From the beginning of creation, man has had an incredible knack of shifting blame away from himself and placing it somewhere else.
Starting with Adam in Genesis, we learn how Adam blamed Eve for his disobedience, and how Eve blamed the serpent for her disobedience — both setting a pattern of behavior that’s rampant throughout scripture and still continues today.
And because people are notorious for coming up with excuses for their own bad behavior, some have even gone so far as to blame God for their sin. Their reasoning goes something like this: “If God is in control of everything and things are going to happen his way regardless of what I do, why should I, or anyone else for that matter, be held responsible for anything that happens?”
In other words, if God is in control, then ultimately it’s he who is responsible for all evil and all sin. That’s an incredible shift of blame.
But that line of reasoning is flawed because it contradicts who God is. Scripture teaches that God cannot be tempted by evil, that God does not tempt anyone, that God cannot sin, and that God does not tolerate wrongdoing (James 1:13; Hebrews 6:18; Habakkuk 1:13).
Scripture also teaches that God is good and everything God created is good (Genesis 1:31; 1 Timothy 4:4). But what about the devil? How can God’s creation of the devil be good? Since God created the devil, and the devil is evil, doesn’t that mean God is ultimately responsible for evil through his creation of the devil?
Not at all. It’s important to keep two things in mind: (1) God did not make the devil; he made a good angel named Lucifer who later became the devil by his own free choice to sin and (2) God gave the good and wonderful gift of freedom to all his creatures — the freedom to choose or reject what God designed for us.
In other words, it’s the gift of freedom that makes evil possible.
Adam and Eve had the freedom of choosing between good and evil (Genesis 2:16), and instead of choosing to obey God, they instead chose to disobey. While it’s true that God is the giver of freedom, it’s equally true that we’re the ones responsible for what we do with that freedom.
The mystery of God having complete control over the world while at the same time giving people the freedom of choice is just that — a mystery. And just because we don’t understand the relationship between the two, that shouldn’t diminish the fact that both exist and work together.
So who do we blame for our disobedience? Do we blame God because he gave us freedom of choice? Do we blame the devil because his temptations are so alluring? Or like Adam and Eve, do we pass the blame on to someone else?
Maybe it’s time we place the blame where it belongs — on ourselves.
Donna Hughey is an award-winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.