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Thread: Doctrine of total inability/total depravity or do we have a free will.

  1. #1

    Doctrine of total inability/total depravity or do we have a free will.

    The doctrine of total depravity (or total inability) says that all men, as a consequence of the Fall, are born morally corrupt, enslaved to sin, at enmity with God, and unable to please Him or even of themselves to turn to Christ for salvation. Thus God must elect us to salvation, basically we are predestined to be saved or lost before we are born and thus have no true free will.

    Now Arminius came after Calvin and seems to have more fuller picture of the cause of the wretchedness of sinners as taught in Scripture. Arminius writes:
    'In the state of Primitive Innocence, man had a mind endued with a clear understanding of heavenly light and truth concerning God, and his works and will, as far as was sufficient for the salvation of man and the glory of God; he had a heart imbued with "righteousness and true holiness," and with a true and saving love of good; and powers abundantly qualified or furnished perfectly to fulfill the law which God had imposed on him. This admits easily of proof from the description of the image of God, after which man is said to have been created (Gen. 1:26-27), from the law divinely imposed on him, which had a promise and a threat appended to it (Gen 2:17), and lastly from the analogous restoration of the same image in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:24; Col. 3:10).
    But man was not so confirmed in this state of innocence as to be incapable of being moved by the representation presented to him of some good (whether it was of an inferior kind and relating to this [natural] life, or of a superior kind and relating to spiritual life), inordinately and unlawfully to look upon it and to desire it, and of his own spontaneous as well as free motion, and through a preposterous desire for that good, to decline from the obedience which had been prescribed to him. Nay, having turned away from the light of his own mind and his Chief Good, which is God, or, at least, having turned towards that Chief Good not in the manner in which he ought to have done, and besides having turned in mind and heart towards an inferior good, he transgressed the command given to him for life. By this foul deed, he precipitated himself from that noble and elevated condition into a state of the deepest infelicity, which is under the Dominion of Sin. . . .

    In this state, the Free Will of man towards the True Good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost: And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace. 'Twenty-Five Public Disputations: Disputation XI. On the Free Will of Man and its Powers," in The Works of Arminius, trans. James Nichols (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986), 2:191-92.

    Scripture is clear that all have sinned, but then what.
    Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ;

    Now they both held to the doctrine of total depravity of man, the major difference between the two concerning their doctrine of depravity is in the solution of God in overcoming the effects of the fall.

    Calvin basically drew a picture of man with no free will, all his abilities for good taken from him to the point that man just sits and waits for his execution or salvation with no input. Concerning the sinful state in which humanity exists, Calvin writes:

    'Therefore, since through man's fault a curse has extended above and below, over all the regions of the world, there is nothing unreasonable in it extending to all his offspring. After the heavenly image in man was effaced, he not only was himself punished by a withdrawal of the ornaments in which he had been arrayed, i.e., wisdom, virtue, justice, truth, and holiness, and by the substitution in their place of those dire pests, blindness, impotence, vanity, impurity, and unrighteousness, but he involved his posterity also, and plunged them in the same wretchedness.'

    It just seems wrong, as man from the beginning had free will that was the whole reason man was able to sin. If anything it was not God that takes it away but Satan, as evil plunges man into its grip and takes away his free will.

    For Arminius, a person must be graced by the Spirit of God in the overcoming of the depraved nature so that the person may be freed to believe in Christ Jesus. If such is accomplished and not resisted, then the person is justified and regenerated. But sinners must be enabled by the Spirit of God because they are totally and utterly depraved, captured and enslaved by sin, and completely undone.

    This seems to be with more understanding of grace, that anyone, through the workings of the Holy Spirit, can be saved. It is that God, (since He know the end from the beginning) knows who will respond to the workings of the Spirit, and out of freewill, man chooses what is extended to him, the gift of eternal life.

  2. #2

    Re: Doctrine of total inability/total depravity or do we have a free will.

    Quote Originally Posted by hobie View Post
    The doctrine of total depravity (or total inability) says that all men, as a consequence of the Fall, are born morally corrupt, enslaved to sin, at enmity with God, and unable to please Him or even of themselves to turn to Christ for salvation. Thus God must elect us to salvation, basically we are predestined to be saved or lost before we are born and thus have no true free will.

