At first, this seems a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, we know that God is the sovereign creator of all things (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 44:24) – surely this must include sin? Yet, on the other hand, everything that God created was “good” (Genesis 1:31), and sin is something God hates (James 1:13). So, God could not have created sin. Does this mean, then, that Satan created sin? But if Satan created sin, then sin would be beyond God’s power and control, which the Bible also denies (Proverbs 16:4). How, then, do we solve this conundrum?
The reason we’re confused is because the question itself is incorrect. “Sin” is not a “created” thing, like “stars” or “animals”; rather, “sin” is a wicked perversion of good things that God has made. For example, the sin of adultery is a twisting of the good created gift of marriage; the sin of pride is a corruption of a healthy self-esteem; and the sin of revenge seems tantalisingly close to a righteous zeal for justice. Sin is parasitic on the good desires that God created us to enjoy and fulfill. This is why our hearts can be seduced into sinning against God (Ephesians 4:22; James 1:14) – sin is tempting. Yet, because sin is not the way that God designed creation to work, sin, in the end, will never satisfy us (Jeremiah 2:13), but will only corrupt us (Genesis 6:11), and leave us ever craving for more (Ephesians 4:19).
Sinfulness of sin
The Bible calls this the very sinfulness of sin: taking a good thing God created and commandeering it so that, instead of bringing us life, it puts us to death (Romans 7:13). This is why sin is so evil: sin hijacks what belongs to God and turns it against Him. We see this in Satan’s strategy in the Garden of Eden: Satan slandered God’s character so that Adam and Eve would not trust God (Genesis 3:1-5), but instead disobey God and misuse His good creation (Genesis 3:6). Then, from Adam onward, sin and death spread to all humanity (Romans 5:12). We all have sinful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23), and if we’re honest, we’ll admit that our lives show that we each deserve the divine death penalty (Genesis 2:17; Mark 9:43-47; Romans 1:32).
The perfect solution
Yet, thanks be to God: “when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6)! The cross of Christ is the perfect solution to our need. It shows us that we, not God, are responsible for our sins – otherwise, Jesus would not have needed to die on our behalf (1 Peter 2:24). It also shows us that God hates sin and must punish it – otherwise, Jesus would not have needed to face God’s wrath (Mark 15:34). Finally, the cross also shows us that, while God is not responsible for our sin, yet in some mysterious way, God still remains in sovereign control over sin, having planned, from eternity past (Revelation 13:8), and having predicted in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53:4-6), that through the wicked work of Satan (Luke 22:3), Judas (Matthew 26:24-5) and his accomplices (Acts 4:27-28), God would bring salvation to the world through the death of His only Son (Revelation 5:9-10).
As Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11).