Depravity, what a crazy and outdated idea, right?

Wrong. Well to be fair a definition of the doctrine of depravity must be given. Roughly it is the doctrine that states that after the Fall of Man, man’s nature has become corrupted and thus has an irresistible bias towards evil. I suppose one could put it more succinctly and say: man is inherently evil (though as a result of the Fall and not just because).

Scripture points out the depravity of man at numerous junctions, here are some of the most famous texts:

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. — Genesis 6:5

…for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth — Genesis 8:21

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. –Psalm 51:6

And He [Jesus] was saying, ‘That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.’ –Mark 7:20-23

I understand that many folk (even some that should really know better) have a big problem with this doctrine and thus with the obvious Scriptural support. I would like to at this point refer ya’ll to what we call human history.

A study just came out which claims that infants start lying at a ridiculously early age, six months according to the story.

Well duh! Besides the claims of Scripture, I have good reason to believe in depravity after watching our own beloved child. He turns 18 months in a couple of weeks, and have observed some of this deceitful behavior. I can’t recall anything specific before he was 10 months old, but at this tender age he would do things he knew to be forbidden to him.

The glee on his face was evident as he crossed lines he knew were forbidden. Apparently this behavior is common amongst other children, and according to this study there’s ‘proof’ which is validated.

Often times the Bible gets a bad rap because it was jotted down by ‘ignorant shepherds’, well I guess they might have had some sort of Inspiration…

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15 Responses to Depravity, what a crazy and outdated idea, right?

  1. Thinking Ape says:

    I feel sorry for your child.

    Depravity, or “the innate corruptness of human nature due to original sin” cannot be proven. But that was a nice very vague anecdote. Ever thought that human beings are limited to flawed brains and hence cannot be perfect? Or even if there were perfect beings, would they probably not end conflicting?

    Only a depraved god makes beings capable of depravity.

    Straw man alert: no one says that ignorant shepherds wrote the Bible. Do your homework.

  2. Laz says:

    Thank you Ape for the comment.

    Yes, I also feel sorry for my child. He is the firstborn and thus the guinea pig. After all, he didn’t come with an instruction book. My wife and I will have more experience, if God willing, He grants us a second. We are enjoying parenthood immensely, you have any children?

    So depravity cannot be proven, huh? How do you account for the fact that though we know what we ought to do, we don’t do it? I’m assuming that you believe that there is such a thing as right behaviour.

    Yes I have thought that we are flawed, although my reasons are probably different than yours.

    What makes our brain flawed? Why call them flawed? Perfection, what is that? Where does this idea com from? This concept of what ‘ought’ to be done, from whence does it come from?

    Only a depraved god makes beings capable of depravity.

    I would say quite the opposite, only a depraved god would make automata and therefore incapable of love. We have the capability to love as well as to hate, it’s called free will. Without it we are reduced to mindless robots incapable of love.

    Apparently God decided the price of us having free will was worth it. Since He has a better perspective than either one of us, I’m really not going to argue with Him about it.

    Straw man or not this was related to me face-to-face by an atheist/agnostic (you see Ape, he can’t seem to make up his mind).

    I can’t prove to you that this conversation occurred, of course, but it did happen.

    So no homework needed, though I believe Dr. Dawkins’ phrase is “tribe of Middle-Eastern camel-herders.”

  3. Thinking Ape says:

    Yes, I do have a child and I know that I will not inflict the psychologically damaging doctrine of depravity on my child due to my own fundamentalist background.

    Yes, I do believe that there are ethical principles that mankind tends to live on that allows us to survive as a species. Since our presuppositions about why we are good in the first place differ, our reasoning for why we are flawed differs. My area of study is philosophy and religious studies, but I am sure that a psychological behaviourist would probably agree that we do things we know we shouldn’t because of any number of reasons – ignorance, desperation, or hormonal imbalances caused by drugs or a charismatic preacher 😛 – I jest.

    I use the term “flawed” only as a contrast to perfection. Perfection would, I suppose, be the consistent acting in such a way that we would never make a mistake.

    It is interesting that you bring up the concept of where our sense of “ought” comes from. You obviously believe it comes from God – is this through the revelation of the Bible or through personal experience?
    Humankind does appear to have an underlying moral code hardwired into it, but many of the things that “God” does in the Bible, Old or New Testaments, appears counter-intuitive to this code (i.e. child sacrifice, wiping out first-borns, and commanding genocides and rapes). Marc Hauser, a biologist at Harvard, has a fascinating book called “Moral Minds: How Nature Designed our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong.” Anything I could tell you would pale in comparison to this read.

    I assume you are not Calvinist due to your partiality to the free will argument. But since your not willing to argue a rational for it, then I’ll grant you the conversation stopper. I would, however, say that it does not follow that a depraved god would make automata. I depraved god is capable of making probably anything, except probably something flawless.

