Does God tempt us?

The New Testament confirms that no one should say “when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (James 1:13). Hmmm… doesn’t that contradict the fact that God tempted Abraham, and Job? 

Well, the Bible teaches that all pain and death resulted from man’s willful disobedience to God. God warned Adam of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2: 16,17).

God also told Adam that the consequence of his disobedience was not only death but also a corrupted sinful nature which resulted in pain. (Genesis 3:17-19). 

Ok, but even if that is true, hasn’t God tempted Job beyond measure and caused him physical and psychological pain? 

Well, not really! It was Satan that tempted Job, yet Satan first needed the permission from God. (Job 2:3-6). In the case of Job, God taught him to be humble, and eventually rewarded him with double of everything he had (Job 42:12), and with seeing God Himself through the suffering (Job 42:5)

How about Abraham… isn’t it clear that God tempted Abraham? 

Not really, God’s request to Abraham to sacrifice his son is not temptation by evil. There was no painful outcome to this temptation whether Abraham obeyed God or not. Had Abraham not obeyed God, his son Isaac would have continued to live, and had he obeyed, which he did, God redeemed Isaac and “no harm had befell the boy” (Genesis 22:12)

In conclusion, temptation and pain are the result of the fallen nature that man freely brought upon himself. God does not tempt us with evil, yet He allows our temptation by Satan for a good purpose.

Coptic Apologetics