I think we are saying the same thing, but I did not really clarify what I meant about “basic good”.
I do believe mankind is basically good but only God Is and the more we fall away from Him we Aren’t. Satan is literally nothing as far as he is from Yahweh. As we were fractured by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve we don’t exist in the order God created us but the human person fully alive is in Love and humanity itself is basically good, He never revoked those words when He “saw that we were good” the same way He said “I am the Vine you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” The Vine can’t say the branches are bad if the Vine Itself is good. In the same way, I believe mankind is good but given the capacity to become evil and the propensity to consent to evil. That’s why the greatest evil is division and lies. If we’re separated the devil takes us, and lies were once truths but pulled, twisted and fractured to no long correspond with reality and sin is consequence of a lack of goodness so evil is nothing but a lack of good.
When I say “Basic”, what I am referring to is the present natural state of mankind, BEFORE their lives are given to and grafted into The Vine.
I am speaking of the “fallen condition” when I say “basic”, and since Marx was an atheist, and mocked faith by declaring that “religion is the opiate of the masses”, Marx’s referential idea of “basic human condition” does comport with what we know is “the fallen condition in the flesh”. (Romans 3:9-24)
You are absolutely correct. God’s declaratory statements on His creation are that they are good. But the evil done to mankind by mankind’s choice to sin is not good, which is why we needed a Redeemer. One who was not born under the curse of Adam, which is why the virgin birth was necessary to arise not through the “seed of man”, but in the Holy Spirit’s comingling with “the seed of woman”, who had been deceived by Satan’s guile. Not so, the man. Adam committed a series of sins that led to him receiving the greater curse.
For one, he was specifically given the charge concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, yet rather than avoid it, he took Eve over there and hung out by it.
6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. [Genesis 3:6 NLT]
One wonders where Eve got the notion that they weren’t even supposed to “touch the tree”, for that was not in the pre-Eve command that God gave Adam that appears in Genesis 2:16-17.
Looks suspiciously like Adam added to God’s Words, and relayed this to Eve. He received the direct communication from God, but he failed to faithfully deliver it to Eve and, since he knew eating from the tree was against God’s singular command, he should have protected his wife and counseled her to stay away from it. Instead, he waited to see what if anything would happen to Eve when she was tempted by the fruit and the words of the serpent. Why didn’t he intervene and speak up, because he was with Eve when she was being lured. The man was silent, and that is disturbing. He watched the whole thing transpire, and only after she had eaten the fruit, did he take part in it. 1 Timothy 2:13-14 affirms this.
The Apostle Paul warns of allowing any teaching that separates alignment with Christ as the source of all truth and good.
But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. 4 You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. [2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NLT]
Even the learned Apostle Paul, who had extensive scholarship had his words “rightly” scrutinized by the Bereans, because they diligently searched the Scripture to see if what he proclaimed aligned with The Truth. (Acts 17:11)
Jesus, Himself, challenges the rich young man/religious leader when he addressed him with the assumptive term of “good”, saying in both Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19:
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. [Mark 10:18 NLT]
Since Jesus is God, He had a full and legitimate claim to the descriptor, but why would Jesus say that, if not to warn that we should not be too assumptive with the term “good” before knowledge and understanding and context is learned. That is what I was getting at, but was not as clear in the context as I should have been.
God’s declaration of “Good” sees both mankind’s original created state, for every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17), and He sees the perfected state of making that become reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus as Savior. (Ephesians 4:12-13)
Those reconciled to Him, are covered in His imbued righteousness and are seen by His as “good”. (Romans 3:23-28)
One of the many things I’ve observed, especially when I traveled briefly among “academic” circles, is this disturbing uprising of the idea of “relative truth”. That notion is anathema to me. Repugnant. This idea of “possessive” (~my, your, his, her, their) truth being equally true disturbs me. Jesus was very specific about where “The Truth” was found. (John 14:6, John 8:44, 1 John 2:3-4)
When we abide in Him, walk in fellowship with Him, there is no distance from Him. (Romans 8:35-38)
My personal responsibility is to look into God’s mirror, (as James 1:22-27 so poignantly puts it), and see if the condition of my life aligns to His empowering Word, and then yield to Him to make me more like His reflection so that ours will be encouraged by HIm through me.
Many blessings, my dear Sister! Have a joy-filled day!
Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.