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Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Predestination

 

003white  Section A Question of Salvation       >      Index To Predestination       >      DOC Part II... Total Inability 

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Predestination
 

Calvinism Part II
Total Inability.. The Cornerstone of Calvinism

Carol Brooks.

Index To All Sections

Section 1: An Introduction to John Calvin and his Doctrines of Grace
You Are Here 001orange Section 2: Total Inability... The Cornerstone
Section 3: Unconditional Election
Section 4: Limited Atonement
Section 5: Irresistible Grace
Section 6: Perseverance of The Saints and Death Before Sin
Section 7: When the Gospel Becomes a Lie and Assurance of Salvation...
How Can Any Calvinist KNOW He is Saved?
Section 8: God.. God’s Sovereignty and Omnipotence. Hypocrisy Unlimited
Section 9: Conclusion
Section 10: Calvinism and The First 1500 Years. The Sins of Augustine
 

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On This Page
Total Inability.. The Cornerstone

Origin of Total Inability
Total Inability and The Fall
Adam.. Morally Perfect and Immortal?
God Called His Creation "Good"
Did Adam Die Spiritually or Physically?
God "Forgot" To Mention
Three Questions

Supposed Proof Texts For Total Inability
Old Testament
Genesis 6:5
Jeremiah 13:23
Isaiah 64:6-7

New Testament

John 5:21
giveth "life"

Acts 16:14
"Opening" Lydia's Mind

Romans 3:10-18
Quoting From The Psalms that spoke of God's protection and favor towards the virtuous people of the day

1 Corinthians 2:14
Paul was making a distinction between human wisdom and understanding and God's wisdom and revelation

Romans 8:7
'As good as physically dead'


“Dead” People
Ephesians 2:1-3
What Did Paul mean when he said “ye were dead”

Dead People Can Hear and Live
(According to Jesus in John 5:25)

Totally Depraved Men Can Keep the Law
(According to Paul in Romans 2:14-15)

“Dead” People Can Seek God
(According to Paul Romans 9:31-32)

Cornelius
... That Unregenerate “Dead” Roman Centurion

Why People Resist
Hiding the Sin
Hardened Hearts
Do People Harden Their Own Hearts or Does God Hardens Hearts?
The Whole Story of The Pharaoh

Contradictions or Perspective

Total Inability, the Gospel and an 'Unreasonable' God?

Moses and Joshua
 Seemed to Think That The Keeping of God's Commandments Was an Achievable Goal
We Will Serve The Lord... The People's Response to Joshua

People Call On God and God Answers

Tyre, Sidon and Nineveh
 


Total Inability
is represented by the first letter of the acronym TULIP.

Total Inability.. The Cornerstone
While it is rightly maintained that humanity was born with a propensity or inclination to sin, a fact that is not only easily proved from the Scriptures but the daily newspaper, Calvinism goes far beyond this, teaching that people are so corrupt that it is actually impossible for them, on their own initiative, to submit to God or believe in Jesus. A person not only cannot please God, but doesn't even has the desire to please Him. Therefore, unless God sovereignly changes their wills by a grace that cannot be resisted (irresistible grace), they will never submit to God or repent of their sins.

When the Bible says (in Ephesians 2:1) that the sinner is dead in trespasses and sins, the Calvinist takes it to mean that the dead sinner cannot accept the Gospel, but can reject it. (Of course, the simple meaning that the sinner is separated from God's divine life because of sin is completely ignored, but more about that later).

It has to be noted that the last four points of Calvinism are derived exclusively from the first...Total Inability. If one concedes that Total Inability is a Biblical fact, then the subsequent four points become relatively easy to defend. If man is indeed incapable of saying, doing, thinking or believing anything that would set his feet on the road to salvation, God Himself must step in and elect certain individuals to salvation (Unconditional Election) and on from there. 

However if Total Inability is shown to be unbiblical, the rest of the superstructure has been fatally undermined, since if man is able to, under his own steam, repent and choose to follow Christ, then there was no reason for God to designate who would be saved (Unconditional Election) and Jesus did not die for only these hand-picked few (Limited Atonement). Nor would there be any reason for God to irresistibly draw men to Himself (Irresistible Grace), since they of their own accord are quite capable of coming to Him and accepting His gift of salvation.

Actually Loraine Boettner, the well known reformed theologian whom we have previously quoted, went even further than this. In his book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, he made the following statement regarding the five points of Calvinism...

    “prove any one of them true and all of the others will follow as logical and necessary parts of the system. Prove any one of them false and the whole system must be abandoned." (Pg. 59)

Certainly, the fifth point (Once Saved Always Saved) is a logical corollary of the second (Unconditional Election). It naturally follows that if it is God that wills a person to be saved, there is no way that person can fall from grace or get "unsaved".  Nothing in the universe, including the man himself, has the power to thwart what God wills and has ordained. (Yet amazingly, the logical implications of some Calvinist arguments boils down to some people being perfectly capable of hindering what God wills, which of course, makes them more powerful than God. But more about this later)


Origin of Total Inability

Total Inability and The Fall
Man's freedom of choice has been supposedly forfeited since The Fall.

Calvin believed and taught that the reason man was so totally corrupt and unable to choose to follow God or choose to accept God's offered salvation is congenital... rooted in Adam and Eve's sin. Since all "sinned in Adam", every single person who came after Adam inherited his guilt, and none are innocent, not even infants. In other words, when they fell, we fell.  What's more... there is absolutely nothing we can do about this situation. As John Calvin Said...

