Total Separation as Opposed to Total Depravity

The following is an abbreviated summary of a post at Transformed Theology on the subject of Total Separation which can be read in its entirety BY CLICKING HERE.

When Adam sinned his sin was not imputed to mankind. Mankind did not die in Adam’s sin. Adam was banned from the Garden of Eden, which represented God’s perpetual presence. As a result, every person who has been born of Adam was born outside of Eden and outside God’s perpetual presence. God created Adam and placed him in the garden where He could meet every single need that Adam had. Because Adam was in God’s presence, every provision that God had was available to Adam. When he sinned, God put Adam out of the garden and away from His perpetual presence. Because God is the source of life, being banned from God’s presence and withdrawn from God’s provisions was in effect death for Adam. This state of separation from God’s perpetual presence is the root cause of sin in mankind because God’s purpose for creating man was to be the source of life for him. In fact, God’s desire to bless man may well be the key to understanding what it is that brings glory to God. God is glorified when He is able to do in us and with us all that He has planned to do, which will make our lives their absolute fullest. As long as man is separated from God’s presence, nothing he does will bring honor and glory to God because God is not present and His provisions for man are limited. Anything that falls short of God’s glory is defined as sin.

In the Old Testament, God seeks to solve the separation problem by calling a nation of people unto Himself and seeking to be their God and wanting them to be His people. God protects Israel and provides for them and gives them His commandments and promises to bless them if they will just honor Him and keep His commandments. Israel does not keep God’s commandments. So God tells Moses to make a tabernacle and the tabernacle itself becomes a symbol of God’s presence with His people. His shekinah glory is connected to the tabernacle and various aspects of the tabernacle itself prove to the people that God’s presence is with them. Israel still is disobedient and rebellious. God being with His people was not enough.

So God sends His Son in the form of human flesh as the Word became flesh and in Jesus God cures man’s separation problem. Jesus endured temptation and fulfilled the Law and became the sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world. He was crucified on the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb and 3 days later was bodily resurrected and then later bodily ascended into heaven. God made Jesus both Lord and Savior and He is preparing a place called heaven for all who make Jesus the same in their hearts and in their lives. God has made a way for all to come to Him by believing in Jesus and in doing so, by coming to God in repentance and faith, believing that God is everything that His Word reveals about Him and that He will do everything he says in His Word He will do, the Bible promises that God will hear his prayer and will forgive his sin. When an individual places his faith and trust in Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his heart and God’s perpetual presence is forever joined with the individual. This presence solves man’s separation problem with God’s perpetual presence and sets the stage for the death of the old man and the sin nature and the new birth of the new man who has a new heart and is set to begin the transformation of having the mind of Christ.

There is one other aspect of this new man and new found solution to the separation problem and that is seen in the practice of prayer. Prayer allows us to come into God’s special presence. Prayer allows us to be as close to God as we can possibly be at any given moment in our lives. As we come into His presence, we are most likely to experience His power and His provisions and God is once again allowed to do for us what only He can do. He is glorified as we allow Him to be God once again in our lives. Very quickly, why does being a Christian not free us completely from sin in our lives?

It does not do so because we do not do as Paul said, and “pray without ceasing.” Even as a Christian and even with the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts, we still have this old nature that seeks to be in control of our lives and wants to do what seems right in our own eyes. God’s plan all along was simply to be obedient to His Word no matter what because that is what brings His life into our lives and that makes our lives the absolute best that we can be. The separation problem is the root problem of all sin. While correcting the separation problem does not guarantee the absence of sin; the separation problem does guarantee the presence of sin.

A person who is once born dies twice. A person who is twice born only dies once. The person who is once born never corrects the separation problem that Christ came to correct. The person who is twice born has been born again and the separation problem is corrected in his heart and will be ultimately glorified and that glorified state will result in a state of eternal bliss that will be characterized once again by God’s perpetual presence in heaven.

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About sbcissues

Interested in bringing the issues facing The Southern Baptist Convention to light.
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13 Responses to Total Separation as Opposed to Total Depravity

  1. Here is a comment thread on Facebook…

    Joshua Bennett
    When Adam sinned his sin was not imputed to humanity. This has less to do with Calvinism and more to do with heresy, I think.

    Les Prouty
    Bob, are you want to stick with that statement that, “When Adam sinned his sin was not imputed to humanity?”

