they were not to blame, and had never come under the condemnation of having heard and rejected the Gospel.
Finally this third "Born in Sin" theory, like the other two, labours under the difficulty of having made repentance impossible, and thus having made void the Word of God, which commands all men everywhere to repent. Although Rom. 1-3 holds out no hope of salvation to the unevangelised world, it does call for repentance, and blames the sinner for his hardness of heart and impenitence. There is not a single hint in these three chapters that the sinner cannot avoid sin and so is not to blame for it, as this theory states. On the contrary God's anger is said to be upon the sinner before he hears the gospel, because he sins deliberately when he need not, and therefore ought to be repentant for having done so.
It is impossible to repent of coughing or snoring or being ill. These things are natural to us, and a man has no say in the matter, nor any ability to avoid doing so. So also it would be impossible to repent of sinning if one's nature made it impossible to avoid doing so. So that upon examination this theory turns out to be as unscriptural and illogical as the other two.
Error always ends in absurdity and self-contradiction. It is only truth that becomes clearer the more it is examined and tested. No wonder men have been so perplexed at these various statements about the grounds of God's condemnation of them that they have given it up in despair, and either surrendered in an unthinking way to Authority which has left their consciences untouched, or else decided that it is all very mysterious and too difficult to try to understand, or, worst of all, that it is a mere illogical hodge-podge, not worth worrying about.
Yet actually God is the soul of Justice and Fair Dealing, generous to the heights of self-sacrifice, and wholly upon the side of His creatures. He is slow to anger and condemns no one without being forced to do so by the facts. His judgement is such that all who see it are more likely to complain of His long-suffering, as did Elijah and Jonah, than to cavil at its severity.
The one desire in the heart of God when moved to condemnation is to give time before punishment in which to bring the criminal to repentance and enable him to escape the