Total Depravity or Separation

Total Depravity focuses on man’s sin. The statement is often made, “Man sins because he is a sinner and man is a sinner because he sins. The Doctrine of Total Depravity does not really allow that statement. Total Depravity says man sins because he is depraved; he is not depraved because he sins. The latter part of this statement must be true because a man who is totally depraved cannot become more depraved because of his own sin. According to the Doctrine of Total Depravity, man is born in this totally depraved state. He cannot not sin.

Here are some statements from John Piper at monergism.com dealing with Total Depravity. He writes,

“When we speak of man’s depravity we mean man’s natural condition apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform man.”

“Romans 14:23 says, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” This is a radical indictment of all natural “virtue” that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God’s grace.”

“Man’s depravity is total in at least four senses.

(1) Our rebellion against God is total. Apart from the grace of God there is no delight in the holiness of God, and there is no glad submission to the sovereign authority of God.
(2) In his total rebellion everything man does is sin.
(3) Man’s inability to submit to God and do good is total.
(4) Our rebellion is totally deserving of eternal punishment.”

“Ephesians 2:3 goes on to say that in our deadness we were “children of wrath.” That is, we were under God’s wrath because of the corruption of our hearts that made us as good as dead before God.” To view Pipers article, click HERE.

Much of what Piper says in the abbreviated statements quoted above is all correct, when taken on their own. The problem with total depravity comes into play when one takes the aforementioned statements and begins to use them to draw conclusions. Here is a perfect example of that. Take Piper’s final statement man’s depravity is total in man’s rebellion being “totally deserving of eternal punishment.” This is the basis for total depravity. Piper basically confirms the statement made earlier, that man is condemned and deserves death because he is totally depraved or in a state of rebellion against God.
Note the following quotes.

“But it was not true that all men had actually committed sinful actions at the time that Paul was writing, because some had not even been born yet, and many others had died in infancy before committing any conscious acts of sin. So Paul must be meaning that when Adam sinned, God considered true that all men sinned in Adam.” (Grudem, Wayne; Systematic Theology, Zondervan publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Page 494.)

“The federal headship view considers Adam, the first man, as the representative of the human race that generated from him. As the representative of all humans, Adam’s act of sin was considered by God to be the act of all people and his penalty of death was judicially made the penalty of everybody.” (Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.), 1983, 1985.)

“The federal headship of Adam presupposes and rests upon his natural headship. He was our natural head before he was our federal head. He was doubtless made our federal representative because he was our natural progenitor, and was so conditioned that his agency must affect our destinies, and because our very nature was on trial (typically if not essentially) in him. Whatever, therefore, of virtue in this explanation the natural headship of Adam may be supposed to contain the federal theory retains.”( Hodge, A. A., Outlines of Theology, (Escondido, CA: Ephesians Four Group), 1999.)

Adam represented man and when he fell, man fell. This is the basis for Total Depravity.
If the wages of sin is death and death is the plight of those who are totally depraved because of Adam’s sin, then there remains no punishment for the individual’s sin itself. Since men are condemned because of Adam’s sin, (#4 in Piper’s list) then all are condemned to death because all are totally depraved. The totally depraved person cannot be punished for his depraved position and then be additionally punished for his own personal sin if the punishment for the former is death or eternal separation.

Consider Piper’s initial stament quoted above, ““When we speak of man’s depravity we mean man’s natural condition apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform man. Romans 14:23 says, ‘Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.’ This is a radical indictment of all natural ‘virtue’ that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God’s grace.” Here Piper is saying “man’s problem is one of position”.

If man’s depravity is seen relative to his position in God, then it may be said that man is depraved, not because he sins, but because he is separated from God. Now it is understood that sin is what separates man from God. There are two aspects of sin. There is the individual aspect of sin and then there is the corporate aspect. If one looks at the corporate aspect, it is easy to conclude, “In Adam all have sinned” because man is without question a product of his own environment.

In this light, it is fair to say that man sins (individually) because he is a sinner (corporately) and/or because he is influenced by his environment. Man is also a sinner in the respect that he has God given needs that must be filled and because he is separated from God, his only means of satisfying those needs is to seek to satisfy them on his own. Because man is born separated from God, he is depraved. He is not depraved because of his sin; he is depraved because of his position inherited from Adam. Since his position is not in God, his actions will always fall short of the Glory of God and that is God’s definition of sin.

This is the reason the Bible says it is impossible for men to ever appear “righteous” in God’s eyes. The only way to ever have a right standing before God, men must be reconciled to God and the only way to be reconciled to Him is through the cross. The cross corrects the separation problem. This is why Jesus became a man. In the incarnation, God conquered the “separation problem”. The Creator became the created. In His death, Jesus did not just conquer sin; He conquered what the Bible calls the “final enemy” which is death itself. Death is the final separation of man and God.

Man is depraved because he is separated from God at birth. He is fully human. He cannot not sin. He is lost and is completely unable to find his own way. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross paid the penalty for sin for anyone who will come to Him in repentance and saving faith, believing that God is everything He says He is and He will do everything He says He will do. It is at this point that the Holy Spirit takes up residency in the “new born person’s heart” and new life begins.

Next Post will deal with the question:
Could Jesus Have Sinned? Stay Tuned!

Grateful to be in His Grip!

><>”

Advertisements

57 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by wingedfooted1 on January 20, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Bob,

    You said “Total Depravity focuses on man’s sin.”

    I think some clarification is needed. Total depravity (a notion from the mind of the Roman Catholic Augustine) focuses on man’s total inability. Calvinists will say that because of man’s depravity, as a result of the fall, “every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin and is utterly unable to choose to follow God or choose to accept salvation as it is offered.”

    Today’s Calvinists have taken this even further. Total Depravity is more than “I can’t”, but also “I don’t want to”. Now all men are born God haters and don’t even want Him or the salvation he offers.

    Just like the Serpent in the garden, calvinism is notorious for mixing lie with truth. Calvinism might introduce a truth, but then slowly lead you down a road to a lie. Take the above description. While is true that every person born into the world is enslaved to sin (which is a result of the sinful nature, not depravity) and is incapable of keeping God’s law, man can still choose to follow God and choose to accept the salvation He offers.

    Calvinists, to support their view, often quote Romans 8:6-8 (NIV) and 1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV).

    Romans 8:6-8…
    “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”

    What we see here is that sinful man (the unregenerate) is incapable of submitting to God’s law (this is the law of works). The scriptures make it abundantly clear that “by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:16 NKJV). However, no where in this text does it even hint that sinful man is incapable of believing God or coming to faith in Christ. That is forced into the text. What these verses are saying is that sinful man is incapable of pleasing God by keeping the law of works perfectly. In fact the purpose of the Law was to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

    1 Corinthians 2:14…
    “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

    However, 1 Corinthians chapter 2 is addressing the mature in Christ (1 Cor. 2:6) and discussing the “deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10), and not the gospel, which even a child can understand (2 Timothy 3:15). Here is a commentary from the Net Bible for added measure…

    “The natural man is any person who does not possess the Holy Spirit, namely, unbelievers. Every human being is a natural man until he or she trusts Christ and receives the Spirit. Paul called this person a natural man because he or she is only natural. He has no supernatural Person indwelling him, and his viewpoints and ideas are only what are natural. He cannot accept all that God has revealed because he does not possess the indwelling Spirit of God. The natural person CAN, of course, understand the gospel and experience salvation but only because the Holy Spirit illuminates his or her understanding. Paul did not mean that an unbeliever is incapable of understanding Scripture. However an unbeliever rejects and does not accept all that God wants him or her to have. One of these things is eternal life through faith in His Son.”

    While it is true that man is born with a sinful nature (inherited by the fall), man can still choose to follow God and humbly accept the free gift of salvation He so graciously offers. If man is born totally depraved and can’t believe in Christ Jesus, then it seems God replaced the impossible (the law of works) with the equally impossible (the law of faith).

    Come, Lord Jesus.

    wingedfooted1

    Reply

  2. Thank God for His marvelous, wonderful grace that wooed me to Him by the drawing of the Holy Spirit, and through whom the regeneration began; so that I might see the truth and beauty of the Love of Christ and desire His fellowship, His forgiveness and His Lordship. He made me His child as soon as I confessed my need, and turned from my sins. He reached down into that miry pit that was my life, and pulled me out, cleansed my soul and made me whole, and wholly His. I am His and He is mine forever, as He holds my future in His lovely, nail-scarred hands! Beautiful Savior, Wonderful Lord! More than I deserve, and ever-so humbling is His love for me. I am no longer a child of sin, depraved of soul; but a victorious sinner saved by grace, now able to look forward to eternity with my Jesus, praising Him all the day long. How amazing is that grace that is great than my sin and depravity! I believe that God was the initiator and the author of my salvation because He first loved me! Thank you, Lord…

    Reply

  3. weforester…

    Hello Hawaii!

    Dr. H. would be proud!

    ><>”

    Reply

  4. Posted by wingedfooted1 on January 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Bob,

    You said “Total Depravity says man sins because he is depraved; he is not depraved because he sins. The latter part of this statement must be true because a man who is totally depraved cannot become more depraved because of his own sin.”

    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that while Calvinism teaches man sins because he is totally depraved, the truth of the matter is, man is depraved because he sins.

    Am I correct?

    wingedfooted1

    Reply

    • winged foot1,

      If we were born sinners (Psalm 51.5) then we sin because we are sinners.

      Bob said, “Total Depravity says man sins because he is depraved.”

      Actually there is more. JI Packer says well,

      The phrase total depravity is commonly used to make explicit the implications of original sin. It signifies a corruption of our moral and spiritual nature that is total not in degree (for no one is as bad as he or she might be) but in extent. It declares that no part of us is untouched by sin, and therefore no action of ours is as good as it should be, and consequently nothing in us or about us ever appears meritorious in God’s eyes. We cannot earn God’s favor, no matter what we do; unless grace saves us, we are lost.

      Do you agree or disagree with Packer?

      Reply

    • Wingedfoot1…

      The point that I am making is this:

      SINCE a person who is totally depraved at birth (inherited from Adam) AND since man cannot get more depraved in his sin than the condition he is born in, his personal sin is not really a factor FOR ANYONE WHO STANDS ON TOTAL DEPRAVITY.

      I do not believe total depravity is taught in the Bible and this statement is meant to show the inconsistency of of the implications of TD.

      Les,

      I agree with Packer’s definition of TD… and the implications of TD. I do not agree with the concept of Original Sin… from the stand point that every person born since Adam carries the depravity of sin as TD suggests.

      I do posit a similar position that all men are born separated from God because of Adam’s sin which means that man CANNOT do anything pleasing to God because a part from His personal perpetual presence in our hearts and in our lives, it is impossible to please Him because His plan and purpose is to be the source of life for men.

