Total Shenanigans

​Perhaps I don’t fully grasp Total Depravity since as I understand it, the logical consequence is necessarily that God is only different than Satan (or unpersonified evil) and greatness is only measured in terms of power; which has no bearing on the morality of either God or Satan.

Holding to Total Depravity as the natural state of man, no one has a vocabulary to speak to either the goodness of God or the harrow of evil. Man is left to only describe God and evil in terms of what men prefer and this preference — again because he has no connection to the good at all, being totally depraved — has no other objective point of reference. And while this doesn’t present any problems whatever in discussing human ethics, it certainly does mean by definition that our ethics have nothing to do with God. That’s quite a departure from scripture.

Scripturally and logically, our understanding of what is good is because there is goodness in creation itself and that all are drawn to participate in it in as much as any creature is able. That presence being grace and the draw to it being “pistis”, persuasion, faith. This is seemingly the natural state of man; inclined to the good because however dark the glass, it still reflects the image before it, namely goodness aside from man and that man desires as its icon.

Just a thought.

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7 thoughts on “Total Shenanigans

  1. Greg Porter says:

    Are you making a case for universalism? If so, I agree that one can be made in Scripture. I don’t know if that’s the case being made in Scripture. Either way, whether universally or not, the Scripture is clear that Salvation comes through Christ.

  2. Greg Porter says:

    Do you think people are really inclined toward good? It seems to me the more natural inclination is toward unevolved depravity. “Bad” is the naturally occurring, “unformed” man. “Good” is something that is learned, developmentally “formed.” At least that’s how it appears.

    • Steven Hoyt says:

      yes, man is inclined toward the good. whether that’s a moral end via one’s conscious or from an aesthetic sense of unity, symmetry, harmony, melody, or beauty, or whether an ideal, this is what we are drawn to and the kinds of things we would choose to participate in and the sort of experiences that lead to the deepest meanings can find in life.

      what would be natural is to know both good and evil and through experience, crave the one and abhor the other.

      goodness is not learned from any teacher but life.

      but a scant few we can all readily identify through history, you’re saying the majority of people were inclined toward depravity? how is it even possibly true given the advent of society, especially on larger scales and the sorts of relationships that must exist for those to work and what those relationships rely on, greg?

    • Steven Hoyt says:

      greg, i hope you realize that if you simply want a scriptural answer, you can look up the greek word “pistis” and see that it is one’s conscience and not some epistemological belief about a proposition.

      scripturally, god’s first gift to creation is his presence. his presence is called “grace”. god is goodness itself. god’s second gift to mankind is the ability to recognize it and be drawn to it. this is our natural response to god’s presence; faith (how “pistis” is translated).

      scripture only speaks about the mechanics of atonement in a few places, and in the rest there’s nothing but silence.

      atonement is by grace, through faith, both gifts of god to all of humanity. both are efficacious for salvation in that scripture demands repentance and it is the ability to recognize goodness that is why we would care to enjoin and participate in it at all.

      no one earns salvation but certainly grace and faith are what matters as to the how of salvation, and the why is from participating, essentially, in god. the experience of doing the good is transformative. the result is salvation.

      how does jesus fit in? no one really knows, but any christian who said he exemplified the fullness of humanity and therefore the iconic fullness of divinity in humanity wouldn’t be heretical in the least. track atonement down to its jewish ritual and find in romans and particularly in hebrews, a high priest makes expiation for everyone so that god will come and sit on the mercy seat (hilesterion) having forgiven one and all, regardless of their approval, acceptance, or agreement.

      but by now, i’m on a tangent and should probably avoid going any further so this stays focused.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        i will say though, “pistis christou”, not “pistis anyone else”. in other words, the faithfulness of christ, not one’s faith in our belief about christ.

        again, not heretical … see the catechistic literature, foreign to most of us wee, poor protestants.

      • Steven Hoyt says:

        “one’s faith in l, or belief about christ”

        bad text gesturing. sorry.

    • Steven Hoyt says:

      to think about, greg:

      This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. (CCC 847)

      All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.

      vatican ii, Gaudium Et Spesteaches, 22

      When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

      romans 2:14-16

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