    "...the corruption by which we are held bound as with chains originated in the first man's revolt against his Maker." [23].

Stained as we are by the first sin, all we have to look forward to is the "just punishment" of a holy God, unless of course we happen to be among the chosen.  If anyone at all is to be saved from His wrath God had to have, in the distant recesses of time, predestined and elected individuals to salvation, then irresistibility draw them in and, of course, keep them saved for the rest of their natural lives.

Certainly, one should expect that when a major belief system stands or falls on a single doctrine, there should be unequivocal proof for this doctrine in the Scriptures. But, far from this being the case, Original Sin and the resulting depravity of man is based not on sure Scriptures, but on unproven philosophic assumptions, which have been unquestionably accepted. The Biblical silence is deafening when it comes to certain points that Calvinism insists are completely by the Book.

But, lets take a trip back in time to where it was all supposed to have started... the account of the creation of Adam and Eve, and their first sin as related in the book of Genesis.


Adam.. Morally Perfect and Immortal?
It is assumed that Adam was created morally perfect but, due to his sin, lost perfection and became totally corrupt and alienated from God. He then passed on this fallen nature to all his descendants. The Canons of Dordt state that "the whole man was holy" [24], while the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith posted on the web site of the Sovereign Grace Community Church in San Antonio, Texas says [All Emphasis Added]

    After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasoning and immortal souls, rendering them fit to live that life for Him for which they were created; - being made in the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and having the power to fulfill it;  [25]

Doesn't it stand to reason that had Adam and Eve been created morally perfect.. in "true holiness", they would not have sinned? Unless of course God, overriding the "holiness" of the first couple, arranged for them to sin. Calvin said this was done "at His own pleasure". [Emphasis Added]

    I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? Here the most loquacious tongues must be dumb. The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree. Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it. For as it belongs to his wisdom to foreknow all future events, so it belongs to his power to rule and govern them by his hand...  [26]

Which makes no sense whatsoever. Why would God create Adam and Eve completely righteous, with the power to fulfill the law of God, if He intended to arrange for them to sin, or had already done so? And, the question has to be asked is how John Calvin knew all this since the Bible is absolutely silent on the subject of Adam and Eve's supposed holiness and on the reason they sinned.. other than they were tempted by the serpent.

However don't take my word for it, but read the Genesis account for yourself and find where it says that Adam and Eve were created either morally perfect or immortal? Or that they had "the law of God written in their hearts"?  Much less that it was God who caused them to sin. It quite simply isn't there.

However Calvin himself has provided a clue as to where his information came from, since he immediately goes on to show how this question, "like others, is skillfully explained by Augustine". [22] As previously shown, his Institutes contains innumerable positive references to the teachings and opinions of Augustine.

But, not being quite as enamored of Augustine as Calvin was, we prefer to see what it is that the Bible does say which, unlike the mountain of words Calvin seemed to find it necessary to use, sums up God's opinion in one simple word... "good".


God Called His Creation “Good”
However, the fact that God called His creation "good" in Genesis 1:31 does not mean it was all morally perfect. According to Strong's Hebrew and Greek lexicon, the Hebrew word tôb translated good (which occurs over 550 times in the Old Testament) can mean goodness, beauty, gladness, fair, joy etc. Moral perfection is not even included in the definition. The words in bold in the quotes below are a few examples of the variety of ways in which the word is used..

    and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good (Heb. tôb) land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. [Exodus 3:8]

    And Moses' father-in-law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good (Heb. tôb). [Exodus 18:17]

    And Ephraim is a heifer that is taught, that loveth to tread out the grain; but I have passed over upon her fair (Heb. tôb) neck: I will set a rider on Ephraim; Judah shall plow, Jacob shall break his clods. [Hosea 10:11]

    And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry (Heb. tôb), that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison-house; and he made sport before them. And they set him between the pillars:[Judges 16:25]

    And he will take your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and your goodliest (Heb. tôb) young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. [1 Samuel 8:16]

Certainly Adam and Eve were probably innocent, as is anyone who has never encountered anything evil or bad. It is also reasonable to surmise that, in light of the fact that after they first sinned, they went and hid when God came to the garden (Genesis: 3:7,8), they lost some of this innocence. Anything beyond this is sheer speculation, upon which the entire Calvinist doctrine of salvation is based.


Did Adam Die Spiritually or Physically?
In Genesis: 2:17, God tells Adam that in the day he eats of the forbidden fruit he will "surely die", but as we well know, although both Adam and Eve ate of the tree, neither of them physically died for quite a while, going on to have several sons. While we do not know how old Eve was when she died, Adam lived to the ripe old age of 930 [Genesis: 5:5].

Therefore, as the argument usually goes, since Adam's physical death does not occur "in the day" that he sinned, God must have been speaking of a spiritual death or a separation from Him. Therefore Paul had to be talking about a "spiritual death" in Romans 5:12... [Emphasis Added]

    Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned

and when he said, in Ephesians 2:1, we were "dead in transgressions and sins , it means that since man is born spiritually dead he can not receive spiritual truth (the Gospel).  [More about Ephesians 2:1-3 below]

The conclusions regarding Romans 5:12 and Ephesians 2:1 have largely been based on Adam's supposed 'spiritual death' which is said to have occurred when he sinned, and subsequently passed down to all his descendants through the ages.