      The difference as I see it is man’s separation is the problem; not his sin. So in this case, man can respond to God’s invitation to “come to Him” where TD says becaause man can only sin, he cannot respond unless and until God “gives Him grace” through regeneration to be saved.

      (I am still working through this in my head… so any thoughts on the subject is GREATLY APPRECIATED!)

      ><>”

      Reply

      • You affirm TD but not original sin. So what state is man in apart from Christ? Is he a sinner? Is man born in sin? Where does that come from?

        Then you say, “I do posit a similar position that all men are born separated from God because of Adam’s sin which means that man CANNOT do anything pleasing to God because a part from His personal perpetual presence in our hearts and in our lives, it is impossible to please Him because His plan and purpose is to be the source of life for men.”

        How is this different than original sin? Piper’s website defines it “as a result of Adam’s sin we all enter the world with a fallen nature. This is original sin–the sinful tendencies, desires, and dispositions in our hearts with which we are all born. Thus, original sin is something inherent in us–it is a morally ruined character.”

        Can you explain?

        You say, “The difference as I see it is man’s separation is the problem; not his sin.”

        I really don’t get this. Does not the bible say that our sin IS WHAT separated us from God?

        “but your iniquities have made a separation
        between you and your God,
        and your sins have hidden his face from you
        so that he does not hear.”
        (Isaiah 59:2 ESV)

      • Les,

        My objection to Piper’s position is the focus of the post itself. My position is original sin as presented fails along with total depravity BECAUSE they posit man as “spiritually dead” before the individual ever sins and because he is spiritually dead his ONLY response is to sin. Keep one thing in mind, neither original sin nor total depravity are BiblicaI terms and some maintain not even Biblical concepts. I do maintain a similar position to Piper. I believe the Bible says that man is separated from God, and this separation is the reason he sins.

        I am positioning myself to say Adam brought separation to his mankind… not original sin. I am also looking at this concept of separation as the focus of the incarnation and the work of Christ at Calvary. It is obvious Jesus did not come to “defeat and destroy sin” because sin still reigns in the children of God; the burden and bondage may be loosed but sin is still a very real aspect in everyone of our lives. My separation however, is taken care of as the Holy Spirit takes up residence in my heart and guess what, I pass from death (separation from God) to life in Christ!

        Again, I am in the initial stages of this position but the more I think on it the more I believe it to be Scripturally accurate. Here is what it most certainly does; it makes the argument of regeneration a moot point. If man is separated from God and that explains his depraved state, THEN the issue of his inability to respond to God’s reconcilatory work becomes just that… and man’s responsibility to respond even more pertinent.

        ><>”

      • Bob,

        Thanks for your explanation. I’ll let it just stand that we disagree.

        I do have another question: Is your denial of original sin a widespread belief among SBC pastors and seminaries? I’m just curios. You may not know. But frankly I’m a little shocked if it is. Does the BF&M allow for this view?

        I know that one could not be ordained in the PCA if he denies original sin.

      • Original sin is closely tied to total depravity. So, I would say I am in uncharted waters as far as most would adhere to.

        As far as the BF&M is concerned, I would argue that my position of separation from God causes man to stand unrighteous before God and therefore everything he does in that state falls short of the glory of God and constitutes sin is perfectly consistent with the BF&M.

        What I am saying is not really that radically different from what many are saying. I am just coming at sin from a little different angle but that angle I maintain is vitally important because if does not assume nor demand TD as a foundational platform. I maintain that position is not correct. Most of the implications may be accurate but the foundation itself is the wrong one to build a theological platform and come to the proper conclusions.

        I will also say this one more time. Who may or may not agree with me is of little concern to me. Just because I cannot quote someone else is not a matter of major concern IF what I say is Biblically based and I believe it is.

        ><>”

      • Bob, I understand that you’re trying to be as biblical as you can. I believe that.

        I was just wondering if the denial of original sin is very widespread in the SBC. Or, if your denial of it a rarity. That’s all I was wondering.

      • I have already said my position is probably NOT the accepted position of anyone that I know of.

        Here is my request. instead of making an issue of what my position is not, I would appreciate an evaluation of WHERE my position fails?

        I know you know about separation and how being in a separated state from God would certainly render ones decisions “less than God’s glory” which is the Biblical definition of sin; so how is my position incorrect?

        Speak to that… not what Piper or Sproul or Packer or anyone else for that matter says! That is what I would appreciate (in addition to already appreciating you!)

        ><>”

      • Posted by wingedfooted1 on January 22, 2012 at 12:03 am

        Bob,

        You said….. “I will also say this one more time. Who may or may not agree with me is of little concern to me. Just because I cannot quote someone else is not a matter of major concern IF what I say is biblically based and I believe it is.”

        You little rebel you.

        I can completely appreciate your stance. I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing about the “early church fathers” or what the “giants” before us believed and taught.

        Who cares?

        John 16:13 says…“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth”.

        And Romans 3:4… “Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.”

        A lot of heresies exist to this day because of the “early church fathers”; and none more so than that Roman Catholic Augustine.

        Blessings to you and yours.

        wingedfooted1

      • Bob, OK. First we should settle on a definition of original sin, How about the following.

        “Original sin means that, because of Adam’s first sin, we are all born with an evil nature that is against God. We all come into this world with a sinful nature. It is important to see that whereas imputed sin means that we share in the blame for Adam’s sin, original sin means that we become polluted because of Adam’s sin. Imputed sin most directly involves our legal standing, original sin most directly involves our moral character.”

        Whether you agree with the OS or not, is the above definition acceptable?

  5. Posted by wingedfooted1 on January 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Les,

    Taken in its entirety, No, I do not agree; due to the opening sentence (as Bob above pointed out). The mistake for calvinism is it blurs spiritual death with depravity. Adam died spiritually when he sinned against his Creator, as God said he would (Genesis 2:17). However, Adam was never depraved, much less, totally depraved. From what I read in scripture, depravity finds it roots in “the wickedness of men who suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18), who “exchange the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25), and choose not to “retain the knowledge of God” (Romans 1:28). Romans 1:21 says “they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him”. Adam did give thanks to God, even after the fall. We don’t see a time when Adam didn’t give thanks to God. And this giving thanks to God was passed on to Cain and Abel.

    There is much more to this notion of total depravity that the quote from Packer omits. Total depravity also teaches “that, as a consequence of the Fall of Man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin and, apart from the efficacious or prevenient grace of God, is utterly unable to choose to follow God or choose to accept salvation as it is offered.”

    Thus total depravity equals total inability. That, I don’t see in scripture (again, as Bob acknowledges).

    Now I agree that because of the fall, due to the sinful nature (not depravity), every person born into the world is enslaved to sin. That is scriptural. However, being enslaved to sin does not prohibit us from accepting salvation.

    Romans 6:17 (NKJV)….

    But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

    Their bondage to sin did not prevent them from coming to Christ.

    John 8:31-32 (NIV)….

    To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    These Jews had believed in Him and yet they were still enslaved to sin.

    Because of the fall, man is born with a sin nature and, given time, will sin against his Creator. It is because man is a sinner that he needs God’s grace, not because he is depraved, but because he can’t keep the law that God requires. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death” not “for the wages of sin is depravity” (even though depravity can be the eventual outcome of spiritual death). While man is born with a sin nature, as a result of the fall, he is not born depraved. Depravity occurs only after the sinner continually denies the light given by God thru revelation of his word, and even creation itself.

    Man’s problem is not depravity, but one of separation. And God took care of that with the Cross.

    wingedfooted1

    Reply

    • Wf1

      Well put!

      ><>”

      Reply

    • wf1 and Bob,

      I have a question: Do you think the doctrine of TD can negatively affect one’s ministry as a Christian?

      If yes, how? i.e how does/can my belief in TD negatively impact my ministry as a Christian?

      Reply

      • Do you think the doctrine of TD can negatively affect one’s ministry as a Christian?

        I think the answer to that question is Yes it can and no it won’t. (If I were a Calvinist I would say absolutely NO… since God can and deos save everyone who is saved with NO human input.

        Since I am not a Calvinist, I will explain my answer. First of all, let me say, “No it won’t” because God takes our iInsufficiencies and do wonderful things in spite of them! It is amazing what God has done in spite of the obstacles that I have brought to the situation. So given that, with either of us or BOTH of us for that matter, being incorrect in our theological position God can and still does save sinners and I am glad that He does that in both of our cases.

        Let me address the “yes it can.” I am believing more and more that theological discussion has been on the wrong track so to speak for centuries as it has been focused on TD. When theological foundation is built on the wrong plank, the theological discussion is going to be on the wrong things. I told someone yesterday in witnessing to him, we can be in an automobile running alongside a train on a track just a 100 feet or so going in the same direction. We can think, hey I am ok… I am headed in the same direction the train is going.

        The problem is the gorge ahead. The train has a bridge and the road does not. At 60 MPH the highway ends at the gorge and there are no warning signs. The man prayed and asked Christ into his heart in that hospital room, PTL. (Not because of that illustration.) However, the illustration does speak to the futility of discussions focused on the wrong things.

        I do not believe the theological extensions TD posits are Biblically correct. This throws everything out of kilter so to speak and the discussions and the conclusions that are reached are potentially faulty. This is the problem with the arguments of both Calvinism and Arminianism as I see it.

        We will no doubt make statements that sound similar and even have some common connections. Commononality has no bearing on accuracy.

        Hope this answers your question. I have no question as to your heart and compassion to see the lost saved and I am grateful for that. I simply not on the same page as you theologically.

        ><>”

    • For the Wingfooted One who said:

      Adam died spiritually when he sinned against his Creator, as God said he would (Genesis 2:17).

      I understand if you are using an analogy based on the phrase “dead in sins”, but Genesis 2:17 (or its context) does not say anything about a “spiritual death.” This is the verse in question:

      Gen 2:16-17 KJV
      (16) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
      (17) 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.

      Before Adam ate of the fruit, he was not under the decree of death. After he ate of the fruit, he came under the decree of death that very day. God further defines the meaning of death as returning to the earth (Genesis 3:19) and true to his word, Adam died after nine hundred and thirty years (Genesis 5:5).

      I think that you are reading the passage as if it said “in the day thou eat thereof you will die” … which would actually create an immediate biblical contradiction. By definition, “shalt” marks the declaring of a command or a decree, not the fulfillment of the decree. The decree was not made (or set) unless and until Adam transgressed.

      If you have a decent English dictionary you could confirm the meaning by looking up “shall” and “will”, but I like using biblical examples.

      1Sa 18:21 KJV
      (21) And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.

      David was decreed to become Saul’s son in law that day, but he did not actually become his son in law that day. To borrow a common analogy, the date placed upon a check establishes the all-important date of the promise, which may or may not be the date that the promissory note is redeemed.

