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Answering The Atheist
November 11, 2001 / Volume 1, Issue 36

Does God tempt man or not? Genesis 22:1 reads, "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham." However, James 1:13 says, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man."

Is there a contradiction?

The questioner must consider the context of passages before attempting to establish a contradiction by setting one against the other. In James 1:13, it is apparent that the context deals with being tempted to sin (James 1:13-15). No man is tempted to sin by God, "...for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man..." (inferred >>>> with evil). This is the work of the tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5).

The text in Genesis 22 certainly says that the Lord tempted (KJV) Abraham. Other translations render this word prove (ASV), tested (NKJV), and tried (YLT). The Lord sought proof of Abraham's faith. He wanted to test the genuineness of Abraham's devotion to Him. However, the Lord does not tempt Abraham "with evil". If the questioner can produce a text where the Lord tempted someone with evil, then he has a contradiction.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible