Is your life PRE-ORDAINED, PRE-DETERMINED
by a God who controls and predisposes your every step and thought, even before you think or act? This was the notion of Jean Calvin, a Catholic educated French theologian who became prominent in the Swiss League of Cities during the Western European Reformation.
Calvin is best known for his theological system, ‘The Christian Institutes’, often synthesized and referred to as TULIP, his personal belief in ‘Theological Determinism’. His thinking and theology is based on what most of us call PREDESTINATION which science has recently proven to be a false concept.
This particular article is going to introduce new terms and concepts. It may at first be difficult to comprehend, but if you will simply use your common sense and pre-wired intuitive thinking, you will see some interesting things that demonstrate the limitations and capabilities of human thinking. I hope you will continue reading as it will help you pray for CALVINIST leaning believers.
The idea behind predestination is the concept of SAPIENT foreknowledge of God. In its Latin definition this word means ‘to taste, to be wise, to know’. In the Bible, God possesses ALL SAPIENCE, that is, foreknowledge of the next event, the future. This all knowing attribute of God is also called Omniscience.
Recall in the Garden of Eden story, Satan the serpent (Seraph angel) lies to Adam and Eve telling them that if they ‘taste the forbidden fruit’ from the tree of knowledge, they will become SAPIENT, wise, able to foresee the future like God. As they learned however, omniscience, the all knowing foresight of all facts ‘in the now and in the future’ is a wisdom level possessed by God alone.
When God shares His omniscient wisdom with man, we call it REVELATION (disclosed secret) or PROPHECY (future). Let’s agree that the terms REVELATION and PROPHECY are also interchangeable, but for this discussion, I would like to introduce a TIME element and a SPECIFICITY element to both terms in order to produce clarity in our thinking about God’s omniscient wisdom.
Let me give some examples of REVELATION and PROPHECY in the context of TIME and SPECIFICITY in scripture.
Revelation, Prophecy, Omniscient Wisdom
In the ‘song of Moses’ the omniscient foreknowledge of God is REVEALED to Moses in poetic pros detailing the complete future of Israel , including it’s apostasy and it’s restoration (Deuteronomy 32). This REVELATION is not specific enough to permit man to pre-know any details or dating of events, thus withholding from men sapient wisdom that would allow them to manipulate their future. This REVELATION is given to Moses and thus Israel, to let them know that God is involved in their lives and to warn them about their future, thereby giving them hope and expectation of God’s love for them in spite of current or future circumstances.
In another detailed and specific omniscient PROPHECY God gave to Israel around 720 BC, God shared with the Prophet Isaiah the birth name and Messiahship of a Gentile King He would raise up in Persia named CYRUS, 120 years before his birth in 600BC (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1-6). Notice that in this PROPHECY, God actually names the gentile king He will raise up for God’s specific purpose. It would seem that God got very specific in this PROPHECY in order to let Israel know the ‘timing date of restoration’ of the Kingdom of Israel, that would complement Daniel’s 70 week timeline PROPHECY, allowing Israel to know with exact certainty when their Messianic King would arrive in Jerusalem.
Secular Bible scholars hate this particular scriptural passage and fight against it because of it’s SEAL or proof of God’s existence and power. In this PROPHECY, God shows His detailed foreknowledge of human history and His own deliberate intervention in that history. In this case, Paul would say “who has resisted His will?” (Romans 9:19).
In yet another example of God’s foreknowledge (wisdom) the timeline of the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel is given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel (Daniel 9:24-27). 566 years after this prophecy was given, we find Jesus upset with the nation of Israel and specifically the Priests of the Temple because they did not understand Daniel’s timeline. After all, God went to the trouble to give them the CYRUS key to the PROPHECY. In exasperation, Jesus foretells Jerusalem’s imminent destruction ‘because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation’ (Luke 19:44).
Clearly, PROPHECY that proves God’s omniscient wisdom is intended to be understood, anticipated, and welcomed as God’s moments of intervention in human affairs. He is the Lord of history and active in the affairs of men.