      I am not saying that it is wrong to use the phrase “dead in sins” as in Ephesians 2 and Colossians 2, but it is a New Testament metaphor, not something found in Genesis 2:17. Genesis makes no mention of a “spiritual death” and no biblical writer actually says that Adam “spiritually died” that day.

      If we are limiting ourselves to what the text actually says, Adam’s death was decreed on that day, but nothing was ever said concerning which day he would die. When he died at nine hundred and thirty, then he fulfilled the decree.

      I realize that the concept of a decree being made in reaction to man at a specific point within the space-time continuum might be seen as hostile to the Calvinist notion of “God being outside of time and space” … but that’s not my problem. It appears that Adam had a choice in this matter, and that God was waiting to see what he would do.

      Reply

      • Andrew,

        Welcome. Hate to jump on the band wagon here but your whole argument here is moot. Will and shall are virtually interchangeably in the English language and either are more than adequate to translate the Hebrew.

        As for your contention that David “shall” become Saul’s son-in-law” and even though he wasnt a the time, he did… could just as easily been written… “you will become Saul’s son-in-law”.

        As for Adam’s being spiritually dead, I maintain his expulsion from the Garden of Eden set the separation from God’s perpetual presence, which I define as being spiritually dead. I see spiritual death as separation from God’s presence and that is man’s primary problem.

        As to its relevance to Genesis 2:17, God’s pronouncement of punishment of death could certainly have been two-fold, and I maintain was, that Adam would die physically and he would die spiritually. Keep this in mind; Adam had no idea what death even was! He had never experienced death. Nothing had died in the world God created. God is the only One who knew the ramifications of what would happen when Adam disobeyed Him. I can argue that you and I do not even understand the full ramifications of what that means, and in fact I am contending that much of the theological discussion today is incorrect because it is focsed on the WRONG aspects of what happened in Genesis in Adam’s sin.

        ><>”

      • Posted by wingedfooted1 on January 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm

        Andrew,

        I hope Bob’s response addressed your concerns. I, like Bob affirms, believe that death for Adam was indeed twofold. My thinking came from the NKJV version which reads…

        “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

        Well, obviously Adam didn’t die physically “in that day”, so He must have meant spiritually. Also, I believe the Serpent’s response supports this in Genesis 3:4-5 when he said…

        “‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”

        Well, obviously the man and the woman wouldn’t die physically that very moment, but they would die eventually. However, they did die spiritually “in that day” before God.

        Still, I believe you are also right in that the moment he ate of the tree, the “clock starting ticking” for him physically as well.

        Hope this helps.

        God bless.

        wingedfooted1

      • For Wingfooted One, (and Bob in a moment),

        I hope Bob’s response addressed your concerns. I, like Bob affirms, believe that death for Adam was indeed twofold. My thinking came from the NKJV version which reads…

        The problem with your theory is that there is no scripture to support the “dying spiritually” explanation. Adam could not have died that day, and my thinking comes from the both the Old and New Testaments, even where it says:

        Gen 5:5 KJV
        (5) And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

        Heb 9:27 KJV
        (27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

        Adam cannot die on the day he ate the fruit and also die nine hundred and thirty years later. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, not twice to die, but after this the judgment…

        So concerning,

        However, they did die spiritually “in that day” before God.

        The problem with that statement (above) is that is not found anywhere in the biblical text. When something cannot be extracted from the text and rather must be placed into the text, that is a actual example of eisegesis.

        Addressing Bob’s comment:

        Welcome. Hate to jump on the band wagon here but your whole argument here is moot. Will and shall are virtually interchangeably in the English language and either are more than adequate to translate the Hebrew.

        As for your contention that David “shall” become Saul’s son-in-law” and even though he wasnt a the time, he did… could just as easily been written… “you will become Saul’s son-in-law”.

        This is not a moot point … and why did your proposed rewording omit the words “this day?” If you omit enough words if will change the meaning.

        First, will and shall are not virtually interchangeable in English. While it might be correct to say that the typical American wouldn’t be able to distinguish between the their proper usage to save his own life (as per the popular joke about the drowning Scot) most people can detect the difference when it is brought to their attention. Please consider these two possible statements:

        1) You will not make any graven images.
        2) You shall not make any graven images.

        If God had said “You will not make any graven images” then he would have been wrong, and Moses would have been a false prophet. Israel made graven images before Moses even got down from the mountain!

        Ted Koppel is famous for saying that the Ten Commandments were not called the Ten Suggestions. But this goes even further. Statement one is a prediction, and statement two is the commandment. It would be entirely incorrect to say that “either are more than adequate” to translate the Hebrew. Bob, I am trying to say this nicely but in this, you are not right.

        1Sa 18:21 KJV
        (21) And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.

        1Sa 18:26 KJV
        (26) And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law: and the days were not expired.

        If a translator were to render this as “today you will become my son in law” then that would be a contradiction and an error in translation. David did not become his son in law that day.

        Do you know how long it takes to hunt down two hundred Philistines, steal their foreskins (perhaps David was a master pickpocket), return to King Saul with your loot, wash your hands (at least seven times with soap) and then find a priest to perform a royal wedding before the sun sets? Remember, the Hebrews counted their days from sunset to sunset…

        Why are you arguing against this? I have showed you other locations where this same pattern was used in the Hebrew scriptures before. King Solomon is even twice recorded speaking in this same manner, where it cannot be argued that the intent was meant to be fulfilled in that same day.

        If you were translating Hebrew into a language that did not have these distinctions, that would be one thing, but we are talking about the translation of the Hebrew to the English, which requires the proper usage to avoid contradiction in these cases. One cannot hope to translate correctly without understanding this language concept.

        …and in fact I am contending that much of the theological discussion today is incorrect because it is focsed on the WRONG aspects of what happened in Genesis in Adam’s sin.

        Hanging on to a flawed “spiritual death” explanation of Genesis 2:17 is not going to get anyone onto the proper focus. The text says plenty already but no one seems to want to notice:

        1) Adam sinned against God
        2) Adam did not repent when confronted with his sin
        3) God decreed that Adam should die and banished him from the Tree of Life
        4) This banishment and decree of death also applied to all of his descendants
        5) Adam did not take of the tree of life for the rest of his days, and thus died.

        Notice that Adam was still able to live for a while even when cut off from the source of perpetual life. However, there is nothing here to indicate that Adam was cut off from the presence of God. When Adam sinned, God came and found him to talk to him, and he even made him some special clothes. God later came and provided youth counseling for his sons.

        Adam was not cut off from the presence of God. Adam was cut off from access to the tree of life, but God did come by at least those other times to receive the sacrifices and to ask Cain what he had done. That is what the book actually tells us.

        I am sorry if this does not fit in well with the model you are trying to build.

        Adam received the sentence of death that day, and he was not injected with a dose of “Total Depravity” to keep him from repenting. However, the entire race of men were given over to the fate of death. Left alone, every man that would be born would eventually die, as in “it is appointed unto men once to die” (see Hebrews 9:27, which is a NEW TESTAMENT book…)

        If the natural fate of man is to die, then the only way that he could have eternal life is if it was given to him as a gift. It doesn’t matter if someone lived a perfect life without sinning, they would still die. That is the fact of the matter.

        The only way to eternal life is by the gift of God (Romans 6:23) and it is a grace, not something that is a birthright or a natural ability. God offers this gift on his terms, which includes faith, repentance, and belief.

        If you want to say that man is “cursed” and doomed to die, that would be accurate. We require something from God in order to live indefinitely. This might be called the “tree of life” or the “bread of life” (etc)…

        So what happened in the garden when Adam sinned? He was exiled from the source of eternal life and he and his descendants were doomed to death. Adam and Eve were not dead yet. Cain, Abel, and Seth were all born alive under that same sentence of death.

        “Dead in your sins” is a metaphor, meaning that if one continues in their sins without change, then they are fated to suffer the second death, unless they repent. The bible only describes one mode of death, and differentiates them only by the ordinal of “first” and “second.”

        Luk 13:2-5 KJV
        (2) And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
        (3) I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
        (4) Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
        (5) I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

        “Dead in your sins” is a predictive statement about the second death, not the first. Jesus wasn’t promising anyone that repentance would save them from the first death.

        So if we want to start focusing on the RIGHT aspects of what happened with Adam’s sin, let’s start by looking more carefully at what is already said without making up theories like “spiritual death” to explain away a common grammatical misunderstanding of why Adam didn’t “drop dead” that instant.

        Being cut off from the tree of life is the sentence of death. If one refers to this sentence as “death” it must always be remembered that the sentence is not the same as the conclusion. Confusing this issue leads to confusion (there’s a tautology, eh?)

        I apologize if that seems long, but wanted to skip past the anticipated thirty levels of back and forth. This is so much simpler than it is often made out to be.

      • Andrew, Thanks for your response.

        You wrote…

        1) Adam sinned against God
        2) Adam did not repent when confronted with his sin
        3) God decreed that Adam should die and banished him from the Tree of Life
        4) This banishment and decree of death also applied to all of his descendants
        5) Adam did not take of the tree of life for the rest of his days, and thus died.

        This is ALL accurate. You over look one important aspect. Adam’s banishment from the Garden had MORE to do with his position with respect to the perpetual presence of God than it did access to the tree of life. I really believe BOTH are related; presence with God IS the source of life… absence from God is absence from life and absence of life IS death. If you consider God’s remedy for life or new birth, it is the manifold presence of God in the person of the Holy Spirit taking up residence in one’s heart… thus NEW LIFE

        You wrote, “Adam was not cut off from the presence of God.” I disagree. He absolutely was. Sin separates man from God. It does not separate God from man but Adam was cut off from the perpetual presence of God and the same is true for every person born “in Adam” ever since. I maintain that is the reason for the incarnation, the bodily resurrection and a bodily rapture.

        Again you wrote, “Being cut off from the tree of life is the sentence of death.” Actually, being cut off from the tree of life was an effort to keep Adam from being eternally damned in his lost state; for had he eaten of the tree of life in that state there is an argument that I have read that says he would be forever doomed and damned in that state. Again, being separated from God who IS the source and sustainer of life is sentence of death; if one dies in that state.

        Shorter comments are really much easier to respond too… anticipated arguments are tougher to project than the ramifications of “spiritual death” in my experience.

        ><>”

      • Let me comment on the following statement:

        1) You will not make any graven images.
        2) You shall not make any graven images.

        If God had said “You will not make any graven images” then he would have been wrong, and Moses would have been a false prophet. Israel made graven images before Moses even got down from the mountain!

        Listen. Understand there is a profound difference in reading 1 and 2 written above and reading someone’s take on the differences expressed in the use of the two words. “You will not make any graven images” is NOT wrong as you suggest and that statement does not make Moses a false prophet any more than it makes God a false God. That is ONE way to read the statement; it is not the only way to read it and I can read the “shall version” and argue the same point. Actually I can make a similar argument moving the emphesis from “you” to “shall”. I simply disagree with the foundational basis for your argument here.

