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MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/election/elmss924.s.htm
MAKING SENSE OF GOD'S ELECTION: a Digest of the Essentials of the Work by Donald R. Shell
Part II: Examining Scripture On The Will-Related Doctrines
Chapter VIII: Examining Human Depravity In Scripture
A. Pertinent Old Testament Passages On Human Depravity
- In our studies on efficacious grace, God's alleged effectual call in the Gospel and the authorship of salvation faith, we found God does not conclusively appear to author the human choice to believe.
- We must then answer the Calvinist's question of how God's salvation is totally gracious regardless of our implying man's will may author the faith he expresses in Christ. We must explain how man's nature would be fully depraved ( Jeremiah 17:9) and yet have no need for God to author his faith.
- We begin by viewing pertinent Old Testament passages on human depravity:
- Genesis 3:6-7 - This passage describes the process of man's fall into sin but offers no details on any variations of man's volitional capability between his pre-sin state, the fall itself and his post-fall state.
- Genesis 6:5-7; 8:21
- Genesis 6:5-7 and 8:21 together reveal "every intent of the thoughts" of fallen man's "heart" is "only evil continually" from his youth on up, a time Psalm 51:5(7) shows (at least) begins at his conception .
- However, we can not discern the degree if any that man's capacity for volition was itself affected by his fall into sin due to the contrasting ways the word for "heart" (libo) is used in the contexts on human volition elsewhere in the Old Testament, cf. B.D.B., A Hebr. And Engl. Lex. Of the O.T., p. 428, 364, 524-525 and 947-948; Kittel, Biblia Hebraica, p. 8, 11 (as follows):
- On the one hand, man's will is said to control his heart's attitude in Deuteronomy 24:15.
- Conversely, Exodus 35:21 makes such a heart control one's will.
- Also, Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 fail to show the degree to which man's capacity to express volition was itself affected by his fall into sin, and neither do they present the capacity of unregenerate man to express volition were he to come under conviction by the Holy Spirit's convicting ministry that Lewis Sperry Chafer claimed occurs to the unregenerate according to John 16:8-11, cf. Chafer., Systematic Theology, 1947, reprint (Dallas Theol. Sem., 1973), vol. III, Soteriology, p. 217-222.
- 1 Chronicles 29:18-19
- David here asked God forever to preserve Israel's desire to worship Him in "the intent of the thoughts of the heart," NASB. The Hebrew text's words as represented in the English translations are the same ones used on human depravity in Genesis 6:5. Since Genesis 8:21 has the same words minus mahshebot (translated "thoughts"), we know the theological view of depravity in Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 is recalled by David in Chronicles 29:18-19, Ibid., Biblia Hebraica, p. 8, 11 and 1376.
- Yet, nowhere in 1 Chronicles 29 are we shown how this good attitude would or could be preserved. We must gain such insight outside of this passage on the roles of will and nature in fallen man to the type and degree of will liberty or bondage that exists in fallen man's capacity to author a choice.
- Psalm 14:2-3
- This passage states man's sinful corruption extends to his inner being though it fails to describe just what constitutes man's capacity for volitional expression.
- Yes, it reveals fallen man does not seek the Lord (verse 2), but we are not told the mechanics of how such a decision originates: we can not tell if it is the capacity in man to express a choice itself that causes this faulty decision or if it is the nature of man, which, in providing motivation and evil thoughts that actually eventually and inevitably influences him to decide to misuse his will.
- Psalm 51:5(7) - Though this important verse reveals fallen men today are sinners starting at least at conception, just what parts of man's being or abilities that are affected by sin is not shown, meaning we can not thereby tell if man's ability to express faith in God is also innately affected by his depravity.
- Jeremiah 13:23 - Though this verse shows us fallen man is unable to do good in himself, we are not told just what in him is depraved -- his capacity to exercise volition or his nature, etc.
- Jeremiah 17:9 - The depraved heart (lav) of fallen man is shown by the context to be the inner mind since, in verse 10, it is apparently parallel in thought to the kilyah, or "kidneys" which figuratively picture the seat of emotion and character, Ibid., B.D.B., p. 480. However, since this verse fails to claim man has no capacity to believe in God though the mind itself is fully depraved, we would again need to look elsewhere to learn how man is depraved in relation to his will and/or his nature.