Man has always desired to possess SAPIENT wisdom and we find ourselves fantasizing about TIME TRAVEL and FOREKNOWLEDGE repeatedly in our modern culture.
A 2007 movie called NEXT starring Nicolas Cage and Julianne Moore is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s 1953 science fiction novella, ‘The Golden Man’. In this story, a fictional character named Cris Johnson has the unusual ability to see into the future in specific detail by a 2 minute window when he concentrates on an individual person or a specific situation. After he foresees an outcome for a specific crisis situation, he concentrates again and sees an alternate outcome based on the intervening actions he or someone else takes within the crisis. He continues concentrating and foreseeing events in a looping fashion until multiple outcomes are weighed and the optimum outcome is foreseen. Then it’s up to the characters in the story to choose which outcome they desire based on their value system.
The calculations are endless in this simple example of fictional predestination and the mathematics behind the optimum choice have ramifications that accelerate well beyond the human ability to consider all optimum outcomes in life.
The wisdom that is missing in this fictional story is the end state foreknowledge that God alone possesses, let alone the fictitious clairvoyant ability man wishes he possessed in order to make the best short term choices; ie. Should I take this job? Should I marry this person? Should I invest in this stock?
Could it be that this is the wisdom and knowledge Satan tempted Adam and Eve with? Scripture says it this way about God’s omniscient wisdom.
Isaiah 46:9-10 KJV Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Dead Chain Thinking
To Jean Calvin and those who have pondered this unknowable aspect of God’s SAPIENT WISDOM, a certain wasteland of hypotheses and dead chain thinking has evolved. Let’s list the perceived ideas and conclusions of those who have tried to pierce God’s veil of foreknowledge, arriving at the following errant predestination conclusions.
1. Man does not choose God, God chooses man. Man is not free and choice is not free but bound by God’s desire alone with man only living in an illusory phantasm that his will is free.
2. Man is predestined to either choose God or reject God based on the unchangeable iron will of God. Man’s will is always overcome by God’s will.
3. God knows who will be forced to choose him and who will not be forced to choose Him in terms of ‘saving relationship’ and ‘saving knowledge’. God elects those He has deemed it His will to be saved and those not chosen are predestined for hell.
4. God gives mercy to those He chooses. To those He does not choose, He gives wrath. As the Moslems say, “INSHALLAH”, God will’s it.
5. Would God create a material universe where He does not get what He wants? Therefore, God’s will is always done even when man does not think it is being done.
What triggers predestination thinking and it’s conclusions listed above is the esoteric language of Paul in a specific passage in the book of Romans. Unfortunately, Augustine (of Hippo Algeria) and his admirer, Jean Calvin, committed a great hermeneutical error. They read this Romans 9 passage in ISOLATION. The passage fit their pre-conversion human thought process (Neoplatonism, philosophy) and they latched on to it, disregarding all other scriptures that clearly demonstrate free human will and choice. Let’s read the Romans 9 passage, but then, put it in context.
Romans 9:12-20 KJV It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Jean Calvin fell into ‘Dead Chain Thinking’ after pondering these 9 verses in Romans in an isolated exegesis. Now I warn you, this is where things get deeper. I hope you will chew on these concepts one at a time and not quit reading. Let’s go forward and help Mr. Calvin out.
Good Bible hermeneutics always considers a passage in it’s context. The context is the ‘envelope of thinking’ within which other ideas are expressed and contained. In the Romans 9 passage above, Paul is lamenting that his ethnic people, Jewish Israel, are no longer exclusively chosen by God (Old Covenant) because of their DNA and paternal Abrahamic lineage (not all Israel is Israel). Even though the ‘oracles of God’, that is, ‘the written word of God’, has come through genetic Hebrews during the time of the Old Covenant, God no longer in the ‘New Covenant’ separates a people based on Jewish ethnicity, proselytism, and the Law! The Church (New Covenant) is universal, including all nations, peoples, tongues, and yes, the GOYIM.
