7 Did God Cause the Fall of Man?

Having laid a proper foundation, let us consider a series of quotations from influential Calvinists. It will soon become apparent that Calvinist doctrine leads to only one conclusion—God is the author of sin:

“The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.”[1]

~John Calvin

“I freely acknowledge my doctrine to be this: that Adam fell, not only by the permission of God, but by His very secret, the counsil and decree …”[2]

~John Calvin

“God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.”[3]

~John Calvin

“I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree.”[4]

~John Calvin

“Even the fall of Adam, and through him the fall of the race, was not by chance or accident, but was so ordained in the secret counsels of God.”[5]

~Loraine Boettner

“Not only did His omniscient eye see Adam eating of the forbidden fruit, but He decreed beforehand that he should do so.”[6]

~Arthur W. Pink

“Surely, if God had not willed the fall, He could, and no doubt would, have prevented it; but He did not prevent it: ergo, He willed it. And if He willed it, He certainly decreed it.”[7]

~Jerome Zanchius

“God’s decree of election and reprobation rendered it necessary that he infold man in sin and disobedience for the sake of the justice and utter mercy of the decree.”[8]

~Richard Muller

“[God] might have hindered the fall, but he would not. The reason was because he had decreed their fall, as we may gather from God’s creating the tree of good and evil before their creation.”[9]

~Dr. Jonathan Edwards

“God made Adam and Eve to this very purpose, that they might be tempted and lead into sin. And by the force of this decree it could not be otherwise but that they must sin.”[10]

~John Piscator

“The fall of man was both necessary and wonderful …”[11]

~Theodore Beza

 

These statements should infuriate any Christian because they place the blame for the fall of mankind at the feet of God. According to these quotations, Adam did not fall because he chose to disobey God. Adam did not fall because he exercised his free will. Adam fell because God decided that it would be good for him to sin and fall, and somehow we are supposed to believe that this is not only a necessary and good thing but, as Theodore Beza says, a “wonderful” thing.

 

Instead of rejoicing, James Arminius is repulsed by this doctrine. He believes that this doctrine of predestination is:

repugnant to the nature of God,

repugnant to the justice of God,

repugnant to the goodness of God,

contrary to the nature of man,

diametrically opposed to the act of creation,

at open hostility with the nature of eternal life,

opposed to the nature of eternal death,

inconsistent with the nature and properties of sin,

repugnant to the nature of divine grace,

injurious to the glory of God,

highly dishonorable to Jesus Christ our Saviour,

hurtful to the salvation of men, and

in open hostility to the ministry of the Gospel.[12]

 

If we accept the idea that God predetermined it to be a good thing that mankind should sin, and if God arranged for the fall of Adam and Eve, how can we say that God is not the author of sin? According to John Calvin, God not only arranged the fall of mankind, but it gave Him pleasure to do so![13] This is blasphemy.

 

This doctrine completely re-writes the Bible. Not only does it establish God as the author of sin, it excuses mankind of all blame and responsibility. Jesse Morrell is not a Calvinist, and he adheres to doctrines which are clearly unbiblical, such as Open Theism.  Nevertheless, he succinctly makes this point, saying:

If Adam sinned because God forced him to, then Adam is not really a sinner at all because what he did was not his own free will choice. You see, Adam would actually be a victim of God’s divine bullying, or a victim of God’s divine marionette show, but he wouldn’t be a sinner deserving of punishment. He would be deserving of pity. He wouldn’t be a sinner deserving of condemnation; he would be a sinner deserving of compassion. But if God causes all the sins of all men, then really God is the only sinner in all of the universe. That’s because God is the one that causes all of the sins in all of the universe. And we would not be responsible or accountable for our actions at all. God, and God alone, would have moral character because God is the only one who causes moral choices to occur.[14]

 

According to Calvinism, Adam’s sin was in accordance with God’s eternal decree and Divine will. This can be clearly seen in John Calvin’s declaration, “I, at the same time, witness as my solemn confession that whatever happened to, or befel, Adam was so ordained of God.”[15] How then can it be honestly said that mankind is rebelling against God? Would it not be more accurate to say that Adam was submitting to the will of God when he sinned? Jesse Morrell explains:

To deny that mankind has genuinely revolted and rebelled against the divine will is actually to deny the fall of man because if sin is God’s plan, then man has not rebelled against His plan. And thus, they’re not rebels. If sinners have not disobeyed God’s will, but are actually sinning in accordance with His will, then sinners are obedient servants of His will. Sinners are simply puppets in the hands of the Divine.[16]

 

It may sound spiritual to say that nothing happens apart from God having foreordained it, but this doctrine is terribly wrong. The Calvinist believes it to be spiritual to say that God has foreordained all things and is in control of all things. He believes that he is more spiritual in believing that God, in His sovereign will, has predetermined all things to happen according to His will. He is convinced that believing this gives one a grander picture of God and allows one to more fully understand His glory. However, if he is correct in his belief that God causes all things to happen, then he must accept the logical conclusion that God is the author of sin. This would mean that mankind is not rebelling against God. Instead, man is submitting himself to God’s will only to be punished for it in the end.

 


  1. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, Ch. 23, Sect. 8.
  2. Calvin, On the Secret Providence of God, 267.
  3. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, Ch. 23, Sect. 7.
  4. Ibid, Book II, Ch. 23, Sect. 7.
  5. Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 234.
  6. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, 147.
  7. Zanchius, The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination, 88.
  8. Muller, Christ and the Decree, 81.
  9. Jonathan Edwards, On the Decrees, Book I, Ch. 111, 102, Source: Benson, The Revival and Rejection of an Old Traditional Heresy, 46.
  10. Foster, Objections to Calvinism As It Is, 266.
  11. Beza, The Christian Faith, Source: Morrell, Is God the Author of Sin?.
  12. James Arminius, The Works of James Arminius, Vol. I, 623, 624, 625, 626, 628, 629, 630, 631, Source: Vance, The Other Side of Calvinism, 284.
  13. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, Ch. 23, Sect. 7.
  14. Morrell, Is God the Author of Sin?
  15. Calvin, Calvin’s Calvinism, 93.
  16. Morrell, Is God the Author of Sin?

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Did God Cause the Fall of Man? Copyright © 2011 by Timothy Zebell. All Rights Reserved.

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