A Study on Mans Evil Nature










     Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

     And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

     This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: that one thing happens to all. Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

ISAIAH 59:1-4
1    Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.
2    But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
3    For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.
4    No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

     "For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge."

     "And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me," says the Lord.

     Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.

     "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

     "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

MATTHEW 12:34-37
34   "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
35    "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
36    "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement.
37    "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

MATTHEW 15:18-19
18   "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.
19    "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

MARK 7:20-23
     And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.
21    "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22    "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
23    "All these evil things come from within and defile a man."

LUKE 6:45
     "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks.

JOHN 3:19-21
19   "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather that light, because their deeds were evil.
20    "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21    "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

ROMANS 7:19-21
19   For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
20    now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21    I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

     let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

JAMES 1:14-15
14   But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15    Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.


ISAIAH 1:16-17
16   "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,
17    Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the oppressor; defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.

AMOS 5:14
     Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the Lord God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken.

JOHN 3:19-21
19   "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20   "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21   "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

ROMANS 12:1-2
1    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2    And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

     Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

ROMANS 12:21
     Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

ROMANS 16:19-20
19   For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concering evil.
20   And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

4    Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
5    does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

     Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

     Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

10   Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11   Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12   For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13   Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14   Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15   and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16   above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
17   And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
18   praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverence and supplication for all the saints--

     Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praisworthy-- meditate on these things.

21   Test all things; hold fast what is good.
22   Abstain from every form of evil.

HEBREWS 3:12-14
12   Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
13   but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14   For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

     let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.


PSALM 34:16
     The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

     "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

JAMES 1:15
     Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.


ISAIAH 14:12-15
12   "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
13   For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
14   I will ascend abouve the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'
15   Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.


ROMANS 5:12-21
12   Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned--
13   (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14   Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15   But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
16   And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgement which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
17   For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
18   Therefore, as through one man's offense judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
19   For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.
20   Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
21   so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

     I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

     who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,


1 KINGS 22:19-23
19    Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.
20   "And the Lord said, 'Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?' So one spoke in this manner, and another in that manner.
21   "Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, 'I will persuade him.'
22   "The Lord said to him, 'In what way?' So he said, 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And He said, 'You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.'
23   "Now therefore, look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you."

JOB 1:12
     So the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

JOB 2:6
     So the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life."

JAMES 1:13-15
13   Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
14   But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15   Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.


     Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.

     The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.

     In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.


     redeeming the time, because the days are evil.


