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Total Depravity

A position associated particularly with Calvin* and Calvinism,* although held by the Reformers generally, and associated with their return to Augustinian emphases. It concerns the definition of human nature. Medieval Scholasticism generally held that man was created with, and human nature consists of, both natural gifts (e.g., reason) and added or supranatural gifts (e.g., love of God), and that only the latter were lost at the Fall. “Total depravity,” in contrast, holds that this distinction is false, that the totality of human nature was affected by the Fall, that man-as-totality turned against God at the Fall. Thus man cannot find truth about God through reason, nor turn to God with his will, but must be redeemed as a whole, a totality.

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