Universal Depravity from Inherited Corruption
How did you become evil? The answer one gives to this question is telling, as to one’s view of humanity, whether it be low or high. Affirming yourself to be evil is an integral element to your having sound doctrine. So how did you become evil?
Adam, the first man, forfeited his right standing, before God, in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3). His decision to follow Eve, in rebellion against the will and Word of God, brought death to his soul and later, to his body (Gen 3).
Adam’s reproduction with Eve propagated his own sinful, evil nature (Eph 2:3). In other words, this corrupt head of humanity produced corrupt children from his poisoned seed. The contaminated seed has visited every human ever conceived (Ps 51:5). Theologians call this, “original sin.”
Original sin is the inheritance of every soul, which is the curse of Adam, the progenitor. Every person is judged a sinner, in Adam. Thus, in Adam, all die, as he did (1 Cor 15:22). Every person has a corrupt, evil nature (Eph 2:3).
This penchant for evil is found in every inclination of every heart (Gen 6:5). It perverts every mind (Eph 4:17). It ruins every attempt at good works (Is 64:6), in the failed human endeavor to be right before God (Rom 3:10–12), which itself is the lie of religion. People are not really trying to be right with God…they are trying to be God (Gen 3:5)! Every aspect of every man: mind, heart, will, and works is wicked. Everything that emanates from a person is nefarious.
False teachers, such as: Pelagius, Socinus, and Arminius twisted the truth of universal, total depravity. Pelagius blames human deeds for corruption, but in his view, human nature is innocent. In other words, God can only judge a man by his deeds done in the flesh. God cannot judge a man, for what Adam did so long ago. Sinners are not heirs of original sin, but they are imitators of the first sinners. This is the denial of original sin and its propagation. It says sin is only by environment and not in a conceived soul.
The result of Pelagianism is the belief that souls are not conceived in sin. It suggests that a child is born innocent. Further, given the good environment, an obedient person can be a good person in God’s judgment. All of this denies the Scriptures, in that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), and that all, by nature, are children of wrath (Eph 2:3).
The doctrine of total depravity is the doctrine of a depraved nature, derived from Adam’s original corruption. It is an inherited nature, not just environment in the fallen world, which deems a person to be a sinner. All humanity is one in Adam (1 Cor 15:22). The whole lot is polluted, ruined, having lost the image of God, and taking on the image of the devil. Simply put, a corrupt root produces a corrupt fruit.
There is one exception. There was one man in all of history, who did not inherit Adam’s corruption. Jesus Christ, the Son of God from eternity, took on flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14). What preserved His holiness was that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20; Gal 3:16), in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Is 7:14; Lk 1:27). Thus, upon His birth, He was the seed of God, from the flesh of the woman.
Jesus Christ is one of the posterity of Adam, through the woman, being of the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:16), but He is of holy seed, by the Spirit (Lk 1:35). The result is that Jesus was fully God (seed of the Spirit), and at the same time, He was fully man (born of a woman). In this, Jesus is the God-man, the second Adam (1 Cor 15:45), who propagates His holy nature, in those conceived in the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, being born again of God (Jn 3; 1 Pet 1:3).
Original sin is imputed to all in Adam, along with original guilt, warranting the consequences of death (Rom 6:23), and the second death of eternal punishment, in fiery hell (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:10, 14). Adam’s responsibility for his sin is also everyone’s own responsibility. You, friend, because you are of Adam, are fully responsible for your sins, inherited and practiced, because your legal status is tied to every other person in federal union with Adam, the organic head (Rom 5:12–21).
Christ Jesus is the federal head of His holy nation (Col 1:18), a people of God’s own possession (1 Pet 2:9). These chosen people were redeemed by Christ on the cross, and they were regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The Christian’s original sin, practiced sins, guilt, punishment, and death is imputed to Christ on the cross. Every man is responsible for his or her sin, but God is responsible for his or her salvation.
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 7, 2022