Adam Heard the Voice of God
written by SEA member, Roy Ingle
Some Calvinists such as R.C. Sproul asserts that one must be regenerated before faith because of the nature of total depravity. Since mankind is dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1) and unable to please God in such a state (Romans 8:7-8) then God must regenerate people in order for them to come to faith and be saved from sin (John 3:3; 1 John 5:1). A dead person is simply dead and can do nothing unless God first breathes life into them by His Spirit (Titus 3:5-7) and then they can come to faith and be justified before God (Romans 5:1). It is reasoned that those elected by God will be regenerated to believe.
One major problem with this is that it is based on an assumption and that being unconditional election combined with the Calvinist view of total depravity. When Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1 that we are dead in our sins, he is speaking of our status in sin and without the life of God. No doubt the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23) and we are dead without the Spirit of God living within, but I find nothing in the passage to speak of an inability to hear or believe the gospel. In fact, two examples from the Old Testament that demonstrate that unbelievers can hear the voice of God before regeneration are both found in the early chapters of Genesis.
In Genesis 3 we find the fall of mankind. If there was a time for the Bible to present the Calvinist view of being “dead in our sins” it would be here. Surely we should find God having to first regenerate Adam and Eve before He could converse with them since they are dead. Yet what do we find? We find Adam hearing from God in Genesis 3:9. Adam had sinned and was now dead spiritually (Romans 5:12) and he demonstrates this by his actions in Genesis 3:8, yet we find that he could still hear from God? How is this possible if in fact he is dead in his sins and must be born again to come to faith?
Another example is found in Genesis 4. Here Cain hears the voice of God yet again like his father Adam. If anyone was to inherit original sin and be born dead in his sins, it should be Cain. Yet what do we find? Again, we find Cain hearing the voice of God in Genesis 4:6. God even warns this dead sinner to turn from his sins in Genesis 4:7. How could he possibly do this without regeneration? How could he hear the voice of God or even obey God without God first causing him to be born again?
Both of these passages run contrary to the Calvinistic assumption that dead in sins must equal dead completely. To be dead in our sins means that we are without the life of God in us. We are dead apart from His Spirit abiding in us. We must be born again to receive the Spirit of God (Galatians 3:14; 4:6-7). I don’t deny that we are totally unable to please God in our flesh, but this does not mean that an unbeliever cannot hear the gospel and either reject the gospel or receive the gospel (John 1:11-13). [Editor’s note: Of course, God’s prevenient grace is necessary for unbelievers to be able to believe, something with which the author agrees.] Faith comes by hearing the message of Christ (Romans 10:17). God saves sinners who believe (Acts 5:32; 15:9-11; 16:30-34; 22:16; 26:20; Romans 3:25-27; 4:24-5:1; 1 Corinthians 1:21). Those who believe become the elect of God (1 Timothy 4:10).
For the original post, go to: http://arminiantoday.com/2012/10/25/adam-heard-the-voice-of-god/