    As for your friend, I apologize and will accept the comment as a rhetorical device – no need to defend the actuality of the conversation, there are just as many ignorant atheists as there are any other group of people. Your friend, then, needs to study up on his Biblical scholarship. The Bible may say a lot of things about ignorant shepherds, but those shepherds were most likely illiterate :D.

    In defence of Dawkins – that is what they were. This is not to say they could not write some great moral codes or wisdom literature. This is not an argument against God, this is an argument against people using the scriptures as evidence against scientific observations. Dawkins may very well be one of the greatest fools on this planet, but he has the advantages of contemporary science to explain the empirical data of the planet.

  4. Laz says:

    Isn’t parenthood great? As far as your thoughts on what is damaging to a child, well my friend you are entitled to your opinion.

    I’m not necessarily concerned with the obvious fact that we do things we shouldn’t do (sorry never ran across a preacher THAT charismatic) or the causes. That would be a “the way things are” statement I’m more concerned with why is there even an “ought”?

    I remember the sense of “ought” from a very early age and I’m sure most everyone does. The sense is there, did I attribute it to God for the first 25 years of my life? No I did not, I had no reason to, I was a natural man, in opposition to God. Post-conversion, I am of course convinced that this sense is from God.

    I must relate my story at this point. I was born into a nominal Catholic home having your run-of-the -mill exposure to the rituals and lingo of that particular religion. Never quite considered myself an atheist though I lived my life as if God did not exist (a practical atheist). Hit 9th grade biology and THE chapter convinced me that even if there is a God (highly doubtful at this stage of my young life) then He doesn’t give a flip about us one way or the other. Went to college, obtained a science degree and was determined to lead a ‘normal’ (whatever that means) life.

    To make a long story short, my mother and one of my sisters converted to Christianity, leading her to ‘witness’ (I’m assuming you know some of the lingo) to me, her heathen brother. I got sick and tired of hearing about Jesus and the Bible and salvation and sin etc. My sister especially was persistent and I assure you, quite annoying.

    To get her off my back I did the (in my unregenerate state) worst thing I could have done, I picked up an old Bible to cut her off at the pass. I figured, she’s new in her faith I’ll look through here and find a contradiction or 2 and shatter her faith enough to leave me alone.

    So Ape, I read and read and read. It was not a strange text to me, I was somewhat familiar with the characters and some of the stories. I did manage to make her angry and won plenty of ‘debates’ against her nascent faith. Something started happening to me during this time, the words started changing me. With perceived clarity, the text wasn’t some ancient scribble, it was the bread of life. I was convicted of my depravity, of my bankruptcy before a Holy God.

    One night I prayed (gasp!) and in that hot room, I got goosebumps and all the hairs on my body stood, and I knew He was real, I knew Jesus Christ died for my sins and His Spirit had just inhabited this rotten corpse. It was like waking up from a bad dream, this does it no justice but that’s the best I can do. This is what happened I can’t give you empirical evidence that this is what occurred unfortunately. I can let you talk to some people who have witnessed a life transformed.

    Am I perfect? No and I don’t pretend to be, I have flaws but I do know that I have been forgiven and called out to live a life sold out to God wherever He may lead.

    Hope that sheds some light on your question.

    many of the things that “God” does in the Bible, Old or New Testaments, appears counter-intuitive to this code

    Well Ape, here we run into a problem. He’s God and we are not. This sounds like lunacy but it doesn’t change the fact that He’s God and we’re not. I suppose you could add sending His Only Begotten Son to die a brutal death to that list as well. You can read John 3:16 as to the reasons why He would destine His Son to die like that.

    I couldn’t send my son to die for someone else. Why not? Because He is God and we are not. His thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways, as Isaiah says, and also as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways and thoughts higher than our ways and thoughts. I’m not asking you to read Isaiah, I’m just telling you what it says.

    I’m sure Dr. Hauser makes a compelling case, but nature does not design anything. At this point, I would refer you to CS Lewis’ Miracles and/or Mere Christianity (though I assume you have read them)because “anything I could tell you would pale in comparison to” these reads.

    I’m not that much concerned with the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. It’s probably both God’s sovereignty and free will, though how it can both is probably beyond our capability to comprehend. Acts 1:16 and Acts 1:25 illustrate the convergence of God’s sovereignty and human free will beautifully, again I’m not asking you to read, just FYI.

    Admittedly, I’m not sure what the purpose of creating a world of automata would be. It makes as much sense as forcing someone to be with you and expecting the same affection from them as from someone who voluntarily wants to be with you. As for our depraved god, what is depraved and how do we know something is depraved? (couldn’t help it)

    Honestly I think my friend was just throwing a phrase out there. We really do have the most wonderful conversations, but he has assured me he will never pick up a Bible (poor soul, I told myself the same thing, lol)

    This is not an argument against God, this is an argument against people using the scriptures as evidence against scientific observations.

    Ah my friend, this is a whole other post. As for our camel-herder scribes, I believe the Apostle said it best,

    For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God — 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

    Thanks for the conversation.

