Miss Woodhouse's Musings

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The Nature of Human Nature

on 19 November 2009

Human nature. What is it? Is it something that we are born possessing, or is it instilled in us by our environment? If we are born with it, from where does it come? If we acquire it, how do we do so? Where, in short, does human nature begin?

These are deep questions. My personal belief is that we are born with a sinful, errant nature. However, I believe that we are born so because of an act of sin committed over 6,000 years ago in a garden. “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12, NASB). Our nature, therefore, is to sin and die. From the moment we are born, we are heading towards a determinate death. It’s the only constant in our unsettled lives- death.

In the words of that immortal movie, What About Bob?, “We are going to die. We are all going to die.”

Why then should we struggle to live? Again, I believe our fight for survival is fueled by another innate part of our nature- hope. We may or may not be able to find hope on our own, but that doesn’t negate our longing for it. We try to hope for something better- a better life, a better future, a better ending. When we are at our deepest, darkest moments, we mourn hope’s loss. We say that “hope springs eternal”- but what does it eternally spring toward?

Hope longs for salvation. We ache to be rescued from our sinful lives; we strive to escape the burden of knowing that the paths we walk alone will only lead to death. We hope for a Saviour.

We have such a Saviour.

My verse in Romans does not stop with the condemnation of mankind- it continues on with its explanation. “For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to many… those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (5:15, 17).

We don’t have to die.

Our bodies certainly do have to wear out- they are not meant to last forever. But our souls, the very houses of our nature, they live on. Instead of being condemned to die forever in hell, we have the option for them to live  in glory, forever praising our Saviour  and His death which made it possible.

We have a hope.

This is God’s plan for us. It is not His will that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). However, that one man, that original sin infected our nature, and this keeps us from Him. God’s sacrifice of His Son was not just for show, it was a solution- the ultimate solution to the problem that is human nature (John 3:16). It is the ultimate hope.

Hope is not a word to be bandied about carelessly. It should not be used to promote the plans of the world. It is not audacious. Instead, it is an important part of God’s plan for us to have a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Our hope leads us to search for a better nature. Our search for a better nature leads us to the cross. The cross brings us eternal life.


2 responses to “The Nature of Human Nature

  1. Annie says:

    Thoughtful post! I love that we are given a gentle reminder in Proverbs 13:12 about how we are wired: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Sometimes it’s only hope that helps us keep on….hope in the One who is the I AM…the Creator, the Fulfiller, the Saviour.

    And so, with a great write-over at the end of a favorite movie, “…And she lived hopefully ever after…”

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Annie with an “ie”! ;) We’ve been discussing human nature in government class, but we always stopped just short of where I wanted to take it. This is my solution! <3

      I wonder what a city based on hope would look like?

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