picture source: wikimedia (public domain).
Let’s suppose that the kneeling man, in the above picture, is an innocent victim put in front of a firing squad. Who is responsible for his death and suffering? Is it the firing squad or is it the sergeant who ordered the firing squad to shoot the innocent victim?
It should be obvious that the truly responsible for the murder is the sergeant. This is also connected to the reason why, often, a sergeant will only put one real bullet in all the rifles, leaving the other rifles with blanks (bullets that don’t harm), as a means by which none of the soldiers, except for the sergeant, knows who actually shot the victim. It is a clear sign of the sergeant of taking the blame and feeling of guilt off the soldiers and putting it on himself.
Another example is the following; sometimes a person rightfully says: “Adolf Hitler killed millions of Jews”. What such a person has in mind is that Adolf Hitler was responsible for the death of millions of Jews. What he doesn’t mean to say is that Hitler personally shot, gassed, starved to death,… millions of Jews.
I believe that both of the examples, which I gave above, are in full accordance with reason.
But when it comes to theology, many Christians will abandon our God-given reason for man-made doctrines. I will proceed by giving one example from the Calvinist side but I will also give other examples which are applicable to many other theology camps (see, for example, the if … then structure below).
The Westminster Confession of Faith says:
"God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established." - The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter III: Of God's Eternal Decree, 1.
If we have to follow the “logic” of the Westminster Confession of Faith, then we have to conclude that the sergeant is not responsible for “predestining” the death of his victim.
If we have to follow the “logic” of the Westminster Confession of Faith, then we have to conclude that Hitler is in no way responsible for the death of millions of Jews.
(If we have to follow the “logic” of the Westminster Confession of Faith, then we have to conclude that Charles Manson was right when he claimed that he was totally not responsible for his indirect murders, see here.)
If we have to follow the “logic” of the Westminster Confession of Faith, then we have to conclude that if God predestines us to sin, then He is not responsible for it.
Common God-given logic would claim differently. It would claim that the first-cause (the sergeant, Hitler, Manson, God,…) is responsible. Our God-given logic tells us that if God predestined us to sin, through a sin-nature which we received directly from God or through God’s punishment on Adam, or if we sin because He predestined a certain individual sin, then He is responsible for it. If God did not give the sin-nature to Adam but Adam, as the first-cause gave it to his offspring, then Adam is responsible for it. If I create my own sin-nature, and give it to myself, then I am responsible for it.
To put it in a simple conditional if … then structure:
If sin or a sin-nature has its first cause with God, then God is responsible for it.
If sin or a sin-nature has its first cause in Adam, then Adam is responsible for it.
If sin or a sin-nature has its first cause in me, then I am responsible for it.
I believe that I am the first-cause or origin of my sin and sinful nature and that, therefore, I am fully responsible for my sins / sinful nature.
Unless someone can convince me that the argument which I worked out above and the following Biblical arguments are not correct (Here, here, here, here, here & other biblical arguments on this website), when taking the full Biblical scope into account, I will persist* in believing that I am fully responsible for my sins / sinful nature and I will repent, taking full responsibility, should I sin.
I believe that we should not shift the blame on someone else, like Adam did to Eve (Genesis 3:12) and Eve did to the serpent (Genesis 3:13).
Many modern-day Christians shift the blame, or part of the blame, on Adam, the devil,… and consequently one cannot be sure whether they have truly repented of their sins at all!
Will you choose to believe the fact that the blame for your sins / sinful nature is fully yours? Will you choose to believe that you are fully responsible? Repent or Perish! The choice is yours, as it has always been! (See, for example, Ezekiel 18:21-24, 31-32.)
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." - 1 John 1:9-10 (KJV)
*Although certain Christians might call me a heretic for doing this. This might be because of their nagging consciences (since they persist in being unrepentant, READ: Acts 24:16, Hebrews 13:18, 1 Peter 3:16, Hebrews 10:22, 1 John 1:9,…) and lack of Biblical arguments (contrary to, for example, 1 peter 3:15).