Does the Bible teach that men are basically bad by nature or basically good by nature? Well, it depends what you mean by “nature.” As you will recall from Genesis 1:27, God made mankind uniquely in His image and placed him in charge of all His creation. Then God pronounced His benediction on the creation and said that it was very good. Therefore, it would hardly make sense for us to say that man is basically bad by nature, when the Bible clearly teaches us that the original design of nature is good, indeed even very good. So then mankind is basically good by virtue of the fact that he the crowning achievement of God’s creation.
On the other hand, if you say that man is basically bad by nature, meaning that he is bad by virtue of his corruption in sin, then you’ve hit the biblical bull’s eye. Shortly after the creation of man something terrible happened. Adam disobeyed God and plunged the whole human race into a state of corruption and condemnation. Now this corruption and condemnation, or sin, permeates every part of human nature, so that we are totally unable to please God.
Is mankind good or bad by nature? Well, good by nature of our creation in God’s image but bad by nature of our corruption in Adam’s sin.
Something to think about from “The Kingdom Perspective.”
“Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.
~ Ecclesiastes 7:29