Dr. Roger Olson points out in his blog where John Piper is once again making statements about God ordaining all that comes to pass including sin for His glory. This is not the first time nor the last time I am sure that Piper will make statements about God’s absolute sovereignty and sin. Piper believes that all sin is ordained by God and rendered certain no matter how vile the sin may be. How he escapes making God the author of sin is beyond me. Such a view, where God is the omnicause of all things in the universe makes God the author (and finisher I might add) of sin. Yet James 1:13-15 tells us that God is not tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone to do evil. I remember reading Piper’s book, Spectacular Sins, in which he builds a case that James 1:13-15 is not saying that God does not ordain sin. I shook my head while reading his book. To make God the author of rape, murder, cancer, untold amounts of suffering, hurricanes, violence of all kinds makes me shake my head in wonder.
Olson points out that some Calvinists hold that this understanding of God is mysterious. The famous (or infamous) verse for this is usually Deuteronomy 29:29. When Calvinists are backed up in a corner about God’s character especially as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 10:38), they usually will point to Deuteronomy 29:29 and the fact that we don’t understand all of God’s way nor His being. Calvin did this. Many other Calvinist theologians have done the same. A few have wandered down the road of making God the author of sin including Jonathan Edwards whom Piper adores.
If God is the essence of true love (1 John 4:8) then it would follow that if we put God in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 we get a wonderful picture of our God. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV) says:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Is that the God who renders all things certain including sin for His glory? Would it not make more sense to believe that while God is sovereign, He has allowed permissible freedom to His creation and this view does not undermine His holiness, His character, His salvation, nor His right to do as He pleases for His glory such as the second coming of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:11).
The Lord Jesus revealed to us fully God (John 14:9). Colossians 1:15 (NIV) says that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Jesus fully revealed God and showed His love and His grace with His death on the cross and His resurrection (Romans 5:8-9). It was both the holiness of God and the love of God that sent Jesus to the cross for our sins (John 3:16). We can rejoice in the good character of God and His love for us. He desires our repentance (2 Peter 3:9) and not our damnation (Romans 11:32).