Total Depravity and Degeneration

by Eusebio A. Tanicala, Ph.D.

One reader has asked, “What must a person do to be saved?” Our friend, Nollie Malabuyo, gave the curt answer: “Nothing.” Nollie explains that man is totally depraved. He is dead. A dead person, a corpse, is insensitive and unable to make decisions. So it is God who acts in all stages of salvation process from predestination, to calling, regeneration, to justification, to sanctification, to glorification. God supplies a person the gift of faith, the gift of believing, sends a gift of a preacher to tell him the gospel story, supplies the gift of repentance, supplies the gift of confession, supplies the gift of obedience, supplies the gift of the Holy Spirit to renew the person, supplies the gift of holy living, supplies gifts, gifts, gifts and gifts until a person gets glorified in heaven. Everything is a gift. No exercise of a person’s free will. A person could not exercise his conscience. No free choice.Cannot do anything on his own. But is this position correct? No.

We wished that Randy would ask the question, “What must a person do to be damned?” I imagine that our friend Nollie would give another curt answer: “Nothing.” That would be consistent with his position he takes in what a person must do to be saved and glorified.

But we ask: Who predetermined and who pushed Eve to pick and eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden? Was the decision of Eve to eat the fruit her own free will? When Adam also ate of the forbidden fruit, was it his free will? Why was God dissatisfied with the decision and act of Adam and Eve? Why were they penalized with suffering and death? I would like Calvinism advocates to answer the above questions.

Now, Adam and Eve’s disobedience brought death unto all human kind. This is understood by Calvinists as literal. The term “death” is a literal dead body. A dead person is a corpse. A zombie. No senses. No life. No vitality. No mind, No decision. From this premise of “death” Calvinism proceeds with its idea of regeneration as discussed in the first article. But we take another direction opposite regeneration. We take the direction of degeneration.

Let’s suppose that there’s predestination. The great majority of human kind is predestined to be damned. That is the theory of Calvinism. But wait, this “dead” majority are individuals. A single “dead” individual has a will, the ability to do bad things. Whose will is this? Where does it come from? If, as premised by Calvin, God predestined everybody, then it follows that the action of this “dead” individual is God’s doing. Because the dead cannot do anything of his own.

But let’s follow the line of reasoning: the “dead” person acts and continues to do evil. Here are some questions to challenge the Calvinist: (1) Is the dead person who continues to think and do evil dead? (2) Does the dead person who thinks and do evil possess a will or ability to make choices? (3) Is this dead person who thinks and do evil responsible for his decisions? (4) Who predestined this dead person to continue playing his role of disobedience?

This dead person continues on his moral degeneration and ends up a burning garbage in the gehenna of Hell. Who programmed him in this degeneration? Logically, following the premises of Calvinism, the programmer is God. Therefore, it is God who wills that a person degenerates into damnation in hell as much as God wills that another person regenerates into glorification in heaven.

But God is angry at the degenerate robot. Well, that’s the illogic of John Calvin! Do you agree with his logic? For my part, I don’t.