“There are very few errors and false doctrines of which the beginning may not be traced up to unsound views about the corruption of human nature. Wrong views of the disease will always bring with them wrong views of the remedy. Wrong views of the corruption of human nature will always carry with them wrong views of the grand antidote and cure of that corruption.” ~ J.C. Ryle
Let me start this blog out by affirming our prayers to all those who are affected by the horrible event that took place this past Monday April, 15th 2013 at the Boston Marathon. Everyone here at Empowered by Christ Ministries is praying first that God may be glorified in this situation. Also that His Son Jesus Christ may be raised up in this moment and proclaimed as Savior to the lost. Secondly, we are praying that God may provide peace to the families of 3 dead victims and to all those who are and have suffered. Here at Empowered by Christ we believe that there is no time like now to proclaim the Gospel that saves, and even more so in times like these when those affected by such devastation and tragedy are searching for answers.
As with any devastation or tragedy that strikes the question of, “How could God allow this to happen” is unavoidable. I have a remarkably different question for the readers of this blog a unusually straightforward one; “Is your theology deep enough to handle a question like this?” The two questions I have presented here, the first question that many are asking now, and the question I have asked are interlinked in their commonality. While the question of “How could God allow something like this to happen” may seem like a simple question at first glance, but it has profound and serious ramifications in how it is answered. We must make sure that the answer we provide is accurate. The answer to this question shapes and defines your understanding of God and His sovereignty in all areas of life. It has been stated that if we don't have a proper understanding of theology than we won't have proper understanding of who God is. That statement is overwhelmingly the truth. This is why I have asked; “Is your theology deep enough to handle a question like this?”
To answer the question I proposed let’s take a look at what J.C. Ryle once stated;
“There are very few errors and false doctrines of which the beginning may not be traced up to unsound views about the corruption of human nature. Wrong views of the disease will always bring with them wrong views of the remedy. Wrong views of the corruption of human nature will always carry with them wrong views of the grand antidote and cure of that corruption.”
Upon reading, his statement something should pop right in to your mind, which is at the heart of J.C. Ryle’s statement, the doctrine total depravity. This quote by J.C. Ryle holds significant importance to answering the question I proposed. We cannot properly answer the question of why God would allow a catastrophic event like the Boston marathon bombing to happen if we do not have the proper understanding of the doctrine of total depravity. If we do not have the proper understanding of the doctrine of Total Depravity, we invalidate a significant theological and doctrinal comprehension of the condition of mankind. This gap in our knowledge will ensure that our theology is not deep enough to handle such a question.
We must remember as J.C. Ryle stated if we have a wrong view of the corruptness of human nature we will always carry with them wrong views of the grand antidote and cure of that corruption. In short, if we do not have correct view of our sickness (sin) and where is comes from we will never have a proper view of from who or where we get the cure (Christ).
To ensure that our theology is deep enough, we must have a complete understanding of what is meant by the term Total Depravity when dealing with humans and human nature. The term Total Depravity is also known as the doctrine of Original Sin. When we define Total Depravity (I am over simplifying the description here) we are simply stating that sin has affected all aspects of our human nature. The term Total Depravity does not mean that man is as depraved as he could be.
We must recognize that Original Sin, or Total Depravity is not a physical corruption, but a moral and spiritual wickedness. To be able to answer the question of “Why would God allow this to happen?” We must see Original Sin in two senses. First, the fall of Adam as the "original" sin, the first sin of man. Secondly, we must recognize that the hereditary sinful nature and moral corruption that is passed down from Adam to his descendants. It is called "original" in that Adam, the first man, is the one who sinned and thus caused sin to enter the world. People sometimes state that Eve was the first to sin. Though this is true Eve did sin, but it is because Adam is the Federal Head, or representative of mankind, his fall included or represented all of humanity. Thus, this is how the doctrine obtained the name of “Original Sin” or “Total Depravity” in Reformed Theology.
So now that we have a complete understanding of the doctrine of Total Depravity or Original Sin we should be able to answer the question of, “why would God allow this to happen?” When we understand the nature of sin and we know why events occur in this world because of the nature of sin we can establish a proper theological response to the question at hand. We can offer an answer that will reveal the way to the truth that saves which is the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and faith in Him alone. We also can be reassured that we have a deep enough theology to tackle questions like this.
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