        Now with respect to Genesis 2:17 and the Hebrew text itself the phrase, “thou shalt not eat” is a rendering of one Hebrew word… the imperfect tense of the verb meaning “eat.” I really believe the best translation is “when you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
        (from GOD’S WORD Copyright © 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.)

        Here is another interesting note I discovered looking at Blueletter Bible’s comment on the syntax of 2:17… the phrase translated “you shall surely die” is a rendering of the same word used twice meaning “die”… in two different tenses. The first time it is a an infinite tense and the second time it is imperfect tense. Interesting isn’t it!

        “When you eat, you ‘Dying’ are ‘dead’ ” could be a “literal translation of the 3 Hebrew words. As I hope you can see, your argment of “shall” or “will” has no real scriptural basis as neither is even in the text at all.

        You’re reference to Koppel’s statement, while accurate has nothing to do with the point you are arguing IMHO. I do like the statement though.

        ><>”

      • Hello Bob,

        I was trying to be concise, but I needed the scripture quotations. Otherwise I would be merely speaking my own words. If this was a reply format that allowed more space I would use more scripture.

        Sin does not *Literally* separate man from God

        You had said,

        Sin separates man from God.

        That may be a useful metaphor when used within the appropriate context, but that is not true in the literal sense.

        Adam was not in the presence of the LORD when he was considering the fruit before he had sinned, but after Adam sinned, the LORD brought Adam into his presence (or perhaps more accurately sought the presence of Adam.)

        Gen 3:8 KJV
        (8) 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.

        If I am allowed to make only one point, please allow me state this. There is nothing to be gained by arguing that a metaphor be accepted on a level equal to or interchangeable with the literal sense. The Bible never actually says anywhere that “sin separates man from God” but there are many examples where God has made himself present among sinful men.

        Mar 2:16-17 KJV
        (16) And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
        (17) When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

        The reason this is important is because it makes all the difference between the doctrine of “Total Depravity” and the gospel message of redemption.

        Where is the Holy Spirit defined as “New Life?”

        But specifically responding to this here,

        If you consider God’s remedy for life or new birth, it is the manifold presence of God in the person of the Holy Spirit taking up residence in one’s heart… thus NEW LIFE

        Is that something that you can point to with chapter and verse? I cannot even find the term “new life” in my bible. As I understand the scripture, eternal life is something that we receive at a future date, and until that time we have the Holy Spirit in earnest. When one receives something in earnest, it is because you do not yet have the promised possession.

        If I give you the keys to a Corvette, they are given in earnest expectation of the car, but you have not yet actually received the car. You must believe there is a car on faith. You may have never even seen the car (what color is it?)

        Mar 10:30 KJV
        (30) But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

        2Co 5:5 KJV
        (5) Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

        Rom 2:5-7 KJV
        (5) But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
        (6) Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
        (7) To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

        I understand that it is possible to speak of “new life” as a metaphor for faith, hope, joy, and the promise of eternal life, but you are extending the phrase beyond the bounds of the metaphor.

        2Co 1:21-22 KJV
        (21) Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
        (22) Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

        Joh 6:54 KJV
        (54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

        Heb 3:14 KJV
        (14) For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

        I do not have the space to display every scripture on this subject, but they do all synthesize to this: we have the hope and the promise of eternal life today, the Spirit shall dwell with us as a comforter until His return, but that life is not realized until we are redeemed and made perfect, when it shall be said “O death, where is thy victory?”

        It is as you said, that death is the absence of life. When death is swallowed up of life, at that point you have literally received new life. Until then we continue in faith by promise.

        Rom 8:10-11 KJV
        (10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
        (11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

        Rom 8:23-25 KJV
        (23) 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.
        (24) 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?
        (25) But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

        Tit 1:2 KJV
        (2) In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

        Tit 3:7 KJV
        (7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

        Heb 11:1 KJV
        (1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

        If you took the keys to that Corvette and started “driving” your “invisible car” I would be a little bit concerned. If I were to point out that you really didn’t have the car yet, I would not be saying this out of malice. In fact, it should be a great hope that there is an actual car that does not require a reasoning of “it is invisible and no one else can see it…” Hang on to those keys!

        In the context of the whole scripture, “the body is dead” and “the Spirit is life” (Romans 8:10) is understood in the context of hope and promise. In this flesh we shall all die, but by the power of God we shall all be made alive. Death and life are used in the context of future promise. Verse 11 speaks in the literal sense, concerning the literal life of Christ and our quickening to life, at the resurrection.

        Now, a promise is not a literal thing and so it must be received in faith because it cannot be actually seen. However, the fulfillment of the promise is most literal, and at that time we that have lived by faith shall also live by sight.

        Scripture does not define multiple types of death and multiple types of life, but it agrees with your earlier statement that he who is alive is not dead, and he who is dead is not alive. Thus, we can discern between the metaphor of promise and the promised reality.

    • wf1,

      As I said above to Bob, I’ll just end with “we disagree” or something like that. I don’t want to take the time to demonstrate from scripture how I think you are wrong. You’ve no doubt been presented with them before.

      God bless you.

      Reply

  6. Posted by wingedfooted1 on January 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Bob,

    Thanks, brother.

    You said “I do not believe total depravity is taught in the Bible and this statement is meant to show the inconsistency of the implications of TD.”

    I agree. And I think the Holy Scriptures themselves prove the invalidity of TD (TI) time and time again.

    You said “I do posit a similar position that all men are born separated from God because of Adam’s sin”.

    You need to work Romans 7:8-11 (NIV) into that equation.

    “But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.”

    You said… “The difference as I see it is man’s separation is the problem; not his sin. So in this case, man can respond to God’s invitation to ‘come to Him….’”

    Exactly, (even though sin is what separates from God) which is why Paul preached a message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

    Thanks for allowing me to brainstorm with others. Its appreciated.

    God bless

    wingedfooted1

    Reply

  7. I am splitting this translation branch into a separate thread. I think that this is so simple that you are not seeing it because it is too obvious. Specifically, a translation from one language to the next must be correct in both languages.

    Some languages, like Eskimo, have many different words for “snow” and their words could not be freely interchanged with one another. If you were translating a document from English to Eskimo, it might be correct to say that the English word by itself divorced from context does not make a distinction. However, it would be entirely incorrect to say that one could freely use only one of the Eskimo words for “snow” or freely interchange one for the other.

    If you were to do this, you would inevitably produce a very flawed translation into Eskimo. In some cases your translation would provide a wrong meaning, and in other cases it might be so wrong as to be inherently contradictory.

    If I were translating Japanese to English, it would be correct to note that their version of “blue” is quite broader than our version of “blue.” However, it would be a flawed translation (plainly wrong) if I were to say that they were talking about “blue vegetables.” English has more precision, and requires a distinction between “blue” and “green.”

    If I were to apply the same reasoning you used before, you would defend the translation of “blue vegetables” and say that it didn’t matter because Japanese does not have the distinction. I would say (and most English speakers would agree) that such a translation would be plainly wrong.

    In this light, I would respond to this one paragraph you wrote before,

    “You will not make any graven images” is NOT wrong as you suggest and that statement does not make Moses a false prophet any more than it makes God a false God. That is ONE way to read the statement; it is not the only way to read it and I can read the “shall version” and argue the same point.

    I am not aware of any English Bible translation in the world that translates Exodus 20:4 as “You will not make any graven images.” According to the rules of the English language, that would be a prediction against a future event. The immediate context of the passage proves that “You will not make any graven images” would be flat wrong, conveying practically the opposite of the intended meaning, clearly not the meaning that God himself intended.

    There may be more than one valid way to translate the passage, but “you will not make any graven images” is simply wrong, and it would have made Moses a false prophet because he would have spoken words that did not come to pass, and under that the very law he brought Israel he should have been stoned.

    Other examples from our Old Testament prove that the Hebrew language does include the concepts of “this day you will” and “this day you shall” and these are upheld by over 500 years of Modern English translations (that is, since Modern English was invented.) Even Eugene Peterson (of “The Message”) knows better than to translate Exodus 20:4 as “You will not make any graven images.”

    If one wishes to translate Hebrew into English, they need to understand the rules of both languages, and if someone does not understand the difference between “shall” and “will”, then how can they hope to fully understand the meaning of a base word which can incorporate either concept, depending upon context?

    But if you really think that “You will not make any graven images” would be a correct reading of Exodus 20:4, can you show me even one translation that renders the passage in this way? I could point to any number of authorities as to the proper meaning of the English grammar, but I cannot be expected to prove a negative to show that there is no recognized authority willing to support your claim that “You will not make any graven image” would be an acceptable rendering.

    This is an example that is so strong, that regardless of how “liberal” a translation may be called, this is one place that obviously forbids a careless “will” substitution no matter how oft it may be misused in common speech in other applications. This is at least one case where everyone understands the difference…

    1. The common person recognizes the difference in Exodus 20:4,
    2. The qualified translators of all bible translations recognize the difference in Exodus 20:4,
    3. The rules of English grammar require the difference in Exodus 20:4

    Exo 20:4 Tyndale 1525
    (4) Thou shalt make the no grauen ymage, nether any symilitude that is in heauen aboue, ether in the erth beneth, or in the water that ys beneth the erth.

    Exo 20:4 KJV
    (4) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

    Exo 20:4 RV
    (4) Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor the likeness of any form that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

    Exo 20:4 ESV
    (4) “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    Exo 20:4 TNIV
    (4) You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below

    Even the New Living Translation knows better than to use “you will” here, instead opting for “You must not make for yourself an idol…” (which implies suggestion and obligation, thus avoiding immediate contradiction, but I am sure that any Reformed Theologian would tell you why that was not not a proper translation.)

    Should this really be controversial? “You will not make any graven image” is a prediction, not a commandment, nor a suggestion per the NLT. By the rules of the target language, if the people make graven images then the prediction is proved false. Therefore, either God made a failed prophecy, or “you will not” is not a correct translation.

    Assuming that there is a concern for the integrity of the text, one cannot casually replace “shall” with “will.” If one wishes to do so, they are really reinterpreting their text in spite of whatever bible translation they have in front of them.

    Are you willing to say that your Hebrew translation skills of Exodus 20:4 are superior to the TNIV, the ESV, and … everyone else?

    http://www.puritanboard.com/f24/english-grammar-58784/

    “Well you may have seen my thread that I created earlier this week about attending seminary and undertaking Greek.

    Well I’ve been reading up a little bit and watching a few videos here and there and it’s apparent that almost everyone says you need to have your English grammar down before you attempt to learn another language or you’ll just get confused and after looking at Greek lessons it’s true, I’m pretty confused.”

