Of Man’s Will!

“Revolting from God by the instigation of the devil, and abusing the freedom of his own will, he forfeited these excellent gifts; and on the contrary entailed on himself blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity and perverseness of judgment, became wicked, rebellious, and obdurate in heart and will, and impure in his affections” (Canons of Dordt: Head III/IV Article 1). By an act of the will, Adam, “declined to evil, and has involved himself and the whole human race in sin and death.”

Because of his fall, man is become a totally depraved sinner. As a totally depraved sinner, his will is thoroughly corrupt and bound in sin. He still wills: “indeed, it is called a will, not an unwill.” Man retains his will, the faculty of willing, choosing, and desiring. He remains a rational, moral creature after the Fall. But now, from a spiritual point of view, all that he wills is against God, contrary to the law of God, and in opposition to the revealed will of God.

After the Fall, man did not cease to be a man. Bullinger says: “he was not entirely changed into a stone or a tree.” He remained a man, but a fallen man, whose powers are completely under the control of sin. Neither was it necessary for common grace to intervene, as Abraham Kuyper taught, lest Adam would degenerate into a beast or a demon. Man is man. Before the Fall he is a man, and after the Fall he remains a man. But now, he was a sinful man. He was “so altered and weakened” that he could “no longer do what (he) could before the Fall.” Regarding his will, “the will which was free has become an enslaved will. Now it serves sin, not unwillingly but willingly.” He retained a “will,” not an “unwill.” But his will was no longer free; it was bound. After the Fall, man continued to will, to desire, to want. But after the Fall he did and could only will that which was sinful.

(From “The Standard Bearer, April 15 2020, Vol 96, No 14). By Prof Ronald Cammenga).

(James R Hamilton, written June 2020)

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