However is this accurate? Did Adam die spiritually or was God talking of a physical death? If the latter, what are we to make of the fact that Adam certainly did not die "in the day" he ate of the forbidden fruit? [For Details See Adam.. Physical or Spiritual Death?]


God “Forgot” To Mention:
One would think that if Adam's transgression had such a monumental effect on all future generations it would at least be mentioned in the account, but the silence in the book of Genesis is deafening. It is nowhere explicitly stated that Adam's sin was passed down, that man was "in Adam" in the fall.

All we are told is that, in view of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Good and Evil, God did not want them to also partake of the Tree of Life, and live for ever (Genesis: 3:22), therefore He banished them from the garden (Genesis: 3:23). The man was cursed with having to work for food and the ground that was also cursed would reward him with thorns and thistles (Genesis: 3:17-19). The woman was cursed with great pain in childbirth (Genesis: 3:16).

However all these curses fade into insignificance when compared to the monumental one of all Adam's billions of descendants inheriting his sin and therefore not being able to respond to God or Jesus. Yet not a single word is breathed about this. Are we to believe that God forgot or neglected to mention the most devastating consequence of all?


Three Questions
Besides which there are several questions that those that preach Original Sin have no answer for, nor can they explain... 

    a) It is often claimed that we sin because we are "wholly inclined" towards evil and "utterly indisposed" towards good. In other words we sin because we have inherited Adam's depravity. This may explain why we sin, but it does not explain why Adam sinned. Supposedly he was created righteous, which means he had the advantage of not inheriting any depravity... yet he still sinned. If Adam became depraved only after he sinned, then why did he sin before he was depraved?

    b) The second question is why would Adam's descendants be held responsible for his first sin only, and not for his later sins? Why would we not also be held responsible for the sins of all our forefathers that came after Adam? 

    c) And thirdly, since Christ shared our human nature through His mother, why was He not considered guilty of Adam's sin?

Oh wait! I remember! Mary is also considered free of the stain of sin, somehow having escaped inheriting "Original Sin" like the rest of humanity. Or at least that's what the Catholic Church tells us (The Protestants have no answer as to how Jesus escaped Original Sin). Talk about having to dig into the recesses of imagination to come up with one myth to cover a major flaw in another.

So let us bypass all other influences, imaginations and endless torrents of seven syllable words and take a look at what the Bible itself has to say which, by the way, it does in no uncertain terms.

[Either go to Original Sin.. Fact or Fable for an in depth look at Original Sin, or continue on]


Supposed Proof Texts For Total Inability

A number of passages are put forth to support the doctrine of Total Inability, however none of them discredit the idea that man has free will, nor do they support the idea that man is incapable of exercising faith.

Old Testament

Genesis 6:5: And The Lord 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.

About all one can say of this verse is context, context and context. This passage is talking of a very specific period in history when conditions were so bad that God destroyed all the earth except for Noah and his family. And what were those conditions? The preceding verse says

    "The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown".

The exact nature of the bizarre events described in these verses are among the most controversial among serious Bible scholars, largely because so few can accept what really happened. [See Days of Noah]


Jeremiah 13:23:
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

The Calvinistic bent of the NIV has caused them to translate this verse as [Emphasis Added].

    "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil."

Regardless of the translation, there is little question that the prophet is addressing apostate Israel, not making a universal theological statement about all men everywhere, which is clearly seen from the context. Verses 8-11 clearly emphasizes who God is talking to, through Jeremiah... [All Emphasis Added]

    Then the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, that refuse to hear my words, that walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and are gone after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is profitable for nothing. For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith Jehovah; that they may be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.

Isaiah 64:6-7: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness's are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.”

Isaiah 64:6 has long been used as a ‘proof-text’ for two totally distinct... yet equally unfounded beliefs.

    1) Calvinism uses it to establish the idea that everything the natural man does is wicked... even good deeds. This helps to set up the dogma of "total inability," the engine which drives the entire Calvinist soteriology.

    2) The Evangelical uses it to show that good works, obedience, virtue are all useless. This sets the stage for the doctrine of "accepting Christ" through a once-for-all act of faith. [27]

But, because neither one ever quotes the verse in context, the text is made "universal and theological, rather than specific and historical" [27].

To gain an accurate understanding of what Isaiah was talking about, one cannot read this verse (or any other) in isolation but within the flow of the entire chapter. [See Filthy Rags]


New Testament

John 5:21: For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will.

Read in isolation, this verse seems to give Calvinism some plausibility, however this statement could refer to two things 1) Jesus physically raising the dead from their graves or 2) Him giving spiritual life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. But if one were to consider the context, option 1 becomes far more plausible as it fits perfectly against the backdrop of the chapter which has Jesus maintaining that He, being equal with God, had the same authority and power as God...

    Jesus healed the lame man of Bethesda on the Sabbath, which gave the Pharisees fits. Then the Jews "persecuted Jesus, because he did these things on the Sabbath" (V.16) Jesus' reply to this was to compare Himself to the Father saying "My Father worketh even until now, and I work" (V.17). This stirred the people up even further since He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but was also "making Himself equal with God” (V.18).

    Jesus then goes on to tell them that He cannot act independently of God .. "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (v.19). and His Father will direct Him to do greater works than these so that they may marvel  (V.20).

In the preceding verses Jesus physically heals a lame man, then compares Himself with God. Considering that the power to raise the dead is one of the highest attributes of divinity, which God says belongs to Him alone... 

