Love Takes Responsibility
(Principle number 2)
In love, God created the whole universe. Ultimately, He is responsible for everything that exists. It was all created for a good purpose, all done consistently with God’s attribute of love. God is also all-powerful (omnipotent) and so He can do anything (consistent with His character). He can also prevent anything; prevent anyone from doing something He does not like. But the preventing, just like the doing, would also be consistent with His character. And so, He would not prevent someone from doing something if that would require Him acting contrary to the principles of love.
Consider parents relating to the actions of their children. While love requires allowing others freedom, it can also mean taking the blame or at least a degree of responsibility for the actions of others in certain circumstances.
One child hits another over the head with some object hard enough to draw blood. The parent of the offending child says to the other parent “I’m sorry.” Why would he say that? The parent didn’t do it. We take responsibility for our children’s actions and feel responsible. It seems that, in many cases, God also takes responsibility for the things His children do.
Since God can do anything, evil (or any bad event) only happens when He does not act to prevent it. But to interfere would be to not allow free will and allowing free will is a principle that God honors very highly.
God often says He did something that other scripture clearly attributes to someone else. Why does God speak in this way? To confuse us? No. Perhaps to show us that, ultimately, He is sovereign in all situations. He only “did it” in the sense that He did not prevent it when He could have. Human free will is often a factor determining whether or not He involves Himself directly in a situation.
Failing to resolve this issue leaves us with contradictions in scripture that are otherwise impossible to resolve. For example, you have to choose one or the other of:
1. God killed King Saul (1 Chron 10:14) or
2. King Saul killed himself (1 Chron 10:4)
You would then need to accept that the other is untrue or explain how this could work. And there are many similar cases. Are they blatant contradictions (that is how they read on the surface) or is there perhaps a principle underlying the wording of scripture that we are not understanding? If there is something like a principle (such as God assumes responsibility for events He did not prevent) then it should appear often in scripture. You can see from many examples that, indeed, it does.
The Bible also uses this way of assigning responsibility for an action on someone who was not directly responsible for other individuals than just God. For example, the prophet Nathan held David responsible for the death of Uriah when David never even touched the sword that killed Uriah:
“Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.” (2 Sam 12:9)
Recognizing this principle helps to explain a number of difficult problems in scripture as seen many examples.
November 4, 2018 @ 6:15 pm
Thanks for the great study that has gone into these pages. Would I be right in thinking that this may be why we never see Eve blamed for the first sin, but always Adam? Is it that Adam has responsibility over Eve and he is to blame for the first sin? This has bugged me for a while.
November 4, 2018 @ 7:18 pm
Good question Benjamin and it could be the case but, honestly, I don’t know for sure. I would suggest this though – that the command to not eat of the tree was given to Adam (Gen 2:16-17) before Eve was even created (verse 18). Having been given that command, Adam had responsibility to guard Eve from that transgression.
March 5, 2023 @ 10:36 pm
This is simple and profound. One of the best I’ve read on the subject.