Books of Bible
Hereditary Total Depravity
By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
A. Some say that the guilt of Adam's sin passed inherently to all
mankind; that all inherit the guilt of sin; and from this
original corruption, all men are wholly inclined to all evil.
B. The Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church says, "Our
first parents...by sin fell from their original righteousness,
and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly
defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. They
being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was
imputed, and the same dead in sin and corrupted nature
conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by
ordinary generation. From this original corruption, whereby
we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all
good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual
transgressions" (Chapter VI; Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and
of the Punishment Thereof).
II. Arguments Favoring.
A. Infants get angry, proving they are under the control of the
1. God is capable of anger, but God is not depraved (See
Exodus 32:10; Mark 3:5).
2. Infants smile and coo as well as cry.
B. "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that
understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They
have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable;
There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one" (Rom.
(a) Paul is not discussing inheriting corruption, but people
who are wicked because they do wicked things.
(b) Infants are incapable of being swift to shed blood (Rom.
3:15); infants cannot deceive with their tongues (Rom.
3:13); an infants mouth is not full of bitterness and
cursing (Rom. 3:14).
C. "The wicked are estranged from the womb: They go astray as
soon as they are born, speaking lies" (Psalms 58:3).
(a) The passage says they "go astray," and not are born
astray; they speak lies, which an infant cannot do.
D. "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my
mother conceive me" (Psalms 51:5).
1. The world is a wicked place, and David was born into the
sinful world, therefore he was brought forth in iniquity,
and his mother conceived him while living in a world of
E. "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world,
and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for
that all sinned" (Rom. 5:12); "For since by man came death, by
man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam
all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor.
1. Death passed to all men, not because of Adam's sin, but
because all sinned. Sin is common to the mature.
2. The death that comes from Adam is not spiritual death but
physical death. All die in Adam, in Christ all (same
all) are made alive. If this means spiritual death and
life, then all will be saved.
(a) The Bible tells us some will be lost (John 5:28-29;
(b) Every person must die a physical death--even those
who are alive on the earth when Jesus returns--and
every person will be resurrected (John 5:28-29).
III. Arguments Against.
A. "Evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving
and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:13).
1. If we are wholly evil at birth we cannot get worse.
B. "Jesus called them unto him, saying, Suffer the little
children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to such
belongeth the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16).
1. Innocent children in their present state belong to the
C. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear
the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear
the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous
shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be
upon him" (Ezek. 18:20).
D. "Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us,
and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Heb. 12:9)
1. If Jehovah is the father of the human spirit, then the
spirit cannot be evil at birth, or when first given.
2. We may inherit from our earthly parents physical
impurities, but the spirit comes and returns to God and
cannot be corrupt at the time it is given. The spirit
returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7).
E. There is a difference in guilt and consequence.
1. We must live in consequence of Adam's sin, but are not
guilty of his disobedience and rebellion.
2. Physical death and all its attendant misery is the
consequence of Adam's wrong, but we are guilty of his
3. We must live in consequence of the sins of all who have
gone before us.
F. How sin comes.
1. The infant has no sin. Upon reaching the time in life
when he knows the difference between right and wrong, he
does wrong and refuses right. In this way sin enters
(a) Divine justice cannot make us responsible, in the
very nature of justice, for sins committed by
others. Each person is responsible and accountable
for his own wrongs.
2. Just as each person goes into sin by his own choice, so
is each redeemed by his volition.
(a) "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned" (Mark
(b) There is something for us to do--believe and be
(c) Each person sins, and each must personally act to