I feel as though I should have a direct, straightforward answer to this question, but I often come up a bit short. There is little doubt in my mind that God works everything together for good. However, the circumstances in the Garden led to an entirely predictable, inevitable result, one in which God knew full well that Adam and Eve would fall victim to the serpent.
I've chosen Gen. 3:1-7 here, because this is the first we read of God allowing — indeed, foreordaining — the sin that would inevitably occur. For reasons that we may never fully appreciate, God chose to hasten the Fall of Man in the Garden by placing the Tree directly in the middle of it. And Satan, as the serpent, wasted no time entering the Garden to tempt Eve to disobey God. As previously stated, this was preordained to occur since nothing can surprise an a Being with absolute power and omniscience.
It is simply a fact that the circumstances were certain to play out as they did. Human beings would then be cast from the Garden where they have a lifetime to demonstrate their obedience to God and Christ — or their obedience to Satan's influence: the world.
1. The first part of my question, therefore, is this:
If I put a bowl of poisonous candy in front of children (the Tree in the middle of the Garden) and tell them not to eat of it, and I then allow a malignant, superhuman tempter to convince those same children that it is OK to eat, do I not bear grave responsibility for the outcome?
2. What court of law anywhere would find me innocent of the deaths of those children? Does the fact that the fruit of the Tree didn't immediately kill Adam and Eve offer extenuating circumstances?
One answer to this problem is the story of Joseph, Jacob's son, speaking about the evil his brothers committed against him (resulting in his Egyptian bondage):
Genesis 50:20: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive" (emphasis added).
Most of us understand that God allows events to unfold for the sake of certain greater, ultimate purposes. One contributor (@CMK) has pointed out, using other O/T examples, that God is the One to have caused Israel to practice idolatry (among other sins) for which He condemned them, demanding that they repent of all such transgressions.
We further understand that God uses Satan to accomplish many of His purposes: Satan is given a great deal of latitude. Suppose we consider the horrific suffering of Job — "the greatest of all the men of the east". While God did not personally rain down the terrible misfortunes of that great patriarch, He definitely allowed, and even endorsed, such calamities. The remainder of the question, then, seems to be this:
3. How is God unaccountable for crimes He has not personally committed by using an instrument like Satan to accomplish such deeds? In many serious crimes, we do not blame the weapons used to commit them (Satan, in this case); rather we blame the assailant responsible (God?). How might we respond to such questions?