What is human nature? Why does it exist? Where did it come from? Did God create it? Why is it so selfish and evil? Few have understood this subject. This Personal presents the truth.
Human troubles and evils are foretold to grow far worse in this age. Appalling violence, terrorism and war are escalating as human nature hurtles further out of control. After a school shooting where many lay slaughtered, a parent remarked, “I don’t understand this world anymore.”
You can understand both this world and the cause of its troubles. Understanding human nature is the key.
Vandalism: Rioting garment workers vandalize a bus following the collapse of an eight-story building in Dhaka, Bangladesh (April 26, 2013).Strdel/AFP/ Getty Images
All human beings possess human nature. The selfishness, rottenness, violence and terrible evils that spring from human nature have plagued the world for thousands of years. The Bible states, “…the whole world lies in wickedness” (I John 5:19). The cause of this lies directly at the feet of evil human nature.
Every “expert” has a different opinion about what human nature is and where it comes from. Yet none know why human nature exists. This is because they reject the source to understanding the answers to all of life’s greatest questions.
Consider the paradox! Think of all the wonderful things the human mind is capable of producing. Its ingenuity and inventiveness are practically limitless. Yet it cannot solve the most basic of life’s greatest problems—poverty, ignorance, immorality, crime, war and misery. All these—and many more—are by-products of unbridled human nature!
Many theologians and religionists teach that all humans are endowed with a “better nature” inside, waiting to be tapped and channeled. The Bible says no such thing! Yet millions subscribe to this idea.
This teaching comes from the long-held pagan doctrine of the duality of body and soul—that all people have a pure, pristine soul locked in an evil body that serves as a prison house until death, when it is freed. This is an attempt to explain the root of human nature without examining the truth of what God says.
Millions more believe the unbiblical doctrine of “original sin.” While Adam and Eve certainly did sin, the Bible teaches nothing about any “original sin” passed on, generation by generation, to every person. This term is a fiction of men.
Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Every human being has sinned on his own account! All are responsible for and guilty of their own sins—not those of Adam and Eve or anyone else!
Adam’s sin brought two consequences: (1) It cut mankind off from the Tree of Life and (2) brought the death penalty on all human beings.
Jesus explained what comes out of the human heart: “…That which comes out of the man, that defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).
This is a staggering revelation. Jesus said it—so it has to be true! And the prophet Jeremiah added, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9). Of course, most do not know this about themselves, though they often readily see it in others. Further, the apostle Paul wrote, “…the carnal [natural] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).
Destructive: Officers work on a street damaged by a car bomb explosion that went off in Hatay, Turkey, near a main border crossing into Syria (May 12, 2013).Photos: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images
These are incredible statements about the minds of all human beings. But how did the torrent of evil thoughts, which pour from people, come to exist in them in the first place? How did it get there?
Does God infuse human nature into tiny babies at birth? Does an all-wise, all-powerful, loving God take innocent children and turn them toward terrible evil from birth? And, if God does not put this nature there, then where does it come from?
Ephesians 2:2 references the devil’s power and influence upon the world: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.”
Notice Satan’s “spirit…works in the children of disobedience.” Do you see this? Did you grasp it? Satan has the power to use the “air” to broadcast, through his spirit, an attitude of disobedience! His spirit sends moods, feelings and attitudes of hostility into people’s minds. These “work” to bring disobedience. This “air power” gives the devil tremendous influence, allowing him to send thoughts of deceit, anger, pride, hatred, vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, envy and confusion directly into people!
Think of it this way. The devil owns the world’s most powerful radio station, broadcasting 24 hours a day. Revelation 12:9 states that he “deceives the whole world.” And his cunning has been so seductive that he has even been able to convince most that he does not exist!
The devil is immensely more powerful than most realize. The Bible identifies him as this world’s god: “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ…should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4).
As this world’s god, Satan blinds and deceives on a staggering scale. The result is a world filled with disobedience—lawlessness!
The apostle Peter referred to “…the Holy Spirit, [which] God has given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32). God’s Spirit is given upon repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). This Spirit helps Christians obey the Ten Commandments!
Before the invention of radio, Satan’s power could not be as easily understood. We can now better understand the “children of disobedience.” Like Christians with the Holy Spirit, these people are also inspired and guided by the spirit of this world’s god. Satan broadcasts a spirit of rebellion against—and disobedience to—God’s Law.
A deceived world knows nothing of this understanding!
If you listen to the radio, you usually pick a station that plays what you want to hear. Today, people “surf” radio or television stations, and of course the Internet. Eventually, something interests them, and they stop and listen by choice. People have control over what they hear or watch.
It is not the same with Satan’s station. The world—and you—do not decide to tune into the devil’s broadcast. No one sets out to be deceived. But every person on Earth is automatically tuned to Satan’s wavelength! His wickedness, hostility, rebellion, deceit and selfishness are continually “on the air.”
Therefore, it is really Satan’s nature that is being labeled as human nature. In fact, once it is injected into people, Satan’s nature becomes natural to them. It becomes their nature—now, human nature.
