Is human nature evil?

Human nature cannot be evil because God created it in the likeness of his own nature, Genesis 1:26. And when “God saw all that he had made,” verse 31, he said “it was very good.”

Human nature at its roots and origin, then, is good not bad. It’s also the nature that Jesus took on when he came as a human being, Philippians 2:7, and with that nature he never did anything bad or evil. So it’s possible for human nature to be good all the time.

But didn’t David say he was “a sinner from birth” and “sinful from the time my mother conceived me,” Psalm 51:5? And in Psalm 58:3 that “from birth the wicked go astray,” and “from the womb they are wayward and speak lies,” and in Job 14:1 and 4, that “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble….Who can bring what is pure from the impure?” – meaning how can anything good come from something so bad? From all these verses it looks like we’re born bad, or that we’re naturally inclined to evil.

And Paul was ready to admit that too in Romans 7:18, when he writes: “I know that nothing good lives in me,” BUT – take note – he qualifies that statement by adding, ‘THAT IS, in my sinful nature.” Paul wants it understood that all this evil he’s churning out ISN’T the result of his human nature, it’s the result of what he calls “the sinful nature.” And Paul separates this sinful nature from his own nature, verse 20 – “Now if I do what I don’t want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

It wasn’t because of his human nature that he was doing bad things, it was beccause of this other nature in him, Romans 7:5 – “For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were al work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.” It’s while we’re under the control of this other nature, the sinful nature, that evil passions are aroused.

At heart and core Paul wanted to obey God: “I delight in God’s law,” he said in verse 22, “BUT,” verse 23, “I see another law at work…waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin.” The law of HIS mind was to obey God, but “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me,” verse 21. It wasn’t his human nature that was evil, therefore, it was this other nature, and only the Spirit can control that (Romans 8:9).

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