I have great respect for the Reformed–my family are mostly from this viewpoint with regard to original sin, and my grandparents on both sides were at least originally either Dutch CRC or RCA. However, here are things I’ve spoken about with my dad since I could first read the Bible in church–and I don’t expect an easy answer, but it’s a privilege to bring these questions up with someone else who has a great heart for God.
To me, it’s a double sticky wicket if we are condemned to sin; and even the smallest one can throw us in Hell. It’s the same thing, isn’t it, as inheriting sin itself?
Not to say we don’t sin, but when my 5 year old daughter looks me in the eye and says “No,” I don’t throw her into everlasting perdition; but I do correct her lovingly and firmly. The wages of sin is correction, not vindication. George Macdonald thought that Jesus was the way we learned about God’s real character; and this link is very attractive. http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2010/06/george-macdonald-justice-hell-and.html
As I understand it, the allusion to “No one is righteous” by Paul, he’s alluding to Psalms 14 and 53–Hebraic poetry which in context there is talking about the wicked (the fools). There are many allusions in Psalms and elsewhere to the righteous, and to God saving them.
It seems to me very odd to say that we are condemned to death for following a nature we can’t help; then only some of us get saved from the sin accompanying that nature. It would indeed be cruel to make us try to be perfect if we weren’t able to be perfect in the first place. But that doesn’t seem to really be the problem.
On the other hand, throwing ourselves on God’s mercy, as the prodigal son did, every day, is something that the Reformed do very well at–and can teach us better. Tim Keller, who I don’t agree with completely but exhibits daily grace, is a wonderful example of that. Thank you for your patience. Respectfully, Randy