A Brief Summary and Discussion of TULIP

T – Total Depravity of Man

U – Unconditional Election

L – Lmited Atonement

I – Irresistable Grace

P – Perseverence of the Saints

Total Depravity of Man:

Calvinism states that when Adam sinned against God, human nature changed. Mankind became inherently wicked by inheriting from Adam a “sinful nature” which is supposedly acquired as a consequence of his disobedience. All humans born after Adam would inherit his innate wickedness, being born with a nature completely at enmity with God; in-born rejection of God, a disinclination to consider or hear God, and an inability to respond positively to God. Wicked humanity would, if God did not intervene, naturally and wilfully oppose God in every way, with neither the desire nor the ability to choose to do otherwise. As a consequence of this inherent sinful nature, all humanity enters the world separated from God, condemned from conception as a consequence of their inherited sinful nature, and destined to eternity in hell after death. Also because of this depraved nature, no man can or will seek after God. Calvinism says that man’s ‘sinful nature’ makes it impossible for man to want or do anything ‘good’, and causes man to specifically and always hate, refuse, reject, and rebel against God, right from the very beginning of every life.

Because of this ‘total depravity’, man would never be able to receive the gospel or Christ, unless God intervened actively and miraculously. Therefore, those individuals whom, before the world was made, God chose to save, He ‘regenerates’ and puts faith into them, so they will then be capable of hearing the gospel, and following God. Man is ‘born again’ before he hears the gospel, and faith is caused upon them rather than them hearing the gospel, believing and trusting the message and the God of the message, and receiving Christ and His atonement for their sin, because of which God sends His Holy Spirit to indwell that person, which is the event of being ‘born again’.

Calvinism’s “total depravity of man” is also referred to as being ‘spiritually dead’. While an argument could be made that anyone living in rejection of God is condemned and therefore in a figurative sense, dead spiritually, there is no such biblical term or concept as “spiritually dead”. The spirit of man is immortal; man is born with a spirit, which is how man is “in the image of God”, and that spirit continues into eternity.

Adam’s spirit did not change, nor were his offspring born with a different sort of spirit; spirit is not a genetic predisposition because it is not physical. Although God told Adam that if he ate from that tree of the knowledge of good and evil, dying, he would die, Adam did not physically die as soon as he ate the fruit of the tree. Adam’s continuing existence on earth would be due to his continual fellowship with God, which God represented symbolically to Adam through the ‘Tree of Life” which He planted in the Garden of Eden. (Gen 2:16-17, 29; 3:22-24) The tree itself had no mystical properties to perpetuate life, but as Adam walked with God, his life was preserved by God and God’s power, and the tree symbolized Adam’s everlasting life with God. When Adam sinned, God barred him from the tree of life, which was the symbolic representation of Adam’s loss of fellowship with God Who is the giver and sustainer of life. Adam’s spirit did not change, nor did it die; rather Adam’s body became subject to decay and death, and Adam as a being (human being) fell under God’s judgement. (For a discussion of the tree of life, please see: https://truth-and-grace.com/the-tree-of-life/ )

The Bible makes several things clear:

Human beings all sin

Human beings are all subject to death because death was introduced into the world in response to Adam’s sin, whether or not they would sin as Adam sinned. (Romans 5:14)

 – to be continued –