Since every action presupposes an inclination first, Adam, Eve, and the angels must have had a sinful attraction to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge after the serpent tempted them.
Inclinations are involuntary reactions your body has to a stimulus. For example, straight men will only choose to have sex with women if they experience sexual attraction to them. Without sexual attraction, they will not be motivated to do so.
Attraction is not a choice. So saying the often repeated “God gave Adam and Eve free-will” clearly doesn’t explain WHY they chose to use their free-will in the first place. They needed motivation first. They had to EXPERIENCE a temptation first to even consider the idea of sinning. It was not Adam or Eve’s fault they experienced temptation; it was God’s fault because he made them with sinful natures.
Now, God could have made Adam, Eve, and the angels morally perfect, so they would not have had the ability to willing sin (just as God can’t sin) and things would have just been fine. They still would have a free-will, though not in the contra-casual sense.
Why didn’t he do so? Because he wanted to entrap them so that they would sin so he could send them to hell (as Calvinists will argue). God would also be the EFFICIENT CAUSE, NOT THE FINAL CAUSE, of the SINFUL NATURES of his INNOCENT CREATION, though he did make them primarily with GOOD NATURES, since they did not sin until they were tempted. What are your thoughts?
It appears you deny libertarian freedom. If you believe that all our choices are determined by antecedent conditions (motivations, instincts, inclinations, etc), then it does seem to follow that our sinful choices are also determined by these conditions. At least with respect to Adam and Eve, it isn’t as though other humans could have brought about those antecedent conditions. One might argue that Satan tempted Adam and Eve, but this will likely just kick the can down the road (why did Satan first sin?). This leads to the conclusion that Adam and Eve (or Satan if one prefers) were caused to sin by God.
Let me supplement your argument with another one:
1) If sin exists, then God is morally perfect (as the standard of moral goodness by which sin is identified, he must necessarily be good).
2) Sin exists.
3) Therefore, God is morally perfect.
Now let’s insert this into your argument:
1) Libertarian freedom is not possible. (for the sake of our argument)
2) If libertarian freedom is not possible, then God is the author of sin.
3) Therefore, God is the author of sin. (From 1 and 2)
4) If God is morally perfect, then God is not the author of sin.
5) God is morally perfect.
6) Therefore, God is not the author of sin. (From 4 and 5)
7) Therefore, God both is and is not the author of sin, which is absurd. (From 3 and 6)
This argument is known as a “reductio ad absurdem” or “reduction to the absurd” argument. It is a way of showing that two premises cannot both be true because they lead to an absurd conclusion. In this case our argument shows that it is logically impossible to deny libertarian freedom and affirm sin. We should not, therefore, think that our free will choices are caused by some set of antecedent motivations that are baked in.
If you believe that sin exists, then it follows that our sinful choices are exercises of our libertarian freedom and not caused by God.
Chapter Director, Reasonable Faith
Master of Arts in Apologetics,
Luther Rice University and Seminary