There’s no escaping the fact that we’ve entered troubled and troubling times. How should we respond to this year’s salvo of calamities and bad news? Christians rightly turn to God and ask whether He’s causing the trials we’ve had this year. If He has, Why? Why is God bringing calamity upon us? What is God doing in this trouble? I don’t claim to be a prophet, but I believe that the Bible gives us some possible answers to these questions.
We have a tendency to blame the devil for everything from unemployment to accidents to wars, and maybe even pandemics. But the Bible indicates that the devil is really working on only two goals to achieve one overall plan. These two goals are the arms of a pincer movement to achieve his objective. Don’t worry. The devil doesn’t have a chance in hell of succeeding. Jesus has already defeated him (John 12:31; 16:11; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). But, like a snake that continues to whip around after its head is cut off, he’s still trying; and he can cause problems for those who aren’t aware of his tactics. So, it can help us to know what the devil’s two goals are so that we can recognize them and not become discouraged. Let’s take a look.
1. The “total” in total depravity does not mean that everyone is as corrupt as possible or that everyone is destitute of all moral virtues. It means that sin affects all of our thought, faculties, and activities to some extent so that no one is pure or righteous in anything (Genesis 6:5; Matthew 15:19).
2. Total depravity began when Adam and Eve sinned; it can be seen in their changed nature—e.g., blaming others for their sin, deteriorating from friend of God to hiding from Him, and deviating from innocence regarding their nakedness to shame (Genesis 3:6–13); and it has been conveyed to all of their descendants (Job 15:14; Psalm 51:5; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Isaiah 53:6).
3. Total depravity is seen in the prevalence of every kind of sin in the world (Galatians 5:17–21).
4. Total depravity is seen in the early manifestation of sin in children (Genesis 8:21; Psalm 58:3; Proverbs 22:15).
5. Total depravity is evidenced by unregenerate humanity’s total and universal disregard for God’s claims on everyone’s supreme reverence, love, and obedience (Romans 1:18–32; 8:5–8).
6. Total depravity is seen in humanity’s general rejection of Jesus Christ (John 1:11; Isaiah 53:3).
7. Depravity is incurable by man, and it leaves him completely dependent on God’s grace for salvation (Isaiah 64:6–7; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:3; Romans 1:17; 3:23–24; Galatians 2:21; Ephesians 2:4–9).
8. God’s people in every age have given witness to their own depravity (Job 40:4; 42:6; Psalm 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Romans 7:23–24; Ephesians 2:3; 1 Timothy 1:15).
*Adapted from various sources, especially Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, 3 vols. (reprint, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1993), 2:233–238.
A. The answer to the general question, “Why do people sin?” is that all people have inherited sin and the tendency to sin from Adam. But what about Adam himself? Why did Adam sin? Adam didn’t have a sinful ancestor from which to inherit sin or a sinful nature. Before he sinned, Adam wasn’t a sinner. So, why did he sin?
A. As I have explained in an earlier Q&A about whether God is the author of sin, God is the ultimate and first cause of everything, but He is not the immediate cause of all things. That is, He uses secondary means.
A. There are only three possibilities for how evil appeared in the Garden of Eden. Either 1) God had no intention of evil appearing but it crept in accidentally anyway, 2) God knew that evil might appear but he intentionally took a neutral stance and then came up with a plan depending on what Adam and Eve chose, or 3) God intended evil to appear in the Garden because it served His purpose to glorify His Son.
A. “He gave up immortality to share death with the woman he loves.” It’s a great tagline for an epic love story about Adam and Eve, but is it true? Many think it is, and they see a parallel between Adam giving up his life for Eve, and Jesus Christ dying for His bride, the body of believers. But there are flaws.