Sometimes it is asserted that the doctrine of man’s natural inability was the creation of John Calvin. While Calvin did an admirable job of articulating this doctrine (see for instance, The Bondage and Liberation of the Will), it certainly did not originate with him. Many others before and after Calvin understood this important truth. Martin Luther was arguing for the biblical doctrine of man’s natural inability when he wrote one of his most well known works, The Bondage of the Will. Luther understood that this was a fundamental doctrine to understand if true biblical Christianity was to be maintained.
After discussing the reality of God’s sovereignty over all things Luther makes this appropriate statement:
“This bombshell knocks ‘free-will’ flat, and utterly shatters it; so that those who want to assert it must either deny my bombshell, or pretend not to notice it, or find some other way of dodging it.” Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, p. 80.