    Les Prouty
    A. H. Strong, “The Scriptures teach that the transgression of our first parents constituted their posterity sinners ( Romans 5:19 — “through the one man s disobedience the many were made sinners”), so that Adam’s sin is imputed, reckoned or charged to every member of the race of which he was the germ and head ( Romans 5:16 — “the judgment came of one [offence] unto condemnation”). It is because of Adam’s sin that we are born depraved and subject to God’s penal infliction
    ( Romans 5:12 — “through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin”; Ephesians 2:3 — “by nature children of wrath”). ”

    Bob Hadley
    All of these passages support my statement dealing with Adam’s being separated from God’s perpetual presence which is the root of all sin. Adam’s sin has affected man in that we are all born outside the garden and therefore separated from God and it is not until we are reunited with Him that we can begin to fulfill our created purpose.

    Bob Hadley
    Adam’s sin does not condemn me. I am not charged with his sin. I am affected by it and there is a major difference in the two statements.

    Les Prouty
    Do you agree with Rom. 5.19 that thru Adam’s sin you and I were made sinners?

    Bob Hadley
    Yes… we were made sinners when God put Adam out of the garden because we are separated from His presence and everything we do outside His will which is to be in His presence is sin.
    >”

    Joshua Bennett
    Bob, that is called imputation.

    Bob Hadley
    I see imputed as meaning his sin is treated as if it is mine. I do not see it that way. His sin caused the separation which causes my sin; I am not a sinner because of Adam’s disobedience; I am a sinner because of the separation that was the result of his sin. >”

    Joshua Bennett
    That’s all well and good, I guess, but it is still not what the Bible teaches.

    Les Prouty
    Bob, see this quote: “Finally, we should note on this point that if imputation is morally wrong, then it is wrong in all cases. In other words, if it is wrong for God to judge someone based on another’s actions, then it is always wrong. In this case, the imputation of our sin to Christ and Christ’s obedience to us would be morally wrong. In this case, we would all be forever confined to hell. As Giradeau noted, “Atonement or eternal death: these are the only alternatives to the transgressors of an infinite law”

    Les Prouty
    Read the rest, a short article, here. http://www.weswhite.net/2009/01/justice-of-imputation-of-adams-sin/
    The Justice of the Imputation of Adam’s Sin « Johannes Weslianus
    http://www.weswhite.net

    Les Prouty
    In other words, if the imputation of Adam’s sin to us (his posterity) is wrong, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is wrong as well. Can’t have one without the other.

    Bob Hadley
    Romans 5 points to the fact that Adam’s sin has affected everyone in that in Adam ALL DIE and in Christ ALL LIVE. Imputation is a term that has been given theological significance; I would be tempted to argue our sin was imputed to Christ o…
    See More

    Bob Hadley
    I realize this is outside your thought process but it does speak to our sin nature and what God has done to correct it. >”

    Les Prouty
    Bob, I think here is s good statement of what imputation of Adam’s sin means:”The imputation of Adam’s sin means that Adam’s sin is attributed to us in such a way that the human race is judged guilty and worthy of punishment on the basis of that sin.”

    Les Prouty
    Here is in fact where scripture says Adam’s sin was imputed to us: ” Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men…For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners…” (Romans 5:18-19 ESV)

    Bob Hadley
    Does not say his sin was charged to us; his sin has made us all sinners. My point is there is a big difference in the two. You have to at least give room for the position??? >”

    Les Prouty
    It says that the consequences of his sin falls on him and us. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. His fall was our fall. He was our federal head in the fall just as Christ is our Head in redemption. When Adam sinned, he sinned for us all. When he was punished, we were all punished. When he was cursed, we were all cursed. On original sin, the Belgic Confession says, “It is a corruption of all nature – an inherited depravity which even infects small infants in their mother’s womb, and the root which produces in man every sort of sin. It is therefore so vile and enormous in God’s sight that it is enough to condemn the human race, and it is not abolished or wholly uprooted even by baptism, seeing that sin constantly boils forth as though from a contaminated spring.”
    See More

    Bob Hadley
    When Adam sinned, he sinned for us all. When he was punished, we were all punished. When he was cursed, we were all cursed.

