Humans do not have a sin nature. Humans have a human nature which has the capacity to do great good or great evil.
Much of the christian tradition blames the sin of Adam for the reason they sin. But that is just a scapegoat. Of course we can do jacked up things. But we can also do completely wonderful and beautiful things.
The problem with making “original sin” a doctrine is it totally ignores and denies the original blessing that came before it. (Genesis 1:28, 5:2) In the creation story it says when God made humans, God says we were very good (Tov in Hebrew). This does not mean perfect (how boring would that be?). In the story it states that when Adam and Eve ate off the fruit of the tree that was forbidden, they would die. But when they made the choice to eat it, it wasn’t a physical death. What we see is an awareness of their nakedness.
To me, the story that many claim as the story of “original sin” that has been convoluted into a doctrine of total depravity has been way over thought. I see it as a story about our “coming of age” as humans. We all go through a stage of total innocence (adolescents) to a sense of being more self aware and cognitive in our thoughts, that’s what “the fall” is to me. And insomuch we lose our innocence (eat from the wrong tree), we “hide from God” (try to find our identity in the world around us) and move east of Eden where we strive to do life with our loss of innocence.
Interestingly though, the first time sin is mentioned in the Bible is when Cain was about to murder Abel (Genesis 4:7). This is significant because the first mention of sin is the first instance of violence, not disobedience. It’s true that Paul interprets and reckons that since the “sin” of Adam all die so in Christ ALL are made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22), but just as significant is that death is actually not physical death but a mental condition and unhealthy fear of God. As seen in a previous blog being a sinner and sinning isn’t what much of the western church teaches it is. Click here for more info on the origin and meaning of sin.
To me if humans were totally depraved there would have been no incarnation. In Jesus, God became fully 100% human. With the concept of sin in the article linked above, we can see although Jesus didn’t sin, He still fully experienced the human condition. This could not have happened with the concept of “total depravity”. Humans are not worms, worthless and nothing without Christ. Instead Christ reveals our true identity. All humanity are blessed image bearer’s of the Divine. Every single person from all time. Some may not display it well but that doesn’t take away the truth of our original design. A cat raised by dogs may think it’s a dog but it’s original design and inner being is still a cat. The same is with all humans. We are made in the image of the Divine and no matter what we do, we can’t change that.
That’s the Good News of the gospel! We are loved by our creator not because of Jesus but because the creator and ground of all being is inherently good and loves its creation. Jesus, being human, shows us our worth and what being human looks like. When we follow Him, our original design is displayed. Acting contrary to Jesus is acting contrary to what being human looks like and is what the Bible metaphorically calls death.
Lastly, total depravity negates the freedom we have. It insinuates that we have no freedom to do good and we are just tools to evil. This is an insult to the cross and the entire incarnation (life) of Christ where we see that the Divine was fine dining with sinners and being fully human. It was the religious that had an issue with this, not God.
You are good. You are not totally depraved. You have choices to make because you are human. And God is human through Jesus. So being human can’t be that bad. This is why I think total depravity is total crap.