This is split off from the http://sharperiron.org/filings/1-6-12/21320]John Piper: Salvation Not 'A Decision' Filing thread in order to more fully discuss the origin of evil and the will of man.
Of some things we can be sure. Others remain a mystery. The things certain do not make the things mysterious less mysterious. We have certain revelation of the essence, being, and character of God. Some of these things we know with certainty. Any view that compromises God's revealed essence, being, character, is a view that deserves criticism and condemnation. God, in His wisdom has provided us with some of the answers. Some answers remain obscure and in the dark. We are better off taking the humble route in such cases and admitting that we simply cannot say for sure how or why some things are the way they are. God is the ultimate cause of all things. God is not the author of sin. These are answers God has clearly revealed in Scripture. Shall we impugn either of them because 1) we don't like what they imply or 2) we can't harmonize them as completely as our sinful intellect desires?
1. I am glad you agree that we must put God's revelation above our own thoughts. God has indeed revealed himself to be absolutely holy who cannot sin or even tempt with sin.
If we stop right there, then we can answer my original question: God is not the first cause in Adam's sin.
2. "God is the ultimate cause of all things. God is not the author of sin." While you agree they are answers clearly revealed, why the hesitation regarding answering the question? It is because such a view does not conform well to reformedspeak, which has to see God as the first cause in all things or he isn't really sovereign. Further, if there is one area he isn't sovereign in, then he isn't sovereign at all. Systems based in logic do not appreciate thinking outside the box or questioning those super smart WCF authors. Your own answer is doubletalk. God cannot be the ultimate cause of all things and not also be the cause of sin.
When I ask you why Adam sinned, you could simply answer: because God is the ultimate cause of all things.
When I ask you why Adam sinned, you simply say: it is all a mystery.
There is no mystery to God's character Ed. All you have succeeded in doing is reemphasizing the doublespeak of compatibilism. Your allegiance is to a system.
God has also revealed Himself to be absolutely SOVEREIGN! Therefore, God is the ultimate cause of all that happens, though not the immediate cause. Secondly, there is no hesitation on my part to answer your question. Perhaps you should consult the meaning of ultimate cause and sovereignty. Soveregnty and Ultimate Cause are interchangable. You are arguing that an event can exist that ultimately God did not bring about! Scripture knows nothing of this god. In your attempt to preserve human freedom, you have compromised the divine!
God predetermind that Judas would betray Christ. (ultimate cause)
Satan entered Judas, leading him to betray Christ. (intermediate)
Judas betrayed Christ. (subordinate)
Who was the ulimate cause of Judas' betrayal of Christ? God, Satan, or Judas?
Ever heard of a se? "God is independent, all sufficient in himself, and the only source of all existence and life. [Bavinck] God depends on nothing. You are implying that God depends on the cooperation of libertarian freedom in creatures in order to accomplish His purpose. A frustrated deity is no deity. In your efforts to protect God from your own false conclusion that Calvinism impugns Him, you end up robbing Him of His sovereignty. You employ a strategy for this error by repainting the aseity of God as the mere product of human logic rather than the result of revelation. Your view appears to introduce passive potency into God's knowledge. This makes God less than independent. As one theologian put it, God is either determining or determined; there is no alternative. W.L. Craig admits that this thinking compromises God's pure actuality, but thinks nothing of it. Since all the divine perfections are included in aseity, if it be compromised or downgraded, it necessarily takes God with it. How much of God's absoluteness can we give up before He stops being God? My answer is NONE! How far can man move from the divine revelation of God's absoluteness before His god is clearly NOT the God of revelation?
If you wish to continue this discussion, it probably deserves its own thread.