God has universalized His choice to now include the Gentiles with Jews, but bases His choice on the same faith and trust the people of Jewish Israel exemplified in the Old Covenant. This faith was demonstrated by men such as Abraham, Noah, Moses, and the Prophets. The blood of Jesus and FAITH in His name justify this new classification of people, the Kingdom of God.
Throughout Paul’s epistles, FAITH in Jesus Christ renders all genetic advantages moot in the New Covenant. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, but only one people of Faith in the Lord Jesus, the Universal Church.
Therefore, the context of the Romans 9 passage above is with regard to God going universal in a New Covenant with all people of Faith, not just Jews. Calvin like Augustine before him, unlawfully extricated this passage and put it into his own pet philosophical context, determinism, outside of scripture.
Sidebar: Lutherans and Calvinists suggest that, according to Augustine, human beings are utterly depraved in nature. That humans are spoiled by the original sin to the extent that the very presence of concupiscence, fomes peccati (incendiary of sin), is already a personal sin. Augustine’s doctrine about (liberum arbitrium) free will and its inability to respond to the will of God without divine grace is interpreted in terms of Predestination: grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance. The Calvinist view of Augustine’s teachings rests on the assertion that God has foreordained, from eternity, those who will be saved and those who will be lost. The number of the elect is fixed. God has chosen the elect certainly and gratuitously, without any previous merit (ante merita) on their part. [source: wikipedia]
Original Sin, Predestination, and the Depraved Nature Doctrines
Augustine, the ‘writing Catholic philosopher’, created the ‘original sin’ and ‘predestination’ doctrines much admired by ‘Reformed/Calvinist’ people. After all, Luther and Calvin were immersed in Catholic doctrine prior to the reformation and Augustine was considered the preeminent doctor of the Catholic Church. Heavily influenced by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus before he became a Christian, Augustine is the author of the ‘Original Sin’ doctrine and an adherent to neoplatonic determinism.
Please note that these views above disagree significantly with Jewish Theological concepts (Rabbinical and Qumran) as well as Cosmological/Quantum Physical Science.
It is to be noted that Augustine’s doctrine of original sin (re-articulated as Calvin’s depraved nature
doctrine) is based primarily on Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 2:23, 5:12-13, 7:5-25. From these two doctrines arises Christian determinism, that is, predestination, due to ISOLATED exegesis of passages that meet a prideful presupposition of human reasoning, based on ‘neoplatonic philosophy’ not Jewish thought. Here is what these passages say to predestination thinkers:
2. The nature of man is fallen, inherited from Adam, thus depraved.
3. The ‘Law of members’ in the flesh (self will, lust and pride) are uncontainable and cause all humans to sin. This is the inherited ‘sin nature’ Adam passed down to us.
4. Due to the inherited depraved nature, people are not able to ‘love God’ and serve His will, but only their own ‘law of members’ with it’s desires. If God does not act and reach down and call men, they cannot respond to God.
5. Sin is inherited from your lineage traced back to Adam. You are guilty and under sin because your genealogical ancestors sinned. Even infants are sinful and must be baptized for remission of sins as soon as possible after birth in case they should die before being raised and able to make the baptism choice themselves.
Ok, the above notions on predestination make God look like a heartless monster. That is the fallout from this philosophy.
So let’s examine the Jewish view from the Rabbi’s and Qumran.
Judaism and Free Will
[source; Dr. Kaufman Kohler, Jewish Theology, pg 231-7, 1918 MacMillan Company]
Judaism has ever emphasized the freedom of the will as one of its chief doctrines. The dignity and greatness of man depends largely upon his freedom, his power of self determination. Man differs from the lower animals in his independence of instinct as the dictator of his actions. He acts from free choice and conscious design and is able to change his mind at any moment, at any new evidence or even through whim. He is therefore responsible for his every act or omission, even for his every intention. This alone renders him a moral being, a child of God; thus the moral sense rests upon freedom of the will.
