[From "The Author of Sin"]
When Reformed Christians are questioned on whether God is the “author of sin,” they are too quick to say, “No, God is not the author of sin.” And then they twist and turn and writhe on the floor, trying to give man some power of “self-determination,” and some kind of freedom that in their minds would render man culpable, and yet still leave God with total sovereignty.
On the other hand, when someone alleges that my view of divine sovereignty makes God the author of sin, my reaction is “So what?” Those who oppose me stupidly chant, “But he makes God the author of sin, he makes God the author of sin.” However, a description does not amount to an argument or objection, and I have never come across a decent explanation as to what is wrong with God being the author of sin in any theological or philosophical work written by anybody from any perspective.
The truth is that, whether or not God is the author of sin, there is no biblical or rational problem with him being the author of sin. For it to be a problem, it must make some point of Christianity false, or contradict some passage of Scripture. But if God is the author of sin, how does it make Christianity false? One must construct an argument showing this by citing established premises that necessarily lead to the conclusion that Christianity would be false if God is the author of sin. What is this argument? And what passage of Scripture does it contradict? You can cite any passage you want, but you have to show that it necessarily applies to the question and makes it impossible for God to be the author of sin. Where is this passage of Scripture?
Among the many fallacious replies is the appeal to James 1:13. Using this verse to deny that God is the author of sin is one of the worst misapplications of Scripture, and because this error is very popular and influential, it has caused much damage and generated an unnecessary burden for those who would defend the faith.
Unless this happens, for God to be the author of sin does not make him a sinner or wrongdoer. The terms “author,” “sinner,” “wrongdoer,” and “tempter” are precise – at least precise enough to be distinguished from one another, and for God to be the “author” of sin says nothing about whether he is also a “sinner,” “wrongdoer,” or a “tempter.” And for one not to be a wrongdoer by definition means that he has not done wrong. Therefore, even if God is the author of sin, it does not automatically follow that there is anything wrong with it, or that he is a wrongdoer.
However, this is not to distance God from evil, for to “author” the sin implies far more control over the sinner and the sin than to merely tempt. Whereas the devil (or a person’s lust) may be the tempter, and the person might be the sinner, it is God who directly and completely controls both the tempter and the sinner, and the relationship between them. And although God is not himself the tempter, he deliberately and sovereignly sends evil spirits to tempt (1 Kings 22:19–23) and to torment (1 Samuel 16:14–23, 18:10, 19:9). But in all of this, God is righteous by definition.
The verse is telling you that when you deal with temptation, you must directly address your lust, and not just blame God and then do nothing, or remain in your sin. Read all of James 1 and see if this is not his obvious emphasis. He deals with joy, faith, perseverance, doubt, pride, lust, anger, moral filth, and being a doer of the Word. He is dealing with the Christian’s direct responsibilities in practical living, and he does this by relating it to the internal motives and characteristics of the person.
This is the Bible’s approach. It rebukes the objector and answers the objection at the same time. The answer does not deny that God is the direct cause of sin; instead, it boldly says that God has a right to make whatever he wants and do whatever he wants. Instead of stepping backward or sideways, it steps toward the objector and slaps him in the face.