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Thread: Romans 1:21 and Total Depravity

  1. #1

    Romans 1:21 and Total Depravity

    21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.


    If you believe in Total Depravity and you are a Calvinists how do you reconcile it with this verse?
    My King of Hearts beats your jack of clubs!

    "Both read the Bible day and night;
    but you read black where I read white."
    ~William Blake

    The Greasiest of the Greasiest of the Greasy Grace Folks

    "The Law actually broke itself when it killed an innocent man"
    Seth Dahl

  2. #2
    Back2Front Guest
    Here is how the Holy Spirit has had me see this verse

    Red additions are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikebr View Post
    21 Because that, when they knew God but were deceived by sin, they glorified him not as God and glorified themselves as they sinned against his Torah inventing convenient ways of worship and lifestyle that suited themselves rather than what God wrote as law that was pleasing to him, neither were thankful as represented by their sin; but became vain in their imaginations thinking that they were in the spirit or had favor with God and didn't have to follow the law, and their foolish heart was darkened, leading them to accuse and persecute anyone who attempted to bring them back to the law in the Spirit of Christs Love and sacrifice as it was intended. Also causing them to enslave anyone they UNDER their version of law that they invented so as to rule, control, and lord over people as self imposed Gods.

  3. #3
    Diolectic Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Back2Front View Post
    Here is how the Holy Spirit has had me see this verse
    21 Because that, when they knew God but were deceived by sin, they glorified him not as God and glorified themselves as they sinned against his Torah inventing convenient ways of worship and lifestyle that suited themselves rather than what God wrote as law that was pleasing to him, neither were thankful as represented by their sin; but became vain in their imaginations thinking that they were in the spirit or had favor with God and didn't have to follow the law, and their foolish heart was darkened, leading them to accuse and persecute anyone who attempted to bring them back to the law in the Spirit of Christs Love and sacrifice as it was intended. Also causing them to enslave anyone they UNDER their version of law that they invented so as to rule, control, and lord over people as self imposed Gods
    Red additions are mine.
    Actualy to understand the flow of thought which Paul was getting acrossed, it should actualy go this way:

    Because that, when they knew God in theire private thoughts, they actualy must admit there is a God, but they chose from their own volition to ingnore Him and follow after the lusts of their flesh. they glorified him not as God by disobeying their conscience which they were expected to follow, neither were thankful by ignoring the grace of God; but became foolish in their reasoning from discounting God from their thoughts, and their foolish heart was obscured in darkness so that they would actualy think thay know better than God whom they ignore, and therefore becoming stupid...ect...

    The black additions are mine.

  4. #4
    Back2Front Guest
    NOW WE ARE GETTING SOME WHERE!

    Bless you brother.

    Blue additions are mine

    Quote Originally Posted by Diolectic View Post
    Actualy to understand the flow of thought which Paul was getting acrossed, it should actualy go this way:

    Because that, when they knew God in their private thoughts, they actualy must admit there is a God and a law he is serious about us obeying, but they chose from their own volition to ingnore Him by ignoring his law or just outright disobeying it and follow after the lusts of their flesh instead of following the law as the spirit convicts them. they glorified him not as God by disobeying their conscience which they were expected to follow by reading and following the Torah as the Spirit convicted their conscience, neither were thankful by ignoring the grace of God as well as his unchanging written law (spirit and flesh); but became foolish in their reasoning to throw away the law from discounting God from their thoughts by discounting his law from their thoughts, life, and ways of living, and their foolish heart was obscured in darkness living under the law of self so that they would actualy think thay know better than God whom they ignore by ignoring his law, and therefore becoming stupid...ect... cursed and damned to hell and kicked out of the land turned over to their enemies.

    The black additions are mine.
    Last edited by Back2Front; Nov 15th 2008 at 08:23 AM.

  5. #5
    I would like to add a thought or two here. It seems that too much is being read into this text.

    Let me take it piece by piece (KJV):

    "Because that, when they knew God" - It does not say they knew the Torah. From the verse before (20) it identifies this knowledge as being about His Godhead and His power - which they understood from creation.

    This means they had a correct understanding about God in the way that the Creation revealed it. This is the knowledge that God has also put in the heart of every man (vs. 19).

    It does not say that they were deceived, either - they did it willingly.

    "they glorified him not as God" - Even though their conscience taught them better, they seared it and did not serve or worship God as they knew they should.

    "neither were thankful" - they knew where all things came from but did not choose to recognize God for it.

