The world is fallen and not the way if was intended to be. In the beginning, when God created the world it was good, this is seen in Genesis 1-2. Just a couple pages to the right, in chapter 3, sin enters the world. The crafty serpent enticed the woman, Eve, to eat from the tree that God commanded the man, Adam, not to eat from. After the woman took a bite she offered the man some of the forbidden fruit, thus sin entered the world. But how much effect did sin have on the world and humans, whom God created in his image?
Looking at the views of Erickson and Grudem will help us understand this issue and come to a onclusion about the totality of sin and the idea of original sin as well. Erickson’s View of Sin Erickson blatantly stated that sin is all encompassing (556). Erickson uses text from the Old Testament to support his idea. “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5).
Notice that the scripture says that the LORD saw the wickedness of the human race.. very inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was evil continually. This one passage Erickson uses to illustrate the idea that sin has marred the hole human race. Erickson believes that the New Testament speaks to this idea as well. He used Romans 3. For here Erickson believes that Paul quotes and elaborates upon Psalm 14 and 53, as well as others. For within this passage Paul clearly states that all are sinful and have become worthless. Verse 20 states that there will be justified by works of the law (567). According to Erickson the Bible does not only assert that all are sinners but assumes it everywhere as well.
It is clear that Erickson understands that scripture reveals sin a being all encompassing to the human race-from his understanding, we are all sinners. Erickson adds another aspect to his Biblical stance, “An additional proof of the universality of sin is that all persons are subject to the penalty of sin, namely, death” (569). Because of sin, we will all experience death, because we all have sinned. As to the intensity of sin, Erickson believes that we are all totally depraved. The totality aspect does not mean that people are as evil as they could be.
This explains why lost people have the ability to make good choices to do good acts. The emphasis here is on the motives behind the actions. In the correct understanding of the doctrine of total depravity, sin is not efined in terms of what other human beings may regard as unpleasant. It is, rather, a matter of failure to love, honor, and serve God (547). Finally, according to Erickson’s understanding, humans are unable to save themselves. There is nothing they can do to earn, to make up, or to work up that would be able merit them salvation. In this regard, people are deemed totally depraved, according to Erickson.
Erickson believes that we all participated with Adam in his sin, although children are not. Erickson holds to the view that there one must be able to acknowledge their guilt and sin in the same ay they acknowledge Christ as a savior for their sins. Children and infants inherit the sin of Adam but they are not guilty of it until they reach the age of responsibility. Grudem’s View of Sin Grudem holds to a Calvinistic view of Sin. His definition of sin is, “Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature” (490).
Notice that his definition encompasses the totality of the human being; their acts, attitudes, and nature. Sin is more than a bad action for it originates in the heart. Grudem cites Ephesians 2:3 to emphasize the idea that the very nature of humans is sin. “Even hile asleep, an unbeliever, though not committing sinful actions or actively nurturing sinful attitudes, is still a “sinner” in God’s sight; he or she still has a sinful nature that does not conform to God’s moral law. Grudem seems to believe that sin was present before God created the world.
He states, “Even before the disobedience of Adam and Eve, sin was present in the angelic world with the fall of Satan and demons” (489). This is a new concept to think about. For so long people have believed that the world was perfect, for even after God created Adam and Eve he declared all to be good. For Grudem anyways, sin was present before Adam and Eve sinned. Grudem holds to a belief that the whole human race is counted guilty before God due to Adam’s sin. This is seen in Romans 5. The notion that “all men sinned” is to be understood that God thought of us as having sinned when Adam disobeyed.
Grudem believes that Adam was the representative of the human race. Therefore when he sinned all were affected. He uses the term imputed: “to think of as belonging to someone, and therefore to cause it to belong to them” (495). Grudem believes that we all have a natural inclination to sin. Therefore when faced with an opportunity to act out we will sin. Basically, we are totally depraved. All of our being is affected by. He uses Ephesians as his basis to support this view. Grudem believes that there is nothing that one can do to save themselves since sin affects them as a whole.
Personal View of Original Sin I never like to have to answer the question that comes along with this view. I agree with most scholars, Erickson and Grudem alike, about the nature and the totality of sin. But the question of original sin has always left me unable to make up my mind. According to Ephesians 2, we are by nature children of wrath. I take that to understand that our very nature is something that is eserving of God’s wrath. But when it come to infants and little ones and the age of accountability I get lost. Scripture is clear that all are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
The prophets in the OT testified to the fact that, like Isaiah said, “The heart is deceitful beyond all means, who can know it. ” These and other scriptures allow me to come to the conclusion that we are all born into sin and the guilt of Adam. Romans 5 build a pretty good argument for this stance. But what about children who have not come to know the Lord or those who are mentally unable to come to an understanding f their sins and their need for Jesus? I used to say that just as God chose us from the beginning of the world, He did the same for those who passed away without reaching an age of accountability.
This stance was supported by the goodness of God and knowledge of His character. I understood from scripture that God chose to save some. I guess you could say I was a Calvinist but not a hyper one. I trusted God in the knowledge of what is revealed about His grace and goodness in His Word, that he would save those who have passed in such a condition. I do not know who would be saved, but I do know that God is good, just, and sovereign. After the reading and class discussion, I cannot give a clear-cut case on where I stand with this issue. I am struggling with the idea of babies not being condemned from the womb.
In some ways, I don’t understand how one can be guilty of something by not be condemned for it. Erickson was the theologian that has made me question my stance the most. Unfortunately, a clear stance on where I stand cannot be given. Practicality of the Doctrine Understanding that we are all sinners motivates me to live a life in an attitude of dependence on the Lord not to let me give into sin and temptation. I must constantly confess my sins and see mpowerment from the Holy Spirit that I may be able to live in accordance with the will of God.
I must proclaim to others the reality of sin and the separation from God that it has caused. This will lead me to the proclamation of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. A sense of urgency and compassion for the lost will be a desire I shall ask the Lord to give me. Because of the reality of sin people will die and face eternal hell. Fortunately, I am able to tell them about the saving message of Jesus Christ. In a real way, Christians possess the power to do away with sin because Christ defeated it on the cross!