    Now Arminius came after Calvin and seems to have more fuller picture of the cause of the wretchedness of sinners as taught in Scripture. Arminius writes:
    'In the state of Primitive Innocence, man had a mind endued with a clear understanding of heavenly light and truth concerning God, and his works and will, as far as was sufficient for the salvation of man and the glory of God; he had a heart imbued with "righteousness and true holiness," and with a true and saving love of good; and powers abundantly qualified or furnished perfectly to fulfill the law which God had imposed on him. This admits easily of proof from the description of the image of God, after which man is said to have been created (Gen. 1:26-27), from the law divinely imposed on him, which had a promise and a threat appended to it (Gen 2:17), and lastly from the analogous restoration of the same image in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:24; Col. 3:10).
    But man was not so confirmed in this state of innocence as to be incapable of being moved by the representation presented to him of some good (whether it was of an inferior kind and relating to this [natural] life, or of a superior kind and relating to spiritual life), inordinately and unlawfully to look upon it and to desire it, and of his own spontaneous as well as free motion, and through a preposterous desire for that good, to decline from the obedience which had been prescribed to him. Nay, having turned away from the light of his own mind and his Chief Good, which is God, or, at least, having turned towards that Chief Good not in the manner in which he ought to have done, and besides having turned in mind and heart towards an inferior good, he transgressed the command given to him for life. By this foul deed, he precipitated himself from that noble and elevated condition into a state of the deepest infelicity, which is under the Dominion of Sin. . . .

    In this state, the Free Will of man towards the True Good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost: And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace. 'Twenty-Five Public Disputations: Disputation XI. On the Free Will of Man and its Powers," in The Works of Arminius, trans. James Nichols (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986), 2:191-92.

    Scripture is clear that all have sinned, but then what.
    Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ;

    Now they both held to the doctrine of total depravity of man, the major difference between the two concerning their doctrine of depravity is in the solution of God in overcoming the effects of the fall.

    Calvin basically drew a picture of man with no free will, all his abilities for good taken from him to the point that man just sits and waits for his execution or salvation with no input. Concerning the sinful state in which humanity exists, Calvin writes:

    'Therefore, since through man's fault a curse has extended above and below, over all the regions of the world, there is nothing unreasonable in it extending to all his offspring. After the heavenly image in man was effaced, he not only was himself punished by a withdrawal of the ornaments in which he had been arrayed, i.e., wisdom, virtue, justice, truth, and holiness, and by the substitution in their place of those dire pests, blindness, impotence, vanity, impurity, and unrighteousness, but he involved his posterity also, and plunged them in the same wretchedness.'

    It just seems wrong, as man from the beginning had free will that was the whole reason man was able to sin. If anything it was not God that takes it away but Satan, as evil plunges man into its grip and takes away his free will.

    For Arminius, a person must be graced by the Spirit of God in the overcoming of the depraved nature so that the person may be freed to believe in Christ Jesus. If such is accomplished and not resisted, then the person is justified and regenerated. But sinners must be enabled by the Spirit of God because they are totally and utterly depraved, captured and enslaved by sin, and completely undone.

    This seems to be with more understanding of grace, that anyone, through the workings of the Holy Spirit, can be saved. It is that God, (since He know the end from the beginning) knows who will respond to the workings of the Spirit, and out of freewill, man chooses what is extended to him, the gift of eternal life.
    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
    **Genesis‬ *1:27-28, 31‬ *KJV‬‬

    “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
    **Genesis‬ *2:15-17‬ *KJV‬‬

    " you are free to eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of this tree, for when you do, you will surely die"

    because man is made in Gods image, we are made free, we have free will. This is what was exploited and this is where the issue came from

    the first false doctrine...

    God clearly said

    But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

    “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

    For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    watch this false doctrine, change her minds perception of the forbidden fruit


    And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”
    **Genesis‬ *3:4-6, 8‬ *KJV‬‬


    see we were created with free will, having been made on Gods image, we were very good. Satan, introduced us to the knowledge of evil. So now , we have free will but we have both good and evil in our minds and hearts. What this produces is a conflict within us, a war between good and evil for our will. this then is what becomes of mankind just ten generations in...


    notice this wasn't Gods doing or his will because it repents him that he made us at this point.

    “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

    And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”
    **Genesis‬ *6:5-6, 12-13‬ *KJV‬‬

    Gods grace , preserves Noah who is saved through faith because when God tells him to build the ark, he does it, because he believed God when he told him he was going to flood the earth and gave him instructions to build the ark.

    but this shows us clearly man was created free, and was deceived , the deception was designed to bring the curse of death to man because God had said " when you eat this, you will surely die" Satan saw " all I need to do is deceive them and get them to eat the fruit, and they will surely die." He knows Gods word is certain, he used it against them , precisely because they were free to choose. When they partook of good and evil, it then creates a conflict in thier nature and the nature of thier children.

