Romans 1:30

Romans 1:28-32  (see also 1st Corinthians 14:33)
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

So God is “not the author of confusion” (1st Corinthians 13:44, KJV), while wicked men are the “inventors of evil things” (Romans 1:30, KJV), which gives the bible reader the impression that God is holy and innocent of blame, while fallen men are guilty of the evil in the world. However, one point needs to be made about evil, since while “evil things” in one context may imply moral wrong-doing, sometimes “evil” can mean judgment and calamity, which conversely is from God, as He has both the authority and moral justification for judgment. (Isaiah 45:7) The context is key.

​Question: Who does the Bible credit with the invention of sin and evil? 

(a) Fallen man.
(b) God. 
(c) Both.
(d) Neither.

Answer: According to Romans 1:30, the answer is (a).

​Question: Is God a co-author of evil, via a “sovereign decree”?

Answer: Calvinists often speak of primary and secondary causes, though which has no weight, when evaluated in the context of David and Uriah. (2nd Samuel 11:1-27)

John Calvin: “He has plenty of reasons for comfort as he realises that the devil and all the ungodly are reined in by God, so that they cannot conceive, plan or carry out any crime, unless God allows it, indeed commands it. They are not only in bondage to him, but are forced to serve him. It is the Lord’s prerogative to enable the enemy’s rage and to control it at will, and it is in his power to decide how far and how long it may last, so that wicked men cannot break free and do exactly what they want....” (The Institutes of Christian Religion, Book I, Ch.17, Sect. 10, emphasis mine) 

John Calvin: “First, the eternal predestination of God, by which before the fall of Adam He decrees what should take place concerning the whole human race and every individual, was fixed and determined.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.121, emphasis mine) 

In other words, God invented the evil act of blasphemy against Him and the rejection of His Son “before the fall,” having immutably decreed it for the unconditionally damned, which then raises the question of how exactly fallen man could be the “inventors” of what God had already decreed?

For a Calvinist, this is a tough issue because on the one hand, they are trying to balance their beliefs on the character of God, together with their beliefs on the sovereignty of God, so that while they may wish to attribute wickedness to fallen man, they are also inclined to attribute it to God as well, due to “sovereignty” philosophical pre-commitments. One way that Calvinists achieve their reconciliation of these two matters is by trying to unearth a “silver lining” to sin, so to speak, so that while despite the horrid nature of sin, if it generates glory for God, then it must be “in some sense” good, and that takes Calvinists to a really dark place. 

​By the time the Apostle Paul refers to “inventors of evil,” he has never suggested, or even hinted, that God foreordained the people in Romans 1:18-32 to be depraved or reprobate.

Three times in Romans 1, Paul mentions that “God gave them over” to: v.24 the lust of their hearts to impurity; v.26 to degrading passions; and finally in v.28, to a depraved mind.

The preceding verses in context explain why God gave them over, eventually to a depraved mind. No paradox, mystery, or secret. The message is clear. God gave them over “because” ...