The Mystery of Man’s Evil Nature


The Mystery of Man’s Evil Nature

Where does it come from—and how do we conquer it?

When we look at great scientists and educators, we sometimes assume they know everything there is to know about the human mind. But man’s nature is a mystery to this world.

In a biography about Joseph Conrad—one of the world’s greatest novelists—Zdzislaw Najder quoted Conrad as saying, “I have never been able to find in any man’s book or any man’s talk anything convincing enough to stand up for a moment against my deep-seated sense of fatality governing this man-inhabited world. The only remedy for a Chinaman and for the rest of us is the change of hearts” (Joseph Conrad: A Chronicle). The solution to man’s troubles, he says, lies in changing man’s heart.

He goes on to write, “But looking at the history of the last 2,000 years, there’s not much reason to expect that thing, even if man is taken to flying, a great uplift, no doubt, but no great change. He doesn’t fly like an eagle. He flies like a beetle, and you must have noticed how ugly, ridiculous and fatuous is the flight of a beetle” (ibid.).

Najder then added, “Conrad still did not believe in the spontaneous goodness of human nature.” Scholars may think man soars like an eagle—but Conrad was right. When you look at our multiplying problems and evils, our flight is more like that of a beetle!

A Mystery to Scholars

Many scholars today believe there is such a thing as spontaneous goodness in human nature. They don’t know what human nature is. They don’t understand it—and if you don’t understand it, how can you solve your problems? Joseph Conrad understood enough to know we need to change the human heart. But he didn’t know how that change must occur.

Conrad spoke of “the strange conviction that a fundamental change of hearts must follow the downfall of any given human institutions. These people are unable to see that all they can effect is merely a change of names.” In other words, we can change the surface. We may change the outward appearance, but we don’t change our core values. We don’t change human nature because we don’t understand it—and so the great, great suffering of humanity continues.

Conrad spoke about his own country, Poland. The Poles have quite a history of being a victim to Germany, Austria and Russia. He told his own people, Look, if you’re ever going to be saved, you’re going to have to do it yourself. Don’t expect Germany to do it, or Russia, or Austria. They won’t. Conrad wrote to the world and pleaded for help for Poland, but nobody really cared. Why? Because of human nature. Human nature is concerned primarily about itself.

Meanwhile, other countries were conquering his country. Such conquests have occurred throughout history, and will continue to occur—because human nature continues.

Understanding Human Nature

Jeremiah 17:9 defines human nature, but how many people believe the Bible? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” the prophet wrote. How many universities teach this? God has been booted from the classroom! Who believes that definition of human nature? Scientists? Educators? Religion? We have to understand human nature, or this world’s problems will get worse and worse.

More than 30 years ago, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “[T]he selfishness, hostility, deceitfulness, wickedness, rebellion, etc. that we call ‘human nature’ is actually Satan’s nature. It is Satan’s attitude. And broadcasting it, surcharging the air with it, Satan actually now works IN the unsuspecting all over the world today! That is HOW Satan deceives the whole world today” (Good News, June 1976).

That’s what Satan does—he surcharges the air with his evil nature. But who wants to talk about a devil today? Who even believes he exists?

Notice another comment Mr. Armstrong made: “Human nature is simply the subconscious pull of a definite attitude of mind. It is the attitude that became Satan’s. It is the natural attitude implanted from infancy by the invisible Satan. It is the attitude of vanity, of self-concern, of lust and greed. It is the attitude of hostility to others and resentment of authority over it” (The Missing Dimension in Sex). Look around. That is the way it is in this world.

If only man could understand his awesome human potential—how he is the only creature on Earth that has a human spirit which can join with God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16). “Animals have brain,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “but no intellect; instinct, but no ability to develop holy and godly character, and that pictures the transcendental difference between animal brain and human mind” (What Science Can’t Discover About the Human Mind).

We possess intellect because we were put here to develop godly character. Animals cannot develop that! God placed man on Earth for a divine purpose—to enter the Family of God. We have the awe-inspiring potential to be born into the Family of God—and yet we have chosen to remain on the human level, trying to figure out good and evil on our own. As a result of that choice, we are now on the verge of exterminating ourselves!

Man’s Great Hope

2 Corinthians 4:4 says Satan is the god of this world and that he has blinded this world to God’s truth because we have not been willing to use that human spirit to connect with the Spirit of God. Man is not an animal! Genesis 1 says animals were made after the animal kind—but humans were made after the God kind. Let’s believe God and use the power God will make available to us.

God the Father and Jesus Christ want us to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect—perfect by that intellect working with the very Spirit of God. This is the key to joy, peace and excitement beyond human understanding. Men have never understood God. They’ve never truly known God.

God will give us the power, if we are willing, to conquer human nature!

To study this subject further, read our free booklet What Science Can’t Discover About the Human Mind.