    man was not ready for this knowledge, we were created beyond the knowledge of evil, in Gods image, and free just as God does as he wills, man was created to be free. Satans work led us into slavery of sin, because he corrupted our hearts, our nature now has a desire for good and also evil.

    so then when the law came about 600 or so years after Noah and his sons and thier wives began replenishing the earth it appears to those having both the knowledge of good and evil in them


    “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”
    **Deuteronomy‬ *11:26-28‬ *KJV‬‬


    with Adam , it was different note. He said nothing of what Adam needed to do to get the blessing, he blessed him from the beginning. He only said to Adam " you may freely eat of any tree, but you must not eat of this tree, for when you do , you will die." It's coming this way to Adam , because he had no knowledge of evil conflicting his nature , until Satan lied to them, and then they ate the fruit that was certain death.

    the law came and says " if you will obey all my commands you will be blessed, if you will not obey all my commands you will be cursed"

    so when the gospel comes , it's different still because it comes to mankind who now has the knowledge of sin and death, and all were sinners, condemned by the law. So the gospel appears to those ready for redemption and knowing sin and thier own condemnation by it.


    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
    **John‬ *3:16‬ *KJV‬‬


    so the first was " don't do this one thing or you will die" being free to choose, man chose death through a deception.

    the second was " if you do all these commandments you will live, and if you do not you will die"

    but the last is to those discovered sinners condemned by the sin within us, " whosoever believes in the son, shall not die , but have everlasting life ."


    to say we have no free will or no say in our salvation, is not true . To miss that man was deceived and changed at thier heart, is blind, yet still being offered a choice, the law reveals man needs salvation because just a little evil in us, leads to sin and death.... Still have choice , but also have a conflict between good and evil so it doesn't work for us that way.

    in the end , we are trying to get back to free will, but in the image of God, where man is very good, having overcome the evil in us through faith in Jesus Christ and his word. Back to where Adam if he only believed God, would have never eaten the fruit. Now if we only believe Jesus , and the liar is sure to come tempting us, but if we will believe Jesus, we will be redeemed to our first state, what we are created for. Freedom, but no evil conflicting our nature and leading us to sin.

    man , after the fall, became like a vessel , for good and evil. Satan wants to guide us in his will causing sin and death. God has given us the gospel , through faith to bring us into the will of God, which overcomes by the things of Jesus Christ. Always we are free , but sin in us made us slaves in that " all have sinned " every time a person sins, they are serving the will of Satan. Overcoming this, is to believe the gospel and follow where it leads , by our free will given to us again by the Lord , through the Holy Spirit.


    it's a matter of like Adam we hear Gods word, and we'll hear the lies coming along from the enemy. All we have to do , is have faith in what God has said, and he will do the rest. It is a choice anyone can make, apart from those God has appointed to wrath or some purpose such as judas.

  3. #3

    Re: Doctrine of total inability/total depravity or do we have a free will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Follower1977 View Post
    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
    **Genesis‬ *1:27-28, 31‬ *KJV‬‬

    “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
    **Genesis‬ *2:15-17‬ *KJV‬‬

    " you are free to eat of every tree in the garden, but you shall not eat of this tree, for when you do, you will surely die"

    because man is made in Gods image, we are made free, we have free will. This is what was exploited and this is where the issue came from

    the first false doctrine...

    God clearly said

    But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

    “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

    For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    watch this false doctrine, change her minds perception of the forbidden fruit


    And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”
    **Genesis‬ *3:4-6, 8‬ *KJV‬‬


    see we were created with free will, having been made on Gods image, we were very good. Satan, introduced us to the knowledge of evil. So now , we have free will but we have both good and evil in our minds and hearts. What this produces is a conflict within us, a war between good and evil for our will. this then is what becomes of mankind just ten generations in...


    notice this wasn't Gods doing or his will because it repents him that he made us at this point.

    “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

    And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”
    **Genesis‬ *6:5-6, 12-13‬ *KJV‬‬

    Gods grace , preserves Noah who is saved through faith because when God tells him to build the ark, he does it, because he believed God when he told him he was going to flood the earth and gave him instructions to build the ark.

    but this shows us clearly man was created free, and was deceived , the deception was designed to bring the curse of death to man because God had said " when you eat this, you will surely die" Satan saw " all I need to do is deceive them and get them to eat the fruit, and they will surely die." He knows Gods word is certain, he used it against them , precisely because they were free to choose. When they partook of good and evil, it then creates a conflict in thier nature and the nature of thier children.

    man was not ready for this knowledge, we were created beyond the knowledge of evil, in Gods image, and free just as God does as he wills, man was created to be free. Satans work led us into slavery of sin, because he corrupted our hearts, our nature now has a desire for good and also evil.

