What is total (or radical) depravity? The Westminster Confession of Faith describes it as being “utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil” (VI. 4). That is quite a dire & drastic picture of all humanity in Adam, isn’t it?
In Romans 3:10-18 Paul plainly asserts the doctrine of total depravity. He paints an equally drastic & dire picture:
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
He is quoting the Old Testament in order to prove his case. And what part of the Old Testament does he quote from the most here? – the Psalms!
He quotes from the following Psalms (although not in this order): 5 (v.9), 10 (v.7), 14 (v.1-3), 36 (v.1), 53 (v.1-3), and 140 (v.3).
Think about that next time you are reading (or singing!) the Psalms. There is truly a depth of theology in the Psalms that many of us often fail to appreciate.