    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; And there is none that can deliver out of my hand. [Deuteronomy 32:39]

Jesus' words in verse 21 definitely seem to indicate that He is speaking of physically raising the dead... He, like the Father had authority over life and death. 

In any case, in verse 24, Jesus is very clear about the order.. the dead (Not the elect, or the regenerate) first hear and believe, then pass out of death and live

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead (nekros) shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. [John 5:24-25]


Acts 16:14:
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened (Greek dianoigõ) to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul.

The same Greek word is used in Luke 24:45, which tells us that the Lord had to open (Greek dianoigõ) the mind of the disciples "that they might understand the scriptures". In other words Jesus enabled them fully to comprehend the meaning of the prophecies which foretold his death and resurrection [See verse 44].

Similarly God enables Lydia who, it has to be noted, was already "a worshipper of God" to fully understand that what Paul said was true. But how was Lydia "a worshipper of God" if she was so totally depraved?


Romans 3:10-18:
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Although these verses from Romans say nothing about man’s ability or inability to receive the gospel or to exercise faith, they are often quoted to bolster the claims of universal depravity and that no one ever seeks after God. However if this were the case then it would be a flat contradiction of Hebrews 11:6. which clearly states that God rewards those that diligently seek Him.

    But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. [Hebrews 11:6]

Additionally, if one examines the source of Paul's quotes a very different picture emerges. The Psalms in question do not show that righteous people have never lived but, on the contrary, often spoke of God's protection and favor towards the virtuous people of that day.

What then could Paul have meant? How could he possibly say that it is of no profit for men to live righteously when innumerable verses say just the opposite? Why did he present one side of the coin and ignore the verses that speak of God's support and favor for those who feared Him? Actually he didn't... [See None That Seeketh]


1 Corinthians 2:14:
"The natural (Greek psuchikos) person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."

The Calvinist's presuppositions and preconceived ideas have influenced his interpretation of this verse, and led him to conclude that the “natural” man Paul speaks about is the unregenerate sinner who is so mired in sin, that he is unable to grasp the gospel unless given the Grace to do so. But is this the case? As said before...

    virtually all verses in the Bible can only be fully understood and assessed as part of the surrounding verses, which form the setting, or the big picture, you should ignore verse numbers and read at least several paragraphs, if not the whole chapter more than once... perhaps several times. This will almost always result in the discovery of a very clear theme and distinct message, which will often illuminate or throw a different light on a particular verse. In other words the verse may not mean exactly what you had been lead to believe, or thought it meant.

The words of 1 Corinthians 2:14 can only be correctly understood within the flow of 1:18 through the end of chapter 2. In these two chapters, the apostle Paul uses the word wisdom (sophia) some fifteen times, and the adjective wise (sophos) five, making wisdom the dominant theme. 

Chapter 1: Note some of the Paul's statements in the first chapter of 1Corinthians.

    the Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom (V.22)

    the world through its wisdom does not know God (V.21)

    he preaches the Gospel "not in wisdom of words" (V.17),

    God will destroy the wisdom of the wise (V.19) and

    make foolish the wisdom of the world (V.20)

Paul contrasts God's wisdom with worldly wisdom which made a crucified Messiah a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles (V.23) As said by Christian Courier...

    The apostle sets the philosophy of those who are under the spell of worldly wisdom in stark contrast to the disposition of those who yield to Heaven's redemptive plan, which culminated in the cross. By and large, both Jew and Gentile failed to recognize the true “wisdom of God.” A crucified Messiah was a stumbling block to the Hebrews, and to the Gentile pseudo-intellectuals, the idea of a vicarious sacrifice for sin was sheer foolishness. [28]

Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God (V.24)... a seemingly “weak” and “foolish” thing chosen by design to shame the things that are wise and strong (V.27). Paul adds that not many "wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called (V.26) [Emphasis Added].

Chapter 2: in verses 1-5, Paul says he came to the Corinthians "not with excellency of speech or of wisdom" (2:1), but "in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling" (2:3). This demonstrated the Spirit and "power of God", which is what they had to put their faith in. (2:4-5)

In the next eight verses (2:6-13), the apostle goes on to say that God's plan was a mystery that was not of this world, but one that He had planned from the beginning of creation (2:7), but had kept hidden until the time was right. Not even the rulers knew about this mystery, for if they had they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (2:8).

The only way for man to know and understand this mystery was if God revealed it to him by His Spirit. Just as one cannot know the mind of another person, unless revealed by that person (2:11), even so, no one can know the things were "freely given to us of God" (V.12 Emphasis Added) unless it was made known by Him (via His Spirit). (2:11). Just how the Spirit reveals God's Divine plan is told us in verse 13...

    The apostle then pinpoints the medium and method of that communication. The medium was the Lord’s inspired spokesmen (“which things we speak”); the method was by means of sacred words (“words which . . .the Spirit teaches”). [28]

The "Natural" Man: But what do we make of the term "natural man" in 1 Corinthians 2:14? The Calvinist insists that when Paul uses the term "natural man", he means man in his natural-born degenerate state. But note two other uses of this word, where the same Greek word... psuchikos, has been translated "sensual".

