Lane chapter 8a
Institutes 2.1 How does the fall of Adam affect us?
In a one word answer, it is totally. No man and no part of man is exempt from the effects of the fall. “Total Depravity”, some say this is an unfortunate term. The reason being we know man is not as absolutely or completely evil as he could be but he is totally depraved in every way when compared to how wonderfully excellent he was in his original created condition. Oh how terribly far we have degenerated.
If we understand that to a perfectly righteous and Holy God we stand justly condemned and convicted “Coram Deo” before the face of God. To a perfect, Holy, and righteous God “nothing is acceptable but righteousness, innocence, and purity” (Institutes 2.1.8). Calvin strongly states that all mankind is afflicted with this inward corruption of Adam’s sin. The sin of unfaithfulness. “This sin, therefore, seems to be hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the Soul” (Institutes p.2.1.8)
Our sin is transmitted to us through our spiritual DNA. Because we descend from fallen man we will always be born in a fallen state. Earlier studies of Calvin show we have some innate knowledge of God and that to know God we must know ourselves. In order to know ourselves we need to know what this fall did to us, to “all men”. Dogs beget dogs, cats beget cats and fallen man only begets fallen man. “Let the earth bring forth living creators according to their own kind”. Gen. 1:24.
This sin occupies both mind and heart. We are born with this sin nature, it is not something we acquire as we travel through life. Sin is to die. We were made originally to be immortal in the likeness of God. Let us not blame God but praise Him for His grace. Our depravity of nature is the cause of our destruction which came into man from the outside, not from the perfect inward creation of God. (See Eccl. 7:29)
It is impossible to overstate the importance of this doctrine of total depravity in Calvin’s theology for it states the entire human race is condemned before God, helpless to save itself. Peace and joy overwhelms the heart when you see the tremendous beauty of biblical truth contained in Calvin’s theology of salvation. It is my belief the next great revival within the church will come about through the resurgent’s of the teaching of Calvinism and yes using the P word; “predestination”. No other doctrine can bring men’s heart to the point of such gratefulness to our sovereign gracious God as Calvinism. Salvation comes to fallen man only by, for, though, and to our Lord Jesus Christ. This faith is beyond our own ability due to the fallen state of all men and is only possible by grace from God and is not of our own doing.