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Friday, August 20, 2004

A further explanation

I tend to stray away from getting into theology in this blog with any depth for fear of truly revealing myself to be a numb-skull. But I realize that as I have left my question in my last post, I am not going to get any where because no one knows where this precise question comes from. So here I go. Keep in mind this is just an idea and not a fully developed thesis, and that's why I'm looking for help.

I was trying to explain to a friend of mine that Lutherans would completely disagree with her. She is from a modern evangelical background, and attends a surprisingly sound theological growth church that has a Calvinist spin to it's doctrine. No sacraments. (That's right Liz, if you're reading this I'm talking about you). Any way she was saying that it's hard for her to believe that we are all completely and equally far from God, because we see people who are a lot closer to what God asks us to be, like Mother Theresa and St. Paul. She said that we of course all need a Savior, and that Savior is Christ, because we can't reach perfection on our own, but since we were created in God's image there are shadows of good left in us. We are not yet spiritually dead, but spiritually dying.

I could have come at this from a million angles, but I'm not always the best at explaining myself. I tried to explain that we create these divisions of bad to really bad out of a desire to place ourselves somewhere on that spectrum, preferably near the top. We desire to have something good to offer God. Then (I wish I had explained this better) I tried to explain that we're definitely spiritually dead. All the way dead. At least that's what Paul said. "And you He hath quickened [made alive] , who were DEAD in trespasses and sin" ( emphasis mine KJV Eph. 2:1). Not dying but dead. This lead me to talking about the Garden.

I said that we were not under Grace at that time, we were under a covenant of the law (I'm getting this idea from the past three episodes of White Horse Inn). God gave us the Garden and in order to keep it we had to uphold our side of the deal. Don't eat the fruit. Until that command was broken, and for a time it wasn't, we were perfect, alive, and right with God and able to look at Him in the eye without being destroyed. We did not have any understanding of evil, but you don't need that to be perfect. We had no need for a Savior at that time because there was nothing to be saved from, but it didn't last long. We had free will and ate the fruit, and then we were dead. At that moment God made a new covenant with us, it was no longer a covenant of works, "don't eat," but a covenant of Grace, "I will save you from your current state of being dead."

This is where I bring in the idea of Total Depravity that is totally mine, I've not read it backed up anywhere else, but I think it is the next step of logic. Until the fall of man we were not Totally Depraved, God gave us the Garden with the Tree of Life, and as long as we wanted to be alive we could eat of it freely. It was not until we were kicked out of the Garden and unable to eat of the Tree anymore it was God who sustained our breath. Because of the effects of Original Sin we are all in a state of Total Depravity, we have nothing, not even the Common Grace to take our next breath with out God's consent. Let alone the ability to be Good. "There is none good but one, that is, God"(KJV MK10:18).

Rob was disagreeing with me about our state before the fall. That at that time we were under God's grace, even in the Garden. We needed God's grace to sustain us. Which I don't totally disagree with, but I am a little unsure if "Grace" is the right word. We needed God's good opinion, we needed His consent, but we were capable of keeping those things on our own. Right? Rob's opinion (and he has read something to back him up unlike me) is that we were Totally Depraved from the very beginning, even before the fall. I guess that just doesn't make any sense to me.

That's where my question comes in, if anyone knows anything about this, or knows where I could find the answer on my own, I'd love to know.