Judaism makes this claim based on Cain’s decision to murder his brother Abel.
Genesis 4:5-7 ESV but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
Here without reference to the sin of Adam in the first generation, the man of the second generation (Cain) is told that he is free to choose between good and evil, that he alone is responsible before God for what he does or omits to do. Thus, we see that the moral freedom of man is not impaired by hereditary sin or by any evil power outside of man himself. Why didn’t Augustine and Calvin include this scripture in their exegesis?
When Moses rehearsed the ‘Words of the Covenant’ with Israel before turning leadership over to Joshua, he reiterated the principle of free will and choice.
Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Moses told Israel,
Jewish Rabbi Akiba of 130 AD stated the following regarding God’s statement in Genesis 3:22 to the angels concerning Adam and Eve:
“Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil”.
“Adam was given the choice to go the way of life or the way of death. He chose the way of death by eating the forbidden fruit. All things are foreseen by God, but free will is granted to man.”
Judaism recognized that the doctrine of determinism arose from the Greek philosophical schools. Determinism and Philosophical thinking was thriving in Alexandria Egypt in the 2nd century BC. Ben Sira, the travelling Jewish sage of that era, strongly refuted the predestination conclusion that ‘God forced man to sin’. He said,
“God created man at the beginning, endowing him with the power of self-determination, saying to him: If thou but willest, thou canst observe My commandments; to practice faithfulness is a mater of free will…” [Ben Sira 15:11-20]
Philo, Josephus, the Apocalypse of Ezra, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Enoch, and the Talmud; all Jewish writings of antiquity, make statements about freewill. The Pharisees make this statement in their Talmud;
“Everything is in the hands of God but the fear of God.”
Many determinist thinkers, modern and ancient, consider freedom of choice a delusion. These people believe that man always acts under the compulsion of external and internal forces.
In opposition to this however, is our own internal sense of freedom which tells us at every step, that we have acted and at every decision that we have decided. We yield to either lofty or low influences. Our decisions are always colored and influenced by our past choices. We decide based on our character!
Thus, where Pharaoh has his heart hardened by God and decides not to let Israel go, the Rabbi’s view is that Pharaoh was predisposed not to let Israel go because of his past decisions. When God’s influence arrives through judgments, Pharaoh is softened up and almost seems willing to let Israel go. However, when he still won’t yield to softening, God decides to influence him in another way; by hardening him. Pharaoh yields easily to this influence as he is predisposed in his character to keep Israel in bondage.
There is a huge quandary (condemning God) that arises from predestination doctrine and the Moslems, most of whom are determinists, saw this problem clearly. Their thinking goes like this.
“If God knows mans actions in advanced foreknowledge, then man’s acts are determined by God; therefore man is no longer free and his moral responsibility is an idle dream.”
In order for the Moslems to escape condemning God, they had two choices:
1. Limit God’s omniscience
2. Limit human freedom
They chose the latter as did Augustine and his reformation followers, Jean Calvin and Martin Luther.
Exodus 20:4-5 KJV Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
Notice that the 2nd commandment shows free will when people choose to hate God’s commandments and thus God Himself, which causes God to withhold the blessing that results from obeying His commandments. This is human choice.
Depraved Nature or Depraved Theology?
In the Bible’s question, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean thing? Nobody.” (Job 14:4); many Christians view this question as being a statement about the ‘depraved nature’ of man. However, Judaism answers Job’s question this way:
“Abraham did. Josiah the son of Manasseh did. It can be done.”
The Judaism answer is also found in the prophet Ezekiel’s devastating word from God about the unbiblical Augustinian doctrine of original sin.
Ezekiel 18:4-20 KJV Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. 5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, … 9 Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD. … 14 Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, …hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. …19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Further, the Jewish sage Maimonides states that mankind demonstrates that he is made in God’s image by exercising his free will. If man is predetermined in the limitation of his freedom then man is not a morally responsible being. Maimonides postulates that God’s KNOWLEDGE is different in kind than that of man and thus it is not an infringement upon man’s freedom.
