The Doctrine of Man-Man
was created in God’s own image, innocent, morally free and responsible to
choose between good and evil. Through
the disobedience of our first parents, spiritual death was passed on to their
posterity. Man is thereby by nature
totally depraved, and apart from an initiative of grace from God, he has no
desire to seek God, nor does he have the power to restore himself to God’s
Created In God’s Own Image
God made man,
not a man. When he made
Adam it was the human race which he created.
Gen. 1:27, 27; 9:6; James 3:9.
this image meant we cannot tell. But as far as we know, the Bible tells us that
part of this image was moral uprightness, Eccl. 7:29; Eph 4:24.
sin of the first man changed his whole moral nature, from a holy to a sinful
state; which changed condition, being hereditary, has entered into all his
descendants. Rom. 5:12;
1 Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:3, 5; Job 15:14.
This occurs in a way that everyone is still responsible for their own
sin. Deut. 24 :16; 2 Kings 14:6;
Prov. 11:19; Ezek. 18:4, 20; Jer.
31:30; Rom. 1:20; John 3:19, 20.
fall man became a sinner. By
this fall man’s spirit became dead. Death simply means separation. Eph. 2:1.
This is what is commonly called total depravity, or, the carnal
depravity implies that man is born with a nature that has a bent towards sin.
But man also has a free will to make moral choices and thereby still
responsible for his own actions.
have made Adam incapable of sin, but God desires to have fellowship with willing
individuals that love Him. Otherwise, we would be nothing more than puppets,
and God himself would have to be the cause and originator of all sin and evil.
Freedom of Man
Proofs– 1. Consciousness:
“I know that I am free, and that’s the end of it.” - Dr. Samuel Johnson
Such freedom is involved in the feeling of moral obligation, and
the sense of guilt for our misdeeds.
“ If man be punished in the future state, God must be the
“ If God be the punisher, the punishment must be just.”
“ If the punishment must be just, the punished might have done
otherwise. “ (freedom)
otherwise. “ (freedom)
“If the punished might have done otherwise, they are free
“Therefore, if men are to be punished in the future world, they
must be free in this.”
must be free in this.”
The Scriptures everywhere assume that men are free to
obey God’s law and to comply with the conditions of salvation.
Matt. 23:37; John 7:17.
If men’s moral acts are the effects of causes arranged by God, then God
is either the author of sin, or, His own acts being the effects of some
necessitating cause, such as the strongest motive, or the constitution of His
nature, the universe is under the iron claw of Fate, and sin is an illusion and
5. If man is saved by fate, and not faith, then our worship is nothing more than preprogrammed action. It is not genuine, willful adoration, but the actions of God pulling the strings on puppets that cannot do anything other than that which they were predetermined to do from all eternity. It would be in a sense, the self worship of God.
If man is totally
depraved, then how can he be free? As
we have already established, freedom in man is essential to the holiness of God.
But the other side of the coin is also equally true.
We were all damaged through the fall of Adam, and in our own freedom, we
all sinned with him. Rom. 5:12.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Rom. 6:23.
his own choice. He can mourn
his nature but not blame it.
If man is totally depraved
then how can he be free? What
needs to be asked in what sense the word totally
is to be understood. If
we are to say that man is totally ruined the day he comes into the world, then
we would be going against what the Scriptures say in 2 Tim. 3:13.
“ But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse.”
So if they were born absolutely as depraved as they could be, then it
would be impossible for them to “wax worse.”
In Rom. 1: 21-28, God gives us an example of those who chose
to get worse and worse in spite of God’s prevenient grace.
The result of their rebellion was that God Himself withdrew his
restraining influence and moral protection from them.
A good way to explain total depravity is to use the model of the color green. Every person (figuratively speaking) is born totally green. Now in different sections of their body they are a very light green, and in other parts they are a medium green. There may even be sections of dark green. This depravity is a disease that corrupts and destroys. It is not our blame, it is our misfortune.
We can feed this disease and become darker and darker, that
is, worse and worse.
What we are unable to do though, is will ourselves into being lighter and
lighter, or even white. Only the
Great Physician has the power to heal us of our spiritual sickness. Unless we
reject God’s prevenient grace in our lives, he enables us to be free enough in
our moral being to still choose good over evil.
Though man has this freedom, none have ever chosen the right way every
time. The fact of this is that all have
Man’s predicament is that his sins are a barrier and
offense to a Holy God. This
separation is our fault, God’s nature and man’s nature are at odds with
other. Jesus has made a provision
for our past sins and a provision for the cleansing of our old nature
(green-ness) through the new birth (regeneration) and sanctification. This work
of Christ is the means by which our natures can once again come into line with
the nature of God. Not of man’s will, but the work of God.
It is a grace conferred upon children and those that accept the grace that God
It is a grace conferred upon children and those that accept the grace that God offers them.
The BIBLICAL THEOLOGY GLOSSARY OF THEOLOGICAL TERMS
Daniel Steele, D.D.
The Establishing Grace