Man is the highest of God’s creatures, created in the perfect image and likeness of God so that he might bring glory to the Father for all eternity1. He lovingly gave man the ability to choose right from wrong. Adam’s disobedience to God’s single command because of his lust and pride damaged the relationship with his Creator (1 John 2:16)2 . That sin was imparted to the human race and is forever accompanied by death3.. Man is not good simply because he was created in God’s image and his sins are not automatically forgiven just because God is good.
It is a fact that man was created in God’s image. This is proven in Genesis 1:27 which clearly states, “God created man in His own image”. God trusted man and gave him dominion over all his other creations, including animals (Genesis 1:26). Adam failed to keep that trust and his sin brought consequences upon the world which resulted in a corrupted nature for all of mankind 4. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that the natural man, or unsaved man, is spiritually depraved.
This does not mean that all unsaved men go around murdering innocent people or that they have no sense of God; this merely means that he is capable of doing any wicked thing5 . The question of whether or not man is good because he was created in God’s image ultimately comes down to one’s definition of good. The world today tends to believe that a person is good if they help others, show kindness, are not judgmental, donate to charity, and are environmentally conscience. Dr. Steven Taylor believes that the definitions of good and evil are not fixed, and that good people can act bad and bad people can act good 6. Many feel that the context and results determine if one’s actions are to be considered good or bad. Society also deems that if one person is better or nicer than another then he must be good and the other must be bad. God’s definition of good goes much deeper.
Man is not going to be judged based on how he compares to others but instead how he measures up to God’s divine standard.
According to Dr. Willmington, man is not going to be judged based on how he compares to others but instead how he measures up to God’s divine standard7. Scripture tells us that the Lord is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6). David says that there is no unrighteousness in Him (Psalm 92:15). Mark pronounces that no one is good except God (Mark 10:18). Jesus teaches throughout his ministry that following God’s commands are much more than an act of obedience and what truly matters is one’s heart. If being good means that one must always have mercy, grace, patience, goodness, and truth in their heart then it is clear that no man is good. Isaiah says that all men have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) and Paul says that all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It appears that humans cannot live up to God’s divine standard and therefore deserve to spend eternity in hell, forever separated from their Creator.
1. Dr. Harrold L. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc), 540
2. Unless otherwise noted all Biblical references are from the New King James Version.
3. Dr. Rick Raspberry, “Theories of Original Sin” (lecture, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, August 28, 2019).
4. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, 547
5. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, 545
6. Steven Taylor, “The Real Meaning of Good and Evil,” Psychology Today, (August 2013): accessed August 31, 2019, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201308/the-real-meaning-good-andevil
7. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, 566