Though you cannot see it any more than you can see radio waves or television signals, the air around you is literally charged and “crackles” with the energy of Satan’s broadcast.
It is critical to see how this spirit works. It is the single most important key to understanding how Satan can deceive and manipulate over seven billion people.
Consider an illustration. It demonstrates how Satan can influence and sway humanity through his broadcast.
The setting involves King Cyrus of Persia. God wanted him to allow captive Jews to return to Jerusalem and build a second temple to replace Solomon’s, which had been destroyed. Here is how God communicated to Cyrus: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia…the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus…that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom…” (Ezra 1:1).
God communicated with Cyrus through his spirit—by “stirring it up.”
Satan does the same thing. Just as God can lead a human being toward a right purpose, Satan’s spirit influences people toward hate, anger, selfishness, violence, competition, murder and deceit.
Of course, Satan injects his attitudes into an unsuspecting mankind—it has no idea what he is doing. The devil does not announce his intentions in an audible voice.
Just as God the Father has children, Satan is also a father with his own children! Consider this. On one occasion, Paul labeled a man: “…you child of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10).
Notice that “children of the devil” are enemies of “righteousness” and “the ways of God.” This is what being Satan’s children means!
But what is righteousness? The Psalms record: “…all Your [God’s] commandments are righteousness” (119:172).
Satan’s children hate, and are enemies of, the laws of God—His commandments! Remember, they are “children of disobedience.”
Revelation 9:11 describes Satan as a destroyer. This understanding sets the stage for the next scripture.
Certain people professed to “believe on [Jesus]” in John 8:30-31. These same people sought to kill Him moments later! He said, “…you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you” (vs. 37), and added, “…you seek to kill Me, a Man that has told you the truth…” (vs. 40). Many say they want to hear the truth—but not if it means being told they are wrong, particularly about cherished ideas.
This story comes to a remarkable climax, with Jesus asking, “Why do you not understand My speech?” He answers His own question with, “…because you cannot hear My word” (vs. 43). What could cause people standing right beside Jesus to “not hear His word”?
He answers, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own [meaning, what he is]: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (vs. 44). Jesus plainly said to them, “…you are not of God” (vs. 47), and these devil-inspired religious leaders immediately accused Him of having a demon (vs. 48)! Many today who profess to “believe on Christ” are no different.
This is instructive. The devil is a father who murders, lies and destroys. As the author of killing, deceit and destruction, he broadcasts these attitudes to his children around the world!
Make no mistake! The world is filled with the children of the devil. Children are basically much like their parents. Therefore, Satan’s children lie, hate, murder and destroy. Look at the world. It should now be most clear why so much confusion, war, ignorance, poverty, disease and misery are everywhere. The fruits of human nature—Satan’s nature—are evident wherever there are human beings.
The Bible describes the “last days” before Jesus’ Return this way: “This know also, that in the last days perilous [dangerous] times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Tim. 3:1-5).
While the world is filled with religion—“a form of godliness”—it neither teaches the truth nor has the religion of God! It denies the POWER of the true God, and unwittingly worships a being who palms himself off as the God of the Bible. The devil is called the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4), the “prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), and one who “weakens the nations” (Isa. 14:12) and “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).
But how did Satan come to be as he is?
Prior to the re-creation of Earth and creation of Adam, Satan rebelled against God’s government, and led one-third of all angels into rebellion. Isaiah 14:12-15 reveals he had once ruled Earth, and Ezekiel 28:15 shows he was a created being—Lucifer, a powerful, perfect archangel.
But how did the devil gain access to mankind? What opened the door to his influence—his “broadcast”?
Grasp this! Human nature did not come from God, but rather from Satan.
Yet human nature is not inherited—it is acquired! Adam’s children and all succeeding generations did not “pass it on” at conception. A parent who loses an eye, hand or leg does not produce children with one eye, hand or leg. The Bible refers to Adam’s son Abel as “righteous Abel.” His parents’ disobedience did not prevent his obedience.
Adam and Eve were adult “babies.” Just like babies today, they were pure at their creation but were quickly exposed to a “broadcast” they could not resist.
Like most children today, they chose not to listen to their Parent—God. Instead, they believed Satan’s lie in the garden that they would not “surely die.” In so doing, they rejected the rule of God’s government in their lives. If Adam had obeyed God’s instruction, he could have qualified to replace Satan and restore the government of God on Earth.
The New Testament instructs through an example of how human nature is acquired, not inherited. Here is a warning to the Corinthian church: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).
Four thousand years after Adam and Eve, Paul recognized the devil was still alive and active. He warned the Corinthians to be on guard that they not return to following the ways of human nature. Just as Eve’s nature was not evil and hostile to God before she was deceived, neither was the nature of the converted Corinthians.
Once one is called and converted, having received the Spirit of God, he has put off the old human nature of his past life. Paul reminded the Ephesians, “Among whom also we all had our [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (2:3). This follows and is part of the scripture identifying Satan as “prince of the power of the air.”