    "but became vain in their imaginations" - A refusal to believe and act on the truth always leads one into error. An imagination not restrained by the Holy Spirit becomes an unfathomably wicked one - like those in the days of Noah - "...and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Ge. 6:5).

    "and their foolish heart was darkened." - The light (truth) could no longer shine into their hearts because they turned away from the Source of the Light - God.

    "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (Jn. 3:20).

    The acts recorded in this verse led to their errors in the next verses:

    1. They thought they had become wise (vs. 22)
    2. They tampered with the highest knowledge - what they knew about God (vs. 23).

    After talking about the Jews a little bit, Paul then concludes his argument about why all are condemned. He says in Ro. 2:14,15: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another."

  6. #6
    Back2Front Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    I would like to add a thought or two here. It seems that too much is being read into this text.
    Or not enough. I suppose it depends on how you grew and who you were taught by.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    "Because that, when they knew God" - It does not say they knew the Torah.
    To know God and his personality is to know the Torah. That is Jew believer 101.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    From the verse before (20) it identifies this knowledge as being about His Godhead and His power - which they understood from creation.
    No they understood from the Torah and the law written on their hearts. And from God speaking to them first hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    This means they had a correct understanding about God in the way that the Creation revealed it. This is the knowledge that God has also put in the heart of every man (vs. 19).
    We are the creation. We understood God as we looked at ourselves? That doesn't sound like very good theology. God spoke directly to these people and revealed himself himself. Also he wrote a book. I'm just saying don't ignore that, and you're not going to convince me about some nature theory either because that is in direct contradiction to his word.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    It does not say that they were deceived, either - they did it willingly.
    Agreed. As is still done today.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    "they glorified him not as God" - Even though their conscience taught them better, they seared it and did not serve or worship God as they knew they should.
    And as they knew from scripture which backed up their conscience.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    "neither were thankful" - they knew where all things came from but did not choose to recognize God for it.
    Yes they did they just wanted to do it their own way starting with Cane.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    "but became vain in their imaginations" - A refusal to believe and act on the truth always leads one into error.
    Error against what? Yes the law.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    An imagination not restrained by the Holy Spirit becomes an unfathomably wicked one
    and we know this by the measure against the law.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    - like those in the days of Noah - "...and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Ge. 6:5).
    Accept for Noah who knew the law as it was written on his heart and ingrained in his being as is with all of us. Also, God spoke to him directly which further blows away the nature creation suggestion.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    "and their foolish heart was darkened." - The light (truth) could no longer shine into their hearts because they turned away from the Source of the Light - God.
    through the law he took the time to spell out for them.

    Below red additions are mine

    Quote Originally Posted by EvangMike View Post
    "And this is the condemnation, that light in the form of Christ and his perfection of the law is come into the world, and men loved darkness and their own version of the law that suited them rather than light which is the living law and our example, because their deeds were evil as they did not want to follow the law or anybodies example of how to do so." (Jn. 3:20).

    The acts recorded in this verse led to their errors in the next verses:

    1. They thought they had become wise (vs. 22) and in that false wisdom thought they were enabled to rejecting the law which was the purpose of the false wisdom in the first place.
    2. They tampered with the highest knowledge - what they knew about God (vs. 23). Through the law as their consciences were convicted.

    After talking about the Jews a little bit, Paul then concludes his argument about why all are condemned. He says in Ro. 2:14,15: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the written law, do by nature the things contained in the law as it is written on their hearts, these, having not the written law, are a law unto themselves as they have no written backing not to mention the intended spirit therein with which they should approach the law: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another no differently than those who have the written as well, but lack the intended spirit with which to approach it."
    Without the spirit the law is death, without the law the spirit is false and a deceiver.

    Hope this all makes sense.

  7. #7
    Back2Front Guest

    I have to say...

    This form of dividing the word of truth is AWESOME!

    It is clear where everyone is coming from and shows clearly where God has each one of us in our understandings.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't judge me or be angry with me. I am not with any of you.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mikebr View Post
    21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.


    If you believe in Total Depravity and you are a Calvinists how do you reconcile it with this verse?
    I'm not a Calvinist..but I will say that Romans 3 as well as Isaiah 66 essentially point to man being in a condemned state since the fall, and allude to God himself being the only savior of men through faith in Christ Jesus. That doesn't mean that there aren't men who God doesn't consider righteous.

    Enoch, Job, Abraham are among notable men whom were definitely considered righteous by God. Still, I think any doctrine that starts out with "man is inherently good" does go against a lot of what is taught in scripture. Remember, even Jesus himself stated "only God is good." He also proclaimed and attributed all of the good works that he had done to be coming from his Father, not himself.