  5. healtheland says:

    Thinking Ape: “Yes, I do have a child and I know that I will not inflict the psychologically damaging doctrine of depravity on my child due to my own fundamentalist background.” So it is your assertion that Christians throughout history have been inflicting psychological damage on their children? What is the manifestation of this damage? And also, let us compare the psychological damage caused by Christianity to that caused by, well, other things, shall we? Or is only the psychological damage inflicted by Christianity alone that which is to be counted as wrong?

  6. Pingback: Science Has Proven The Total Depravity Of Man To Be Correct! « Heal The Land With Spiritual Warfare

  7. Laz says:

    Seven, whether your website there has more salinity than ‘this one’ I cannot say.

    You (provided that you’re not a bot) might want to mix in some of the following,

    An argument started among them [the disciples] as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”

  8. susy says:

    Hi Buodo,
    Wow, what an interesting discourse. I must say that I am glad God converts both intellectuals and dumbs (like me). However isnt it kinda mean to call that guy and ape? Or does he not take offense because he believes in evolution? I love monkeys and all but i still wouldnt want to be called a hairy yet adorable primate. And besides, since monkeys are so smart how do we know they dont love God? The Bible does say that all of creation waits longingly for the revealing of the sons of God…

  9. Laz says:

    Sis,
    Nice to see you back on the wagon (or is it off the wagon?). Are you going to update your blog more than once a year?

    By the way, “Thinking Ape” is that guy’s handle, I’m not insulting him (at least I hope not). Also you’re not ‘dumbs’.

  10. cool says:

    “I have good reason to believe in depravity after watching our own beloved child. He turns 18 months in a couple of weeks, and have observed some of this deceitful behavior. I can’t recall anything specific before he was 10 months old, but at this tender age he would do things he knew to be forbidden to him.”

    I haven’t met you before, having come here in a round-about way, but I have to ask you, are you seriously saying your 18 month old child is deceitful or even worse, depraved??

    “Depravity” doesn’t even belong in the same sentence with “child”, especially “baby.”

    Good grief. An 18 month may have figured out that mommy and daddy are going to react in a volatile manner to something from past experience, but he hardly has right and wrong figured out. I know a lot of adults who are still struggling with that.

    And you are going to give yourself an type A personality heart attack with all of your volatility toward religion.

    I attend a very small Episcopal church, but I do not WORSHIP the Episcopal church, and I don’t waste my time worrying what the Anglican church at large is up to because when my little church meets my needs, and when it ceases to meet my needs, I will meet with God elsewhere, wherever that may be.

    A church is not a museum for saints.

    It is a hospital sinners.

    And my relationship with God… that’s none of your darned business.

  11. Laz says:

    Thank you cool for dropping by and putting in your $0.02.

    are you seriously saying your 18 month old child is deceitful or even worse, depraved??

    No I’m not saying it, God makes it clear in His Word that we are all born into sin. My observations (you don’t have to believe them, but they are what they are) have borne this out. If this is offensive to you my friend, I suggest you prayerfully consider what God meant in the texts cited in the post.

    he hardly has right and wrong figured out. I know a lot of adults who are still struggling with that.

    Didn’t say he had right and wrong figured out, I merely said that he knows what he OUGHT to do but he does not do it. Adults struggle with it because we are also depraved. Read St. Paul’s discourse on the matter in Romans 7, it’s much better than anything I can say.

    And you are going to give yourself an type A personality heart attack with all of your volatility toward religion.

    What are you talking about? If by religion you mean man-made constructs that really revolve around us and not God, then yeah I would be volatile towards religion.

    and when it ceases to meet my needs, I will meet with God elsewhere, wherever that may be.

    ‘My needs’, huh? The Church is not there to meet our needs, it’s not about us it’s about Christ. Of course, if one attends Me Church then yeah it’s about our needs. I suggest you read the Book of Acts to get a deeper insight as to what the Church is for.

    A church is not a museum for saints. It is a hospital sinners.

    maybe not a museum, but the Church is the only place where you’ll find saints. Again read the book of Acts to get a better idea of what the purpose of the Church is. Jesus did say that He came for the sick, you’re right about that. Once the ‘sick’ devote themselves to Him and are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit then they become saints. At least that’s what the Bible seems to intimate.

    And my relationship with God… that’s none of your darned business.

    I really don’t know where this came from, did I say something to incite such defensive posturing?

  12. Marshall says:

    Consider Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
    Or Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'”
    Then Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Are wages something you earn or inherit?)
    James 4:17 and 1:13-15. When I refuse to do what I know is right, I commit _______. Could an infant be guilty of this type of sin? When I do what is wrong I commit _______. Could an infant be guilty of this type of sin?
    Sin is a separation from God. Can a child know he or she is separating him/herself from God? It is only when our brain is developed to that point that we can sin against God.

  13. Laz says:

    Marshall,

    Are human beings inherently good?

    Where does the age of accountability play into what you suggest?

  14. Pingback: Brain Scans Showing Brains of Homosexuals Resembling People Of Opposite Sex Is The Result of SIN! « Jesus Christology

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