Why Having a Fallen Nature Doesn’t Excuse Us from Guilt

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 03/23/2018

I sometimes hear the objection that God’s judgment against human beings is unfair since our fallenness was thrust upon us by Adam and we didn’t choose it. The objection is often presented as if we’re currently being prevented from doing what is right by something outside of us—as if we have a disability that is unrelated to the soul, against which the soul fights, rather than the problem being the desires of the soul and therefore the soul itself.

In a discussion about spiritual blindness in A Peculiar Glory, John Piper says something that I think applies to this objection:

The root of our [spiritual] blindness is not that we are victims of darkness, but lovers of darkness. The root of our blindness is not that we are hindered from the light, but that we are haters of the light. We love the darkness of doing things our way, and we hate the light of the surpassing beauty of the all-authoritative, all-satisfying, sovereign Christ. And, therefore, our blindness is blameworthy—not, as the lawyers say, exculpatory. It does not remove our guilt. It is our guilt.

We’re not excused from our guilt in doing wrong just because we, by nature, love doing wrong. In the same way, the fact that God loves goodness and cannot do anything other than what is good (i.e., anything that would be outside of His nature) doesn’t mean He isn’t praiseworthy. He’s praiseworthy precisely because He loves only what is good and will only do what is good.

Our loves and desires are credited to us with either blame or praise precisely because they are a reflection of the core of who we are. It does not matter that we did not create our own nature.