Total Depravity 7
Aside from the Scripture passages already submitted, does the Bible contain a comprehensive presentation of the doctrine of total depravity?
The Bible’s teaching on Total or Radical Depravity is thorough and comprises all the genres found in the Scriptures. Rather than an isolated and obscure subject, the doctrine of Total Depravity comprehensively encompasses the totality of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation.
The doctrine of Total Depravity is contained in the first five books of the Bible known as the Law, the Pentateuch, or the Torah. Its writer, Moses, presents a clear picture of the degree of man’s fallen and sinful condition.
Genesis begins with the defiant disobedience by the woman and the man because of the temptation by the serpent (Genesis 3:1-6). What followed was inward guilt (Genesis 3:7) and spiritual death (Genesis 3:8-9). Adam’s and Eve’s inner nature became radically sinful (Genesis 3:10) and full of denial regarding their sin (Genesis 3:11-13). God brought judgment upon them and yet balanced judgment with grace (Genesis 3:14-24).
However, Adam transmitted his sinful and fallen nature to his children (Genesis 4:1-5:3). Every child born in Adam’s image was born with a radically corrupt nature (Genesis 6:1-5) resulting in every intention of his heart being evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21). This was the case prior to the Flood and after.
Man’s radical depravity can also be seen in the lies spoken by Abram (Genesis 12:10-20), the strife between Abram’s herdsmen and his nephew Lot’s herdsmen (Genesis 13:1-7), the conflict between Sarai and Hagar (Genesis 16; 21:9-21), the immorality and subsequent destruction of Sodom (Genesis 18-19), Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:30-38), Abraham’s treachery (Genesis 20), Jacob’s deception toward Esau (Genesis 27), Laban’s deception toward Jacob (Genesis 29), the treachery by Jacob’s sons toward Joseph (Genesis 34), Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38), and Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39).
In the Book of Exodus, man’s radical depravity is most visibly and violently displayed by Pharaoh and his hardened heart (Exodus 7:13-14; 22; 8:15; 19; 32; 9:7; 34-35; 13:15). It is also seen in the idolatrous worship by the Israelites (Exodus 32).
The Book of Leviticus records the word unclean more than one hundred times in chapters 11-15. This is an appropriate description of Israel’s and mankind’s ethical and religious uncleanness.
Radical depravity in the Book of Numbers is seen by the people’s unbelieving hearts (Numbers 13:31-33) and their unsubmissive hearts (Numbers 21:1-5). While Israel was physically in the wilderness, the nation’s desires remained in idolatrous Egypt.
Man’s depravity is also explicitly stated in Deuteronomy. “And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: ‘You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear’ ” (Deuteronomy 29:2-4 ESV).