    Just in case I have not properly addressed what I perceive at the root of this “shall” and “will” confusion, I will make an illustration. In one language, a “hammer” might actually include both the concepts of “hammer” and “claw”, but this does not mean that you can always translate “hammer” in the same way every time. Regardless of the original language, in some instances the target language might require “claw.”

    That is, regardless of whether the term is used interchangeably in the original language and understood solely by context, it would be wrong to ignore the rules of the target language. Ignorance of the required distinctions will result in a false translation, and thus any attempt to rely upon the words themselves will eventually result in error.

    Must we “hammer” this in to the ground any further? If we do not understand our first language, how can we hope to understand a second or a third?

    Reply

    • Andrew…

      My treatment was of Genesis 2:17 NOT the passage in Exodus. I appreciate your resolve etc… but this post is not pertentent at all. I am not a Hebrew scholar. I had 3 years of Latin and 4 years of NT Greek but that was decades ago. The only reason I wrote what I did was in response to your remarks earlier.

      I welcome your comments. I hope they are better related than this one in the future.

      Oh one other thing… I have a set of keys to a Corvette and love driving it!

      ><>”

      Reply

      • Bob, that whole reply was completely relevant. This is what you said:

        “You will not make any graven images” is NOT wrong as you suggest and that statement does not make Moses a false prophet any more than it makes God a false God. That is ONE way to read the statement; it is not the only way to read it and I can read the “shall version” and argue the same point. Actually I can make a similar argument moving the emphesis from “you” to “shall”. I simply disagree with the foundational basis for your argument here.

        I had used the example of graven images as an easy proof that will and shall were not freely interchangeable in translation. I did not expect it to be controversial, but you said that you absolutely disagreed with this foundational principle, and you even used ALL CAPS for emphasis.

        So although I hammered it into the ground, it was completely relevant (even foundational) to understanding the Genesis 2:17 passage. One should expect that an accurate translation should be able to choose the proper sense of “shall” or “will” when reading a future tense.

        The Hebrew language does allow (and certainly imply) that “in the day … thou shalt surely die” has nothing to say about the date of death, but everything to do with the day of the promising. This is the simplest explanation, and it doesn’t require adding a “spiritual death” theory that lacks explicit support from the text.

        You mentioned that you have some years of New Testament Greek. This same principle has application there as well. The Greek has that same broadness and could apply to either of the English “shall” and “will” depending upon context. If we agree that those are two different words which require correct translation from the original language, I can bury that hammer.

        But that foundation is not just for Genesis 2:17… recognizing that type of difference starts to matter all over the place in both testaments, once you know to look for it. Such as in John 3:15, for example…

        Joh 3:15 KJV
        (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

        The “should” has the meaning of decree, without intending to make a statement as to whether the fulfillment is guaranteed for whosoever believes. Thus, the passage remains compatible with other passages that warn against falling away into unbelief (Hebrews 4:11).

        That is, not only is this foundation vital to the prior Genesis 2:17 context, but it also applies itself to Total Depravity and most other points of the TULIP. Even if one disagrees with the translation itself, the concepts should still be recognized (rather than denying that such distinctions exist.) The hammering was relevant.

  8. OK.

    You wrote… “One should expect that an accurate translation should be able to choose the proper sense of “shall” or “will” when reading a future tense.” There is no “future tense” in Genesis 2:17.

    Again you wrote, “The Hebrew language does allow (and certainly imply) that “in the day … thou shalt surely die” has nothing to say about the date of death, but everything to do with the day of the promising.” I agree with this statement. However, your arguement does not have anything to do with the next statment, “This is the simplest explanation, and it doesn’t require adding a “spiritual death” theory that lacks explicit support from the text.”

    I have no idea what the last paragraph means… “That is, not only is this foundation vital to the prior Genesis 2:17 context, but it also applies itself to Total Depravity and most other points of the TULIP. Even if one disagrees with the translation itself, the concepts should still be recognized (rather than denying that such distinctions exist.) ”

    Lets get off the grammar here… what is your problem with the phrase, “spiritual death”?

    ><>”

    Reply

    • Bob asked,

      Lets get off the grammar here… what is your problem with the phrase, “spiritual death”?

      How many problems do I need to list?

      1) The phrase “spiritual death” is never found in scripture.
      2) If “spiritual death” is meant to be literal, then it would contradict the scripture.
      3) If “spiritual death” is meant in the metaphorical sense, people are using it literally.
      4) The most common proof for “spiritual death” is a bad eisegesis of Genesis 2:17
      5) The whole system of created extra-biblical theological terms interferes with overall comprehension of the whole scripture, creating a type of “Christian mythology”
      6) Commentaries and theologians are being given higher precedence than the scriptures themselves… because where else can you find “spiritual death” defined?
      7) The scripture already speaks plainly enough on its own without these “helps”

      Do I need more reasons than these? I thought I had already spoken plenty explaining why I have problems with the phrase “spiritual death” in posts above. The Christian faith is supposed to be of “simplicity in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3) and the scriptures are supposed to be sufficient for our faith and practice.

      And this does affect our original topic question, because the scriptures say that death is the absence of life (the spirit of life), not “separation from God” or “the absence of the Holy Spirit.” If we will discuss this, then let us present scripture, rather than caring about the “consensus of most commentaries.”

      Reply

      • I don’t use the “consensus of most commentaries.” Also… as referenced in a statement made further down in this thread, that proposing someone is “spiritually dead” is an effort to “prop up Total Depravity” is not the case with me since I adamantly deny that tenet.

        I am going to state my point one more time and leave it at that. Death is the absence of life. Jesus said I am life. God is the Creator and sustainer of life. His presence brings His power and His protection and His provisions. To be absent from God, is to be absent from life which is what I define as being “spiritually dead.” Now a spiritually dead person can still have physical life but if he dies separated from God, he goes into eternity separated from God.

        I am saying basically that man’s sinful nature is due to his being separated from God. Because a person who has not been saved is separated from God, he cannot do anyhing that pleases God and that is the definition of sin that Paul uses in Romans 3:23. When we repent of our sin, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts and we are “born again” correcting the separation problem and now I am alive forevermore.

        I think the problem may rest in your interpretation of “spiritual death”; I simply define it as a condition of separation from God’s perpetual presence and that is all. In this manner, we have an excellent picture of my sin nature and why I am inclined to sin; but it does not demand total inability to respond to God as Total Depravity does.

        This is my position and with that I am out of this discussion back and forth.

        ><>”

      • I want to clarify that I have no objection to someone using “spiritually dead” as a colorful description, nor do I object to someone speaking of the promise of life or fate of death in the present tense, as in “in Christ we have eternal life” and “they are dead men walking.”

        But please consider this question for a later date:

        To be absent from God, is to be absent from life which is what I define as being “spiritually dead.” Now a spiritually dead person can still have physical life but if he dies separated from God, he goes into eternity separated from God.

        How would you prove that latter statement, using your previously defined “spiritually dead”, that “…if he dies separated from God he goes into eternity separated from God?” Consider a passage that we have already quoted:

        Heb 9:27 KJV
        (27) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

        Judgment is not eternity, but all men pass from death unto the judgment.

        1Co 15:22-24 KJV
        (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
        (23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
        (24) Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

        Act 24:14-15 KJV
        (14) But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
        (15) And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

        All men die once as Adam, but all men shall be made alive when they are raised from the dead even as Christ was raised from the dead, but every man in his own order. First Christ, then his saints at his return, then at the end, at the great judgment after the thousand years. There is no judgment of the rest of the dead until that time.

        Rev 20:5-6 KJV
        (5) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
        (6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

        Rev 20:11-12 KJV
        (11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
        (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

        Combining the Acts, 1 Corinthians, and Hebrews with Revelation, it would seem that those who do not abide in life proceed to judgment at the last day, and not only this, they must be made alive before they can face judgment, “even so in Christ must all be made alive.” That really means all.

        That is the passage from 1 Corinthians, but you could find the same passage in Handel’s Messiah. The movement “Since By Man Came Death” falls between “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” and “Behold, I Tell You a Mystery.” One can learn a lot of scripture by listening to Handel’s Messiah.

        Just to refresh the question for later, we are considering:

        …but if he dies separated from God, he goes into eternity separated from God.

        As I read the scriptures, the great judgment of the last day would be the next item on the agenda. The dead must be raised to life for that judgment, and at that time the book of life is opened. The nature of this judgment is another matter which should be determined by the scriptures, but by definition, judgment itself must precede the result of that judgment.

        What scriptures might be applicable to this question? When someone dies without the promise of eternal life, do they proceed into eternity, or do they proceed to judgment (i.e. Hebrews 9:27?)

        I do not mind if you exit for now, but let’s answer this question at another time.

  9. Gentlemen,

    Most commentaries agree that what happened in the garden encompassed physical death (i.e. all would now die at some point. prior to the fall there was no death) and spiritual death. Of course neither Adam nor Eve physically died that day, but they died spiritually. Since we are all dead men walking.

    So now, if you do not believe that all men are spiritually dead, help me understand:

    Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
    (John 5:24 ESV)

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • I agree. Not sure what Andrew’s objection is.

      ><>”

      Reply

    • “Since we are all dead men walking” should have been “Since then we are all dead men walking.”

      Sorry for the typo.

      Reply

    • Dear Les,

      The bible is quite clear that it is appointed onto men once to die (Hebrews 9:27) and that Adam died nine hundred and thirty years later (Genesis 5:5). If anything did die that day, it would have been the animals that God killed to provide the coats for Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3:21… skins do not grow on trees.) Besides the graphic demonstration of animal death, death is defined for us in Genesis 3:19 as returning to the dust.

      Since you appreciate popular commentaries, Matthew Henry notes:

      Yet man, being in honour, understood not his own interest, but soon became as the beasts that perish.

      Since you asked for my comment on John 5:24,

      Joh 5:24 KJV
      (24) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

      The “death” is paired with “condemnation” and refers to the second death, and the “life” is paired with “everlasting life” and speaks of eternal life in the resurrection. In fact, this is how it is explained in the very next verse.

      Joh 5:25 KJV
      (25) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

      That is the meaning of the words “life” and “death” in that context. Jesus is speaking of the resurrection to eternal life, and the second death which also follows resurrection to judgment.

      So now, if you do not believe that all men are spiritually dead, help me understand…

      Joh 5:26-29 KJV
      (26) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
      (27) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
      (28) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
      (29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

      In the context that you requested, death is the “sentence of death” and “life” is the “promise of life”, but each instance of “death” and “life” is referring to literal death and literal life.

      Setting aside metaphors which point to reality, the bible never teaches “spiritual death.” There are two deaths, but there are not two different kinds of death (see Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, and 21:8.)

      Was that a sufficient answer for your question? Would you like to ask another?