    Bob Hadley
    This is an interpretation. Was Adam not banished from the garden where God’s presence was? Everyone else has been born outside the garden correct? It is interesting that God became a man which WOULD correct the separation problem, right? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit does correct the separation right? Prayer is coming into God’s presence right? Anything here incorrect? >”

    Les Prouty
    Yes, Adam was banished from the garden. He also died that day, as did we all (Rom. 5.15). Other curses as well. But we were positionally in the garden, as we are positionally “saints” and positionally righteousness, though neither actually saints nor actually righteous until heaven. Jesus did correct the separation problem. But He did more. He was a sacrificial offering to put away sin once and for all. So anything to correct? I think you are just leaving out part of the effect of the fall to try and avoid original sin.

    Bob Hadley
    I think you are stretching the effect of the fall to point to original sin to justify total depravity and inability. Go figure!

  2. Kyle Thomas says:

    It is fascinating to see a Baptist study the Scriptures and wind up with a position that is essentially the same as that of the Eastern Orthodox.

  3. Troy Sadler says:

    Bob, are you saying the the purpose of putting Adam and Eve out the Garden was to seperate them from God’s presence and that was the main reason? Also, would you be willing to state that their seperation only began when they were put out of the garden rather than when the sin occured?

  4. sbcissue says:

    Hey Troy

    This is a “work in progress” in my mind but I think it is fair for me to say, “yes” the purpose of God putting Adam and Eve out of the garden was to put them out of His perpetual presence where His perfect provisions were available to the couple. The second question is much more difficult to answer because we do not know exactly HOW our sin affects our being. I define sin as anything that robs God of His desire to be God in our lives and do for us what He created us for in the first place. When Adam sinned, his relationship with God changed at that moment. I am inclined at least at this time to answer your second question, “yes” the separation began when they were put out of the garden; God’s word of warning to Adam was “in the day that you eat of the fruit, you shall surely die.” I define this death as being put out of God’s presence because He is life and the absence of life is death; so the absence of God’s presence in our lives is also a definition of death. So, God’s punishment when He put the couple out of the garden fulfilled His word of warning to them; they died.

    Any thoughts on your end?

    ><>”

  5. Les says:

    Bob, you said, “I define sin as anything that robs God of His desire to be God in our lives and do for us what He created us for in the first place.”

    The bible defines it for us: “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”

    Agree?

    • sbcissue says:

      I think there are several definitions of what sin is.

      Agree?

      ><>”

      • Les says:

        Well, perhaps. I think most will agree at the core is lawlessness. The WCF SC defines it as “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.”
        They used the KJV for scripture proofs:

        Leviticus 5:17. And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.

        James 4:17. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

        1 John 3:4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

      • sbcissue says:

        Les,

        Romans 3:23 identifies sin as “falling short of God’s glory” and that is the basis for my statement, “I define sin as anything that robs God of His desire to be God in our lives and do for us what He created us for in the first place.” The latter is certainly a great definition of what it means to “fall short of the glory of God”, ie. not allowing Him to do for us what He purposed in His heart to do and what He created for in the first place.

        ><>”

  6. “When Adam sinned his sin was not imputed to mankind.”

    Imputation is so important to the Gospel because it impacts substitutionary atonement, whether that be unlimited or limited atonement, and how law-breakers are legally declared righteous. It is significant, in my opinion, how infrequent the issue of the Law and our law-breaking is in the article cited above.

    Yet one of the interesting things about imputation and justification is where it brings together unlikely theological friends. John Wesley, certainly not a fan of the Reformed understanding of the divine decrees, said he differed from Calvin not “a hair’s breadth” on the issue of justification by faith (Journals and Diaries, in The Works of John Wesley, May 14, 1765). This is illustrated in one of his sermons. Preaching on Romans 4:5, “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted [imputed] to him for righteousness,” Wesley proclaimed, “He hath no righteousness at all antecedent to this; not even so much as negative righteousness, or innocence. But ‘faith is imputed to him for righteousness’ the very moment that he believeth. Not that God thinketh him to be what he is not. But as ‘he made Christ to be sin for us’ [2 Cor. 5:21), that is, treated him as a sinner, punished him for our sins, so he counteth us righteous from the time we believe in him – that is, he doth not punish us for our sins; yea, treats us as though we were guiltless and righteous” (John Wesley, ed. Albert Outler, Oxford University Press, 206-07). Elsewhere Wesley wrote, “Because all men are sinners against God and breakers of his law … every man is contrastined to seek for another righteousness or justification, to be received at God’s hands. … So that Christ is now the righteousness of all them that truly believe in him. He for them fulfilled the law in his life, so that now in him and by him every Christian may be called a fulfilled of the law, forasmuch as that which their infirmity lacked, Christ’s righteousness hath supplied” (John Wesley, ed. Albert Outler, Oxford University Press, 126. So, Wesley, like Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, would have believed that imputation of righteousness is legally necessary because we do not fulfill the Law’s commands (see Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The “Lutheran” Paul and His Critics, Eerdmans, 444). Now, Wesley believed imputed righteousness (justification) and imparted righteousness (sanctification) worked in tandem, which ultimately developed into his doctrine of Christian perfection, a distinguishing mark of Weslyian theology. And it’s also important to note that, according to Roger Olson, Wesley did not hold to a moral government view of the atonement: “Arminius did not believe it, neither did Wesley nor some of his nineteenth-century followers. Nor do all contemporary Arminians” (see Roger Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, Intervarsity Press, 224). Where there’s agreement, and there is with the doctrine of imputation, we need to capitalize on it!

