The Origin of Sin -- By: William K. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 130:517 (Jan 1973)
Article: The Origin of Sin
Author: William K. Harrison

The Origin of Sin

William K. Harrison

[William K. Harrison, Lieutenant General of the United States Army (Retired), Chairman of the Board of Incorporate Members of Dallas Theological Seminary, Springfield, Pennsylvania.]

The Responsibility for Sin

Before the creation of the universe only God existed, the eternal Triune God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The whole creation and all that has transpired or will do so was foreordained by God. This is true even of sin and its terrible consequences (Isa 40:12–15; 46:9–11; Rev 4:11; 2 Tim 1:9; Acts 4:26–28; Jude 4; Matt 25:41). God is infinitely holy and hates sin (Isa 6:1–5; Prov 6:16; 8:13). He can neither be tempted to sin nor tempt anyone else to sin (James 1:13). Sin must therefore have begun through some cause other than God. Although the entrance of sin into the “good” creation (Gen 1:31) was necessarily pursuant to God’s intent it must have been so as an expression of His permissive and passive will rather than by His active causation. An illustration of the difference between the active and passive wills of God is seen in the experience of Sodom. For a long time God put up with the vile immorality of its inhabitants, but finally His patience ended and He destroyed the city and its people (Gen 18:2019:29). Therefore it must be concluded that sin was actively caused by something in the personal nature of the creatures who sinned. In the wisdom and power of God, sins furthered God’s purposes (Ps 76:10) .

The Direct Cause of Sin

Adam was created in the image and likeness of God and was to seek God (Gen 1:26, 27; Acts 17:26, 27). Among other characteristics he was an intelligent moral being, conscious of God his Creator and Sovereign. He was fully aware of his own inferior and subject status. He was God’s servant, charged with specified duties

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