Freewillism (2) Total Depravity

The second reason Calvinism rejects the entire notion of man having a free will is because Calvinism teaches that man is totally depraved. That is the first point in the famous acronym TULIP. Total depravity teaches that man is completely depraved; not just a bit here a bit there. His mind, thoughts, actions, emotions, feelings, and even his will is utterly depraved. This depravity is so severe that not only does man do no good, but he also actively and purposefully does evil. This means that man, apart from the grace of God, can never choose God. I intend to prove in this blog that the teaching of total depravity is a Biblical teaching.

Perhaps the most quoted verse regarding man’s depravity is Psalm 14:1 – 3 which says, “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.’’ Mankind is so corrupt, that the psalmist describes us as being filthy with sin. We do not even seek after God! That is how utterly depraved we are by nature. How then can man accept God into his heart or even invite Him into it?

Romans 1:28, describes the will of man as being reprobate, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” The word here for reprobate is αδοκιμον meaning depraved, debased. God gave them over to a depraved mind. To say that man’s will is good is to go directly against this verse. Further, Romans 8:7 says this concerning man’s will, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God.” First, man’s mind is carnal. The Greek word for carnal is σαρκος meaning fleshly, earthly in opposition to that which is heavenly and spiritual. That fleshly mind is enmity against God. The word enmity is εχθρα and could be translated as hostility or even antagonism. Paul is saying the carnal mind is the enemy against God.”

Going back to the Old Testament we read in Jeremiah 17:9, 10 that the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” We could go even farther to state that ever since the fall of mankind, his will has been corrupt. This is proven by the fact that Cain, who was the first born of Adam and Eve, killed his godly brother Abel. In addition, Genesis 6:5 states thus, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” His will is totally depraved, doing no good! In addition, Job 15:14 -16, states this concerning the state of the will of man “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” He drinks sin like he drinks water. Guzzling it down and never being filled with it, he continually needs more and more to survive. That is how utterly sinful man is!

One final verse that I will quote is Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also go good, that are accustomed to do evil.” This verse slays the teaching of free will down to the ground and annihilates it. Just as an Ethiopian cannot change his skin, man cannot do good because he is evil! Augustus Toplady said, “A man’s free will cannot cure him even of the toothache, or sore finger; and yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure his soul.”

Man’s will is totally depraved. All man does by nature is choose sin and wickedness. A will like that is bound to sin, it can do no other. Therefore, man’s will is not free but is bound to sin.

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