Does the Bible teach all people are born good?

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By BibleAsk Team


Are People Born Good?

In response to the question: are people born good, a foundational concept in Christian theology that significantly influences the understanding of human nature is the doctrine of original sin. This doctrine asserts that as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, all humanity inherits a sinful nature. Romans 5:12 (NKJV) articulates this doctrine, stating, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

The implication of original sin is that humans are not born good but they are born with a predisposition toward sin and separation from God. Psalm 51:5 (NKJV) is often cited to support this perspective: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”

Total Depravity

Building upon the concept of original sin, the doctrine of total depravity asserts that human nature is thoroughly corrupted by sin, affecting every aspect of a person’s being. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV) provides a grim portrayal of the state of humanity apart from God’s grace:

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

The Capacity for Good and Moral Choice

While the Bible affirms the fallen nature of humanity, it also acknowledges the capacity for moral choice. The Bible recognizes the moral responsibility placed on individuals to make choices aligned with God’s will. Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV) presents a clear call to moral decision-making: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”

Divine Image and Likeness

The biblical teaching that humanity is created in the image and likeness of God adds depth to the understanding of human nature. Genesis 1:26-27 (NKJV) states, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” This divine image encompasses moral, spiritual, and relational dimensions.

The concept of the imago Dei suggests that while humanity is fallen and marred by sin, there remains a fundamental dignity in the original design of God. This divine image provides the basis for human worth and moral accountability.

The Role of Redemption

Central to the Christian narrative is the theme of redemption through Jesus Christ. The New Testament emphasizes that through faith in Christ, individuals can experience transformation and be reconciled with God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The redemptive work of Christ is seen as restoring the image of God in humanity and providing the possibility for moral renewal. This perspective acknowledges the fallen state of humanity but emphasizes the transformative power of God’s grace.

Conclusion

In addressing the question of whether the Bible teaches that people are born good, it is essential to understand that the doctrine of original sin and total depravity highlights the fallen nature of humanity, emphasizing the pervasive influence of sin. However, the biblical affirmation of the redemptive work of Christ by faith, provides a basis for the restoring power of God to recreate His image in man.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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