    That they said to you, In the last time there shall be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts. These are they who make separations, sensual (Greek psuchikos), having not the Spirit. [Jude 1:18-19]

    This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual (Greek psuchikos), devilish. [James 3:15]

In other words psuchikos refers to a sensual person ruled by the physical (or the five senses), rather than by the spiritual, which is usually unseen and experienced only by faith. A man who lives as if there was nothing beyond this physical life cannot understand spiritual things.

This is supported by the fact that the Greek word psuchikos (G5591) is derived from phusikos (G5446), which in turn is derived from phusis (G5449). Phusis is used in Romans 2:14 which states

    "for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature (Greek phusis) the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves".

So "natural man" can not refer to a man that is so depraved that he cannot take one step towards God, since Romans 2:14 very clearly states that the natural man, although ruled by the physical, can keep the law. No one can "instinctively" keep the requirements of the law if they are totally depraved. But more about this below.

Conclusion: The theme of 1 Corinthians 1:18 through 2:16 makes it very clear that in 2:14 Paul is not talking about the unregenerate” man vs. the “regenerate” one, but is making a distinction between human wisdom and understanding and God's wisdom and revelation. 

The natural man is one that is "wise after the flesh" (2:26) and sees everything through worldly lenses. He thinks he knows everything and has the academic degrees, the titles, the money and/or the philosophical arguments to prove it.  Whereas the spiritual man relies upon the “wisdom of God”. He has put aside his own understanding and has received the spirit which is from God; that he might know the things, freely given by God (V.12), which the Holy Spirit is teaching him (v. 13).

Additionally 1 Corinthians 2:14 does not say that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, but that he does not do so because they are foolishness to him, which is exactly the theme of...


Romans 8:7:
because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:

    Very briefly, Paul tells us in Romans 6 that righteousness is required of those who have been justified by faith. They cannot continue to live in sin, but are instructed to present themselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and as instruments of righteousness (V.13). However our flesh is weak and Romans 7 describes the frustration of trying to do it on one's own. The chapter ends with Paul's cry for deliverance from the body that cannot, of itself, do right. 

    Chapter 8 begins with a description of the foundation for righteous living.. while the Christian is not under condemnation because he is in Christ, but in order to please God he has to walk according to the Spirit. The warning is serious ..the mind set on the flesh is death, while the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. 

    Those who walk “according to the flesh” have their minds set not on spiritual things, but only on earthly things (Vs 5-6). Not only can a "natural man" not comprehend the things of the Spirit, but he is actively hostile toward God and resists His Word:


Ephesians 2:1-3:
And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest: [Emphasis Added]

Two conclusions are usually drawn from these three verses. Calvinism believe that when Paul says we were "dead in transgressions and sins", it means that since man is born spiritually dead he can not receive spiritual truth (the Gospel).  However the problem with this theory is that the Greek word nekros translated dead, is used some 130 other times in the New Testament. Except for a couple of instances where it is used metaphorically, as in the following quote…

    Wherefore leaving the doctrine of the first principles of Christ, let us press on unto perfection; not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead (nekros) works, and of faith toward God, [Hebrews 6:1]

... The word is always used to describe a literal physical death, often that of Jesus Himself.

    because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead (nekros), thou shalt be saved: [Romans 10:9]

    But God raised him from the dead (nekros): and he was seen for many days of them that came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses unto the people. [Acts 13:30-31]

The use of present tense to describe a future happening is not only used in modern English, but has Biblical precedent..

    In Genesis 20:3 God, in a dream, told Abimelech the king of Gerar [Emphasis Added].. "Behold, thou art but a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken. For she is a man's wife".

    In Exodus 12:33, after the plagues, the Egyptians were hurrying to get the Israelites out of their land... "for they said, We are all dead men.

    In 2 Samuel 19:28 Mephibosheth told king David "For all my father's house were but dead men before my lord the king; yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table".

In other words… when Paul said "ye were dead" he was simply stating that the unregenerate are 'as good as physically dead’. 

However they don't have to be that way since, according to Jesus...


“Dead” People Can Hear and Live:
It is not unusual to hear a Calvinist preacher sat that no matter how clearly and earnestly they may preach the Gospel, all too often the complete lack of response from "natural men" makes it seem like they have been preaching to corpses. This is attributed to their belief that, without God's Irresistible Grace which regenerates him, man is unable to believe in God or come to Him. Others, quoting Isaiah 59:2, say that the corpse analogy is a poor one, and being "dead" in sins means being separated from God, but even these spiritually dead can not respond.

However Jesus disagreed. In John 5:25 Jesus says the dead (NOT the elect, NOT the regenerate, but the dead) will hear His voice and live.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead (nekros) shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.  [John 5:24-25]

Note that a few verses later Jesus tells them that

    "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." [John 5:40]

Certainly this applied to the people of Sardis in Revelation 3, whom Jesus called dead, but yet exhorted them to be watchful (v.2) and repent (v.3). And Peter, on the day of Pentecost, pleaded with the 'dead' people to save themselves from this crooked generation. [Acts 2:40]


Totally Depraved Men Can Keep The Law:
Ephesians 2:3b:
In the second half of verse 3 Paul says.. "among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest"

    It is interesting that the Greek word (phusis) here translated nature, is also used in

Romans 2:14-15 which says

     "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively (Gk. phusis) the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves. in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them;"

These verses have to be some of the most compelling in the case against Total Inability saying, as they do, that although the Gentiles do not have the benefit of God's written law, they can yet have sufficient ability or conscience to know right from wrong, and can instinctively keep the law. How can anyone instinctively keep the requirements of the law if they are totally depraved? 