In other words, man, when he thinks about predestination, assumes that his own thinking or ‘assumptive knowledge’ of predestination is the same kind of KNOWLEDGE that God has. This is a big assumption. Isaiah answers this boldly.
Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Judaism says that God’s omniscient knowledge is not the same kind of predestination thinking that Augustine, Luther, and Calvin had in mind. Just how determinism exists within God is a Divine mystery! Prideful philosophers cannot determine or assume that God’s wisdom and foreknowledge mirrors their own feeble thoughts philosophically trying to grasp it. This sapience is forbidden fruit.
Finally, we get to the theme of this article; Science proves Jean Calvin wrong with regard to freewill. The following facts expose Augustine and Calvin as metaphysical and superstitious. I encourage you to read on and finish the course.
In Einstein’s theory of relativity expressed by his equation E=MC2, we learn that the macro universe can be mathematically described with one exception; black holes. Einstein’s theory breaks down and is rudely destroyed by equations that divide numerators by zero, thus identifying infinity. That is, relativity mathematics found eternity in the universe.
Einstein was a material determinist (predestination thinker) based on his ‘General Relativity’ theory. However, before he died, he did not know that ‘black holes’ existed, which blew a larger hole in his theory. To this day, this problem has not been solved by physicists. The eternal God wins again.
Now enter in ‘quantum mechanics’, the mathematics of the sub-atomic world.
In Quantum Mechanics, Dr. Werner Heisenberg in Copenhagen (1927 AD, at Niels Bohr’s institute) formulated the ‘Uncertainty Principle’. It’s central assumption was that classical mathematics and the concept of motion does not describe the quantum level, and that electrons in an atom do not travel on sharply defined orbits like planets around the sun. Rather, the motion of an electron is smeared out in a strange way, more like unpredictable quantum jumps. Thus, mathematics could not answer certain overly precise questions about where the electron was going to be, where it was, or how fast it was going, in a predictable predetermined way. This observed behavior described ‘freewill’ precisely at the subatomic level.
Einstein and Niels Bohr entered into a series of debates to disprove each other’s theories (Hiesenberg principle vs. General Relativity). Both mathematical computations of RELATIVITY and UNCERTAINTY have resulted in a calculation of the much disliked infinity, a description of ETERNITY. Dr. Michio Kaku, co-founder of ‘string field theory’, talks about it this way (hopefully you can play the youtube).
The conclusion of modern physicists to the Bohrs/Einstein debates is that the ‘Uncertainty Principle’ demonstrates freewill. Just as surprising, eternity (infinity) cries out in our mathematical descriptions of the universe, dividing numerators by zero. Calvin, Augustine, Luther, and the Greek philosophers were wrong in their thinking. Freewill exists. It’s just that they did not understand the higher universe of God’s foreknowledge and omniscience.
Conclusion about Paul’s Writings in Romans 9
Returning to Paul’s discussion in Romans 9 about God hating Esau and hardening Pharaoh’s heart, it is clear that Paul does not understand the Omniscience of God’s will nor does he understand God’s intervention in man’s affairs (“who hath resisted His will?”). But what is also clear is that Paul is not attempting to describe predestination, a concept that is not knowable within a human intellect, as it applies to God’s foreknowledge and power. Paul is lamenting Israel’s loss of election versus the Church. The Old Wineskin had been done away with.
Thus to Paul, the Church is predestined to be saved. Each human, Jew or Gentile, has the freewill to seek admittance into the Kingdom of God.
Both Calvin and Augustine thought that ‘original sin’ brought a deterministic outcome to man’s life. But Paul agrees with the Rabbi’s and Judaism regarding the concept that ‘original sin’ is not an evil inheritance of nature born into every human child. Take a closer look at his discourse below.
