omeone somewhere recently must have broadcast one of my messages where I mentioned the problem of evil and the sovereignty of God. Because I have been besieged lately by e-mails, Facebook messages, and Tweets from a handful of gung-ho Calvinists (currently veering at breakneck speed into hyper-Calvinism) who want to take issue with something I said. What I said is that God is neither the author, the agent, nor the efficient cause of evil. Evil is not something He created; rather, when He finished creating, He pronounced everything good. Nor does evil in any way emanate from Him, because He is light in whom there is no darkness. The responsibility (as well as the blame) for evil belongs to fallen creatures, not the Creator.
Anyway, these young men (who have recently discovered the doctrines of grace and are evidently still in the cage stage) have been writing me to dispute that point. "There is no 'problem of evil,'" a typical correspondent wrote. "What's the problem? God, who is the Creator of all things and who uses all things in the outworking of His eternal plan, Created evil for His own purpose. That poses no problem because God is above His own law and outside of it. Because He is subject to no law Himself, whatever He does is good, period. He can do anything, and when He does it, it becomes good."
"Can God lie?" I asked?
"Of course," my correspondent replied, flatly contradicting Titus 1:2.
The view that fellow was espousing is the ex lex theodicythe notion that God can actively and directly cause evil, and that He can violate the moral standards of His own law because he is outside the law (Latin: ex lex) and therefore subject to no law and no set of principles whatsoever.
Let's stipulate that God is subject to no law and is Himself the ultimate Lawgiver, responsible to no one but Himself. (That is, after all, what we mean when we affirm that God is absolutely sovereign.) Nevertheless, it is blasphemous folly to conclude that God can lie, or deny the truth, or otherwise be the agent and efficient cause of evil. He cannot (and will not) do those things because they are contrary to His character. The law forbids such things precisely because the moral standard of the law reflects His character. God may not be subject to the law, but He will not deny Himself or act in a way contrary to His character.
Here's an excerpt from something I wrote and posted on this subject at my original blog several years ago: