Good stuff from Macquarrie. I’ve never read Faith of the People of God, but I’ll have to add it to the list.
(for the record, he’s channeling a bit of St. Athanasius here, either consciously or unconsciously).
“While I have stressed the universality of sin, as any realistic account of man must do, I do not think that one can accept the doctrine that man is totally immersed in sin, the doctrine of a ‘total depravity’. For if man were totally depraved, he would not even be conscious of his sinful state or be made uneasy by it. Only because there persists in the human race something of an original righteousness, more original than original sin, can there be awareness of sin and any desire to overcome it. In more theological language, this original righteousness can be expressed by saying that man was made in the image of God; and although that image has been marred by sin, it has not been totally effaced. It speaks of a destiny to which men know themselves obscurely called even in the sinful condition of the race, and the fact that men go on hopefully striving toward that destiny is itself a powerful argument against any view, atheistic or theological, that would write man off as an absurdity or an incorrigible sinner.”
(from Faith of the People of God, pp. 63-64)
Read it all: John Macquarrie