What does the term total depravity mean? Total depravity is the extensive ruin of man’s nature. What that means is that mankind was made totally sinful after the fall, and therefore all aspects of man’s nature are affected by sin. The Web site “The Puritan Mind” explains it like this.
“Both the body and soul are corrupted because of the fall. This does not mean that people are as a bad as they can be, but rather, that the effects of the fall have completely ruined the total being of man. It is not just that man’s mind is ruined, or that just his body is ruined, or that just his soul ruined. It means the whole man is corrupted with sin.”
- Mankind after the fall.
After their disastrous choice to eat the tree they were forbidden to eat, sin and its effects started immediately. Adam and Eve became afraid, ashamed, and estranged. Where there was friendship with God, there is now enmity. Their only thought was to hide from God and escape His judgment -so they tried to defer responsibility.
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Whether Adam was deferring the responsibility to Eve, or Eve to the serpent,
we see very early the effects of Sin upon mankind’s parents. Indeed, the sinful trait of assigning blame and deferring responsibility is seen very active in mankind today.