      Reply

      • Andrew,

        And this commentator said of Adam,

        “The consequences of his sin are all comprehended under the term death, in its widest sense. It was primarily spiritual death, or separation from God, that had been threatened. Adam did not die physically until 930 years after he fell. But he was spiritually estranged from God and died spiritually the very instant that he sinned.” Loraine Boettner

        You asked, “Was that a sufficient answer for your question? Would you like to ask another?”

        Your answer was many words of little sense. Would I like another? Not really. Your hermeneutics are highly suspect.

        As to your understanding of John 5:24…I’m afraid to tell you that you are wrong.

        I really am surprised you cannot see spiritual death in this passage, as do most of the rest of the Christian community. John here, of course, agrees with himself in 1 John:

        “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”
        (1 John 3:14 ESV)

        What does this mean but a transition from a state of death which must be spiritual (since physically dead men cannot love the brothers)?

        Anyway n John 5, clearly v. 25 is referring to spiritual death as surely as v. 28 is referring to physical death…a resurrection from physical death.

        Since you quoted a commentary, now for your reading enjoyment (and a confirmation of my and most others’ view on this passage and concept):

        “24. believeth on him that sent me–that is, believeth in Him as having sent Me. I have spoken of the Son’s right not only to heal the sick but to raise from the dead, and quicken whom He will: And now I say unto you, That life-giving operation has already passed upon all who receive My words as the Sent of the Father on the great errand of mercy.
        hath everlasting life–immediately on his believing (compare John 3:18 , 1 John 5:12 1 John 5:13 ).
        is passed–“hath passed over”
        from death unto life–What a transition! (Compare 1 John 3:14 ).

        25-29. The hour cometh–in its whole fulness, at Pentecost.
        and now is–in its beginnings.
        the dead–the spiritually dead, as is clear from John 5:28 . Here He rises from the calmer phrase “hearing his word” ( John 5:24 ), to the grander expression, “hearing the voice of the Son of God,” to signify that as it finds men in a dead condition, so it carries with it a resurrection-power.
        shall live–in the sense of John 5:24.

        Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown

        Now comes Matthew Henry (whom you quoted earlier) from his concise commentary:

        Our Lord declared his authority and character, as the Messiah. The time was come when the dead should hear his voice, as the Son of God, and live. Our Lord first refers to his raising those who were dead in sin, to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit, and then to his raising the dead in their graves. The office of Judge of all men, can only be exercised by one who has all knowledge, and almighty power. May we believe His testimony; thus our faith and hope will be in God, and we shall not come into condemnation. And may His voice reach the hearts of those dead in sin; that they may do works meet for repentance, and prepare for the solemn day.

        It is quite clear that this John 5:24 is referring to spiritual death.

        I hope this brief response helps you come to a better understanding.

      • Andrew,

        BTW before you make a big deal of me quoting commentaries (since you said earlier “If we will discuss this, then let us present scripture, rather than caring about the “consensus of most commentaries.””), it was you who quoted Henry. I’m quite certain that was because I had said, “Most commentaries agree that what happened in the garden…” and you wanted to…well I don’t know what you were doing there.

        In any case, there is nothing wrong with consulting commentaries. In fact, only a fool would ignore the weight of theological history in favor of his own commentary. After all, your comments here are simply that–Andrew’s Commentary. Surely you are not suggesting we ignore ALL commentaries. If so, we must ignore you.

        Rather commentaries serve to help keep us all on the rails so to speak. Theological understanding didn’t begin in our lifetimes. It has a rich history in the church. We put ourselves in quite precarious positions when we ignore our brethren from the past.

      • Thank you Les. I will use your response for purpose of demonstration. This might be a good opportunity to show Bob what type of support this “spiritual death” theory truly draws.

        First, note the lack of willingness to ask sincere questions:

        …[Andrew] asked, “Was that a sufficient answer for your question? Would you like to ask another?”

        Your answer was many words of little sense. Would I like another? Not really. Your hermeneutics are highly suspect.

        So you have no further questions, you criticize the length of words in an answer that was less lengthy than your own, yet you are unable to show anything actually wrong with the answer.

        I think that I am justified with repeating one of Bob’s common complaints, against people that will say “you are wrong” or “you are stupid” but refuse to show him how he is allegedly “wrong” or “stupid.”

        Second, I have already stated many times in the past that I do not care about any alleged “weight of commentaries.” As such, you should know that quoting a commentary that preaches a doctrine of “spiritual death” is not persuasive to me. So why are you wasting time convincing yourself rather than seeking a scriptural argument?

        Third, your reading comprehension is extremely suspect, since only one half of your quoted commentaries could be construed as supporting your allegation. The excerpt from Matthew Henry that you chose never speaks of a doctrine of “spiritual death.” You should read what you write before posting.

        Fourth, your failure to provide scriptural proof of “spiritual death” confirms my claim that such a doctrine is never actually taught in the bible, and your insistence upon using its occurrence in a commentary is evidence that it can only be proved by reliance on commentaries, placing their words at a higher priority than scripture.

        And this comment of yours is hilarious:

        In fact, only a fool would ignore the weight of theological history in favor of his own commentary.

        Fifth, by your own words the very Reformers themselves were fools, because they were willing to forsake some aspects of tradition and and superstition and demand that teaching and doctrine should be biblical. Perhaps you might be happier rejoining the Roman Church most Catholic?

        Was that a proper demonstration of what you learned in seminary? They give you grades to cast ad hominem attacks and to make claims without proof? To hunt and peck for a favorite commentary to parrot? To exercise duplicity by claiming to have the weight of “theological tradition” while at the same time calling yourself “Reformed” and claiming “sola scriptura?”

        I have answered your question from scripture, even from the very context of the same passage where Christ’s words are self-explanatory. But when asked, you have been unable to provide any scripture which teaches a doctrine of “spiritual death” that would use “dead” and “alive” in anything but a metaphor/foreshadowing of that physical sense, or the actual physical sense itself.

        Mat 15:8-9 KJV
        (8) This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
        (9) But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

        Please come back when you have a scriptural argument, when you are willing to ask a question, and when you are able to substantiate your thoughts rather than simply claiming “you are wrong.” Your “hot air” attacks grow tiresome.

  10. Andrew,

    I completely stand by my posts and am content to let other readers judge. I choose to offer no more scriptural rebuttal to your claims than I have already posted. See my comment of 8:05am to see where I answered your comments with scripture.

    Reply

    • I am looking very hard trying to find any other scripture reference in your reply, and all I was able to find was one reference to 1 John 3:14, which does nothing to support your allegation of “spiritual death.”

      1Jn 3:14-15 KJV
      (14) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
      (15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

      John does not teach a doctrine of “spiritual death” but speaks of death in contrast to eternal life. Eternal life is put on at the last day and eternal death (the second death) is the condemnation of final judgment.

      1Jn 3:2 KJV
      (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

      If we allow John to be read from the context of John, even from the same epistle and the same chapter, these promises of life and death point to the last day when Christ returns. This is also the same style that is used with regard to “sons of God” for which we cannot yet know what we shall be. The sons of God have the promise, which must be held in faith because it is redeemed at the latter day.

      As John writes in another place,

      Joh 6:54 KJV
      (54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

      We have eternal life as a promise, and its redemption is realized at the last day. We have eternal life in the sense of the promise, but it could not be a hope if it was something that we already had. See Titus 1:2, 1 Timothy 6:19, and 1 John 2:25 (below), see also Matthew 25:46, Mark 10:30, John 4:36, John 12:25, Romans 2:7, 1 Timothy 6:12, Titus 3:7, 1 John 5:13, and Jude 1:21.

      Tit 1:2 KJV
      (2) In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

      1Ti 6:19 KJV
      (19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

      1Jn 2:25 KJV
      (25) And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

      The promise is held in the present tense, which points to a future redemption. Eternal life is the opposite of the second death, and he who abides in death remains under the sentence of death, but he is not literally dead. This is very simple language that is easily understood by most anyone… at least, anyone who is willing to read the text instead of relying on tradition and commentary.

      Please show me a scriptural argument that explicitly teaches that there is a separate “spiritual death” or honorably withdraw. Otherwise it appears either that you are arguing for the sake or arguing, or that you are more interested with pounding the people “in line” with your traditions and commentaries.

      But I think I Just Figured This Out

      I think that this is really about you wanting someone to be “dead” as in representing an utterly unresponsive state, which is a required assumption for your doctrine of Total Depravity. I suppose that allowing the text to speak in the simpler language of promise and metaphor cuts dangerously close to the root of the TULIP, and that is why you must insist that everyone be kept in line with your chosen commentaries, and not be allowed to deviate back to scripture.

      So at this point, I agree. Let’s stand by our posts and let the readers judge.

      Reply

      • Andrew,

        You: “I am looking very hard trying to find any other scripture reference in your reply, and all I was able to find was one reference to 1 John 3:14, which does nothing to support your allegation of “spiritual death.””

        Let me help you by reprint here: “Anyway n John 5, clearly v. 25 is referring to spiritual death as surely as v. 28 is referring to physical death…a resurrection from physical death.”

        John 5 is sufficient to teach a spiritual death. I even referenced that John agrees with himself in 1 John.

        How many places do you need? I see no need to belabor what is plain to see in scripture. Your voluminous writings do not persuade. Your initial hermeneutic is incorrect in John 5. Noting you added helped your cause to deny spiritual death.

        You are simply misreading scripture.

        You: “Please show me a scriptural argument that explicitly teaches that there is a separate “spiritual death” or honorably withdraw.”

        I will honorably withdraw. Please have all the accolades from yourself you wish to heap upon yourself to feel that you won the argument. Enjoy.

  11. Posted by Nick on January 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Bob,

    I’m obviously a bit late to this, but I’d like to say your view on Original Sin is more akin to Catholicism than it is to Protestantism. Original Sin being principally (not entirely) defined as loss of relationship with God and relationship with God being defined principally as Indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a very Catholic view – and actually not so much true in historic Protestantism. (I’m Catholic by the way and have studied this issue)

    There are various ways to prove this, but lets take one example I like: If Jesus was fully human, and He received His humanity from Mary, then TD (and “sin nature”) is impossible since Jesus was without sin. If Mary had a “sin nature,” then this is all She could pass on to Jesus. To say we all have a “sin nature” but Jesus does not have a “sin nature” is to posit two types of humanity, and thus Jesus assumed some other “humanity” than what we actually had, which defeats the whole purpose of Incarnation (including the human “ability” to die on a cross).