“Dead” People Can Seek God:

Similarly Calvinism teaches that man does not even seek God unless given the grace to do so, but Hebrews 11:6 clearly states that God rewards those that diligently seek Him.

    and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.

But diligently seeking Him, involves making the effort to determine God's terms of salvation, and not try to invent one's own. Salvation is offered solely on His terms, and attempting to achieve it by good works (or anything else) will not get you anywhere. This is exactly what Paul said in...


Romans 9:31-32:
"but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works".  

The very fact that the Jews were seeking salvation, regardless of how they thought they would obtain it, directly contradicts Calvinism’s doctrine of Total Depravity as do these other verses which all speak of God being found by people who diligently seek him.

    And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for Jehovah searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. [1Chronicles 28:9]

    Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near: [Isaiah 55:6]

    And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. [Jeremiah 29:13]

    and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us: [Acts 17:26-27] 

    and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him. [Hebrews 11:6]

Besides which, not only can un-regenerated men attempt to find God and save their souls, but God apparently looks with favor on some "totally depraved" individuals as well.

Witness the case of ...


Cornelius:
According to Acts 10:1-5, Cornelius was a centurion.. a devout man that feared God with all his house, and who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always (V.2).  In about the ninth hour of the day Cornelius saw in a vision "an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him, Cornelius" (V.3). Cornelius was afraid and said "What is it, Lord? Upon which the angels told Cornelius that his prayers and alms had "gone up for a memorial before God" (V.4). The angel then instructed Cornelius to send men to Joppa and fetch Peter. (V.5).

We all know the rest of the story. Peter was also alerted in a vision not to call unclean what God had cleansed, therefore went with the men to Cornelius' home and preached the Gospel to him, his relatives and his near friends (V. 24) with the result that "the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word". (V. 44).

Certainly this story is remarkable in itself... being God's first offer of salvation to the Gentiles and fulfillment of the prophecy in Matthew 16:19, where Jesus said Peter held the keys of the kingdom. (Peter was the one to first unlock the doors to both the Jews (on Pentecost) and to the Gentiles.

However let examine a few aspects of the story. According to Calvinism, man is totally depraved before he is regenerated by God's irresistible grace, yet

    1) Luke says some very complimentary things about Cornelius, calling him a devout, God-fearing, prayerful man. (What happened to Total Depravity?)

    2) An angel actually talks to this totally depraved man before Peter arrives and says God has noticed and is pleased with Cornelius' prayers and alms.

    3) The angel gives Cornelius directions on what to do to go about being saved. (What happened to Unconditional Election?) Cornelius certainly had to do something in order to be able to even hear Peter's message (Could not this be interpreted as "works"?).

    4) Besides which how was this unregenerate man obedient to God's instructions. According to Calvinism, this is not possible.

And, remember that we have already mentioned ..


Romans 3:10-18:
which is often quoted to bolster the claims of universal depravity / that no one ever seeks after God. However the Psalms Paul quotes from paint a very different picture. They do not show that righteous people have never lived but, on the contrary, often spoke of God's protection and favor towards the virtuous people of that day.

What then could Paul have meant? How could he possibly say that it is of no profit for men to live righteously when innumerable verses say just the opposite? Why did he present one side of the coin and ignore the verses that speak of God's support and favor for those who feared Him? Actually he didn't... [See None That Seeketh]


Why People Resist

Hiding Sin
So if dead people can hear and live, and it is possible for the natural man to keep the law, why is it that people thrust the Gospel away from themselves?  Why is it that they not only resist God's Word but are actively hostile toward Him? There are several reasons given in the Scriptures. One of them is because people do not want their evil deeds to be reproved. ... The word reprove, has several subtleties of meaning but is largely used in the New Testament in the sense of bringing to light or exposing with a view to correction. People rarely want their sins exposed much less convicted.

    For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God. [John 3:20-21]  


Hardened Hearts
Our conscience (the inner sense of what is right or wrong in our conduct or motives) leads to feelings of remorse when we do things that go against our moral values. The warning from the Scriptures about people who repeatedly violate their consciences is all too often seen in the modern world in which various types of criminals show patterns of repetitive behaviour. Consciences get hardened and seared when they are  persistently ignored, and it becomes easier and easier to sin. Eventually some people become almost incapable of changing their behavior and have few, if any, pangs of conscience. The author of Hebrews says... [Emphasis Added]

    but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called to-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: [Hebrews 3:13. ]

When Paul wrote to Timothy about a branded conscience he was not speaking of a condition people were born with, but a consequence of repeated sin.

    through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron [1 Timothy 4:2]

Vincent's Word Studies says [Emphasis Added]

    "The metaphor is from the practice of branding slaves or criminals, the latter on the brow. These deceivers are not acting under delusion, but deliberately, and against their conscience. They wear the form of godliness, and contradict their profession by their crooked conduct. The brand is not on their brow, but on their conscience. [Also read the first chapter of Titus].

Not only does repeated sin cause a callous to grow over our consciences, but a persistent refusal to acknowledge the Creator also leads to a darkening of the heart.

In Romans 1 Paul says men are without excuse because of the manifest presence of God in creation. (He repeats this in Romans 10 where he, quoting from the Septuagint translation of Psalm 19:4, says that the opportunity to hear has been so universally extended that all the earth has received some revelation concerning God, therefore are without excuse for rejecting that revelation).