It would be grossly unfair of God to inject newborn babies with human nature, and then place them under His “wrath” for having it. See this point! Human nature is acquired, leading to disobedience to God—and THIS puts people under His wrath!
Here is Ephesians 2:3 from The New Testament in Modern English translated by J.B. Phillips. It accurately describes how people acquire human nature from the devil: “You drifted along on the stream of this world’s ideas of living, and obeyed its unseen ruler [Satan]…We all lived like that in the past, and followed the impulses and imaginations of our evil nature … like everyone else.”
How true! Most people simply drift along in life following whatever feelings (“impulses”) and ideas (“imaginations”) that strike them from moment to moment. Ephesians 1 is Paul accounting to those brethren their calling into God’s Way. The Ephesians had come out of the course of this world and were no longer “by nature” the children of wrath, and no longer yielding to the “prince of the power of the air.” They were “dis-acquiring” human nature by yielding to God instead of the impulses, pulls, feelings and temptations of Satan’s wavelength.
Understand! You have been practicing Satan’s way your entire life—and have probably become very good at it. Believe me, as you strive to overcome and resist the pulls at work within you, you will find that Satan’s influence, in the form of human nature, is truly “second nature” to you, more than you now know! Overcoming will not be easy or happen overnight. It is a lifelong struggle against an attitude and way of life that the truly repentant Christian has rejected and turned from.
Remember, the devil seduced Eve through temptation. Genesis 3:1 reveals how he tempts people into disobedience and sin: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field…” Satan deceived Eve by tempting her with the beauty of the tree God had forbidden her to eat.
Temptation never comes from God. Notice: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death” (Jms. 1:13-15).
Temptation always originates from “the tempter” working on the lusts of people. The devil recognizes where people are vulnerable, where they can be “enticed” so that “sin is conceived.”
The Bible warns of the “wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11), the “depths of Satan” (Rev. 2:24), and to not be “ignorant of his devices” (II Cor. 2:11). True Christians are people on guard for his schemes.
Resisting and overcoming the temptation of the devil was central to Christ’s having overcome sin. Notice: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jms. 4:7).
Like any muscle of the body, character is built by pushing against resistance. Successfully facing that resistance strengthens the muscle (in this case, the mind). Building character means choosing to do what is right instead of choosing to do what is wrong. Character does not concern itself with what others say or do. It only concerns itself with what GOD says to do!
Never forget that the Christian must resist Satan, who is active at every turn. But it is not through human strength or effort alone that this can be achieved. Notice: “…brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [Greek translation: wicked spirits] in high places” (Eph. 6:10-12).
Many scriptures describe how human nature, unchecked by overcoming, has complete dominance over every aspect of people’s lives. Christians must forcefully “wrestle” against the power of the devil and his demons—“wicked spirits”—on a day-to-day basis. They must constantly struggle against feelings of offense, hostility, envy, anger and many other attitudes.
The fruits of human nature are evident the world over. God states: “Now the works of the flesh are [obvious], which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like…they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).
Overcoming these patterns of conduct and thinking is directly tied to salvation and ruling in the kingdom of God!
Now consider this: “…even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind [void of judgment], to do those things which are not convenient [or right]; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:28-32).
This powerful list of wrong attitudes and conduct summarizes the condition of all humanity.
Paul wrote of an entire world under the devil’s influence and sway: “…there is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways” (Rom. 3:10-16).
While all who are of this world are primarily devoted to acquiring goods and enjoying pleasures, this is not the goal—and attitude—of the one who seeks God and is a true Christian. He strives to remain in constant harmony with God’s supreme, overarching purpose for his life.
When Christ returns, Satan, as Earth’s deposed ruler, will be removed. No leader could permit a disqualified leader to remain and co-rule with him. The old leader would constantly second-guess and undermine the new one. Human governments understand this—and so does God. He knows Satan has to be removed from his position of influence.
Notice: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more…” (Rev. 20:1-3).
This verse contains crucial understanding about God’s future plan for all mankind. Soon now, Satan will be bound and rendered unable to deceive Earth’s inhabitants. The temptations of this world and human nature, caused by Satan, will disappear—though there will still be certain pulls of the flesh that all will have to overcome.
When Satan is bound, peace will literally break out all over the world. The saints will be ruling with Jesus Christ from Jerusalem—having restored the government of God within His kingdom, administered by the Family of God. God’s “perfect spiritual” Law will be enforced among all nations.
Jesus will then open eternal life and salvation to the whole world, now still cut off from God, blinded and led by Satan’s nature.
This world is completely deceived, and drifting along, unaware of God’s purpose to restore His government to Earth. Only the tiniest few who have been called by God are to be a part of this restoration.
The government of God will soon be restored to Earth, and all who have prepared themselves will “inherit the kingdom.” Only the overcomers—who submitted to God and successfully resisted Satan throughout their lives—shall take part in this glorious future: “He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son” (Rev. 21:7).
Will you be one who inherits all things?
To learn more about this subject, read my booklet Did God Create Human Nature? It explains much more than this Personal can cover.