Did God Create Sin?
The Paradox of Sin
There are logical difficulties in the notion of sin. We are told that sin consists in disobedience to God's commands, but we are also told that God is omnipotent. If he is, nothing contrary to His will can occur; therefore when the sinner disobeys His commands, He must have intended this to happen. - Bertrand Russell
We want to hold ourselves and others responsible, but we recognize that our intuitions often support the judgment that a particular individual has "diminished responsibility" because of his or her infirmities, or because of particularly dire circumstances during upbringing or at the time of action. We also find it plausible to judge that nonhuman animals, infants, and those who are severely handicapped mentally are not responsible at all. But since we are all more or less imperfect, will there be anyone left to be responsible after we have excused all those with good excuses? -Daniel Dennett
Although Plato, Confucius, and many other philosophers wrote about ethical living long before any monotheistic God came to Earth, people seem to still believe that the source of morality on Earth only arrived about 2000 years ago. Before this time, a person acted virtuously because virtue was in itself a positive end. Since monotheism has taken over, virtuous acts are performed to please the deity with the ulterior motive of Heaven. Religion has adulterated true virtue by offering supernatural causation as explanation of positive acts. What really bothers me about religion is the way in which the religious claim credit for their god anytime something positive is done, while denying responsibility anytime something negative happens. A plane crashes, hundreds of people die, one person lives, and what happens? People say, "what a miracle! Thank God, there's a survivor." Nevermind, all the death, those people must not have prayed hard enough, lets instead celebrate the mercy of God.
The presence of sin in the world raises many interesting questions with regard to the nature of God. Does it make sense to say that violence and misery are the products of human nature, if in fact, God is responsible for creating human nature in the first place? Is evil under the control of God or does it reside within its own sphere of influence? Judging sin is a very difficult thing to do. Some people thing that a girl who has been raped has committed a crime. Some people think condoms are worse than AIDS. Some people think Adam and Eve, and all of us by extension, are to be blamed for being created faulty. The fundamental question to consider when thinking about sin, is whether or not God is omnipotent. By definition, if God is omnipotent then God is in control of all things, at all times, under all circumstances, no exceptions, ever.This would mean that all things from the material universe, to the reaches of our own imagination, were caused by God.
Benedict De Spinoza, one of the Seventeenth Century's greatest philosophers, was of this opinion. Spinoza reasoned that all things have a cause and all things have attributes; everything came from something that likewise came from something earlier, etc. However, since something cannot be created out of nothing, there has to be a first cause. Something which is the cause of cause; something which exists purely because existence is apart of its own essence with no external stimuli. Spinoza called this God. He reasoned that God must possess infinite attributes because anything which exists in the universe must have a cause which ultimately reduces back to God. Thomas Aquinas likewise believed God to be omnipotent, although he reasoned the explanation of sin to be quite different. Aquinas actually argued that sin's existence was explained by God's ability to create something good out of something bad. God tolerates evil and sin because he retains the power to create positives out of anything,
The most popular defense of God, in terms of misery and sin, is the free will argument. The free will argument goes like this, God controls all things, but has granted humanity the ability to control its own destiny. So when a person commits a crime its no one's fault but their own. This explanation is highly problematic, because in a universe governed by an omnipotent ruler, all things are the product of the Deity's will. It doesn't make sense to say nuclear war is the fault of human nature, given the fact that God chose to make certain rocks radioactive. Free will is likewise a non-factor in the deaths of millions of people around the world who fall to illnesses and diseases. Omnipotence means germs, viruses, diseases, and cancers are all part of the plan, and possibly the punishment.
On the other hand, it is possible that God is not omnipotent, and that evil posses some sphere of influence over the natural world, This view point would certainly make the Book of Revelation make more sense, given its prediction that God will defeat Satan, but then Have to release him after 1,000 years. In a certain sense, I think this is what people want to believe. It's simply too confusing to try and rationalize why an omnipotent and merciful God does nothing to protect its own creations. The easier explanation, is to say that all things which are good belong to the realm of God, and all things that are bad are the faults of humans or demons, etc. Thoughts? Leave a comment.