    so then when the law came about 600 or so years after Noah and his sons and thier wives began replenishing the earth it appears to those having both the knowledge of good and evil in them


    “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”
    **Deuteronomy‬ *11:26-28‬ *KJV‬‬


    with Adam , it was different note. He said nothing of what Adam needed to do to get the blessing, he blessed him from the beginning. He only said to Adam " you may freely eat of any tree, but you must not eat of this tree, for when you do , you will die." It's coming this way to Adam , because he had no knowledge of evil conflicting his nature , until Satan lied to them, and then they ate the fruit that was certain death.

    the law came and says " if you will obey all my commands you will be blessed, if you will not obey all my commands you will be cursed"

    so when the gospel comes , it's different still because it comes to mankind who now has the knowledge of sin and death, and all were sinners, condemned by the law. So the gospel appears to those ready for redemption and knowing sin and thier own condemnation by it.


    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
    **John‬ *3:16‬ *KJV‬‬


    so the first was " don't do this one thing or you will die" being free to choose, man chose death through a deception.

    the second was " if you do all these commandments you will live, and if you do not you will die"

    but the last is to those discovered sinners condemned by the sin within us, " whosoever believes in the son, shall not die , but have everlasting life ."


    to say we have no free will or no say in our salvation, is not true . To miss that man was deceived and changed at thier heart, is blind, yet still being offered a choice, the law reveals man needs salvation because just a little evil in us, leads to sin and death.... Still have choice , but also have a conflict between good and evil so it doesn't work for us that way.

    in the end , we are trying to get back to free will, but in the image of God, where man is very good, having overcome the evil in us through faith in Jesus Christ and his word. Back to where Adam if he only believed God, would have never eaten the fruit. Now if we only believe Jesus , and the liar is sure to come tempting us, but if we will believe Jesus, we will be redeemed to our first state, what we are created for. Freedom, but no evil conflicting our nature and leading us to sin.

    man , after the fall, became like a vessel , for good and evil. Satan wants to guide us in his will causing sin and death. God has given us the gospel , through faith to bring us into the will of God, which overcomes by the things of Jesus Christ. Always we are free , but sin in us made us slaves in that " all have sinned " every time a person sins, they are serving the will of Satan. Overcoming this, is to believe the gospel and follow where it leads , by our free will given to us again by the Lord , through the Holy Spirit.


    it's a matter of like Adam we hear Gods word, and we'll hear the lies coming along from the enemy. All we have to do , is have faith in what God has said, and he will do the rest. It is a choice anyone can make, apart from those God has appointed to wrath or some purpose such as judas.
    I like that, we do have free will and our faith brings it out, but we have to choose. Its clear to take away mans freewill at all points is not correct, once the Holy Spirit comes, we have a choice or we would be robots. Basically a doctrine where we are being forced to be saved with no say of our own, is not what God gives.

  4. #4
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    Re: Doctrine of total inability/total depravity or do we have a free will.

    Quote Originally Posted by hobie View Post
    I like that, we do have free will and our faith brings it out, but we have to choose. Its clear to take away mans freewill at all points is not correct, once the Holy Spirit comes, we have a choice or we would be robots. Basically a doctrine where we are being forced to be saved with no say of our own, is not what God gives.
    I don't believe Calvin or Luther would say that there is no free will, except in the determination of God's foreknowledge as to who would get saved, and who would not get saved. Obviously, mankind has free will.

    There is the question as to whether man can do good when they are not Christians. It is self-evident that men can indeed do good works though they are not Christians. Cornelius was recognized for his goodness in Acts even before he "got saved." There were many men in the OT era who did good works under the Law.

    The whole question is: what are "saving works?" These are good works that have now been sanctified by the atonement of Christ. Good works do not merit salvation unless they have been cleansed of all sin. This Christ did on the cross.

    Even those who are pagans can do good works. This, however, will not bring them salvation because they must have "saving works," ie the benefit of the works Christ provided in atoning for our sins. When we do good through belief in his atonement we make use of God's spiritual virtue and grace, as well as the atonement of Christ, to have our works sanctified and aided by the covenant Christ died to give us. That covenant is a life committed completely to him so that we live in his life, and not in a carnal, independent, self-sufficient way.

    Thus, it is not just necessary to believe in atonement. It is not good enough just to do good works. We must be committed, under covenant, to Christ so that we *live in righteousness* as the rule for our lives.

    All of this is a matter of free choice, whether we accept the Christian covenant, or how far we go to obey while we are in covenant. But God knows who will accept Him and who will not. It is His domain, and not ours.

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