Sin, harmartia (ἁμαρτία), missing the mark of God’s perfect holiness, this is why we suffer. We are born spiritually stillborn, under the curse of the fall. We are the descendants of Adam, and in Adam have inherited a sin nature. Due to the curse, we are under the noetic effect of sin. Sin has effected every aspect of our being. We don’t perceive rightly with our senses. We don’t reason rightly with our faculties, and we don’t communicate rightly with our expressions. We are not true. God is perfect in all of His ways. When a person says that they believe in the doctrine of Total Depravity, they aren’t saying, “I can do nothing good.” They are saying, “Everything about me, has been affected by sin. Through and through, my every attribute is perverted from what was communicated during the creation.” When God created us in His image, He communicated many of His attributes in a lesser way, consistent with our nature as creatures. Original sin broke that image. So God can use us to do good things, but we are not good. We can be altruistic, but even that is tainted, or colored by our pervasive sinfulness. So the next time you want to attack the doctrine of Total Depravity as Calvinist heresy, perhaps you should do a study in hamartiology. Maybe you’ll learn just how depraved you are, and hopefully, it will magnify how much you need the Savior. When the breech is impassable, you have no hope except that which the Savior Christ Jesus has wrought in His atoning sufferings on the cross. Soli Deo Gloria!
Sometimes when I am groggy from sleep, drifting in or out I find myself behaving like an unthinking animal. I don’t know if this is unique to me or if any of you have experienced this kind of lack of consciousness or not. I don’t have any forethought in this state. It is just beyond sleep and just ahead of being awake. Those moments are fleeting. They leave me with a sense of being less than a human. I wonder if this is how some of the higher functioning mammals think and feel? Like the gorilla that could do sign language. She communicated from a mind with a different type of thinking, understanding, and desires. I don’t like being subject to a lesser state. It is disconcerting.
Before we are saved, we think only as a person can under the noetic effects of original sin and bondage to that sinful state. We operate in a state that is less than. Our unregenerate minds can only conceive of evil and it continually. We see our fellow men lost in the dark and shine a light for them to see. We hope they will orientate themselves to and by that light.
Even those of us who have been saved still perceive and process from a state of being less than what we are to be. The noetic effects of sin corrupt us as well. We wait for glorification one day. We wait for a time when our abilities to perceive and process without the effects of sin will be fulfilled. How would we look back on our previous mortal existence? How would we as creatures know and perceive our Creator in truth? What would it be like? I know that I can’t know everything even after glorification. I also know that I won’t know things the same fallen way that I know them now. To know Jesus now is a miracle wrought by God. I can’t imagine what it will be like to know Him without this sinful flesh and corruption of mind.