    Matthew

  9. #9
    Has anybody answered my question?

    It seems that there has been alot of commentary added. Maybe I haven't had enough coffee.
    My King of Hearts beats your jack of clubs!

    "Both read the Bible day and night;
    but you read black where I read white."
    ~William Blake

    The Greasiest of the Greasiest of the Greasy Grace Folks

    "The Law actually broke itself when it killed an innocent man"
    Seth Dahl

  10. #10
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    Mikebr
    I can't see how Calvinist total depravity can be reconciled with this verse. It is clear from Scriptures that God did reveal Himself to all mankind through creation at least but also through the fact that God wrote certain principals in each persons heart (Rom.2:15). Depravity can therefore not be understood in such a way that unregenerate man is completely ignorant of God. Now, they do have the basic knowledge of God, enough at least to be able to make a choice and say "Yes!" when the true gospel is preached to them.

  11. #11
    Diolectic Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by mikebr View Post
    21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    If you believe in Total Depravity and you are a Calvinists how do you reconcile it with this verse?
    I'm not a Calvinist, but I know what they think.

    They would say that it don't matter if they know God or not.
    Their "Total Depravity" would be that they so much will not care that they know God, all from their hatred of God, which makes them incapable of doing anything else but sinning in HIS face.

    Hope I worded that well enogh to understand. I haven't finnished my coffee (seriously)

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by mikebr View Post
    Has anybody answered my question?

    It seems that there has been alot of commentary added. Maybe I haven't had enough coffee.

    Lol..I think I tried to above. Here are some more verses from Romans that may help clarify.

    Romans 8:20-24
    For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

    I don't think scripture supports mankind being inherently good.(after the fall) We are in an imperfect state while on this earth, groaning for the redemption of this dead body. The spirit helps intercede for us as well as bring about this hope.

    Perhaps the doctrine of total depravity does go a bit on the other extreme a bit, but I think it's accurate in pertaining to men not being the ultimate savior of themselves...and them needing God to intercede for their salvation. You may want to read the entirety of Romans 8. It really gives a lot of clarity on this issue.

    Matthew

  13. #13
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    I don't think scripture supports mankind being inherently good .... Perhaps the doctrine of total depravity does go a bit on the other extreme a bit, but I think it's accurate in pertaining to men not being the ultimate savior of themselves
    That would be my position as well. Man can't save himself. He can't repent of his sins without the regenerating work of Christ. But he can say "Yes" when the gospel is being preached to him. "How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed ..." That means to me that a lost soul is not so dead in his sins that he could not call onto God in faith. Yet, he is also not so good that he can repent of his sins before regeneration.

  14. #14
    Diolectic Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Just_Another_Guy View Post
    Lol..I think I tried to above. Here are some more verses from Romans that may help clarify.

    Romans 8:20-24
    For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

    I don't think scripture supports mankind being inherently good.(after the fall) We are in an imperfect state while on this earth, groaning for the redemption of this dead body. The spirit helps intercede for us as well as bring about this hope.
    It would be an assumption to think this verse carries anything about the so called "fall of Adam"

    Adam's sin only wounded himself, just as our own sins only wound ourselves.
    Since Adam was restored after he sinned, but only unable to eat of the Tree of Life, one can not even suppose his sin effected his offspring.

    Romans 8:20-21
    This ''vanity''(temperaryness) along with the ''bondage of corruption'' is not because of Adam's sin and the curse of the ground that followed, but because of Him(God) who has subjected it in hope of the adoption, that is, the redemption of our bodies which is the glorious liberty of the children of God.
    The flesh was never meant to be eternal.
    If Adam had never sinned, he would have died a natural death if he never have eaten from the Tree of Life.
    WE all die because the way to the Tree of Life is cut off so that we who know good and evil lest we put forth our hand, and have take also of the tree of life to eat and lived for ever(Gen 3:22)

    Understand that which is made "with hands" is temporal, that which is "made without hands" is eternal.
    Mark 14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple (His body) that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
    2Corinth 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (body) were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

    Now, if Jesus had a Body wich is temporal (made with hands) as HE never sinned and not "totaly depraved", their is no reason to think that our body is temporal because of our sinfulness.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Back2Front View Post
    To know God and his personality is to know the Torah. That is Jew believer 101.
    I agree with Evangmike. You are reading too much into the text. And I agree with his reason; Paul is saying they should have known about God from creation. He says nothing about the scriptures.

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