salvation: whether by grace or works. In line with this, one has been the continual debate over the nature of God and His decrees. Those of us who, by grace, believe God’s decree encompasses all things have been told, “That makes God the author of sin!” by free-willers the world over. How do we answer such a charge, and more importantly what makes a person make this charge against God’s people?

The text at the head of this articles is how the Psalmist answered those who asked him where now is your God. Notice, he did not just tell the heathen who asked where his God was, but he also told him about what God has done. He worshipped a God who did whatsoever He pleased. This is indeed a part of the nature of God. He needs no input from men or angels to declare the end from the beginning. He works His will, and none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest thou. The questioner had no notion of the nature of God. He could see the idols which he worshipped. He knew where his gods were: either on the shelf or in their temples. He could not comprehend a God who could not be represented by natural things. His gods were altogether such as himself with the same passions and limitations as himself. The self-existent creator and upholder of all things cannot be represented by things He created. He is above inanimate things, animal creatures and above us as well. He, being infinite, has no limitations as we do.

What does this have to do with the “author of sin?” Everything! How do the ones who make this statement view the nature of God? Evidently they think God is such a one as they are. They understand neither the nature of God nor the nature of sin. Let’s look at these two things and see if they can be put together to make God anything.

We will begin by asking, What is sin? Let us let Paul answer for us: Sin is the transgression of the law (Romans 4:15), and is whatsoever is not of faith (Romans 14:23). So what law is God under that He could violate and sin? Where is the lack of faithfulness in God that would become sin? God has placed mankind under law; He is not placed under law by any. Can He do anything contrary to His nature? Can He purpose anything that is not right? We are under law, both from God and the State. We transgress when we violate any of those laws we are under. Who, then, can place God under law? Let Him answer for Himself through the prophet, “Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God, I know not any,” Isaiah 44:8. He is under no law, therefore, He cannot be called a transgressor. Paul in Romans 3:3 writes of the “faith of God.” Is this faith less than perfect so that He could do something without faith? No, faithful is He that promises, and what He has promised that He will do. Can there be sin from a lack of faith in Him? God forbid!

Those who attempt to hold the “God is made the author of sin” concept will no doubt reply, “But you know that is not what we mean. Of course God cannot sin. But, if He predestinated all things then He is sin’s author even though He is not a practitioner of it.” Is it not wonderful to know how these people attempt to make God conform to their imperfect standards? Is lying a sin? Yet God sent a lying spirit to the mouths of Ahab’s prophets (1 Kings 22). Satan did not send that spirit; God did. Answer, if you can; was it sin for God to do such? When the sons of God presented themselves before God and Satan was among them, God asked him had he considered Job. Satan did not bring up the case of Job, God did. Was it sinful for God to do so? Was the Devil kicking and screaming no, no! as God dragged him to afflict Job? Why do we even ask such ludicrous questions? This is our opinion of the statement made by free-willers, “this makes God the author of sin!” We should not even give the question viability by attempting to answer. Those who think in the terms of that statement think that God is “altogether such an one as themselves (Psalm 50).” They have such a low view of the creator that He cannot do whatsoever He pleases because it “would involve Him in the creature’s transgression;” How ridiculous! Is there anything in His creation with which God has no involvement? God looked out over what He had made and pronounced it good and very good. This included in it fleas, chiggers, roaches, poison ivy, killer bees and a man with a propensity in his nature to sin.

Arminians (and some who call themselves Calvinists) charge that if God did not create Adam righteous and give him a free will to choose, God would be the author of sin. If God had not intended for Adam to fall, why would He have given him a law? Why would that law include something to entice the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life? Why would God tell Adam “in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die?” More importantly, why would Jesus Christ have “stood as a lamb slain from the foundation of the world”? Was it sin for God to create such a being? It pleased Him to do. It was right for He did it. It was all a part of that great ordained plan for which He created the universe.

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.” The same arguments used by free-willers against the doctrine of election are the ones used by would-be semi-predestinarians and half-baked Calvinists against absolute predestination: “it wouldn’t be fair.” “Why does he yet find fault? For who bath resisted his will? Nay but, oh man, who art thou that repliest against God?” This is the answer to all those who cavil at the truth. Why should we answer those who attempt to throw up such words in our faces as, “that would make God the author of sin”? Make your god what you can. Our God sitteth in the heavens, He hath done whatsoever He bath pleased. He does not ask for anyone’s approval, and if any express dissapproval He laughs at them and mocks them. Make an idol in your own image, you will-worshippers. Rail against the ruler of the universe. If the nations are as the small dust of the balances (not even worth wiping oft) then how insignificant are your rantings to Him who upholds all things by the word of His power? When these words are hurled against us by the enemies of truth, may we be blessed to say, “Make your god what you can. The God of Heaven and Earth does what He pleases and we can add nothing to Him nor take nothing from Him nor make Him anything.” Go to, weep and howl for the Dagon of free-will, in whatever disguise it may wear today, is again fallen before the ark. May God bless us to stand firm, for without His grace we will be unable to stand in the trying day.

Elder Robert N. Lackey
THE REMNANT
September-October, 1996
Volume 10, No. 5