    For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. [Romans 1:20-21. Emphasis Added]

The apostle does not say that the hearts of these men were darkened from birth but specifically says they became so due to their refusal to acknowledge the Creator. Paul's scathing indictment against the "ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (V.18) includes the following points. 

    they did not glorify Him (V.21)

    they did not give Him thanks (V.21)

    they became vain in their reasonings (V.21)

    they professed themselves to be wise (V.22)

    they changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things (V.23)

    they indulged in homosexuality (V.23)

    they worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator (V.25)

A laundry list of other vices are listed in verses 27-32.

And the result of all this ungodliness, unrighteousness and immorality is clearly seen in Verse 26, which  begins with the words "For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions..."

Verse 28 further emphasizes the point Paul has already well proved stating that "even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting"

 Paul ends with a chilling pronouncement [Emphasis Added]

    who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them. [Romans 1:32]


God Hardens Hearts:
"Why, O Lord, do you make us wander from your ways and harden our hearts so we do not revere you?" [Isaiah 63:17].

It is true that Isaiah seems to be saying that it is God that hardens people's hearts  But the Calvinist interpretation of this verse contradicts scores of other passages which unambiguously state that the people would not hear or listen. Adam Clarke called this passage "A mere Hebraism, for why hast thou permitted us to err". The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says the verse means

    made us to err-that is, "suffer" us to err and to be hardened in our heart. They do not mean to deny their own blameworthiness, but confess that through their own fault God gave them over to a reprobate mind

Just as an example Zechariah clearly states that when the Lord instructed the people to "Execute true judgment, and show kindness and compassion every man to his brother; and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the sojourner, nor the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart". (Vs. 9-10), they

    "refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they might not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which Jehovah of hosts had sent by his Spirit by the former prophets: therefore there came great wrath from Jehovah of hosts. [Zechariah 7:11-12]

Ezekiel and Jesus both described exactly the same state of affairs...

    Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of the rebellious house, that have eyes to see, and see not, that have ears to hear, and hear not; for they are a rebellious house. [Ezekiel 12:2] 

    For this people's heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them. [Matthew 13:15]

But that God does harden the hearts of at least some people is evident from the case of the Egyptian ruler who had enslaved the people of Israel.


The Pharaoh
Perhaps the Biblical story that most readily springs to mind is that of God and the Pharaoh of Egypt, who was an extreme case of someone who's heart was hardened by the direct agency of God. Paul refers to this in Romans 9 as an example of God being entitled to show mercy on whom He will and harden whom He will [Romans 9:18].

But it has to be noted, even in this story, that God did not just wake up one fine morning and decide to make His name known through all the earth by hardening the Egyptian ruler and showing him who was boss.  The account in Exodus says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart five separate times [Exodus 7:13, 7:22, 8:15, 8:19, 8:32 and 9:7] before God got fed up and decided to not give him any more opportunities to do the right thing.

After Pharaoh's persistent and stubborn refusal to listen, the Scriptures tell us that God hardened Pharaoh's heart [Exodus 9:12, 9:34-35; 10:1, 10:20, 10:27; 11:10 and 14:8].

Besides which... why in the world would God need to harden Pharaoh's heart if he was already totally depraved? Surely there can not be degrees of Total Depravity?


Contradictions or Perspective:
A similar situation is found in Deuteronomy 30:6 which states

    "The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul and live."

Whereas in other verses we hear God telling people to circumcise their own hearts...

    Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff necked. [Deuteronomy 10:16]

    Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem...." [Jeremiah 4:4]

In Psalm 119:36 the Psalmist asks God to incline his heart the right way, but just a few verses later he says he has inclined his heart to obey God's laws.

    "Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, And not to covetousness" [Psalm 119:36]

    "I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes For ever, even unto the end". [Psalm 119:112]

Ezekiel 36:26 says God will give them a new heart whereas in Ezekiel 18:31, God instructs the people to make for themselves a new heart.

    A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. [Ezekiel 36:26]

    Cast away from you all your transgressions, wherein ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? [Ezekiel 18:31]

None of these statements are intended to establish doctrine, but have to be considered to be making the point that the circumcision of the heart (or a new heart) comes about by mutual effort. God does His part enabling us by His Spirit, and we do ours by submitting to Him and co-operating with Him. Both parties are involved in this process.


Total Inability, the Gospel and an 'Unreasonable' God?
If our Total Inability makes it impossible for us to voluntarily believe in Christ, why did God command that man repent and believe.

    The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent [Acts 17:30]

    And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. [1 John 3:23]

When God gives a command and threatens to punish all those that do not obey it, it implies that the one to whom the command is given capable of obeying it. But, according to Calvinism, man is so morally corrupt, and so enslaved to sin that he is incapable of taking one step towards God, yet God orders him to repent and believe and punishes him for not doing so. Job 36:7-12 says

     [7] He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: But with kings upon the throne He setteth them for ever, and they are exalted. [8]  And if they be bound in fetters, And be taken in the cords of afflictions; [9]  Then he showeth them their work, And their transgressions, that they have behaved themselves proudly. [10] He openeth also their ear to instruction, And commandeth that they return from iniquity. [11] If they hearken and serve him, They shall spend their days in prosperity, And their years in pleasures. [12 ] But if they hearken not, they shall perish by the sword, And they shall die without knowledge.

