Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Human Ability vs. Total Depravity Rom. 8:6-8 teaches that the man who is spiritually minded has the ability to please God, which is knwn as spiritual good. Rom. 8:9 explains that spiritual goodness is only obtainable through the indwelling of the Spirit, via salvation. Rom. 5:12 speaks plainly; Adam sinned, and on that introductory note, sin entered the world. For man, that entailed inheriting a sin nature from conception. Even though we may be able to do good deeds on earth, we cannot say that because of that ability to do good deeds we have no sin nature. Without a sin nature at conception, it would be possible to live a life without sin; it would also be possible to go to heaven without being saved because of that absence of sin, rendering Christ's death as unnecessary. John 3:16 & Rom. 3:23 show that all of mankind has sin, and that all who are not saved will perish – go to hell. As all who are not saved do go to Hell, that leaves no room for the notion that we are born without a sin nature. We see, then, that we can only get Total depravity out of the equation, Total Depravity being explained in that when man fell in the Garden, he lost that state of original righteousness which he had enjoyed, including also the ability to do spiritual good from conception, which had been made natural to him by God from the beginning. We can therefore conclude that while man is as bad off as he could be, in that he has completely fallen away from God and into sin, he isn't as bad as he could be, in that each individual is not a full-fledged opponent of all that is good, nor is a perpetrator of all that is evil.

10 comments:

Christy said...

Hi Gents. I'll play the "you know you's" advocate. You said, "As all who are not saved do go to Hell, that leaves no room for the notion that we are born without a sin nature." So all babies who die go to hell?

Tony Ramsek

P.S. Why aren't you and Stephen Bradrick friends anymore? :-)

whoever said...

Tony -
1.Humans have a sin nature at conception - otherwise, there is no need for Christ.
2.Humans that die without Christ go to hell.
3.Babies are humans.
4.Therefore, babies that die without Christ go to hell.

Anonymous said...

Infants might be born with a sinful nature, but does that mean they have sinned? An infant does not understand right from wrong at conception even if they are born with a sin nature. Therefore, "babies" have not willfully done wrong and violated God's commandments, even though they are born with the sin nature.

On another note, I don't agree with your last sentence. I think without Christ we truly are a perpetrator of "all that is evil" because as you said we have sinned and fallen away from God. God makes no distinctions beyond that point. Only through Christ can we have salvation and do "spiritual good". So I don't think its accurate to state that man is pretty bad, but not all bad. We're all bad without Christ.

Stephenb said...

Anonymous - We are indeed "all bad without Christ", and that statement was made in the essay, where it says we are as bad off as can be. The statement that we are not as bad as we could be is saying that we don't sin every time we get the opportunity to do so.

I would like to ask what is the significance of having a sin nature? Do you believe that it simply means that because of the sin nature we only have the ability to sin?

Stephenb said...

And another thing, if babies die and go to heaven, we have just created another alternative, besides Christ, to get to heaven. This contradicts Jn. 14:6, which says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the father but by me."

Anonymous said...

A sin nature means that we are born in sin and that we do not have the strength without Christ to lead a perfect life that can "earn" a place in heaven.

However, this is still all based on the premise that it is "sin", not just a sinful nature generally that seperates us from God.

I'm not going to presume to know how God looks at an infant who dies before he or she knows right from wrong, but it seems to me that it would not be inconsistent with Jn. 14 for them to be spared from hell, as Christ is referring to the fact that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and therefore there is no way to the father except through Christ. I really don't see this applying to infants as they do not know right from wrong, and therefore, cannot have willfully disobeyed God, "sinned". I think you make an interesting point, but as the article itself mentions, without a sin nature it would be possible to lead a life without sin. I believe if an infant dies before he/she knows what right or wrong he/she has died free from sin.

Fun conversation, Stephen. Thanks.

Stephenb said...

As "the aricle" intimates, a life without sin is a life that has no need for Christ or his saving work on the cross.

If an infant can die without christ and go to heaven, what about a two-year-old that has not yet come to sin? It could go to heaven! Or three? How about 5, 6, 16, 67? They could all, providing that they have not sinned, go to heaven, right? I believe my point is across.

What about "...no one comes to the father but by me"? That is rendered obsolete!

Anonymous said...

Um, no one can make it to 67 without sinning, or 2 or 5 or 6 or 16. Like you said, if we could, we wouldn't need Christ. but all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Your point isn't across at all. My general argument is: You have to sin to go to hell. I don't think infants know right from wrong, therefore they're not living in sin. It's pretty simple.

Obviously, we all need Christ to be saved. Because we all have sinned.

I'm not going to presume to know how God handles this situation, but infants create a different scenario do they not? I'm not talking about 2 year olds that willfully do/think wrong and sin.

The idea of salvation is that we all have the law of God written on our hearts. We know what is right, but do wrong; we sin. This seperates us from God. God is pure and righteous and cannot tolerate sin so he needs to send his sinless Son to die for us as payment for our sin.

Scripture says that we either accept this gift by acccepting Christ as our personal savior, or we reject him and go to hell for our sins.

Infants have no concept of right and wrong, it doesn't make any sense for them to repent of their sins because they have nothing to repent of! They haven't sinned. Again, not going to presume I know exactly how God handles this, but its different than a sinner who dies without Christ isn't it?

the other StephenB said...

Your statement (You have to sin to go to hell.) is half true. Yes we have to have sin to go to hell, but we are born, that is, conceived in sin, since the fall of Adam. To say, "I don't think that..." is not a good enough answer, you must know.

So to answer the Question, (Do infants go to hell) lets step back and look at God's free grace.

God has pardoned the sin of those He has chosen, called to Himself. Rom 5:12 So if God has called that infant, he has pardoned his sin, redeamed his soul, and set him free from his sin, the sin of Adam.

Anonymous said...

I'm simply pointing out that an infant dieing is a different situation than an unsaved sinner dieing, when we're analyzing issues of sin and salvation. And I think its something to talk about, and not just run over it without thinking it through.

The whole "...'I don't think that...' isn't a good enough answer" stuff is nonsense. I described the point I was making and the basis for it. I'm not vetting every syllabol I type here, but if you actually read what I wrote I wasn't simply through out flighty opinions.

Its kind of boring to make the argument that "God will do whatever he wants because he's God and can save anyone he wants." I obviously agree with you, but its fun and helpful to discuss this stuff.

In closing, may I go on the record as saying I'm glad I didn't die when I was an infant.