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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Does God tempt man?

The author of the book of James said: that “God does not tempt man”. In addition, he states that God cannot be tempted by man. I don’t know where in the World James came up with that idea, since many places in the scriptures specifically point out not only several places where God has tempted man and man has tempted God causing God to respond to man that He was not only tempted, but gave His tempters what they wanted in response to their tempting Him. I quote what James said:

James 1:13 let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man:

Let’s look at a couple of verses that rebuke what James said. First in Genesis chapter 22 it states very clearly that God did tempt Abraham by instructing him to sacrifice his son Isaac just to see if Abraham would obey. Now don’t you think that the all knowing God who many people believe it omniscient would know what Abraham’s action would be and realize that this exercise would be futile and without any real merit?

Gen 22:1 and it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. (2)  And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, who you love, and go into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of.

Also wasn’t it a fact that God planted the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden for the sole purpose of putting temptation in front of Adam? Certainly He did what other reason would God have for planting a tree there and telling Adam to not eat the fruit of it? It was for one reason only and that was to test Adam to see if he would obey God’s command. Once again, don’t you think that the all knowing God would know in advance what the outcome would be? I contend that God would not have known, either because God does not know everything that man will do, or He chooses not to.

James goes on to say that man suffers from lust that causes him to respond to temptation. That’s right, as a human being man has an inherent nature to lust after a lot of things, but as a rule the lust or envy that man has is controlled by his own self control. One thing that attributes man to not be able to control his lust is when temptation is put before him in such a degree that he cannot resist. James stated his opinion in the following verse.

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Notice that James used the word “enticed”. To be enticed means to be tempted. If the enticement or temptation is not intentionally put before any person, the chances are that they will not be drawn away to act on their inherent lust. Temptation is not always the result of someone intentionally used to entice a person, sometimes it is just a result of circumstances, but as the scriptures clearly state, temptation is a tool of the devil for the most part, but is also used by God to test what a person will do.

Just to refute what James contends with some additional scripture, lets look at another example. The Bible tells us that after Jesus submitted to water baptism, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. What Spirit led Him into the wilderness? I’ll tell you, It was the Spirit of God. Now it’s clear that God did not do the tempting of Jesus, but He allowed it to happen. Anyone, including God that would be a party in the testing of a person becomes jointly responsible for the temptation to happen.

Matt 4:1 then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Another example of this is with the narrative concerning Job. God allowed the devil to test Job making both the devil and God being a party to Job’s temptation.

Let’s look at the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. It starts off with asking God to not “lead us into temptation”. This makes it clear that this possibility exists for God to make temptation of a person possible.

Matt 6:13 and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Part of the Lord’s prayer)

Why would Jesus teach the people to make a request of God to not lead them into temptation if God doesn’t tempt any man?

Now, as to James’ statement that God cannot be tempted by man.

Numbers 14:22 22  Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

Deut 6:16 you shall not tempt the LORD your God, as you tempted him in Massah. (Man did tempt God)

Jud 6:39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not your anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray you, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. ( Gideon tested God to prove Him)

Psa 78:18 and they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.

So enough about James’ claim that God does not tempt man and man does not tempt God. For me this puts James’ credibility at question about other things he has said.

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