Inherently Good

Are humans inherently good? What does the Catholic Church teach?

I think the dogma of original sin contradicts that theory. Don’t we become “good” by Jesus through the ministry of the Church? :shrug:

I’m not sure what the Church teaches exactly but I would assume that because of original sin we have an inclination towards evil. However, through baptism, we are cleansed of this leaving us with free will to lean either way.

We also know that we are made for worshiping God and are given a conscience meaning that we are inherently good but through our free will we can choose to go against our conscience (inclination) and choose evil. Hope this helps!

God doesn’t make ****, and He loves us enough to give, and respect, our free will.

It seems to me that we are inherently good, but because of Original Sin and our fallen nature we lean towards over feeding our appetites.

I know we were created good, but does that mean after the fall that we are ‘inherently good?’

As well, can we get some CCC or proof?

Thank you.

I am, Forums,
Your obedient Servant,

Chris IV

What do you think? Jesus was fully human. Obviously he was inherently good.

One of the great heresies condemned by the Church was that all matter is evil.

Gnosticism (1st and 2nd Centuries)

“Matter is evil!” was the cry of the Gnostics. This idea was borrowed from certain Greek philosophers. It stood against Catholic teaching, not only because it contradicts Genesis 1:31 (“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good”) and other scriptures, but because it denies the Incarnation. If matter is evil, then Jesus Christ could not be true God and true man, for Christ is in no way evil. Thus many Gnostics denied the Incarnation, claiming that Christ only appeared to be a man, but that his humanity was an illusion. Some Gnostics, recognizing that the Old Testament taught that God created matter, claimed that the God of the Jews was an evil deity who was distinct from the New Testament God of Jesus Christ. They also proposed belief in many divine beings, known as “aeons,” who mediated between man and the ultimate, unreachable God. The lowest of these aeons, the one who had contact with men, was supposed to be Jesus Christ.


27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.1

33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. Thesoul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material”,9 can have its origin only in God.

41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. The manifold perfections of creatures - their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures" perfections as our starting point, **“for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator”.**15

What do you think?
Pax Christi

Lancer and Thistle,

Thank you for your courteous answers. They have been beneficial to the faith.

I am,
Your obedient Servant,

Chris IV

If human beings were inherently good, they would be born as “little angels” and would have to learn to be bad over the course of their lives.

Do you know why people refer to a certain stage of a child’s life as the “Terrible Twos?”

Original sin and concupiscence destroy the idea that people are born inherently good.

This does not mean that people are born totally evil (“total depravity”) or that matter itself is evil.

I don’t agree with that. People are not born part good and part evil. The reality is they do in fact learn to become bad.

Of course, you’re welcome to your opinion, even if it does run contrary to Sacred Scripture.

You might also want to explain, if children are born good and have to learn to be bad, how it is that they learn so quickly, even in the best of environments.

We are born concupiscent, or vulnerable to evil. We’re not necessarily evil or made that way, but we are certainly able to learn to do evil things very quickly.

Similarly, you can make a great bowl in a potty class, and it may be great as it is, but it is vulnerable to cracking right from when it is formed. Inherently good, but not perfect.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

Oh darn, meant to say pottery. :blush:

I know you did, but I had to do it anyway :smiley:

Can I get some scripture or doctrine that says that humans are inherently evil?

I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

Chris IV

Please reread the last statement of mine that you quoted. While you’re reading, note that “totally evil” (which I denied) and “inherently evil” are fairly equivalent.

Can I, then, get scripture or doctrine for your stance and explanation of what you believe.


I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

Chris IV

Sure, I’ll point you the the right direction, but I’m not going to do your homework for you.

Get your Catechism of the Catholic Church out, go to the index, and look up the topics “Original Sin” and “Concupiscence.” Then go to the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia and look up the same topics. That’s what I believe.

How about the words of our Savior:

No one is good—except God alone. (Luke 18:19)

If that’s not enough, how about:

…every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood (Genesis 8:21)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.” (Romans 3:9-12)

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. (Romans 8:7)

I would have to conclude with a “No.”

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit