Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Total Depravity?

to•tal   /ˈtoʊtl/

1. constituting or comprising the whole; entire; whole: the total expenditure.
2. of or pertaining to the whole of something: the total effect of a play.
3. complete in extent or degree; absolute; unqualified; utter: a total failure.
4. involving all aspects, elements, participants, resources, etc.; unqualified; all-out: total war.


I will always have a problem with the non-biblical terminology of "total depravity" because its theological application does not really mean TOTAL.

Total means there as absolutely no room for anything further to be added - it is complete and utter in its extent. Man's depravity is no where near "total", there is room for worse. Not everyone turns out to be a Hitler, a Stalin or a Pol Pot.

The problem with unsaved man's condition is not so much "depravity". A far greater problem is that area of "goodness" within and displayed by most of us that allows room for self-righteousness.

Having some good traits (NOT being totally depraved) obscures the destructiveness of the bad and allows us to feel justified within ourselves. To many people it is their “goodness” that keeps them separated them from God because they see no need for a saviour.

Reference to the “total depravity” of man is a stumbling block to the unsaved. Despite recognising and admitting their faults, most can also see that they are not as depraved in behaviour or attitude as they could be: that their depravity is not total and therefore such a claim is a lie.

Man’s unsaved state is NOT due to total depravity, it is due to PARTIAL depravity – when God requires absolute perfection, it only takes the smallest blemish for us to fail His standard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. God requires from us holiness, a complete separation from all things of the world. When we compare ourselves to God's standard we should clearly see that all fall short of His glory and that all are desparately in need of a savior.