Many Christians seem to believe that man's basic nature is evil. What about that?
Webster's defines nature as "the essential character of a thing" or the "inborn character" or "innate disposition" of a person. So we ask, "Are humans inherently wicked or evil?"
We read in the book of Genesis that "The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil." (Genesis 6:5, NLT) Jeremiah wrote: "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" (Jeremiah 17:9, NLT) Paul wrote that "everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." (Romans 3:23)
So is it reasonable to conclude from these Scriptures that humans have an innate tendency towards wickedness? If we reach such a conclusion, don't we have to ask ourselves why God would design humans with such a disposition or tendency? After all, if something is part of our nature, doesn't that imply that our Creator put it there? And, if God gave us this predisposition, doesn't that make God responsible for creating evil? Wouldn't that contradict other scriptures regarding God's nature if that were true?
Doesn't the Bible state that humans were created to be like God? (Genesis 1:26-27) Doesn't Scripture indicate that everything (including mankind) that God created was very good? (Genesis 1:31) Doesn't Scripture indicate that Adam and Eve started out without any sin? (Genesis 2:25) In fact, doesn't Scripture clearly state that Adam and Eve fell into sin as a consequence of the Serpent's deception? (Genesis 3:1-7)
When we ask ourselves these questions and examine the evidence, don't we have to conclude that humans don't have any innate tendency to be evil or wicked? Didn't Jesus Christ clearly imply that children were purer and more innocent than adults? (Matthew 18:3, 19:14, Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16) Doesn't that further imply that we start out good and innocent and acquire wickedness and sin as our life progresses?
Speaking of Satan, Ezekiel wrote: "You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you." (Ezekiel 28:15, NLT) Clearly, evil is something that is acquired. It is not part of the nature of anything that God has created!
Think about it. If they were innately bad, why would God have encouraged the Israelites to choose the good? (Deuteronomy 30:19) If their natures were wicked, they wouldn't have really had any choice in the matter would they?
Maybe it's time to take another look at ourselves! Maybe we should look at the pursuit of righteousness as an attempt to recapture our true selves. Maybe it's Satan who has convinced us that we're basically all bad eggs? (Revelation 12:9)