Did God create sin? Where did sin come from?

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Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative | Inclination: dispensational | Seminary: none

The apostle Paul tells us that "sin entered the world" (Rom 5:12); however, if God is the Creator, did God create sin? The Bible does not explicitly say how sin was created or how it originated; we are only informed that it "entered the world." For this reason, this question has been at the center of debate for centuries.

Yet there is ample evidence that implies that God did not and could not create sin. Paul writes to the churches of Ephesus (Eph 4:20-32), Colossae (Col 3:1-10) and Corinth (1 Cor 15:45-49) and contrasts human beings to Jesus Christ; his explanation gives one a sense of what man was suppose to be when created in the "image of God" (Gen 1:24-31), and it portrays a holiness denoting spiritual, rational, emotional, and moral purity.

The idea of sin is antithetical to the very nature of God. Holiness is rooted in God's nature and character.

Other implicit biblical evidence describes sin as "lawlessness" (1 John 3:4), which is in contrast to God, who is righteous, perfect, and just (Deut 32:4). Furthermore, as the righteous and holy God, He established a standard for His people so that they could live in a righteousness manner acceptable as His own (Lev 11:45).

In another biblical example, sin is understood to be enticed and born of lust, which God is not tempted by (James 1:13-15).

Sin is a reflection of a moral condition; it is a violation of God's law. God cannot create what is a violation of His holy nature. Sin is the result of a conscious action that wittingly or unwittingly violates God's moral standard.

The apostle Paul's statement that "sin entered the world" (Rom 5:12) causes one to revisit the first sin committed by human beings recorded in the Bible: the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1-19). What does this event reveal and does it provide a better understanding of where and how sin originated?

The object of Satan's temptation is the food of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Other than its name, the Bible does not explain what the food of the tree is good for or why God restricted its consumption. God commands Adam, "you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Gen 2:16-17).

But before the food of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is consumed, Satan entices Eve.

1. Satan challenges what is true (Gen 3:1-4). God said that death occurs with consumption of the food from the tree; Satan states a contradiction that the consequence of God's prohibition is not true. What is the basis of truth?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die!" (Gen 3:1-4)

2. Satan challenges what is morally right (Gen 3:5). God's commands and prohibitions define what is right and wrong, and His prohibition of not eating of the food from the tree was morally right. However, Satan appeals to Eve to determine the moral standard; Satan encourages a personal moral standard defined by what is right and good for her.

"For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen 3:5-6)

3. Satan challenges one's self image (Gen 3:5-6). Adam and Eve were already created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-30), yet they were deceived into thinking that being like God meant "knowing good and evil" and being "wise." They sought to be God's peer; they forgot that they were God's crowning achievement, objects of His love and subordinate to Him.

In examining the original sin, the biblical record is clear that man was the source and origin of sin entering the life of human beings.

The sin in the Garden of Eden is notable for an understanding of the basis of our own personal sins:

What is your basis of truth?

Does it depend on how I feel?

Does it depend on my cultural experience?

Does it depend on scientific proofs and theories?

What is the basis for your moral standard?

Is it based on what is good and right for me?

What is the basis of your self image and esteem?

Is it based on the values of others and their approval of me?

Do I seek recognition, accolades and homage from others?

The temptation in the Garden of Eden would have failed if Adam and Eve had faith in God's word as the basis of truth, trusted God's moral standard, and were secure in their self image and esteem.


1. Grudem W, Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids: Zondervan (1994).

Return to Systematic Study: Hamartiology

The First Sin

Related subject:

Topical Index: Sin>Nature of Sin>Universal

Related verses:

Scripture Index: The Pentateuch>Genesis

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