Studying the New Testament without the blinders of Christian dogma on reveals that James – like that sadly ignorant writer of the gospel of Matthew – had no idea of the things he was saying. James says that God doesn’t tempt men to do evil. God doesn’t want to see us fall. He’s not going to do anything about it if we do fall, but he wants us to prosper, and he’s not going to tempt us to do “evil.”
The abovementioned Bible quote would be nothing but another pious passage, were it not for the fact that James is wrong and that his statement creates a contradiction with the Old Testament. God does for sure try (test, tempt, all good words) men.
Genesis has God tempting a man, his servant Abraham: “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” (Genesis 22:1)
You remember what happens with the story. God says “Go offer your son Isaac as a burnt offering to me.” Abraham is about to comply when God essentially jumps in and says: “Whoa, buddy! I’m just pulling your leg! If you kill the chosen seed I gave you, there won’t be a way to have all the seed I promised you, but thanks anyway for not thinking and just obeying me without question!”
Abraham was praised for being willing to obey God, but what if he hadn’t gone about to obey God? What if he had disobeyed God? Would that not have been a sin? Of course, it would have. But God was tempting Abraham. He was trying him with a test of faith, a test that could have been to his detriment.
God shouldn’t have needed to test his faith since God knows everything. He already knew when the last time his faithful servant went solo on himself in a tent in Ur of the Chaldees when the wife was on the rag, but God tests him anyway. If God wants to play the game, you’ve got to play it.
So had those Israelites who were commanded to exterminate non-Jews found en route to the promised land been conscientious objectors who refused to “save alive nothing that breatheth” (Deuteronomy 20:16) as commanded, they would have been violators of God’s law. You’ve got to do what God says, no matter what. Those who school girlishly boast “I have a foundation for my morality” should remember that.
A bartender who serves alcohol to a person who is intoxicated can face charges by the deceased’s family if the intoxicated individual leaves the establishment and gets in a car wreck and is killed. It’s called accountability, and it must apply to God too. What we read of God's character should show accountability problems—maybe not for Christians, but for all who think.
God may not want you to fall to sin, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that God causes men to fall, despite what James says. Read Deuteronomy...
“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)
When a false prophet comes and tries to deceive the faithful into idolatrous apostasy, it is to be considered the work of God in that God is testing you to see how loyal to him you are! The text says not to pity the idolater, but to kill him. He is an abomination. Have no part with him. Don’t be led astray by him, no matter how “tempting” he/God is. Get all the people together in ending his life. That is the word of Heaven.
Just think, an eloquent pagan who can do convincing magic tricks, some worshipper of snakes from a temple where the blood of babes is scribbled onto parchment, who uses smooth words to move Israelite households into rebellion against the followers of Moses might have been doing the will of God!
So much for “God doesn’t tempt you with evil.” It’s clearly not true. God will test your faithfulness using an evil false prophet, one so evil that God himself says they should die! How much more “tempting with evil” can God get? God wants you to be faithful, but if you fall prey to wickedness, God is still pure and you are still unjust and dirty. God bears no blame.
Like the words of today’s apologists, James’ words have no real meaning. If he had great knowledge of the Old Testament, he wouldn’t have said: “When you are tempted, God doesn’t do it. God doesn’t tempt with evil.” What he’s trying to say is, “Don’t blame God for your temptations. It’s always you who screws up and gives into them.” But it makes no sense to say that God doesn’t tempt with evil because James, even with prophetic endowment, could not know the limits of God’s involvement in testing every human being.
James’ words are on level with modern statements from evangelistic eggheads, like “God is sinless.” What does that even mean? If God creates all standards of righteousness, then to say that he could ever be sinful is, correspondingly, nonsense. “God had to come in the form of a perfect man to show us how it’s done.” is another clueless statement made by believers. God no more needs to become human than he does have a son. Only a stupid, pseudo-intellectualized, half-pagan, descendant of a lobster-hater would contend otherwise.