Reformed Answers from Third Mill Ministries: 120 MPH Sin

Posted: March 3, 2010 in Uncategorized


Jeremiah 20:7  O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed.”  How can GOD deceive someone, what is the best explanation for this verse?


Dear Inquirer,

I understand your concern about the way the text is phrased – but in the Hebrew it could be phrased such as “LORD, thou hast persuaded me, and I was persuaded.” Either way Jeremiah had not foreseen the “trails” that his task would bring. However, even if we phrase it this way, we do not wish to lose the meaning of the text – God “uses” evil to accomplish His will at times!

Even if we translate this text as “O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived,” we do not have a problem. Though God is not the author of evil or sin, He does use it for His glory. When I was a homicide detective, I would allow suspects to sit together and talk. They would sit there and deceive one another – lie, lie, lie. I DID NOT literally put words in their mouth, but I did not stop their lies either. Then I would use their lies against them. I used them to accomplish my task – to get a confession.

God “ordained” (not authored – see below on Creator and Author) sins existence from the beginning:

1. God not only made it a possibility that Adam could sin
2. God knew Adam would sin
2. God ordained that Adam would sin
3. God planned for His Son to die BEFORE the foundation of the world to destroy the works of the Devil, and
4. God NEVER stopped the existence of sin from coming into existence.


One does not know the whiteness of white until it is put up against that which is black. Moreover, one could not know the “full” love of God unless God died for His elect – as no greater love than this except a man lay down His life for another – John 15:13. Therefore, God has a use for evil and it can and DOES glorify Him – though He is “not” its creator.

God has sin, evil, deception (and their means) incorporated into His ordained plan. At times:

1. God allows lying spirit – which he sends – to do their work. See Ahab’s experience in 1 Kings 22 (note the use of the term “persuade” – “Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.” Vss 21-23) (cf. 2 Thess 2:11-12, etc.).
2. Consider the story of Job – when God asked Satan – Have you considered my servant….? In this case, God used Satan to help Job mature. (Job 1:8)
3. Yet another time is in the death of Christ – which God ordained (1 Pet 1:18 ff), but which He persuaded (by events, people’s fallen natures, etc.) wicked men (who would be morally responsible) to carry it out (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).
4. God is the one that raised up Pharaoh – who kept Israel enslaved for years – just so He could later reveal His glory in destroying them – see Romans 9:15-22.

Creator and Author:

(Please note that all finite examples of the infinite are limited and so any illustration has only a limited value and are not meant to answer every question).

It is like owning a vehicle that can go 120 mph. Just because Honda makes such a vehicle DOES NOT mean that the driver has to break the speed limit with it. Honda has created the possibility to break the speed limit, but would not be the author of a traffic offense of a driver going 120 MPH – the driver would be. (PS: a vehicle is made to go faster than it should be driven so it can run more efficiently at lower speeds. If cars were built to only go at the speed limit, then the car would be running at maximum nearly all the time. It would wear out the car more quickly. There is a “legal” and “reasonable” use for the car to go faster – there is a legal and reasonable use for evil – though we do not always understand it ….).


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