Are humans inherently good or evil? (Is human nature good or bad?)

As a theologian, a teacher, and a devout Christian, I have consistently studied the nature of humans in the contemporary world and according to the Bible.

My interest in this topic was born after reading the “Contract Theory” by Thomas Hobbes. My focus has been to discover the inherent human nature and why humans act as they do.

I have acquired extensive knowledge through an in-depth study of the Bible, interviewing renowned theologians, and reading philosophical books.

So, during my last teaching session, one of the students asked whether men are inherently evil. Having studied and consulted theologians for many years on this topic, I had all the answers at my fingertips.

So, are humans inherently good or evil?

Many theologians argue that humans were created with an inherently good nature, but it was immediately corrupted by sin in the Garden of Eden, rendering all humans to inherently acquire a bad nature. In Genesis 1:26-27 humans were created in the image of God, which is taken to mean that they were good. However, in Genesis 3, man sinned, gaining a bad nature. Psalms 14:2-3 and Genesis 6:5 suggest that man’s nature is bad, and due to it, he only contemplates what is evil.

In this article, we will discuss whether human nature is good or bad. Also, we will find out whether humans are born with an innate moral compass or whether they develop as they grow.

To learn these and more, continue reading.

Is human nature good or bad?

The Bible in Genesis 6:5 suggests that human nature is bad and only thinks of evil. In this verse, the Lord assessed humans and concluded that their thoughts and intentions were evil.

The verse indicates that man by nature desired to do what was evil their thoughts and intentions continually planned evil. Due to their nature, they did not do evil once but were continually doing so.

They were violent, malicious, and oppressive. Their intention was destruction, which demonstrates that they had a bad nature.

In Psalms 14:1-3, God did another assessment and still concluded that no man was good. The Bible says that man had become corrupt and was not capable of doing good.

Nature plays a significant role in what actions a man takes. A bad nature may lead a person to do evil, while a good nature may lead people to do good.

In most cases, when human nature is good, a person is likely to do good and vice versa.

Are humans born with an innate moral compass, or do they develop as they grow?

Are humans born with an innate moral compass? Image source: Pixabay

Most early philosophers believed that humans are born without an innate moral compass and that they develop it as they grow.

However, studies have shown that babies have an innate moral compass, although not fully developed. Babies below the age of 24 months can distinguish between mean and kind actions, according to a study by Dr. Karen Wynn of Baby Labs.

She says that since babies are born with a moral compass, parents and society can only develop it further since it is already established.

Other studies have also shown that babies as young as seven months can distinguish good and evil. In one study, babies picked a toy shape that exhibited helpful behaviors and rejected one that demonstrated mean or bad behavior.

Making such a decision indicated that they understood some actions to be good and others evil.

Romans 2:14-15 also suggest that people are born with an innate moral compass. It says that the gentiles-who did not get the law from God- choose to do what is lawful by nature.

The Bible says that the law is written in their hearts, which suggests that they were born with it.

Are humans born evil, or is evil developed as people grow?

Are humans born evil? Image source: Pixabay

The Bible in Psalm 51:5 suggests that humans are born evil. In this verse, David says that he was conceived and born in sin.

He implies that it was because of his inherent evil nature that he killed Uria and took his wife- which is the sin he was repenting about in this passage.

Also, Romans 5:12 implies that man is born a sinner, which many take to mean that man is born evil. In this passage, Paul says that through Adam, sin came into the world, and through sin, death -which is evil- also came.

Some psychologists and philosophers suggest that evil results from nurture rather than nature. They say that evil develops in a person depending on their environment and experiences.

For instance, most serial killers grew up in an abusive environment, which suggests that their upbringing led to their evil nature.

Which philosophers believe that humans are evil?

Some philosophers who believe that humans are evil include Thomas Hobbes, who wrote the social contract theory, which suggests that humans are only constrained by society from fully expressing their evil nature.

He believed that humans are driven by self-interest. Others include Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Sigmund Freud.

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