Saturday, July 3, 2010

G. H. Clark Claims God Creates Sin

This one is Isaiah 45:7: “I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” This is a verse that many people do not know is in the Bible. Its sentiment shocks them. They think that God could not have created evil. But this is precisely what the Bible says, and it has a direct bearing on the doctrine of predestination.

Some people who do not wish to extend God’s power over evil things, and particularly over moral evils, try to say that the word evil here means such natural evils as earthquakes and storms. The Scofield Bible notes that the Hebrew word here, ra, is never translated sin. This is true. The editors of the Bible must have looked at every instance of ra in the Old Testament and must have seen that it is never translated sin in the King James Version. But what the note does not say is that it is often translated wickedness, as in Genesis 6:5, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth.” In fact, ra is translated wickedness at least fifty times in the Old Testament; and it refers to a variety of ugly sins. The Bible therefore explicitly teaches that God creates sin.
(Gordon Clark. Predestination. The Trinity Foundation. 1987. p. 18)

Clark's method here is simply to establish that 'sin' is within the range of possible meanings for 'ra' and then assume, without further analysis, that ra must be understood as sin. Here's the full context of the passage:

Isaiah 45: 1Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. 4For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. 5I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

I am using the KJV because substantially every modern translation including the NKJV translates ra as calamity, not evil.

Isaiah prophecies about the Assyrian's conquest of the Babylonians and delivery of Israel out of Babylonian captivity. It was given at lest 200 years before Cyrus's birth, yet Cyrus is mentioned by name. This prophecy is the primary evidence God brings forth in a sequence of 'trial speeches', where God shows He is God and foreign gods are nothing. In verse 7, evil is in contrast to peace and so refers to the conquest and overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus.

In chapter 47, evil is a punishment God is bringing against the Babylonians in the form of the Assyrian conquest and this punishment may well be the sense in 45:7 as well.

47:10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said , None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. 11 Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off : and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.

"War" and "punishment via war" are contextually superior than "sin" as an interpretations of ra. Yet for some reason Clark rashly runs headlong into saying "God creates sin".


Jnorm888 said...
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Jnorm888 said...

You are right about Clark. I know a number of Clarkian Calvinists that advocate god as being the author of sin.

These same calvinists I know are also supralapsarians and hard determinists.

I get scolded by other calvinists when I call them hyper-calvinists. Instead they want me to call them "high-calvinists"

But yes you are right about Gordan Clark!

Jay Adams is another, but he doesn't seem to go as far as Clark.....but he is extremely close. Read his book "The grand demonstration". I read that thing 10 years ago and threw it against the wall somewhere.

Alot of calvinists online keep saying that we create a strawman argument by saying that their view can lead to blaming god as being the author of sin.

But as you can see, it's not a strawman. It's real!

The early Christians saw such a view as unthinkable heresy!

Lord Have Mercy!

The Seeking Disciple said...

John Frame, in his book NO OTHER GOD, also comes close to admitting that God creates sin. While Frame, like most good Calvinists, deny that God sins he does say that God not only allows sin but ordains it as well.

Wow is all I can say.

Godismyjudge said...

Hi Jnorm,

Yep, I was supprized when Clark came right out and said it. I think it has something to do with his being a philosopher. It's harder for him to avoid the logical conclusions of his beliefs. Other Calvinists, who are not as philisophically oriented, don't bother thinking through the consequences of there views.

God be with you,

Godismyjudge said...

Thanks Roy, I will have to check out Frame's book.

God be with you,

Jnorm888 said...

It looks like RC Sproul jr might be another one:

Taking Calvinism Too Far: R.C. Sproul Jr.’s Evil-Creating Deity

So G. Clark, J. Adams, and R.C. Jr seem like the ones advocating this idea.

A.M. Mallett said...

Vincent Cheung as well ...