Good Presentations of Total Depravity

Another objection might say that the Bible is full of sins and sinners. In the closing chapters of the book of Judges the history shows violent murder, rampant theft, and animalistic fornication. Throughout the OT, crass and vile episodes are recorded by divine inspiration for our instruction. Does that mean that when we read books or entertain ourselves we should have heroes who are obviously flawed?

The correct frame to put around the picture of sin always makes it appear immediately and enduringly odious. No one thinks of Jezebel as a heroine. Only an insane mind would choose Judas as the hero in the gospels. Satan is found in Job, but no readers cheer for him. The men of Sodom, king Herod, and Haman all picture total depravity, but none of the accounts of these sinners gives wickedness a charming quality. Nor are any of these men heroes. Virtue happily allows the ice of depravity to showcase itself knowing that it will only melt in the minds of men if it is exposed by the light of the Sun of Righteousness. If we do not come away from a picture of depravity hating and even being sickened by the presence of sin, then it was not a good picture.

Perhaps this is why Melville’s Moby Dick resonates with its readers. This novel has a wicked man as the main character and an unknowable animal as the hero. Ahab is depraved in the most devious way. Rather than chasing after superficial lusts like fornication, the captain of the Pequod directs all his powers and intellect to demonstrating his resentment of the White Whale. The power of the story rests in the terror that a good reader has of Ahab’s unflinching will to hate and exterminate the mysterious, “ubiquitous” Being who harvested Ahab’s leg as he “blindly [sought] with a six inch blade to reach the fathom-deep life of the whale”.

  1. Why We Need Virtuous Heroes
  2. Two Kinds of Sin
  3. Objection: What About David?
  4. Good Presentations of Total Depravity
  5. Four Reasons We Need Virtuous Heroes
  6. A Call for Aragorn Rather Than Captain America


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