Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 8:20 PM

TULIP (5) - Total Depravity (2)

So this came up in the comment thread over on jefe's post. From my understanding (and he is free to correct me if I'm wrong), jefe was disagreeing with the last statement of my definition:
Man is, by nature after the fall, sinful. Not only have they committed sins, but the sinfulness (depravity) is total, extending to every single part of their being. This is not to mean that they are all mass murders, but simply that they cannot, without the grace of God, will anything that is good or pleasing to God. Even those works that look “good” to us, are not done in faith and thus are not pleasing to God. There is nothing good in man after the fall.
Namely, that "there is nothing good in man after the fall" wasn't proven by Romans 8:7-8.

That was my bad. I was not precise enough in my definitions. I understood the last sentence to be a summary of all the rest. Not being able to will good was equivalent to there being nothing good in man for me. But what jefe was disagreeing with was the idea of everything about man is "not good." On that point, I'm willing to agree.

If we're referring to "man" as a whole, then it is true that there is much good in man. He is made in the very image of God, and thus should not be killed without (explicit) divine warrant (Genesis 9:5-6). Man is God's special creation, formed and put together by God (Psalm 139). There is much there that is set apart from the rest of ... well, everything. No animals have the image of God.

Yet, at the same time, I still do stand by my language because all those things, which are good gifts from God, are perverted by sinful man. Instead of using our creativity for worship and the glory of God, we turn around and build towers of Babel, seeking the praise of man and finding our fulfillment in our accomplishments rather than Christ. Instead of acknowledging the gift of life, meant to lead us to repentance, we store up wrath for ourselves with our rebellion. Thus what originally was good, is turned for evil. Leaving nothing untouched, untainted, uncorrupted by our sinful wills. Nothing is good.

The point I was arguing was that all of man, prior to God's electing and saving grace (and I need to define those terms eventually, during the (I) part), are flesh.

Paul writes in Romans 7, verse 18 -
18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.
And my argument about total depravity, simply stated, is that man (in his unregenerate state) is wholly flesh. I argue that Romans 7 speaks of Paul as he stands as a Christian. I also argue that Romans 8 (and the rest of Scripture) sets up a dichotomy between those of the flesh and those of the spirit. And for those who are in the flesh, they have no spirit (of God). Nothing good dwells in them, that is, their flesh... which is all of who they are.


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