Is man born good, bad, pure at heart, with a dark side, or inherently neurotic?
We were all born with a sinful nature. The Bible makes it clear that we have a depraved mind—no one is good (Romans 3:10-12). It’s only by God’s grace that we can refrain from completely giving in to our selfish desires.
What brilliant psychoanalysts think
Atheist Sigmund Freud defines neurosis as a coping strategy caused by unsuccessfully repressed emotions from past experiences. According to Jordan Peterson, he delved deeply into the latent, implicit content of dreams at the expression of some improper wish.
Jung’s pairs of opposing forces
For Carl Jung, the mind has pairs of opposing forces. For example, each person has a persona, a mask we use with other people. He believed that every act of social propriety had its evil twin, its unconscious shadow. He said, “We are the origin of all coming evil.”
The point is Freud, Jung, even their precursor Friedrich Nietzsche postulate that everyone has a dark side, whether that’s in the form of ‘anxiety disorder‘ or plain moral evil. Even atheist Richard Dawkins said, “We are born selfish.”
Jordan Peterson on human nature
Jordan Peterson, labeled a “right extremist” by demonic far-left liberals, is a brilliant clinical psychologist. He is changing the way men think of themselves—in a highly positive way. Peterson has a lengthy discussion on the matter of good vs. evil. But it’s best to quote him.
“No one likes to think they’re a Nazi, but everyone is one. Granted the opportunity, how many of us would not be Hitlers?” – Jordan Peterson
Everyone has a dark side.
What the nature of man is in the Bible
Man has inherent selfish needs, regardless of upbringing or environment. That’s clear the moment we’re born. A baby cries relentlessly until it’s fed—that’s an infant’s nature. Many turn to evil and align themselves with Satan; that’s why there is hell.
- The Bible says no one is good. Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19).
- The heart is deceitful and out of the hearts of me come evil thoughts. (Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 5:18)
- Our mind, governed by the flesh, is hostile to God and cannot submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
- No one is righteous before God, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together, they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Every person born is enslaved to sin as a consequence of man’s fall
By one man, Adam, sin entered the world, and death through sin, so death passed to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12). Perhaps one of the greatest apostles, Paul, admits, “I know that nothing good dwells in me.” (Romans 7:18)
For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.
“We are dead in trespasses and sins, sons of disobedience, and by nature children of wrath.
But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages, He might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
John MacArthur: The hope for the sinful “inner man”
Though we are born sinners, those who have the mind to Christ are regenerated to do God’s will. The Spirit takes over our sinful nature. Although we are wasting away outside, our inner self is renewed daily (2 Corinthians 4:16). MacArthur testifies:
“When I was young in the faith, I thought the impulses were strong enough that maybe I would never conquer them, that some spiritual goals would never be reached. I yielded a little each day and was refreshed day by day in the Word; the inner man was being revitalized and strengthened and strengthened. I was building spiritual muscle until there was spiritual strength, even amid physical weakness.“
Daily Sanctification: Indwelling Christ
We are what we are on the inside and what’s outside is a cloak built out of our conscious effort. Sanctification changes us from the inside to make us Christlike on the outside.
The word “dwell” (katoikēsai; κατοικῆσαι) is made up of two words: Oikeō, to live in a home, and Kata, down which means to “settle down in a home.” In other words, to have a victorious Christian life, Christ must stay in us so we may be sanctified through His grace continuously.
So that Christ may dwell (katoikēsai) in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
Apologist R.C. Sproul reiterates our total depravity—we are born bad. However, a Believer who repents is a new creation. The sinful man dies in Christ and becomes born again. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
The sinful man dies in Christ and becomes born again.