Baha'i and the Nature of Man

Baha’i Viewpoint

There is no such thing as original sin. People are not essentially evil nor do they have an evil nature within them.  The desires of human beings are not evil, but basically good.  The actions of an individual can either bring progress in one's spiritual life or hinder it.  Individuals have the ability to make bad or evil choices which cause imperfections in one's spiritual journey.  This is seen as the reason that we need the revealed religion given to us through the various Manifestations by God.  The Manifestations have been sent by God to show us the path towards spiritual development so that we can be united with God. 

Biblical Viewpoint

Christians believe that all mankind is sinful and wretched and because of this, we are in need of a Savior (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). As human beings, we cannot be good ourselves.  What is sin?  Sin is the breaking of God’s law (1 John 3:4).  God has given us a standard of morality that we must follow, and once we break any part of it, then we sin.  This can be lying, cheating, adultery, lust, murder, hate, etc. (Mt. 19:18-19).   Christians also believe in original sin, meaning that the sin of Adam has affected all of mankind (Rom. 5:12-21).  Adam’s sinful nature has been passed down to us.   The rest of this article will be passages that deal with these issues. 

  1. Our sin separates us from God.
    1. Isaiah 59:2: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.”  
  2. Even righteous people have sinned.
    1. Romans 3:9-20: “What then?  Are we better than they?  Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin: as it is written, there is non righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless;  there is none who does good, there is not even one.  Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace have they not known.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.  Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” 
      1. Paul here started off by saying that Jews are not better off than non-Jews, because all have sinned.  There is no one who is righteous, no one has done good.  Paul says that our speech is poisonous like vipers, that we are quick to shed blood, that we are destructive and that we do not have any fear of God in us.  
  3. Humans inherited a sinful nature from Adam.
    1. Romans 5:12-21: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.  But the free gift is not like the transgression.  For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.  And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.  For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.  So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.  For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.  And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 
      1. This passage shows us that because Adam sinned, we receive his sin nature.  
  4. Everyone has sinned.
    1. Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 
      1. Simply said, everyone has sinned.  No one is perfect and sinless.
  5. The wage of our sin is death.
    1. Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
      1. When individuals have a job and work, they get a wage for their job.  So when we sin, we earn a wage, which is death.