Belgic Confession, Article 14: The Creation and Fall of Humanity

Article 14: The Creation and Fall of Humanity

We believe
that God created human beings from the dust of the earth
and made and formed them in his image and likeness—
good, just, and holy;
able by their will to conform
in all things
to the will of God.

But when they were in honor
they did not understand it21
and did not recognize their excellence.
But they subjected themselves willingly to sin
and consequently to death and the curse,
lending their ear to the word of the devil.

For they transgressed the commandment of life,
which they had received,
and by their sin they separated themselves from God,
who was their true life,
having corrupted their entire nature.

So they made themselves guilty
and subject to physical and spiritual death,
having become wicked,
perverse,
and corrupt in all their ways.
They lost all their excellent gifts
which they had received from God,
and retained none of them
except for small traces
which are enough to make them
inexcusable.

Moreover, all the light in us is turned to darkness,
as the Scripture teaches us:
"The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it."22
Here John calls the human race "darkness."

Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary
concerning human free will,
since humans are nothing but the slaves of sin
and cannot do a thing
unless it is given them from heaven.23

For who can boast of being able
to do anything good by oneself,
since Christ says,
"No one can come to me
unless drawn by the Father who sent me"?24

Who can glory in their own will
when they understand that "the mind of the flesh
is hostile to God"?25
Who can speak of their own knowledge
in view of the fact that "those who are unspiritual
do not understand the gifts of God's Spirit"?26

In short,
who can produce a single thought,
knowing that we are not able to think a thing
about ourselves,
by ourselves,
but that "our competence is from God"?27

And therefore,
what the apostle says
ought rightly to stand fixed and firm:
"God works within us
both to will and to do
according to God's good pleasure."28

For there is no understanding nor will
conforming to God's understanding and will
apart from Christ's involvement,
as he teaches us when he says,
"Apart from me you can do nothing."29

21 Ps. 49:20
22 John 1:5
23 John 3:27
24 John 6:44
25 Rom. 8:7
26 1 Cor. 2:14
27 2 Cor. 3:5
28 Phil. 2:13
29 John 15:5