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John Marbeck (ca. 1510-ca.1585): God is not the Author or Proper Cause of Sin

September 18, 2009

Marbeck:

1)

PERMISSION

Of God’s permission or suffering.

We must note, that when either the Scriptures or Fathers, do seem God to be the cause of sin, this word permission is not there so to be added, as though only he suffered men to sin, and by his providence or government, wrought nothing as concerning sins. Indeed, he lets  [prevents] them not, though he can, but uses them, and shows in them his might, and not only his patience, which thing Augustine understood right well; and disputed against Julianus, he confuted that sentence, where it is said, that God suffers sin only according to patience, and proves that his might is also thereunto to be added by the words of Paul, who wrote unto the Romans: “if God by much patience has suffered vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, to show forth his anger, and to make known his might.” And undoubtedly there are many things in Holy Scipture, which cannot always be dissolved by the word of permission or patience. “For the heart of the king is said to be in the hand of the Lord, so that he inclines it, whether soever it pleases him.’” And Job testifies that it was so done as God would. But as touching sin of the first man, when yet nature was not vitiated and corrupted we grant that the cause thereof came from the will of Adam and suggestion of the Devil, and we say that God permitted it, because he might have withstood and let [prevented] it, he would not do it, but decreed to use that sin, to declare his Justice and goodness.

Pet. Mar. upon Judg, fol. 167.

Iohn Marbeck, A Book of Notes and Common Places, collected and gathered out of the works of diuers singular Witers, and brought Alphabetically in order (Imprinted at London by Thomas East, 1581), 808. [Some spelling modernized; square bracket inserts mine.]

2)

How God ordain sin, and yet is not the Author of sin.

God is not
the author
of sin.

To ordain a thing and to be the proper cause, author, and worker of a thing is not all one, as by these following.

He that sets his wine abroad in the Sun to make vinegar, ordains it to be made vinegar, and yet he is not the proper cause of vinegar, but the nature of the wine and the hot Sun beams.

He that in Spain cuts down grapes in the Summer, and lays them in a Sunny place, ordains them to be made raisons, and yet he is not the proper cause of raisons, but the nature of the grapes, and the heat of the Sun.

Finally, to bring a plain rustic example, he that hangs up Swine’s flesh in a chimney ordains it to be made Bacon, and yet he us not the proper cause of Bacon, but the nature of the flesh and smoke. Wherefore since it is evident that it is not ever all one to ordain a thing and to be the proper cause and author of a thing, we may boldly say the Scripture bearing plain record, and St. Augustine and sundry other most excellent writers hold up their hands to the same, that God ordains sin, and yet is not the author of sin.

Traheron.

Cause
of sin.

The cause of sin is not to be laid unto God.

God compels no man to do evil, but every man willingly sins wherefore the cause of sin is not to be laid on him. For seeing he procreates not in us wicked desires, he ought not to bear the blame if wicked actions do spring out of a corrupt root of wicked affections:” yea, the goodness of God is rather to be acknowledged which is present, and so governs the wicked affections that they cannot burst forth nor be hurtful nor troublesome to any, but when he has appointed to chasten some, and so call them back to repentance, or to punish them.

Pet. Mart. upon Judg.fol. 167.

Iohn Marbeck, A Book of Notes and Common Places, collected and gathered out of the works of diuers singular Witers, and brought Alphabetically in order (Imprinted at London by Thomas East, 1581), 1025. [Some spelling modernized; marginal side-headers included.]

3)

How sin is not of God’s creation in man.

Whereas sin is in man’s nature, it is not of God’s putting in by creation, but by reason that Satan did spread his naughtiness farther abroad at such times as man was beguiled by his willingness, to disappoint to benefit of God, &c.

Cal. upon Job, fol. 16.

How sin entered the world.

As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by the means of sin, &c. ¶ Sin is here taken for the natural inclination or readiness to sin, which some do call (right-well) the original corruption of man, which though it be hid in man’s heart, and declares not itself unto the manifest works of wickedness, yet it is able to condemn all men, only they being excepted whom faith in Jesus Christ does save. This original corruption does manifest itself first by wicked and unclean thoughts: Second by consenting unto the concupiscence  or thoughts: Thirdly, by committing the deed in fact.

Sir. I. Cheeke

But sin is not imputed so long as there is no law. ¶ Though man imputes not sin where there is no law, yet it follows not, that God which from the beginning has written in men’s hearts the law of nature, does impute no sin. For since that death (which is the punishment of sin) did not reign over all men even from Adam, it is evident that sin was imputed.

Sir. I. Cheeke

Iohn Marbeck, A Book of Notes and Common Places, collected and gathered out of the works of diuers singular Witers, and brought Alphabetically in order (Imprinted at London by Thomas East, 1581), 1026. [Some spelling modernized; repeated side-header not included.]

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