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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, February 23 2023

What’s wrong with our human nature?

When God formed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they were part of a creation God pronounced as "very good" (Genesis 1:31). However, God did not mean they were inherently good or inclined to choose to live according to God's way of life.

What’s wrong with our human nature?
An illustration of Adam and Eve eating of the knowledge of good and evil, the first account of the nature of man. Credit: Sweet Publishing /

Adam and Eve had the physical drives and material interests common to all mankind, which were not inherently sinful, but could lead to sin if they contradicted God's direction and instructions.

The Bible represents Satan as the master manipulator of human nature. Satan successfully deceived Eve into taking the forbidden fruit and, although Adam was not deceived, he also gave in (Genesis 3:1-24 and I Timothy 2:14). Adam and Eve thus set a pattern for the whole human race—accepting the rule and influence of Satan rather than following God.

Our weakness, combined with the devil’s influence, has led the whole world into sin (Revelation 12:9). Without the positive influence of God’s Spirit our self-focused nature resists living according to God’s biblical instructions, while Satan influences us to give in to our human wants and desires (II Corinthians 4:4).

Like Adam and Eve when they were first created, we are born with a neutral nature, but we very quickly develop the selfish attitudes of the corrupted human society around us. The tendency of human beings to exalt self and disobey God is known as human nature, referred to in the Bible by such terms as “the carnal mind” and “fleshly lusts”. We have all succumbed to the temptations of our human nature. With the sole exception of Jesus Christ, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

As powerful as Satan’s influence is, the devil can’t force us to sin. He simply seduces us through our fleshly weaknesses and wrong ways of thinking. Paul graphically describes the effect corrupt desires have on human behavior in Galatians 5:19-21, and Jeremiah 17:9 instructs us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

As human beings we look for ways to justify our lusts. We deceive ourselves that, since our desires are natural, they are not so bad after all, in spite of the fact we are warned, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25). We resent being limited by God’s rules and, without God’ Spirit to help us, nurture a mindset that is hostile and unsubmissive to God.

We need God’s Spirit to help us recognise and resist the selfish nature we have developed under Satan’s influence and to begin to develop a godly nature.