Are We Naturally Good or Bad?

Ramon and Nena Arias | March 6, 2023

People are shocked by the evil that is engulfing this nation and the world. There is no denial of the increasing horrors of evil; however, if people knew a little bit about history, they shouldn’t be surprised by the evils we are plagued with today.

Do you still subscribe to the idea that man is born inherently good? If you do, you should watch some of the videos of babies’ behavior that reveal the ugly side of human conduct. You will learn how babies, even cute little children, are inclined to do evil even though they are still in the “age of innocence.”

Several years ago, January 14, 2013, the BBC published an article by Tom Stafford titled, “Are we naturally good or bad?” He makes the following comments:

“Fundamentally speaking, are humans good or bad? It’s a question that has repeatedly been asked throughout humanity. For thousands of years, philosophers have debated whether we have a basically good nature that is corrupted by society, or a basically bad nature that is kept in check by society. Psychology has uncovered some evidence, which might give the old debate a twist.

One way of asking about our most fundamental characteristics is to look at babies. Babies’ minds are a wonderful showcase for human nature. Babies are humans with the absolute minimum of cultural influence – they don’t have many friends, have never been to school and haven’t read any books. They can’t even control their own bowels, let alone speak the language, so their minds are as close to innocent as a human mind can get.

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to speak to reveal your opinions. Babies will reach for things they want or like, and they will tend to look longer at things that surprise them. Ingenious experiments carried out at Yale University in the US used these measures to look at babies’ minds. Their results suggest that even the youngest humans have a sense of right and wrong, and, furthermore, an instinct to prefer good over evil.”

So much for the argument of being born inherently good or for the argument that blames the social cultural conditions. Unless we accept the reality of human nature and its dichotomy, we will continue to be disappointed by those whom we expect nothing but good from.

For thousands of years, the reason philosophers have asked the question if humans are good or bad is due to the outcome of people’s bad decisions and their incapability to live in harmony with others. We have seen the strong conquering the weak and forcing them to conform to the ideas and culture of the conqueror. People may be enslaved for a time but not forever. The ability to know good from evil is within humans, even though they may not know how to consistently achieve a transformational life to remain in good standing. Humans want what is good even if they have to do evil to obtain their concept of goodness; this has always been the problem. Who defines what is good and what is evil?

The parents of the human race, Adam and Eve, were created perfect, that is until Eve decided to rebel against God’s commandment. Satan, through the serpent, convinced Eve that she did not have to obey God’s orders and that she could be her own god to determine what is good and evil. And here we are.

At the moment of conception of a human life, sin inherently becomes part of our nature because we inherit the original sin. This is one of the reasons king David said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). David openly admitted this fact after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan, who revealed David’s adultery to him and the killing of Bathsheba’s husband, and others along with him.

King David was a man after God’s own heart and yet he opened his heart and decided to rebel against God’s moral law. David suffered the consequences of his sins, even though God accepted his repentance.

There is only one way to overcome our dichotomy, God’s way, through His provision in Christ Jesus. Paul wrote the following:

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 7:24-25, 8:1-2).

Can our monumental problems be fixed? No and yes. No, we cannot fix our social problems by ourselves when we continue to ignore the root of the problem that is in the sinful nature of humanity. And yes, yes, we can fix our social problems when we acknowledge the awfulness of the sinful nature, individually and collectively. 2000 years ago, John, the disciple of Christ, wrote:

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:8-10).

God made provisions in order for us to destroy our dichotomy and overcome our sinful nature. What future can we expect for the nation? It will be determined by the choices this generation makes. I highly encourage you not to wait for others to do what you’re called to do.

Let us pray daily for the biblical Reformation in order for God’s people to rise and shine so others can be drawn to the salvation and Lordship of Christ, this is our only hope and the hope for future generations.

Thomas Jefferson said:

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”