Why do I have my doubts that you and I would not long put up with a person who consistently exhibited such irrational tendencies. I would definitely suspect that something was 'not quite right' with them and wonder how long they had been off their medication. Yet we unquestioningly accept this completely unreasonable behaviour as Godly, passing it off under various excuses such as no one can know "the mind of the Lord" [Romans 11:34] or that His ways and thoughts and above our ways and thoughts [Isaiah 55:9].

    [Incidentally Isaiah 55:9 might be a slight mistranslation and may should read as Psalm 103:11.." For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is his loving kindness toward them that fear him"]

While it is true, that the wisdom and the knowledge of God has great depth and riches [Romans 11:33] nothing in these passages excuses sheer irrationality.

Besides which both ...


Moses and Joshua
seemed to think that the keeping of God's commandments was an achievable goal and that the listeners could obey. In fact Moses said that keeping the commandments was not even particularly difficult. [Emphasis Added]

    if thou shalt obey the voice of Jehovah thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law; if thou turn unto Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. [Deuteronomy 30:10-11]

He then went on to say that he was setting before the Israelites life and death, presenting the two options as straightforward and genuine alternatives for them to choose between. There is not the slightest suggestion in his words that some or any of the listeners were incapable of complying with the commands... which would have to be read into the text.

     See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, that thou mayest live and multiply, and that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. [Deuteronomy 30:15-16]

Later on Moses told the Israelites to not only set their hearts on obeying the law but to command their children to do the same. This obedience would be the only thing that would prolong their lives in the land across the Jordan.

    Set your heart unto all the words which I testify unto you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, even all the words of this law. For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it. [Deuteronomy 32:46-47]

Joshua repeated a similar message more than once. [All Emphasis Added]

    Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate thereon day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for Jehovah thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. [Joshua 1:7-9] 

    And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah. [Joshua 24:15]


We Will Serve The Lord
Also note that Calvinism teaches that people do not even have the desire to serve God. Yet this is completely contradicted by the people's response to three of Joshua's statements

       If ye forsake the Lord, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you evil, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord [Joshua 24:20-21]

       And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. [Joshua 24:22]

       Now therefore put away, said he, the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord, the God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, the Lord our God will we serve, and unto his voice will we hearken. [Joshua 24:23-24]

And if you wish to dismiss this as lip service, Joshua did not. He took their commitment to keeping God's commandments as reality. The next verse tells us that He "made a covenant with the people that day" (V.25) going as far as to write "these words in the book of the law of God" and take "a great stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of Jehovah" (V.26). That the stone was intended to be a witness to the words that were spoken on both sides is made explicitly clear in the next verse...

    And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it hath heard all the words of Jehovah which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness against you, lest ye deny your God. [Joshua 24:27]

So what happened to Total Inability? Or are we to assume that every member of Moses and Joshua's audience was a recipient of God's Efficacious and Irresistible Grace. Certainly in the unlikely event that this was true, then this grace was actually quite ineffective in transforming the hearts and natures of the general population considering that the history of the nation was one of repeated and serious transgressions of His commandments ... Ad Infinitum.


People Call On God and God Answers
It is truly amazing that Calvinism states that man is totally unable to call on God, But the Bible states that not only can men call upon God but, when they do, He actually answers them.

    For what great nation is there, that hath a god so nigh unto them, as Jehovah our God is whensoever we call upon him?  [Deuteronomy 4:7]

    I will call upon Jehovah, who is worthy to be praised: So shall I be saved from mine enemies.  [2 Samuel 22:4]

    Moses and Aaron among his priests, And Samuel among them that call upon his name; They called upon Jehovah, and he answered them. [Psalms 99:6]


Tyre, Sidon and Nineveh

And what are we to make of our Lord's words in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of Matthew...


Matthew 11:21
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

    Very clearly, according to Jesus, Tyre and Sidon would have repented had they witnessed the miracles Jesus performed in Chorazin and Bethsaida.

If Total Inability is true then Jesus doing even ten times the mighty works than He did do would have been insufficient to change the hearts of the people of the two cities.


Matthew 12:41-42
The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

    How is it possible that the men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment against the people of Jesus' generation if they did not have the ability to repent? Or were they too recipients of God's Irresistible Grace. And if they were... what happened? It didn't take long before they were back to their old blood thirsty ways, which is when the prophet Nahum pronounced doom on them.

To summarize... According to Calvinism a) the Ninevites could not have repented without God's Irresistible Grace, b) Since they did repent, they must have received the Grace to do so. c) God's grace did not appear to be very "efficacious" or long lasting.

Part III... Unconditional Election
 

 

End Notes
[23] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), reprinted 1983, vol. II, Chapter 5. The Arguments Usually Alleged In Support Of Free Will Refuted.Pg. 273. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.iv.vi.html

[24] The Third and Fourth Main Points of Doctrine

Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs. Article 1: The Effect of the Fall on Human Nature. http://www.reformed.org/documents/canons_of_dordt.html

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. http://www.corpuschristians.com/LBC1689.html

[25] The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. http://www.corpuschristians.com/LBC1689.html

[26] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), reprinted 1983, vol. III, Chapter 23. Pg. 2232.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.xxiv.html

[27] Steve Jones. Filthy Rags? http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/rags.html

[28] Wayne Jackson. Who Is the “Natural” Man in 1 Corinthians 2:14?
http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/643-who-is-the-natural-man-in-1-corinthians-2-14

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