You are essentially asking if man is basically evil.
WHERE THE BIBLE SAYS NO:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God.
And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns.
The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are treacherous.
Luke 1:6 (ref. to Zacahariah & Elizabeth)
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Now there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man,
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man,
At this time Moses was born, and was beautiful before God.
1 Tim 4:4
For everything created by God is good,
WHERE DOES THE BIBLE SAY THAT MAN IS BASICALLY EVIL?
The proposition that man is basically evil is normally defended by quoting the following verses:
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all; for I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one.”
For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.
There are no quotes in the bible stating that man is basically evil. There are, however, numerous passages that point out the sinfulness and weakness of man, but none of them even implicitly states that man is basically evil. There are, however, numerous examples that demonstrate both explicitly and implicitly that man is basically good. The assumption that man is basically evil is non-biblical. Instead man is basically good but suffers from a fallen nature.
The book of Romans as quoted above is the chief source for defending the idea that man is basically evil. Such an interpretation of these verses is clearly problematic for the following reasons:
- In Romans 3:9-12, Paul says that all are under the power of sin. This is a reference to the “Fall” and the burden of original sin. Paul is speaking of Jews and gentiles as equal in their damaged state of inheritance, and that the Jews need grace and redemption just as much as the gentiles. All of mankind needs redemption, and man is prone to sin, but this fact does not mean that man is basically evil.
- In Romans 3:9-12, Paul is quoting from Psalm 14:1-5. Paul makes reference to the Psalm by saying, “as it is written,” and he would not have made that remark or quoted so much of the passage word for word, if he did not intend for us to look to the psalm in order to place his own statements within the Old Testament context. The context of Psalm 14 is made clear in the first verse which states, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good.” Then in verse four and five the psalm reads, “Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the Lord? There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.” Psalm 14 clearly distinguishes between the evil doers (i.e. the fool that says there is no God) and “my people”….”the generation of the righteous.” This is in harmony with all of the above scriptures that state that man is basically good.
cont. on next post