    In reality, Mary was as fully human as Jesus was. Why? Because human nature is and always has remained the same: God created and sustained one humanity, no evolution/devolution. Sin properly speaking is an act of the will, it is not a ‘thing’ like a ‘black blob’. So a ‘sin nature’ is ontologically impossible. Grace then is not an external “favor” but a gift, a gift that transforms humanity, raising it to super-natural (literally above nature) heights. This is what the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit is all about, it transforms us into adopted children, not merely forensically but in fact. Thus, everyone could be lacking the Holy Spirit – i.e. the result of Adam’s sin – and yet we could be just as human as Jesus was. This is also how Mary could give Jesus her/our humanity.

    To advocated TD/sinnature is to unwittingly render the Incarnation impossible. This was one of Luther’s biggest yet unwitting errors that Calvin and all “classical” Protestant branches espouse even to this day.

    Another quick proof: Adam would die on the day he ate the apple, which means apart form that sin he was immortal. But immortality is something beyond our nature. On our own, our body decays and eventually it gets to the point our soul separates from our body causing physical death. We cannot prevent this by our own human abilities, nor does it make sense to say Adam was immortal simply by an ‘external favor’. The only answer is that Immortality was another special gift God added to humanity, which Adam had and would have passed onto us had he obeyed. But this was obviously lost, yet Adam remained human, as do we, as does Jesus even though He died.

    Luther and Calvin and those Protestants who followed denied Adam was endowed with human transforming graces, especially the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But this meant “goodness” and “friendship with God” consisted in purely “creaturely” terms, so as long as Adam’s nature remained in the sound condition it was created in he was ‘good’. The ironic thing is that Pelagius believed a very similar thing, and reasoned that since man was not at a super-natural state resulting from Divine Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that man had nothing to “fall from”. The result is that he denied man needs ‘grace’ (as Catholics define it), which is why Augustine opposed him. But Luther and Protestants went in another direction, man had nothing to “fall from” so humanity itself became corrupt like a rotten apple, which results in the original problem I mentioned. Further problems include the fact that if Adam had no grace, then that means Adam had to render perfect human obedience by purely human powers, this is bad because Jesus never did anything by purely human powers since He was “full of grace and truth” from the very start!

    Thoughts?

    Reply

  12. Nick,

    Welcome. Just curious, how did you get here? To be honest with you, I have not considered the Catholic position on separation and sin so I will simply respond to your comments here as I see them, without any forethought. Let me say, if my position is more Catholic than it is protestant, that does not bother me, since I am seeking to see the truth as I read the Scriptures. I do maintain any discussion that begins with TD is automatically off track so any discussion will be off based and most conclusions incorrect.

    Your example of Mary and Jesus and the issue of His humanity is a little flawed as I see it. The Bible makes a definite point of Jesus’ father being God as opposed to an earthly father. This perhaps where my take on the separation issue and the Catholic view may part. If we see separation from God being passed on through Adam, ie the child’s father, THEN Jesus in His humanity does not inherit a sin nature even though He is completely human being born of a virgin. In the incarnation, it can be viewed that God Himself has become the created to cure this separation problem in Jesus. If one looks at the incarnation as a unique birth that God Himself is responsible for and not procreation, then the sin nature is not passed on to Jesus because he has no earthly father. This would be my position at this point with reference to His humanity and the sin nature question. Also, since Jesus was 100% man and 100% God, there is no separation and by my definition, no sin nature because I define that sin nature as the natural man being born separated from God.

    I disagree that Jesus had a sin nature. I do believe He could have sinned or else the temptation experience in the wilderness when He began His earthly ministry would have no relevance nor the experience at Gethsemane. However, my definition of a sin nature is being separated from the perpetual presence of God. Jesus certainly did not have that problem. Over and over again, He reminded everyone that He and the Father were One. That is very important. I have a serious problem with the statement,
    “To say we all have a “sin nature” but Jesus does not have a “sin nature” is to posit two types of humanity,” In this statement, you equate humanity and sin nature. God created Adam in the garden with no sin nature. Adam sinned and was cast out of the garden. His sin separated him from God. Guess what: every person born to Adam has been born outside the Garden, which represents the perpetual presence of God.

    Jesus was uniquely born the Son of God. God interjected Himself into His creation. He is God; He has the right and the ability to do what He wants to do. While Jesus was not born in the garden, He was born of God and His unique humanity was once again united with the perpetual presence of God. Humanity and sin nature do not have to be synonymous. It is consistent in every case outside Jesus; because the nature itself is determined by humanity’s position with respect to God’s presence. There is a major difference here.

    Fortunately, my position renders the following statement moot, “To advocate TD/sinnature is to unwittingly render the Incarnation impossible.” My position establishes the validity of the incarnation with respect to the reality of both humanity and man’s sin nature.

    I am not really following your statement regarding Adam and death and the human ramifications that follow. My first thought is that your initial statement concerning Adam dying the day he ate the fruit is perhaps flawed as I see it. God said in the day that you eat of the fruit you shall die. God did not say WHEN Adam would die nor even how. Here is a thought to ponder. Since Adam had no idea what death even was, what kind of warning was death to him in the first place? I think there is something to ponder there. I do not believe a blade of grass had yet withered nor a rose petal dropped to the ground.

    Back to your illustration; I do believe apart from Adam’s sin, he would have lived forever in the perpetual presence of God and here is why. God is life. He is both the creator and sustainer of life. In Him there is no death. He is eternal. This is why I believe God describes adoption into His family as our becoming heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus. God is eternal and we will live with Him forever because He places His Spirit in our heart and where the Spirit is there is life, both now and forever.

    The truth is, death does not really exist just like there is no such thing as darkness. Each is the absence of something that exists. Death is the absence of life and darkness is the absence of light. Ironically, Jesus identifies Himself as both! in addition to that, He says He is the Way. How do we describe someone who does not have Christ in His heart? I have always heard that person described as one who is lost. If a person is lost, what does that typically mean? It means one cannot find his way “home.” This amazes me. God is never lost. Man is. Sin does not separate God from me, it separates me from Him.

    I cannot find my way to Him because apart form Him all I can do is wander aimlessly and never come into His presence on my own. This is what separates my position from the Pelagian position. Man is completely incapable of coming to God so God has come to man in the incarnation. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross pays the penalty for man’s sin debt and He is placed in a borrowed tomb and three days later Jesus defeats humanity’s final enemy, death and is raised up from the grace, the first born of the resurrection. Notice a very important detail; Jesus’ resurrected body is a physical body! Once again, humanity and Divinity are still united. God has corrected the separation problem that Adam created.

    Immortality is not a special gift that God gives, it is the result of His perpetual presence in the life of His created beings, which is the state He created Adam in at the beginning.

    Do you see the differences in my position and the one you presented?

    I really do appreciate your input! It is refreshing to discuss theological positions as opposed to historical, philosophical, traditional, etc arguments that have no real relevance to the post itself.

    I look forward to your thoughts on my response.

    May God bless and thanks again for your comment.

    ><>”

    Reply

    • Hey Bob, without meaning to interfere with your discussion with Nick, this one statement you made sounds a little strange…

      Immortality is not a special gift that God gives, it is the result of His perpetual presence in the life of His created beings, which is the state He created Adam in at the beginning.

      Maybe you didn’t mean it exactly like that, but I have always understood immortality to be a special gift.

      Rom 6:22-23 KJV
      (22) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
      (23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

      1Co 15:52-54 KJV
      (52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
      (53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
      (54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

      Likewise, with respect to those passages from Romans 6 and 1 Corinthians 15, it also seems to me that this immortality is properly the result of resurrection to eternal life, which will also coincide with the perpetual presence of the Lord, “…and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 4:17). This is the end of our faith, not the beginning (Romans 6:22, also 1 Peter 3:19).

      But my point is that Romans 6:23 actually does specifically state that immortality is a special gift that is given by God.

      Reply

      • That reference should have been “1 Peter 1:9” instead of “1 Peter 3:19” …

        1Pe 1:8-9 KJV
        (8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
        (9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

      • God’s gift is His Holy Spirit and the benefit of the indwelling of the Spirit is eternal life. To me it is much more involved than just saying God gives eternal life.. which He does… but the means by which He does so is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which corrects the separation problem which solves the death problem that leads to life that begins today and lasts forever.

        How is that for a play on words!

        ><>”

      • I am not sure what you mean by the play on words, but if the Holy Spirit gave eternal life right now, then why would we die, and why would the Holy Spirit need to raise us to life at the last day? (i.e. 1 Corinthians 15 previously mentioned, and Romans 8:11 below…)

        Rom 8:11 KJV
        (11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

        Why would we be told that the Holy Spirit was an earnest of eternal life (see Ephesians 1:13, 4:30, 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5, Romans 8:23) if we already had eternal life merely by the indwelling of the Spirit?

        Eph 1:12-14 KJV
        (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
        (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
        (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

        Eph 4:30 KJV
        (30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

        2Co 1:22 KJV
        (22) Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

        2Co 5:4-5 KJV
        (4) For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
        (5) Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

        Rom 8:23 KJV
        (23) 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.

        If you are given something in earnest of a promised inheritance, that earnest itself cannot be the same thing as the promised inheritance. Since we are given the Holy Spirit in earnest of our redemption to immortality and eternal life, then it seems to make little sense to say that the presence of that Spirit actually is eternal life before it raises us to eternal life.

        Romans, Ephesians, 1 Corinthians, and 2 Corinthians all speak in regards to immortality and eternal life and likewise these terms begin to overlap, and they seem to agree that the Holy Spirit will raise us to life at that last day, and then we shall put on immortality, but not before.

        But if the presence of the Holy Spirit had the effect of eternal life, then by definition saints would never die. But saints do die, even those who had been given that earnest of eternal life, which is called the Holy Spirit. They still died, but they shall be raised to eternal life at the last trump.

        Additionally, neither would it make sense for the mere presence of God to cause eternal life as an automatic side-effect, because God has slain people in the past, and God will certainly be present when he sentences the wicked to the second death at the end of the world.

        2Th 1:9 KJV
        (9) Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

        It also seems to me that the untamed presence and glory of the Lord can actually have a destructive effect that will slay the adversaries.

        Deu 32:39-41 KJV
        (39) See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
        (40) For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
        (41) If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.

        … so I wouldn’t want to say that the presence of God automatically gives eternal life. I would say that the Holy Spirit can kill, and it can make alive, and that it can raise us from death to eternal life. If the Holy Spirit dwells in us now, it will raise us to immortality at the day of redemption (1 Corinthians 15, Ephesians 4:30, etc…)

        For those who live by faith, the promise is as good as the fulfillment thereof, but we still look forward to the redemption.

    • Hello Bob,

      I found this site as I was doing a google search on Total Depravity. I thought it was a well written post since it was premised on the attitude that you’re not worried about going wherever truth leads.

