Article 14 - the Creation and Fall of Man and His Incapability of Doing What Is Truly Good

Doctrine > Confessions > The Belgic Confession > ii. Creation, Providence, the Fall and Consequences > Article 14 - the Creation and Fall of Man and His Incapability of Doing What Is Truly Good

We believe that God created man of dust from the ground1 and He made and formed him after His own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy.2 His will could conform to the will of God in every respect. But, when man was in this high position, he did not appreciate it nor did he value his excellency. He gave ear to the words of the devil and willfully subjected himself to sin and consequently to death and the curse.3 For he transgressed the commandment of life which he had received; by his sin he broke away from God, who was his true life; he corrupted his whole nature. By all this he made himself liable to physical and spiritual death.4

Since man became wicked and perverse, corrupt in all his ways, he has lost all his excellent gifts which he had once received from God.5 He has nothing left but some small traces, which are sufficient to make man inexcusable.6 For whatever light is in us has changed into darkness,7 as Scripture teaches us, The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (Jn 1:5); where the apostle John calls mankind darkness.

Therefore we reject all teaching contrary to this concerning the free will of man, since man is a slave to sin (Jn 8:34) and a man can receive only what is given him from heaven (Jn 3:27). For who dares to boast that he of himself can do any good, when Christ says: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him (Jn 6:44)? Who will glory in his own will, when he understands that the sinful mind is hostile to God (Rom 8:7)? Who can speak of his knowledge, since the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14)? In short, who dares to claim anything, when he realizes that we are not competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God (2 Cor 3:5)? Therefore what the apostle says must justly remain sure and firm: It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose (Phil 2:13). For there is no understanding nor will conformable to the understanding and will of God unless Christ has brought it about; as He teaches us: Apart from Me you can do nothing (Jn 15:5).

The Belgic Confession

ii. Creation, Providence, the Fall and Consequences