This week is being spent in a class on anthropology and hamartiology (humanity and sin). A discussion on angels and demons will ensue at sometime during the week, but most of the speculation about these is unsupportable from Scripture and unhelpful to Christian doctrine. Anyway, the bulk of lecture is spent on the nature of the human condition, experience, origins and outcome. Basically, the big human questions seek to understand why things are the way things are.
The reason that a course like this can be so important is that humans are, by nature, self-deceptive. Without good reflection, we can quickly fool ourselves into believing that we’re basically good, able to produce good results. However, this is not the case at all. On the contrary, we are essentially and unchangeably bad apart from divine grace (Article IV “Man, Created and Fallen”, DTS doctrinal statement). What is necessary, then, is an examination of the extent to which this we are not as “good” as we were created to be.
We must confess that what God created was “good” because God declared it to be so in opening of the Bible (Genesis 1). So the knowledge that we are not presently “good” requires a follow up inquiry into how it is we differ from that which we ought to be. Such is the study of the human condition and our sinful state. To what extent into the human experience is our sin invasive?
I know for me, I find the fallen factor invading into every aspect of my experience as a man. I don’t like to own the statement given in the DTS doctrinal statement. I can confess that about “people” all day long, but I really don’t like to confess that I am “essentially and unchangeably bad apart from divine grace.” I’d much rather think this about everyone else; the faceless “they” are all depraved, fallen and sinful, unable to produce good results. No. I am among the broken. I do not have a “sin nature” like I also have a dog. I am sinful and depraved, though redeemed and indwelled by the Spirit. The mystery of redemption is that God uses people as broken as I am. My prayer is that he will continue to use such broken things as me until I am no longer broken after the resurrection.