Asked in The BibleSynonyms and Antonyms
People are inherently good or evil?
September 18, 2009 7:12PM
This was a great religious controversy around the time of the Reformation... and because everyone couldn't agree on the answer, it still rages today.
The question necessitates that it's asking about "the 'natural' man's relationship with God"... the way a man is when born, totally subject to the five senses - and not a "converted" man whose mind (spirit) is being "called" by God and opened to the divinely revealed Word of God.
The "natural" man is "carnal minded"... which is different from being "spirit" minded, or having a spiritual consciousness or spiritual awareness. Man is more attuned to his five physical senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing). These physical senses provide the "physical data" to the brain for processing before it's categorized or acted upon, or whatever is required before it's stored away in mental files and folders called : our memory. These memories never leave us... although, if some of them aren't accessed often, we can have a time "recalling" them. However it is that our brain works... these bytes of physical data all add up to program whatever personality we develop into. Everyone's life's programming is uniquely theirs. They "play back" the same way every time, unless changes are made to the programming and the personality is modified.
That little analogy was a computerized attempt to explain how the "natural" man works.
Of the natural carnal minded man, God's Word says" "...the CARNAL MIND is ENMITY (hostile) against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Rom.8:7)
Therefore, in accordance with God's Word, I contend that man is naturally evil... simply because he is inherently "selfish;" naturally rebellious against God's law, which is what sin is (I John 3:4).
God is "love"... and love is outgoing. Selfishness is "self-love" (love aimed inwardly toward the self).
That's why we naturally care for "ol' number one" and have to work pretty hard at times to care about anyone else. It's I, me, my and mine, normally with most folks.
But, love needs to "flow" like a river current for it's power to work and strengthen. Love aimed inwardly stagnates and dies out.
True love is giving, not taking. And the natural man "takes."
So, until God changes us (I Cor.15:51)... I maintain the answer to the question:
"Man is inherently evil, but likes to think he's good."