Did God create us to sin?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture 

Question: If God knew I would sin, and He created me this way, isn't it only just and fair that He should die for me? Otherwise, he created me destined for Hell. Adam and Eve got the chance to choose. How can Adam represent me (Romans 5) if he got to be morally neutral, while God made me sinful at birth?

Answer: Thank you for visiting us at Mainsail Ministries — and thank you for submitting such a bold question. You are really asking about God’s motivations in certain areas… and that can be tricky when we are talking about a being who is only motivated by his own nature. But we have to begin someplace… so let’s begin by looking at your notion of fairness.

Here’s the thing: God is not fair. He is sovereign. God does what he wants, when he wants and to whom he wants — period! This is not to say that God is unfair, though. It’s just to say that his sovereignty trumps our notion of what is and is not fair. I find it interesting, though, that you coupled God’s fairness with his justice in particular… because part of God’s being equitable is that everyone is justly condemned to hell (John 3:18b).

Now, it is consistent with his nature to create volitional beings who must respond to behavioral contingencies (like those found in the Ten Commandments) and then treat them accordingly… and most reasonable people would see this as “fair.” But as your question implies, the deck got stacked against us when Adam sinned. This is why we should never look to fairness for our salvation. From God’s point of view, all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23), and his justice is his fairness. Fortunately, he saves us by his mercy… and fortunately again, his mercy trumps the logical result of his fairness.

“he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:10, NIV)

“he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5, NIV)

So, Jesus’ death was not a function of God’s fairness. It was a function of his mercy. We didn’t deserve his sacrifice at all… but we got it anyway… like the spoiled little children we are. Jesus, who is righteous, died for us who are unrighteous — and that wasn’t fair at all to the Savior… but he did it anyway.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18, NIV)

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8, NIV)

That being said, I do not agree with the idea that God made anyone for hell. In fact, I can’t understand why God made anything unless he created us to have fellowship with him as his main purpose. But God cannot have fellowship with robots... so even God is stuck here. If we have anything less than libertarian free will, then we are only meat-puppets who protest too much… running around telling each other that we have free will… even when our ideas about God’s sovereignty cannot logically coexist with such a notion.

So, here’s the thing: true volition comes at a price… and that price is the risk that some people will be lost for eternity (John 3:18b) even though God was proactive in saving them (John 3:16). The rejection of Jesus Christ is the only unpardonable sin… it is the only reason that a person goes to hell. Therefore, no one who ever lived was manufactured to go there.

“Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:28–29, NIV)

Furthermore, God did not cause us to sin. We chose to sin. Sure, we were created with the capacity to sin. But that is the price of being volitional creatures. This is not God creating us humans, and then — in sort of a dark moment — pulling the strings that cause us to sin. Instead, we are real little boys who, because we can truly choose, have the capacity to sin. It’s just a sad fact of life that every one of us cashes in on that capacity.

Since God created both us and Adam with the capacity to sin, we are no different than Adam except in circumstances. There was a time when Adam had not sinned… but that was circumstantial, not ontological. Other than that, we’re the same. Adam sinned because he chose to — not because God made him to… and we sin because we choose to — not because God makes us to.

But our omniscient God knew that we would sin — even before we did it — so, he planned for that. This is why he instituted redemption before he created Adam (1 Peter 1:20). This shows that we and Adam are moral equals.

Think about this: what use would redemption be in a world without sin? It would be of no use. Yet God had redemption up and working before the period of Adam’s innocence — before the moment he proved himself our equal by choosing to sin… an act that did not cause the rest of us to sin.

I pray that all this helped you.

(For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com. To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)