    And so, we sing about the doctrine of imputation with the great Arminian hymn writer, Charles Wesley, “No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine. Bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own!” And I give a hearty “Amen!” when I hear the great Arminian evangelist, John Wesley, preach, “Plead thou singly the blood of the covenant, the ransom paid for thy proud, stubborn, sinful soul. Who art thou that now seest and feest both thine inward and outward ungodliness? Thou art the man! … Thou who feelest thou art just fit for hell, art just fit to advance his glory: the glory of his free grace justifying ‘the ungodly and him that worketh not.’ O come quickly! Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou, even thou, art reconciled to God” (John Wesley, ed. Albert Outler, Oxford University Press, 209).

    • Casey says:

      Well put. I concur.

    • sbcissue says:

      Adam,

      Thanks for your comment. Let me say on the front end, what Wesley or Calvin or Augustine or Mohler or anyone else for that matter thinks and conjectures on an issue is of no real significance to me. I can consider and appreciate their arguments but consensus does not validate a particular position, as I see it.

      Now back to my original point, “When Adam sinned his sin was not imputed to mankind.” The point being made in the original article is, it is our position with respect to God’s presence that is the root cause of our sin; not some single decision that Adam made in the garden. As I am sure you know, imputation, both of sin and even Christ’s righteousness are posits made being drawn by certain conclusions and not Scriptural tenets themselves.

      It is true that our sin was imputed or placed on Christ at the cross. The issue of Adam’s sin being charged to us is frankly a tenet to establish the foundation for total depravity and since I do not subscribe to TD, I do not see Adam’s sin effecting mankind from the same point that you apparently do. Even if one accepts Christ’s imputed righteousness, the imputation of Adam’s sin is not necessarily required because our sin being imputed to Christ on the cross opens the door to His righteousness being imputed to us at conversion.

      While I am not suggesting that the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is not a valid theological posit, I am also not saying that it is. It is Scripturally accurate to see our justification in our sins being forgiven and since it is our sin that separates us from God, we have access to His presence and His power and provisions and because the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts, He is the guarantee of our righteousness to be fully accomplished in the life that is to come. To say that we as God’s adopted children in this life, have “the righteousness of Christ” may prove to be a little much; justification can certainly be Scripturally explained without the imputation argument, at least as I see it.

      ><>”

  7. Thanks for replying. I’m just trying to understand your position better, not argue with you. Would you have a General Baptist or a modern Arminian who’s influenced your exegesis that you could recommend I read? I like reading theology, even if I disagree with it, so I’d like to check out any historical or modern theologians that hold your position. I’ve not read anyone who’s completely separated and rejected the imputation of Adam’s sin yet held to the doctrine of justification by faith.

    • sbcissue says:

      Would you have a General Baptist or a modern Arminian who’s influenced your exegesis that you could recommend I read?

      No. I read the Genesis account and this is my interpretation of what took place. When you look at the incarnation, the resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the importance of prayer, coming into God’s presence, it is obvious at least to me, being in the perpetual presence of God is God’s primary goal and the source of our ultimate good; sin separates us from God and the good He has planned for us. Seems simple enough to me. If sin is defined as falling short of the glory of God, then anything I do away from His perpetual presence is sin and being away from His perpetual presence is being away from His life giving benefits, which is death. So, spiritual death is the result of a lack of life which is the result of my being separated from His perpetual presence which Jesus came to correct!

      ><>”

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