Showing posts with label The Fall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Fall. Show all posts

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Total Depravity: Can’t We Come Up With A New Term?

I was talking with an ardent Calvinist about this article. He is firmly committed to “total depravity” as meaning that human beings are black, wicked and “dead” so far as God is concerned, devoid of any kind of goodness, light or value: utterly deplorable and despicable. I understand the misguided humility that drives him, but I don’t buy his argument, and I don’t like the term “total depravity”. I think it’s misleading. This is what I wrote to him:

The Meaning of “Death”

One of the things you said you believed, Sam, is that because the Bible calls us “dead in trespasses and sins”, that must mean that we are totally valueless, like a corpse, before God saves us; and that like a corpse, we are incapable of response before God regenerates us. As you said to me, “Dead means dead.”

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Total Depravity: Can’t We Come Up With A New Term?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Total Depravity: Can’t We Come Up With A New Term?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Testing, Testing …

What happened in the garden of Eden — and the resulting fall of mankind and the subjection of creation to the futility that we observe daily — has been the subject of near-endless discussion over the centuries. Much speculation is on record as to the motives of God in the test presented to Adam and Eve.

And that’s what it is: speculation. We may have all kinds of ideas why God did what he did, but in scripture we do not find the answer spelled out for us. Wise men are careful not to draw conclusions that go beyond the available evidence.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This Explains Why the People I Work With Are Frequently Nicer Than I Am …

The Sword takes up the subject of total depravity reasonably and biblically:
“… to suggest that there is no trace of anything good left in man at all is to contradict the Bible. The Bible teaches that we were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). That isn’t a reference to our physical appearance, but to a variety of spiritual, moral, emotional, and intellectual attributes. Whatever else it means, it means that we can think, reason, create, love, etc. If “total depravity” means that man is as depraved as possible in every way, then it would mean that the image of God has been utterly obliterated and that an unsaved man retains none of it. This is patently untrue. Unsaved men can think, reason, and create. Unsaved men can even love. Although diminished and corrupted, vestiges of the image of God remain. It is for this reason that the Holy Spirit can say through Peter that Christ “called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet 1:3).
Read the whole thing here, including disclaimer.

And especially “The disclaimer disclaimer”.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Inbox: How Can God Allow Evil?

A reader emails a thought on a post earlier this week:
“There’s more to be said on this subject: What would a situation look like in which human beings were fallen, but creation itself was not? Or what would a situation look like wherein evil type 1 (human evil) would be present but evil type 2 (i.e. ‘natural’ evils like earthquakes and cancer) were not possible?
Consider this:
A fallen humanity plus a protected creation means that while the knowledge of good and evil exists, only good can be actualized. It means a condition of ability-to-choose exists for humanity, but no ability-to-act-on-choice. Humanity can dream evil, but never put it into action; therefore, no actual freedom or choice is created, but humanity is constituted as inwardly wicked. Furthermore, since there would exist a permanent disconnect between inner nature and external action, it becomes questionable how a) sin could become recognized for what it is, and b) how salvation would be possible, since all we know about it suggests it is constituted by external events actualized within the world itself. Would humanity then be caught in a permanent condition of sin, with no remedy? Perhaps. But what is abundantly clear is that there would be no genuine ‘choice’ between good and evil, between God and sin, since no person could ever act upon such an inward impulse. 
If this is right, then a fallen humanity necessitates also a fallen creation — since humanity must have a place in which to actualize its choices and a stage upon which the drama of redemption can be set. And if having sin be recognized as sin, and if having a stage that is flawed in such ways as to allow for that all-important drama to take place entails a few instances of chaotic evil, a few earthquakes or cases of cancer, is that really surprising?”