Author Greg Koukl
Published on 09/25/2023
Christian Living

Is God at Fault for Our Sinful Desires?

Greg and Amy explain why our sinful desires are a result of our fallen nature rather than a part of the way God made us.


Question: Why does God make us with certain desires if he calls those desires sin?

Greg: The way I would put it is, the desires that God gives us are not sin. The desires can be used in an inappropriate way. So, let’s take sex. Sexual desire is a good thing. It promotes procreation. It promotes closeness and identification in relationships, and it’s a bonding factor. It is enjoyable. There are all kinds of good things from it. However, it’s so powerful that, if it’s used in a wrong context, it creates harm. So, it isn’t the sexual desire that is wrong. It is the abuse of the sexual desire. And I use that as a prominent example, but this is true about just about everything—that, taken to an extreme, these things that are naturally part of being a human being become problems, and they are taken to an extreme because we’re fallen.

I don’t know exactly what the questioner had in mind there. My suspicion is that they’re asking why God would give us a desire for sex or for what some people consider—or the Bible might teach—is illicit if it’s wrong. Why would God give us a desire if it’s wrong? Well, this presumes that God gave you the wrong desire. A lot of people say this kind of thing. Homosexuals will say, “Well, God made me this way, and God doesn’t make junk.” Why would you assume that God made you the way you are now? That, by the way, could be used to justify any kind of vice. “Well, God made me this way. God doesn’t make mistakes.” Well, the problem there is that God doesn’t make you that way. God gives us sexual desires, for example, to be used in a particular way. That’s good, but if it’s used in the wrong way, then it’s bad. God gave the desires; he didn’t give us the desire to use it in a wrong way. That comes from man’s fallenness.

Amy: I’m thinking here, too, of Romans 1 and the idea of God giving us over to our fallenness. So, even in that sense, God’s not giving us the desires; he’s removing his restraint from our fallenness.

Greg: Man exchanged the good thing for the bad thing, and God let them go.

Amy: So, the idea that we are fallen is central to understand this whole thing. I was also thinking about Jesus and his temptations in the wilderness, because the devil was tempting him to good things. Jesus was supposed to be the ruler of the world. As human beings, we eat. That’s a good thing. But he was tempting him to use it in a different way.