Humans Are Evil (Part 3)
How We Got Here
When every person who has ever lived exhibits a fundamental propensity for evil, it can seem like humans were designed for sinfulness. Humanity has a perfect record for unrighteousness. There are nearly eight billion people on the planet, and every single one of them is evil. Add the total population to inhabit the world in its entire history—all of whom were also evil, with one notable exception—and the evidence appears to show a substantial design flaw in human beings. This view manifests in modern language when someone uses the phrase, “I’m only human.” We’re imperfect. We sin. But that’s understandable because we’re human. It may appear that humans were designed for imperfection; however, this defect came not from the Designer, but from the choices of the designed.
It started with Adam. God created Adam and Eve, the first two human beings, and placed them in the Garden of Eden. At that point, everything was perfect—including the garden’s human inhabitants. To be truly human, as God intended, is to live in a perfect relationship with God and others. But the perfection didn’t last. The Serpent—the enemy of God—tempted Eve, convincing her to disobey God and introduce sin into the world. Adam, likewise, disobeyed God, choosing to usurp for himself the ability to determine what should rightly be called good and what should rightly be called evil. Rejecting God’s moral distinctions, which flow from His eternal nature and constitute objective good and objective evil, Adam and Eve decided they wanted to make their own decisions regarding what would be best for them.
Adam passed on a natural propensity to sin to his offspring, which, coincidentally, includes every human alive today. Romans 1:20 teaches that God’s “invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” It is apparent from the scale and order of creation that there exists a Creator, whose power and authority far surpass the meager abilities of His creations. However, Paul teaches in Romans 1 that humans suppress this truth (v. 18). In our suppression, humans “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (v. 25). In our suppression of the truth and in our worship of items and philosophies with inherently less value than the Creator of all things, God gave us up “to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done,” so that we are “filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.” (v. 28-29). Therefore, all of the issues in the world today—all wickedness and unrighteousness perpetrated by men and women—are rooted in the same rejection of God’s authority to rule that led Adam and Eve to rebel against God in the garden.
The Way Forward
The rejection of God’s rule produced a separation between God and man that could never be reversed by human effort. The evil in the human heart to which God gave us over so blinds our motivations and worship that we refuse to submit to His authority. We are stuck worshipping things which are not God—money, fame, relationships, other so-called deities, achievement, our own reasoning—as we attempt to find something to fill us and give us life while rejecting our Creator.
But God had a better plan. When mankind rebelled in the Garden of Eden, God spoke of redemption and restoration (see Genesis 3:15). The one notable exception of humanity’s perfect record of sinfulness is none other than God Himself; Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, adding humanity to His deity, came to earth to fulfill God’s plan for salvation. Doing what nobody else could do, He lived a sinless life, always following the will of God, maintaining a perfect relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit at all times. Yet the righteous Son of God was nailed to a cross. He died after hours of agony and excruciating pain. Although He never deserved to die, He did so for you and me, so that in His death our sinful, evil hearts might be put to death.
Three days later, Jesus rose from the grave. While our old, sinful nature lays buried in a grave through the death of Christ, new life is offered to us through His resurrection. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” In Christ, our evil hearts have been crucified and we are now free to live in a perfect relationship with our Creator.
The cure for the world’s problems is found in this good news. Our foolishness, our wickedness, our dark, evil, vile hearts can be made new by faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When we look in the mirror and get an accurate glimpse of the depravity of our souls, the message of the gospel becomes incomparably magnificent. God has acted to restore His unrighteous creation to a perfect relationship with Him.
Humanity is evil. These posts were not meant to insult or demean anybody; they are simply an accurate reflection of mankind’s inward condition. When we consider the wickedness in our own hearts, when we witness the selfishness with which humans treat other humans, when we observe the violence and devastation that occur on a daily basis in our world, it is obvious that something is amiss. Like a candle in a cave, the gospel shines forth with astounding radiance and beauty in a dark and miserable world that is constantly looking for answers, making idols of the created things rather than worshipping the Creator. Stop believing the lie that humans are innately good—that deep down, there is some natural benevolence waiting to emerge. If there exists any goodness in man, it is a gift from the Creator; invariably, though, the core of the human heart is evil—a reality that is clearly manifest in the world today. In light of this terrible truth, praise God that Jesus Christ died to give a new heart to anyone who would place their faith in Him.