Are Humans Inherently Evil? No

…every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.
(Genesis 8:21)

That’s a verse I’ve heard as justification for the view that, because of Adam’s and Eve’s sin, people aren’t inherently “very good” anymore (Genesis 1:31):

…without God you cannot choose the good.
~Ted Baehr, Potter’s kids: Narcissistic, spoiled brats

I recently noticed this, though:

Genesis 8:21 says that every desire of the human heart is evil — not that the human heart itself is evil.

On the contrary: The Bible says this about the human heart:

He has put eternity in the human heart.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I am bothered by the view that, because of sin, human beings are no longer inherently good. The reason why is because I feel that view gives Satan so much power: The power to fundamentally change what the infinite, all-knowing and loving creator of the universe (i.e., God) has made.

Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence.” Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 405)

On a related note:

Looking at all of the goodness, truth, and beauty that has seen expressed by non-Christians…

…I refuse to believe that, because of Satan, human beings are no longer as God made us: Very good.

If you can watch a movie like My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and see no goodness, no truth, no beauty — no evidence of eternity in Satsuki’s and Mei’s heart — than I feel sorry for you.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8)

My Neighbor Totoro


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