For this thought exercise, I will grant the Calvinist perspective that the following passages have a soteriological meaning. Instead of arguing based on the context and application, I am just going to assume that these passages are of salvific import.

The Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37 – People are dead in their sin like these dry bones, they cannot respond in faith until God makes them alive. But how is this accompished in the passage? Ezekiel and God speak to them.

Lazarus in John 11 – Lazarus was dead and rotting in the tomb, he could not respond to Jesus’ command to come out unless he was first made alive. But what does the gospel narrative show Jesus doing to make him alive? Jesus speaks to him.

So even if I grant the above passages teach that regeneration must PRECEDE faith (see this post btw: ), at the same time they seem to show that the WORD is enough to regenerate.

Hence I can even grant Total Inability without trying to argue over its biblicalness – but the powerful, miraculous, divine Grace that is necessary for corpselike-dead sinners to come alive and respond to the Gospel is the very Gospel itself!

And note what Paul says about what the ‘dead’ can do, and the order of the following:

But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” – Ephesians 5:13

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” – Revelation 3:1-2

The ‘dead’ in Calvinism can’t accept God’s free offer (in fact, demand!) of salvation. But they are walking, talking, eating, marrying, debating philosophy, reading secular books or the Quran and agreeing… But not reading the Bible and agreeing? Seems like a very arbitrarily specific, limited inability to me.

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