     The question of what is good and what is evil can only be viewed, in an ultimate sense, from Gods' perspective. What does He understand as good and evil (Rom 14:23, James 4:17, 1 John 5:17). Where does He draw the lines, and are they clearly drawn, or seen through a glass darkly. He is God. He is absolute. He is, at times, mysterious. Who would question His actions or know His mind. (Job 9:1-35, 38:1-42:17, Romans 9:14-24, 1 Corinthians 1:17-31)
     Alienation from God occured because of the first man's sin (Rom 5:12). A perfect man, Adam, placed in a perfect setting, Eden, with only one law or rule which he could not break, to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam broke the commandment and received for himself, and his offspring a curse which we have been living with ever since.
     Some would say that man, because of the fall of Adam, is totally evil (Gen 6:5, 8:21, Eccl 9:3, Jer 4:22, 9:3, 13:23, 17:9, Matt 7:11, 12:34). What do we mean by totally? It is a matter of intention. The inclination of man is towards evil. His heart, his base emotions are towards evil, even though there is still good within his heart. His mind, capable of thought, is inclined to evil if he follows the evil imaginations of his heart, or good if he follows what he knows he should do, according to God's law, or his conscience if it has not been seared (1 Tim 4:2). The mind makes choices. The mind continually chooses between good and evil, and shades in between.
     Man, made in the likeness of God, without any evil acting upon him, would never have fallen. Adam made a choice, when tempted, and chose what God had forbidden. Prior to that occurance Adam didnt know the difference between good and evil because he only knew good. The concept of evil was foreign to him. His inclination was continually toward good. After he fell his inclination was towards evil. His heart was then not only susceptible to deception and evil from without, but evil was now within it. His inclination, though being made in the likeness of God, was towards evil. He was still capable of good, and did good, because his mind told him what was right, with his conscience bearing witness, but his inclination was to follow the leadings of the heart.
     Some would say that children are born in sin (Job 25:4, Ps 51:5). Some would say that they are innocent. Both positions are correct. Because of the fall of Adam, the child will be born in the likeness of God, but the inclination of the child's heart will be to self centered evil. The child, if not trained properly in what is right and wrong, and not disciplined (the training and discipline should be done out of a basis of love for the child, not out of anger or frustration), will not only be inclined to evil but will be a little brat, evil beast, hellion, spoiled rotten. Spoiled, not to the core, but from the core, the heart, because the child was allowed to have its own way. The concept of innocence deals with whether the sin of Adam, or the childs father for that matter, is imputed to the child. The scriptures are clear that the sins of the father are passed on to the Nth generation. The scripture is also clear that the son will not be judged by the sins of the father, but for his own sins. Sociologists will tell us that children who are beaten by their parents, will often repeat the mistakes of the father with their children.
     Psychologists will tell us that mental illness often runs in the family. Physicians will tell us that heart disease and other disorders, even balding heads, run in the family. So, while it is true that I may have to deal with the sins of my forefathers, I will not be judged by them (Ez 18:1-32, Matt 12:36-37, Rom 2:14-16, 5:13)(I do not consider balding heads a sin).
     How do we escape from this nature? Christ provided the redemption, he paid the price of sin, the ransom by which we are redeemed. Christ, having been the perfect sacrifice, by his blood, appeased the wrath, judgement, and justice of God on those who do evil. The bridge was built (or rebuilt) between God and man. Jesus Christ overcame the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is finished. Yet his work in bringing men to Himself is not complete, for that process will continue until his return.
     Man cannot come to God unless the Spirit of God draws him. It is the Spirit of God who goes across the bridge and draws men back to God. All men do not respond to the Spirits' leading. Yet without that leading, drawing, and conviction no man would be capable of coming across the bridge. Thus, man must respond to Gods' call to be redeemed, yet he cannot respond without Gods' help and would never have a hope of making it across Christs' bridge without His assistance, regardless of what he knew he should do or even wanted to do, for otherwise he would be pulled back by the evil of the world, the deception of the adversary and his assistants, and the weight of his own unrepented sins. Left to himself to respond to God, man would have no hope. Yet the call and the leading goes out to all, but all do not come.
     It is by faith that we are in Christ. What is faith? Trust is a portion of faith, a derivative. To act in faith is also to trust, but trust is not faith, and faith is not trust. Faith is an extension of belief. In Greek, belief and faith are essentially the same words, belief being the noun, and faith being the verb. By trusting, we demonstrate our faith, our faith in what we believe. It is by this relationship of trust, faith, and belief, which is witnessed to by the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures (Rom 10:13-17) that we are able to overcome evil. Faith, being the verb form of belief, is acting as if you believe. This faith is given to us as a gift by God. It is only through the action and ministry of the Holy Spirit that this faith is maintained, and that only if we respond to that Spirit. The Spirit of God works through, and not apart from, His Word. That word is the Scriptures. It is the Holy Spirit, through the Scriptures, who bears witness to Jesus Christ.
     It is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, who is given to man to dwell within him to allow man to overcome his evil nature, his inclination to do evil. The evil nature remains (Rom 7:19-21), but the redemptive power of Christ, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, allows the new creature to begin the process of sanctification in which the inclination towards evil is replaced by an inclination to good (1). In the early years the 'babe in Christ' is often a walking civil war (Eph 5:17), a classic schizophrenic. As the legitimate child of God matures through the chastening of the Father of spirits (Heb 12:1-11), he slowly is trained in the ways of fighting the war. The war is fought by putting on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:10-18); by overcoming, putting away, abstaining from, and abhoring evil; by clinging to and learning good (Is 1:16-17, Amos 5:14, Rom 12:9, 1 Thess 5:21-22); by being babes in malice and simple concerning evil, and wise in what is good, and mature in understanding (Jer 4:22, Rom 16:19, 1 Cor 14:20); by overcoming evil with good (Rom 12:21); By meditating on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, on things of virtue and praise (Phil 4:8); by being transformed by the renewing of the mind (Rom 12:2); By perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Co 7:1).
     It is through the fear of the Lord that we depart from evil (Pr 3:7, 8:13, 16:6, Matt 10:28, 2 Cor 5:10-11, 1 Pet 1:17), and only in the love and joy of Christ that we maintain that departure (Rom 8:34-39).
     So we still have evil in the world, not only as our eyes show us, but as the Scriptures tell us that this is how it will be until all is accomplished. During this period of groaning, Christ acts as our Intercessor, our Advocate. This was planned and purposed by God before the foundation of the world (Rom 8:28-9:13, Eph 1:4-14). The grace, unmerited favour, of God is intended, not to return man to his original state, but as Christ, to be resurected to a state far beyond mans original condition; to become a new creature, a new creation, in Christ; to become a son of God, by adoption, capable of calling the Father, Father.


     1/ Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom: Vol 3, The Evangelical Protestant Creeds (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985), p. 591. (The Canons of the Synod of Dort, Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine, Art. XVI)



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Elohim, Yahweh. The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English. Jay P. Green, Sr.. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1983


Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Synonyms of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983.

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     Alexander, David & Pat. Eerdmans' Handbook To The Bible. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1973.

     Eason, J. Lawrence. The New Bible Survey. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981.

     Schaff, Philip. The Creeds of Christendom. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985.

     Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of The Expansion of Christianity: Vol 3, Three Centuries of Advance. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1974.


     Adams, Jay E.. More Than Redemption: A Theology of Christian Counseling. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979.

     Althaus, Paul. The Theology Of Martin Luther. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966.

     Bainton, Roland H.. Here I Stand: A Life Of Martin Luther. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1950.

     Bubeck, Mark I.. The Adversary: The Christian Verses Demon Activity. Chicago: Moody Press, 1975.

     Bubeck, Mark I.. Overcoming The Adversary. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984.

     Edwards, Jonathan, A.M. Thoughts on the Revival of Religion in New England, 1740.. New York: The American Tract Society, approx. 1795.

     Gilpin, Richard. Daemonologia Sacra; or, A Treatise Of Satan's Temptations.. Minneapolis: Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, Inc., 1982. (reprint of copy printed in 1867, and originally published in 1677.)

     Kerr, Hugh T. Ed.. Protestantism. Woodbury, New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1979.

     McMillen, S.I., M.D.. None Of These Diseases. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1979.

     Montgomery, John Warwick, Ed. Demon Possession: A Medical, Historical, Anthropological and Theological Symposium. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1976.

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