Romans 3:9 KJV What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
Romans 3:23 KJV For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 5:12-14 KJV Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Scripture and Paul make the following conclusions clear:
1. Adam permitted the ‘Law of Sin’ to enter his world when he thought he could gain the knowledge of God’s Omniscient foreknowledge. What Adam chose was to ‘BE IN CONTROL’ versus ‘GOD BE IN CONTROL’. By definition, this is the transgression that permitted the ‘Law of Sin’ to enter Adam’s world, certainly not a transgression that created a ‘Sin Nature’. Humans are not contaminated with Adam’s ‘original sin’, but by a universe where he was tempted and deceived into permitting this forbidden law to enter therein.
2. Prior to Adam’s transgression of God’s command not to eat from the tree of knowledge, the ‘Law of Sin’ had not contaminated anything in the created world. Once Adam transgressed, the ‘Law of Sin’ entered the world, like the law of gravity. The ‘law of sin’, forbidden knowledge of good and evil, has contaminated man’s thinking universe ever since, like a virus that hides in the bodies’ cells, waiting for activation.
3. The ‘Law of Sin’ produced a KNOWLEDGE of good and evil, not an evil depraved nature that results in predeterminism. This KNOWLEDGE of good and evil is a contaminate SIN in itself. It is a ‘thought crime’, an intrusion on a revelation God did not want mankind to possess. Adam insisted and thereafter contaminated his own ‘thinking’ environment.
4. Death is the penalty that follows the ‘Law of Sin’. Man was not designed to die. Man’s contaminated knowledge of good and evil brings physical death, not eternal death.
5. Sin is not legally imputed (put on someone’s account) where there is no LAW of God. (Romans 4:15, Romans 5:13)
6. Sin is the Transgression of the Law of God. (1 John 3:4). The law of God insisted that man ‘must not have the knowledge of good and evil’. This law was transgressed by Adam and all men now have that knowledge, not by nature, but by contamination of man’s ‘thinking’ universe. Adam alone is responsible for this transgression, not his sons. This knowledge is the root cause of all succeeding sins man may eventually commit by choice. Only the ‘actions that result from bad thinking’ will condemn a man eternally.
Later on, we see that KNOWLEDGE of good and evil is differentiated in scripture from the actions of sin (10 commandments). Thus, it is possible to say that ‘all have sinned’ and yet say ‘The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father’. In essence, scripture differentiates between ‘thought crime’ vs. ‘act crime’.
Death is the penalty for the ‘thought of sin’. Hell is the penalty for the ‘act of sin’. (Consider that the ‘fantasy of adultery’ and ‘not loving your brother’ have been added to the ‘act of sin’ list with eternal penalty).
Every human has gained the knowledge of good and evil through the ‘law of sin’ that is in essence, the forbidden fruit of Adam’s disobedience. We are immersed in it, not by our own choice. This is what makes us all thought sinners, not active transgressors of God’s other laws.
But it is a huge stretch of imagination and philosophy to accept that knowledge of ‘good and evil’ corrupts our nature. No, knowledge can only contaminate our thinking.
Proverbs 23:7 KJV For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Now consider this theology from the TULIP people.
Total depravity is the fallen state of man as a result of original sin. The doctrine of total depravity asserts that people are by nature not inclined or even able to love God wholly with heart, mind, and strength, but rather all are inclined by nature to serve their own will and desires and to reject the rule of God. Even religion and philanthropy are wicked to God to the extent that these originate from a human imagination, passion, and will, and are not done to the glory of God. Therefore, in Reformed theology, if God is to save anyone He must predestine, call, or elect individuals to salvation since fallen man does not want to, and is indeed incapable of choosing God. [source; wikipedia]
I have some news for the TULIP people: The ‘Law of Sin’ is a knowledge that contaminates our thinking, like acid rain contaminates a lake, not the nature of fish. This ‘law of sin’ dwelling in our members can lead to prideful thinking, believing that we can understand the omniscient wisdom of God (predeterminism). This ‘bad thinking’ is clearly refuted by science and proves that Jean Calvin and Einstein were wrong.
Calvin would have been wise not to read the philosophical writings of Augustine his mentor from the 4th century.