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The Innocence and Depravity of Man

On-Line Correspondence Course #5: The Nature and Work of God, Man, and Salvation. Be sure to visit our series of articles on Calvinism and the innocence and depravity of man.

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Please use your Bible to look up the following verses and answer the related questions. You can click on the verses to visit an off-site resource that provides the scripture. Questions without verses should be based on your opinion and common understanding.

The Dilemma: Inherited Depravity or Initial Innocence?

  1. Does anyone seek after God? (Romans 3:11)
    YES  NO 
  2. How were "the many" made sinners? (Romans 5:19)
  3. What kind of man was Cornelius before he heard the gospel and was converted? (Acts 10:1-3)
  4. According to Moses, children have no knowledge of what? (Deuteronomy 1:39)

The Definition and Effects of Sin

  1. What is sin? (I John 3:4)
  2. Is sin defined as an action or as a condition? (Romans 3:23; I John 3:4)
    Action  Condition 
  3. What are the consequences of sin? (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:12-15)
  4. What is one of the "side effects" of sin? (Hebrews 3:13; I Timothy 4:2)

The Bible Doctrine of Depravity

  1. Is it possible for people to have "depraved" minds? (II Timothy 3:8)
    YES  NO 
  2. List some characteristics of a "depraved" mind? (Ephesians 4:17-19)
  3. Why do some people have depraved minds? (Romans 1:28)
  4. Since Cain was born after Adam's sin, would he have been depraved?
  5. Why would God tell Cain that he should overcome temptation by encouraging him to "rule over it", if Cain was depraved and incapable of ruling over sin? (Genesis 4:7)
  6. Therefore, are people born depraved or do they become depraved through unrepentant sinning?

Distinguishing between Guilt and Consequences

  1. How does II Samuel 12:13-14 illustrate that children can suffer the consequences of their fathers sins?
  2. But, will children bear the guilt of their father's sins? (Ezekiel 18:20)
    YES  NO 
  3. What will be the basis of our eternal judgment? (II Corinthians 5:10)
  4. Therefore, do we inherit accountability for our fathers' sins?)
    YES  NO 

The Inherent Innocence of Men

  1. Does Deuteronomy 1:39 teach that the Israelite children were in a condition of innocence or moral depravity? (Compare to Genesis 3:5,22)
    Innocence  Depravity 
  2. If children are born depraved, how is the kingdom of God made up of such people? (Matthew 19:14; Revelation 21:27)
  3. Also, if children are born depraved, why would Jesus have encouraged us to become like them? (Matthew 18:1-4)
  4. Does the "inherited depravity" or "initial innocence" of children best fit the teaching of these above verses? )
    Innocence  Depravity 

Different Hearts of Men and their Response to God

  1. How many different types of hearts, represented by the types of soils, received seed in the parable of the sower? (Luke 8:4-8)
  2. If the doctrine of hereditary depravity be true, then how many types of soil would have been needed to represent the hearts of men? (Luke 8:4-8)
  3. What type of heart did Jesus say was represented by the good ground? (Luke 8:15; Matthew 13:23)
  4. Was this ground "good" before or after the sowing of the seed? (Luke 8:4-8)
    Before  After 
  5. Pharaoh is an example of what type of ground? (Exodus 9:27-29, 34)
  6. Cornelius is an example of what type of ground? (Acts 10:1-3)

The Dilemma Resolved

  1. In Romans 3:11, Paul quotes the Old Testament Psalmist. Does the context of these original quotations indicate that these people were depraved by inheritance or by their own rebellion? (Psalm 5:10; 10:4, 6; 14:1)
    Inherited Depravity  Willful Rebellion 
  2. From Romans 5:18-19, if one man's sin (Adam's) led to the condemnation and depravity of all men, then by force of the parallel, the gift of one man (Jesus) would lead to what? Does this interpretation lead to an absurd conclusion?
  3. If in fact, Jesus' gift brought the opportunity of redemption unto life to all men, then by force of the parallel, Adam's sin ushered in what to whom?
  4. From the context of Romans 5:18-19, why are all ultimately responsible for their spiritual condemnation? (Romans 5:12)


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