      (1) I think it’s dangerous to link passing on Original Sin as something linked with male biology. If so, this would entail “separation with God” is a biological attribute rather than a spiritual one, and further it would cause problems in so far as how Jesus got his male chromosomes if there was no earthly father. Also, I’m not really sure how that gets around the “sin nature” issue since He was conceived in Mary’s womb, and thus must have shared in Mary’s biology. (I never meant to say Jesus actually did have a “sin nature,” only that this is what “sin nature” proponents would be stuck affirming)

      (2) It seems there is a mix-up in how we’re using the term “nature.” When I use the term, I take it to mean the ‘essence’ of something, in this case “human nature” (i.e. a physical body with a soul). You seem to be defining “sin nature” on purely spiritual grounds, namely a human body and soul lacking God’s special presence. I would agree with the idea you’re trying to express, but I wouldn’t use the terminology of “sin nature” since this implies the human body and human soul are somehow literally ‘sinful’ and that this human body and human soul compound is different from the non-sinful human body/soul compound of Adam. I think you’ve cleared this up in your comments, and I think the overall idea you’re trying to express is correct. Historic Protestant thought sees ‘sin nature’ as a corruption of human nature itself. What you’re doing is making a sharp distinction between human nature and ‘friendship with God’, which Catholics would agree with.

      (3) Regarding Adam ‘dying’ the day he ate. My point was simply this: up to the day he ate, he was not experiencing suffering or natural body decay – though his body was composed of atoms, they remained in their integrity up to the point he ate. Once he ate he immediately began a process of bodily decay and open to experience suffering.
      Adam could have known what death meant, but it would have been an intellectual rather than ‘experiential’ knowledge (e.g. we know grass tastes bad even though most of us have never actually experienced eating it) – in any case I don’t think this question is crucial.

      More importantly, I’d like to clarify that Catholics distinguish between immortality and ‘friendship with God’. I brought it up to highlight that Adam’s human nature was graced with added gifts. If you don’t make such a distinction, then you won’t be able to explain how Christians (or even Jesus) still stuffer and die despite being in friendship with God.

      (4) You brought up an important point, but I’d like to expand on:
      “death does not really exist just like there is no such thing as darkness. Each is the absence of something that exists.”
      Spiritual death is simply lacking the Indwelling of God’s Spirit, but physical death certainly does exist and we witness it all the time. Physical death is when a human soul separates from the body, rendering the body lifeless and decomposing. Death builds up as our physical body decays further and further each day.

      Jesus’ resurrected body is a physical body, but it’s more accurately a glorified physical body. It’s a body that has received a special grace to be totally impassible (e.g. the nailmarks didn’t bleed or hurt) and even defy physics (e.g. as Jesus passed through the walls). This clearly is not what Adam had nor what Jesus had prior to the Resurrection, else they wouldn’t have been able to die or be limited (e.g. they still had to sleep, breath, and Adam could procreate).

      Overall, I think we agree on the most crucial point. I think some precision would bring us into further agreement though too, notably on the ‘friendship with God’ versus ‘immortality’ distinction (rather than equating the two), since Jesus physically died yet was always in friendship with God the Father.

      God Bless,
      Nick

      Reply

      • Hey Nick,

        In reading your response, the thought that is running through my head is the tendency to try to tie too much significance on various analogies used establish or even explain positions. One of the problems I see with Calvinism is that it is too neatly packaged and seeks to answer all the answers but we both know it does not do so. There are implications that Calvinism present and they act as if anyone who brings them up are chasing “straw men.”

        Your comments of relating original sin and male biology… your comment that there are somehow “problems in so far as how Jesus got his male chromosomes if there was no earthly father.” is easy enough to by-pass… God created them so I am sure He had no problem getting those chromosomes accurately set.

        How would you explain the fatherhood of God in Jesus? It works for me so that as I said earlier, is good for me until I am convinced by God, the Word or discussion with folks like you to the contrary. I am simply saying the absence of the perpetual presence of God has merit in my mind and I am working through it.

        On to the next paragraph where you say, “You seem to be defining “sin nature” on purely spiritual grounds, namely a human body and soul lacking God’s special presence.” I think that is an accurate statement. I do not see sinful nature as necessarily human nature and here is why; Adam was created with a human nature and God looked and said “it is good.” Now… when God told Adam when you eat you will die… God knew exactly how sin would effect His world… He understood the loss that would be His if I am correct in saying that God created man to be the source and sustinence of human life. God created man with needs that He Himself wanted to meet. Sin keeps God from being able to do what He so much wants to do in us and for us. I believe that is the essence of Jesus’ statement, “I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

        You wrote, “though his body was composed of atoms, they remained in their integrity up to the point he ate. Once he ate he immediately began a process of bodily decay and open to experience suffering.” I can say the atoms were upset so to speak when he was banished from the garden and my statement is as valid as yours. There is NO reference whatsoever that I am aware of that establishes your position.

        I haev to admit I really cringe when I read the words, “special grace”. I have never seen so much grace that does one thing one moment and then can’t do it the next… God’s grace is His grace to do what He wants to do. Jesus could have done anything He wanted to do before, during and after the cross and resurrection. He virtually disappeared in the midst of a crowd that sought to kill Him. His body was glorified for sure. While i do not suppose to understand the full implications of the incarnation or resurrection, I do believe there is an element of relevance in the incarnation overcoming the separation that sin caused and Jesus came to bridge.

        Understand something in my speaking of immortality and physical death. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is what corrects my sepraration problem; it has not correct my sin problem! His death has paid the penalty for my sin, past, present and future. My physical death is the result of my personal sin. It has nothing to do with my eternal destiny. I maintain the purpose of our body is to get our soul to heaven. God provided the means at Calvary. That remedy was made available when I trusted God’s promises in who He was and what He had done for me. Under the convinction of the Holy Spirit, I knew I was a sinner and that is the most aweful feeling I have ever experienced in my life as a 10 year old boy… who was not bad at all.

        I have made far more mistakes since I was saved than before. But the Holy Spirit is still in my heart and because He is, I am headed to heaven when I close my eyes in this life. He is my promised guarantee.

        ><>”

  13. Andrew,

    I agree… “If the Holy Spirit dwells in us now, it will raise us to immortality at the day of redemption (1 Corinthians 15, Ephesians 4:30, etc…)

    For those who live by faith, the promise is as good as the fulfillment thereof, but we still look forward to the redemption.

    ><>”

    Reply

  14. Hello Bob, since you put this forth for pondering…

    Here is a thought to ponder. Since Adam had no idea what death even was, what kind of warning was death to him in the first place? I think there is something to ponder there. I do not believe a blade of grass had yet withered nor a rose petal dropped to the ground.

    Why would you say that Adam did not know the meaning of death in the original commandment? God created Adam with the ability to speak and understand language, and he was also surrounded by an observable creation.

    Gen 2:19 KJV
    (19) And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

    Although the language was still adding words at the time (i.e. “cat”, “dog”, etc.) Adam must have understood the difference between “dirt” and “living thing” because God was giving demonstrations.

    Job 40:15 KJV
    (15) Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.

    So if God created behemoth with Adam, then what did behemoth eat, and how did it keep from crushing grass, breaking twigs, or stepping on the tulips during the rest of day six? Would the rose petals get special treatment?

    It seems to me that if Adam did not understand death, he would have asked. God has used graphic demonstrations before with with fig trees (Matthew 21:19) and gourds (Jonah 4:9).

    Jon 4:9 KJV
    (9) And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

    But a plant is not an animal. When a human parent that wants to teach a child about death, he often gives him a small pet like a goldfish, parakeet, or hamster, knowing that it will eventually die and teach the lesson. God was creating sparrows out of the dirt, and Adam was worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). God does not consider animal life to be sacred (like the ram of Genesis 22:13) and the creation was made for man, not man for creation (Genesis 1:28-30, also Mark 2:27).

    Do you think that it would have been uncharacteristic for God to have provided a real demonstration, if not with a fig tree or a gourd, then with a hamster or a dove, so that Adam would understand the meaning of “thou shalt surely die?”

    Reply

  15. Andrew…

    You are indeed an asset when you are debating someone else… because you are thorough to a degree… if I ever needed someone to do research you would be at the top of the list. You once again have gone overboard on this “ponder this” comment.

    It is not a theological posit to begin with. But… I will explain my statement. Look at your comment… God created Adam with the ability to speak and understand language, and he was also surrounded by an observable creation.

    Who did he talk to? What kind of creation did he observe? I have no problem seeing grass that did not need mowing… trees that did not need to be replaced… if they did not die then there was no need for new ones to take their place. I maintain sin disrupted EVERYTHING. Prior to Adam’s sin, I am not so sure that NOTHING had died. There is no proof in the first couple of chapters that indicate whether it did or did not happen. so you can see it your way and I can see it mine.

    I do believe Adam understood the gravity of God’s word of warning, whether he understood what death was. I really believe that is why he ate teh fruit in the first place; he did not want to be separated from Eve… which carries the separation issue even further… it is now not just between man and God it is between woman and man… and so Adam ate. Ironically, Jesus had the same basic temptation except He did what God told Him to do or what God sent Him to do. Now… one can argue… He was God; yes He was but He was also 100% man and it was His humanity that had to remain connected to His divinity and that is where man finds his greatest need; apart from Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, there is no bridge for the separation.

    Death is the absence of life. Sin separates man from God who is life and so I maintain man is “dead” even though he still breathes and his heart beats; it is one beat closer to eternity.

    I try to get over on the other side of the room and see the other person’s perspective before i just jump in the pool… and pick up the hammer to drive nails that may not need driving! I don’t always succeed and I am sure there are a LOT of folks that say I am not even in the right house much less other side of the room.. some dont even have me in the same planet! I do try though.

    ><>”

    Reply

    • If that seemed overboard, then I guess that you don’t mind that I had scrapped a much longer reply that investigated some additional angles…

      Prior to Adam’s sin, I am not so sure that NOTHING had died. There is no proof in the first couple of chapters that indicate whether it did or did not happen. so you can see it your way and I can see it mine.

      Agreeing, I do not see how to “prove” that particular question one way or another. The best that I could do is to establish what seemed reasonable based on other biblical examples. That is why I asked for your reasoning.

      For me, the most important issue there is whether the character of God is such that he would threaten a punishment of death if he knew that Adam could not understand. It seems to me that God had the means, method, and opportunity to provide a proper explanation, even with illustration. God doesn’t have to go out and “buy” a hamster.

      …but if Adam was incapable of understanding the penalty, then that would also bring the nature of God’s justice into question.

      So concerning,

      Since Adam had no idea what death even was, what kind of warning was death to him in the first place?

      If the premise of “Adam had no idea what death was” lacks biblical proof, then that might not be a good assumption to be basing further questions. That was why I was asking about your reasoning, and for the sake of fairness I was sharing (some of) my reasoning.

      Reply

  16. Posted by Nick on January 31, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Hi,

    I’ve been busy but will try to get to this asap.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: