[correspondent:] To say that God intended and caused this sin to occur is to say that God is guilty of sin.
[James replies:] This is hogwash. God sent a lying spirit into the mouth of Ahab’s prophets. God planned for Ahab’s prophets to lie like a rug and sent one of His agents to bring it about (I Ki 22:22). God was responsible for the idea of the lie being put into the minds of Ahab’s prophets. Likewise, God was responsible for Job being tempted to curse God and die (Job 1:12). It was the Devil that was the proximate cause, but it is very clear from Job that the Devil could not do one thing without God’s permission. God also promises to send a lie to those people that love it. “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (II Thes 2:11). God certainly intended for men to sin and kill Jesus (Jn 12:27, Acts 2:23). God sent Jesus into the world for that very reason.
[correspondent:] Not only can’t God sin, but God cannot even tempt man to sin.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
[James responds:] The thing that God promises is that He will not be the agent that brings the temptation. He is always at least one step removed from that. However, God sometimes sends the agent that brings the temptation, and He ALWAYS is the one that permits the temptation to occur (I Cor 10:13). It was the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil for 40 days (Mk 1:12-13). God certainly intended and caused this temptation to occur. It is God that we are to petition to “lead us not into temptation” (Mt 6:13). Without the prayer, God sometimes does lead us into temptation, but God never sends men a temptation stronger than their will (I Cor 10:13).
To say that God did not intend for sin to occur makes God incompetent. He created a heaven and an earth where 1/3 of the angels in heaven rebelled, the first man and woman He created sinned, and the first child born to them killed his brother. The angels He assigned to watch people left their first estate (Jude 1:6) and cohabited with women to produce giant offspring (Gen 6:4). These angels that sinned wreaked such havoc on the earth that within 1500 years of its creation God was forced to destroy it. If you think that all occurred by accident and it was not God’s will, then God sure did a sorry job of creating this earth. If He did not intend for sin to occur and it did anyway, then we have zero assurance that He will be able to bring about what He promised. The only sensible explanation for sin is that God planned sin for a reason. The only reason sin could have been needed was to provide a solution for sin.
If God is the sovereign God, then nothing whatever can be done without His permission. He does not have to be the immediate agent of the action, but a God that can infallably foresee the future and that has all power in heaven and on earth can stop any action at any time by merely speaking the word. If, then, sin occurs at all, it is with His knowledge and consent. Any other possibility renders God less than all-powerful and all-knowing or renders Him a sadist.