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Evolution and Creation. Where did we come from? How did we get here? What is life all about?

Were humans created depraved?

Postby Ivy R » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:10 pm

Do you believe that humans are created depraved? Why or why not?
Ivy R
 

Re: Were humans created depraved?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:10 pm

There is no indication of depravity in the creation account of Genesis 1-2. The sin of rebellion and disobedience shows up first in Genesis 3, which shows that depravity was not the creational intent, but an aberration caused by free will and intentional rebellion. So depravity was a choice and a consequence brought about by human decision and action, not by creation.

But it might also help to know what you mean by depravity. In one sense it could mean we are totally wicked, evil, and messed up. In theological circles it generally means that sin has infected every part of us, not that we're necessarily evil people.
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Re: Were humans created depraved?

Postby Ivy R » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:39 pm

Thank you for the reply. I by depravity, I mean the idea that we are all born totally depraved, and that only through understanding that depravity can we understand God's glory.

I don't personally believe that, but I've been having conversations with a friend who does, and it's throwing me for a loop.
Ivy R
 

Re: Were humans created depraved?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:44 pm

By "total depravity," the theologians (the big hitters were Augustine and John Calvin) taught that sin was part and parcel of every part of us, that no part of our being had escaped. In other words, that we as human beings had a sin nature, not a divine nature. You don't personally believe that?

But the Bible teaches not that we can escape by understanding that depravity but rather by letting God change us from the nature of sin to the nature of Christ. By confessing our sins and receiving his gift of salvation, he changes our nature (makes us new creations) so that we are no longer necessarily slaves to sin. We can only escape sin's infection by taking the receiving the vaccine, so to speak.

So what is it you believe and why?
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Re: Were humans created depraved?

Postby Ivy R » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:37 pm

No, I don't personally believe that, but I'd like to better understand those who do. Thanks for your reply.

I believe that God created us in his image, and that while we have the propensity to sin, we also have the spirit of God in us, even before we understand what it is. I believe that people are capable of good before they are saved, and that that good is God's Spirit working in them.
Ivy R
 

Re: Were humans created depraved?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:00 pm

Thanks for your answer. I'd like to insert two more points, if I may.

First, the image of God. According to Genesis 1, people are in the image of God (acting on His behalf) by ruling and subduing the earth. God says, "I will make you in my image," and then he gives the command to rule and subdue. God used his sovereignty to order the world, and then conferring his image on people to take care of it, viz., continue to order it. It doesn't have anything to do with sin, morality, capability for good, or any of that. Because we are in God's image, we are commissioned to care for the earth as sacred space.

Secondly, the Bible doesn't teach that we have a propensity to sin but that we *are* sin. Romans 3.10-18 and 23 (as quotes from the OT) are clear that we are all unavoidably under sin's power and condemnation from the get-go. Sin is a matter of the entire person (mind, emotions, will, body).

There is no teaching in the Bible that we have the spirit of God in us even before we understand what it is. If you know of such a text, I'd be pleased to see it and discuss it with you.

> I believe that people are capable of good before they are saved, and that that good is God's Spirit working in them.

I certainly agree that people are capable of good even before they are saved. It's what Christians call "common grace": There are things like health, happiness, strength, intelligence, goodness, and such things that God has blessed all of humanity with, even if they don't know Him. Everyone gets to enjoy some sunshine (OK, except maybe the residents of Seattle...). We all get to laugh.

God's Spirit is working in people to bring them to Himself. I agree.

But what depravity means is that your goodness won't get you to heaven (Isa. 64.6). It doesn't earn anything for that ride. There is nothing about you that will buy the ticket. We all need to be changed (Rom. 5.6). We can only be made right by the atoning blood of Christ (Rom. 5.9).
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Re: Were humans created depraved?

Postby Ivy R » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:41 pm

I have a different interpretation and understanding of the scriptures you share, but I appreciate you sharing your understanding of them. I think going down the road of trying to hash out our different understandings of the scriptures is going to lead to splitting hairs and questions translations, etc, because we are just coming at things from a different point of view, and will arrive at different conclusions.

As far as the Spirit of God being in us - I was using short hand, which probably was a bad idea. To flesh out a little further, I'm a Quaker, and Quakers believe in 'That of God' within everyone. There is no one Bible verse that backs this up (although George Fox referenced Romans 1), but rather a reading of the Bible as a whole and an understanding of God and his relationship with us. I again suspect that you and I will come to different conclusions about that, which is fine, I was just attempting to answer your question about what I believe. I can point you towards further Quaker writing if you are interested.

To clarify some of my other statements, I have talked to people that believe depravity means people aren't capable of good until they are saved, that even their best efforts are ungood because they are not redeemed. I don't believe that to be true.

I hear you about what gets you to heaven (I was raised very evangelical), and I don't necessarily disagree, although I suspect we'd differ on some of the details.
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Re: Were humans created depraved?

Postby jimwalton » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:39 pm

Thanks for all the clarification. I was glad to discuss these things with you. I wasn't trying to argue, but rather just to reference the Scriptures for our discussion. We can talk further as you wish.


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