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Are People Good? A Biblical Perspective

group of people walking on street from above
God created us good. Every soul is so valuable that Jesus died to save him. What was the problem? Sin!

Yes, God created us “good” in every way.

God uses this word 7 times in the first chapter of the Bible to describe everything He has created. When He created man and woman as His masterpiece, He pronounced His work finished and stamped it as “very good.”

But here comes Jesus a few thousand years later and says, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” Mark 10:18

What has happened here?

People ARE Good in terms of beauty, potential, and ability.

We have been made in the image of God. Indeed, God chose us before the beginning of the world to glorify Him. God gave us “dominion” over all His creatures and over nature itself.

King David, “a man after God’s own heart”, wrote this about us:

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Psalm 8:5

Recalling our state just after Creation John Milton wrote of Adam and Eve:

Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, Godlike erect, with native honor clad, in naked majesty, seemed lords of all: and worthy seemed; for in their looks divine the image of their glorious Maker shone. Truth, wisdom sanctitude, severe and pure. – Paradise Lost
But the real and eternal value of man came when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

Adam and Eve walked and talked with God. They basked in His grace and holiness. They experienced what we all will enjoy in the resurrection when the Lord Jesus brings us to the place He has prepared for us in His kingdom. God made us to live forever and to share with Him his holiness and joy in unending bliss. What happened?

An Enemy attacks our goodness

An Enemy showed up intent on breaking that original, holy, and pure relationship with God. He too had been created “good” but saw his perfection as a reason to install himself as God and mounted a rebellion against Him. Cast out of heaven, this rebellious angel began an internal war against Almighty God and His people.

How did he do this? By lies and deception. Posing as a serpent, the devil, the deceiver used man’s free will to trick them into choosing their own natural desires over the commandments the Lord had made for them. In short, they sinned, and broke our relationship with God and His holiness, and subjected us all to death. Their goodness had been corrupted and at that moment, they began to die. But in His mercy, God gave them time to repent and renew that relationship. Few did.

The wages of sin

Death did not come at once, but when it did, it came violently when the first man ever born killed his brother who was sacrificing a lamb to restore his relationship with God. God confronted the murderer, but he would not repent. Instead, he chose to take himself and his children out of the presence of God.

But God still loved them and promised deliverance and restoration. He showed them His plan of salvation and called them to walk with Him again. He did this because He saw their goodness and value. Some believed and sought God and His goodness, but as the population increased, they became outnumbered by those who disdained God and His presence. Their goodness was being corrupted by sin.

People’s goodness has been corrupted by sin:

“Free” from God’s fellowship and laboring to satisfy their desires without God’s presence, few accepted His promise of deliverance and restoration. He showed them His plan of salvation and called them to walk with Him again. Some did, but as the population increased, they became outnumbered by those who disdained God and His goodness.

The result of this was total corruption. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5

And so, God destroyed everyone in a great flood. Millions of “good” people died despite their goodness because they refused to submit that goodness to God. But one man and his family used their goodness to obey God. Through this family, God’s plan proceeded, and His people were called to prepare the way for Redemption for all the good people He had created.

Despite our sin, God loved us anyway!

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

This Gift appeared when Jesus was born, and our redemption was sealed when He shed His blood for us on the cross at Calvary. He saw that sin had stolen our goodness and knew our eternal value. That is why He took upon Himself all of our sins and the penalties for them. He did this because we are precious in His sight. All we have to do is accept His sacrifice and claim Him as our Savior and His goodness is imparted to us.

This restores our relationship with God, our sins are washed away, and we stand in Jesus’ righteousness and goodness. What a wonderful outcome! It is “good news,” the “Gospel.” Jesus validated the truth of all of this by rising from the dead. His Resurrection is the ultimate testimony of His power and victory over sin, death, and the devil. Praise God!

Preaching the Gospel

Jesus sent out His disciples to tell the world about this great Salvation, and they did. Why did He do this? Because we are precious to Him, and He is not willing that any should perish but that All should come to salvation. Read the lives of St. Paul and other missionaries whose lives led millions to Jesus.

By the 18th century, Christianity was the norm in Western Culture. The Bible held sway over people’s lives, and it appeared as if Christ’s kingdom would be established soon.

New Enemies Arise

But the devil had new allies and agents who went to work to destroy the Gospel. In an age regrettably called “The Enlightenment,” philosophers and theologians turned from Jesus and the God of the Bible to an impersonal “blind-watcher” god they called “Nature’s God,” to absolve them from moral responsibility and the teachings of the Bible. They denied the goodness of men and women and saw them as little more than bit players in a meaningless play.

These attacks took another turn in the 19th and 20th centuries when unbelievers advanced theories of evolution, communism, and existentialism to deny God a place in His universe and man’s goodness. Haters of the Bible fought to drive it from the public square, and others used military and “medical” means to destroy hundreds of millions of lives. They saw people as objects with no value beyond social, economic, or military significance.

But God Still values our souls and goodness

For every enemy the devil has raised up, God has raised up a man or woman to oppose them.

What can I do to champion the goodness Jesus calls us to ?

Read more about these people in SPIRITUAL LIVES. Listed first below is an enemy of the Bible and the righteousness that Jesus calls us to. Right after is the name of a champion of the Gospel that the Lord has raised up for His honor and glory!

  1. David Hume (1711-1776 a Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

  2. Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) a Charles Finney (1792-1875)

  3. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) a Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

  4. Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) an Elder Eugene Brooks (1856-1954)

  5. Josef Stalin (1878-1953) an Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

  6. Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) a J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

  7. Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) a Lillian Trasher (1887-1961)

  8. Madalyn Murray O’Hare (1919-1995) a Phyllis Schafly (1919-2016)

There are more enemies of the Gospel out there and more faithful defenders of the faith. I’m going to be one and ask you to STAND WITH ME, but more importantly, to stand with Jesus to save every person whose goodness He came to redeem..

Be not overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. St. Paul in Romans 12:21

We can not do this in our own strength, but Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to help us be "overcomers." Jesus is standing at the door of your heart right now, seeking to come in. Listen for His knock. I may come as a word, a thought, or a circumstance, but it will come. When it does, open the door and allow Him to come in and fill you with His goodness and life.

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