The below article is my attempt to systematically address this question as well as the obvious problems/implications which arise in that process in a way that recognizes God’s word as absolutely authoritative, and seeks to harmonize Scriptural truths with reason. However this article does not address issues pertaining to Satan or another subject that does not directly pertain to the thesis of this article.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death (James 1:13-15)
God cannot sin nor can He tempt anyone to sin. This necessarily precludes the existence and origin of sin from having in any way been derived, directly from God. The triplicate mention of “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Is. 6:3) affirms it to be the preeminent attribute of God. If God had in some way caused sin, He would compromise the definitive attribute that characterizes His nature. In essence, He would become, not God.
Could Satan have “created” sin?
Can a created being create anything? Not according to Scripture. The Bible teaches that the triune God alone creates ex-nihilo (from nothing) (e.g. Gen. 1). Created beings are seen reordering the raw materials created by God, but never creating them themselves. So if we credit Satan with the “creation” of evil we have a solution which removes God as being in any way the source of evil. However, now we have endowed a creation of God with God like abilities, thus in this sense, making a god of the Devil (which was precisely Satan’s purpose). There is no other transcendent reality who’s origin we do not ascribe to God. Love, beauty, good, logic, all come from God. You can’t touch evil like you can’t touch knowledge. Evil is transcendent and immaterial, but it still “is”. It exists. And if its existence did not come from God, how then can its existence be accounted for absent a creative act of God? Accepting that God alone has the power to create, and that God did not create evil, how can we reconcile evil originating with a non-God source?
Thus, since evil is not an act of special creation either on the part of God or Satan, is there a way in which we can account for evil as a possible “reordering” of something that was already in existence. Yes, I believe so. Scripture describes Satan as a creative, intelligent, being (Gen. 3:1). Sin is a distortion of logic. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge” (Prov. 1:7) (“knowledge”, i.e. logic/wisdom). Prior to the rebellion of Satan, knowledge consisted of one stream, sourced in and flowing from the mind of God. At this point in creation, there was no disharmony between the Creator and His creation. All creation willingly participated with God as extensions of His will. Satan’s rebellion created nothing, instead Satan’s carnal knowledge became like a broken, perverse, tributary, radically divergent from his Creator. Knowledge of sin was not necessary for its origination, merely knowledge of order. Scripture speaks of an angelic hierarchy at the apex of which is God. In Scripture, “angel” simply means messenger (Rev. 17:1). The term Archangel (Jude 1:9) denotes a higher ranking angel, and the Apostle John speaks of a “strong angel” (Rev. 18:21) whose power provokes John to accidentally mistake him for God and worship him (Rev. 19:10). This designation of “strong angel” clearly demonstrates the existence of less powerful angels, thus the distinction. For Satan’s rebellion the necessary preconditions were met by the existence of a divinely ordered structure. Order necessarily requires the possibility of non-order. A logical observation of the heavenly hierarchy of which Satan was a part acted as the catalyst for the conclusion “he is greater than him… I am greater than them… God is greater than me, therefore I may become greater than God”.
Imagine a pristine, palace. In its original state, it is perfect, perfect lines and proportions-- an absolute masterpiece, a testament to the perfect genius of its architect. Then it’s ransacked and demolished. The one who destroyed it gathers together the remnant of the formerly perfect structure, but now the bricks, the tile, the beams, are all chipped and broken. He then rebuilds a vague semblance of the original with those broken pieces. He has rebuilt a structure, but in order to do so, he had to reuse the existing materials. Furthermore the resulting product is a grotesque perversion of the original, standing but broken, no longer beautiful, reminiscent of the original design, but only in that it has a type of order, and no longer capable of fulfilling the purpose of the original.
Sin is a dysfunctional derivative of logic. It is a type of logical mutation akin to that of genetic mutation. The consequences of genetic mutation are always negative. Mutation does produce something different, but it does not, has not, nor can it, “create” something. In mutation the existing genetic information has simply been corrupted thus the resulting malady (such as Siamese twins). Mutation does not add to the genome. It is the loss and de-organization of what is already present.
God’s “knowledge” is perfect and therefore only true. Satan’s rejection of God’s “knowledge”, his “broken, perverse, tributary”, gave birth to the anti-logic, evil. Satan became the “father of lies” (John 8:44). When the Devil discarded God’s perfect wisdom, he made himself an eternal prisoner of the perversion he created. He cannot regain what he has lost and he is perpetually deceiving those who remain his “sons” (John 8:44). In Job the Devil still demonstrates an ignorance of the sovereignty of God as well as God’s ability to sustain His children. “Have you not made a hedge about him (Job)… You have blessed the work of his hands… But put forth your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse you to your face.” As though an all knowing God would enter into an arrangement that would legitimately risk Him suffering loss in any way. Job’s fidelity to God was never in jeopardy. The fact that there is still an effort to subvert the plans of God demonstrates the futility of Satan’s reasoning. The greatest example of this is the cross of Christ. The devil knows God’s word better than any of us (Matt.4). He knows the Old Testament prophesies concerning a Messiah (e.g., Is. 53) and yet he is seen in the gospels indwelling Judas (John 13:27) and inadvertently drawing Christ’s “heal” upon his own “head” (Gen. 3:15). The first lie Satan told was to himself was that he may be above God, in doing so he forever forfeited truth. Satan cannot be credited with the “creation” of sin. He can be credited with the first sin but, he has become as much a prisoner of his own device as the whole unbelieving world is.