As we begin I want to refer to a few Scriptural statements of importance to which we will compare the following theories. To be clear, I find the theories we will consider to be misleading and incorrect. They are not the most natural Biblical perspective and have created unnecessary confusion.
Ge.6:9 “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”
Ro.1:20 – “…they (those who suppress truth) are without excuse…”
Eze.18:20 – “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”
Dt.30:11 – “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.”
A very common idea (theory) that has been promoted and has influenced the minds of many (even those who don’t realize it) is called Total Depravity. This teaches that once Adam and Eve sinned, human beings (the entire human race) no longer have the ability to obey God. It emphasizes that all we can do is nothing but sin. Before calling attention to many problems that come from this view, I will explain the two ways this is said to work.
One explanation emphasizes the idea that human beings lost something when Adam sinned and the other emphasizes that something was added to human nature.
What Was Lost?
Some say that Adam’s sin resulted in the entire human race losing the ability do what God expects or requires them to do. Such an idea requires that human nature fundamentally changed and we are no longer the beings that God created. A very basic problem with this view is that Scripture represents God as still expecting humans to do what He says. This view would emphasize that human beings cannot obey God as opposed to the idea that they will not obey God.
What Was Added to Human Nature?
The other explanation indicates that something was added to human nature and this “thing” that was added causes us to sin. This “thing” is often referred to as a “sinful nature.” This also means that human nature fundamentally changed and that we are no longer the beings that God created.
Both of these theories indicate that the moral nature of human beings is not the same as that which Adam and Eve possessed and that our guilt is primarily based on their choice. We are guilty because of what they did and controlled by the change that took place as a result of the choice they made (Adam, in particular).
Compare these views with the Scripture quoted above. We will consider more in the next post.
 The NIV Bible translates “sarx” (flesh) with the phrase “sinful nature.” This is a very unfortunate choice and a poor translation of “sarx.”