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Human troubles and evils are prophesied to grow far worse in this age. Appalling violence, terrorism and war are escalating as human nature hurtles further out of control. After an infamous shooting where many lay slaughtered, a parent remarked, “I don’t understand this world any more.”
You can understand both this world and the cause of its troubles. Understanding human nature is the key.
All human beings possess human nature. The selfishness, rottenness, violence and terrible evils that spring from human nature have plagued the world for thousands of years. The apostle John said, “The whole world lies in wickedness” (I John 5:19). The cause of this condition lies directly at the feet of evil human nature.
Every “expert” has a different opinion about what human nature is and where it comes from. Yet none understands the answers to these questions or the question of why human nature exists. This is because they reject the source to understanding the answers to all of life’s greatest questions.
Consider the paradox! Think of all the wonderful things the human mind is capable of producing. Its ingenuity and inventiveness are practically limitless. Yet it cannot solve the most basic of life’s greatest problems—poverty, ignorance, immorality, crime, war and misery. All of these problems—and many more—are byproducts of unbridled human nature!
Many theologians and religionists teach that all humans are endowed with a “better nature” hiding inside, waiting to be tapped and used. This is untrue. The Bible says no such thing! Yet, millions subscribe to it.
This teaching comes from the long-held pagan doctrine of the duality of body and soul. It states that all people have a pure, pristine soul locked in an evil body that serves as a prison house until death, when the soul is freed. This idea is an attempt to explain the root of human nature without examining the truth of what God says. People do not have immortal souls—they are souls (Ezek. 18:4, 20; Matt. 10:28; Gen. 2:7)!
Millions more believe the unbiblical doctrine of “original sin.” While Adam and Eve certainly did sin, the Bible teaches nothing about any “original sin” committed by them that is passed on, generation by generation, to every person. The term is found nowhere in Scripture and is a fiction of men.
Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Every human being has sinned on his own account! All are responsible for and guilty of their own sins—not those of Adam and Eve or anyone else!
In Mark 7, Jesus Christ addressed those who thought they could be “defiled” by dirt they might ingest through eating food with unwashed hands. The Pharisees went to ridiculous extremes, continually washing their hands to avoid being “defiled,” and they asked Christ why His disciples did not do the same. Of course, Christ knew that accidentally ingesting a little bit of dirt on unwashed hands does not spiritually defile anyone.
His answer explained what does defile human beings: “And He said, That which comes out of the man, that defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (vs. 20-23).
First, accept that Christ made the statement—and that it has to be true! This, in itself, is a staggering revelation. But the prophet Jeremiah added more: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9). Of course, most do not understand this about themselves, though they often readily see it in others. Further, the apostle Paul wrote, “The carnal [natural] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).
These are incredible statements about the minds of all human beings. But how did the torrent of evil thoughts, which pour from all people, come to exist in them in the first place? How did it get there?
Does God infuse human nature into tiny babies at birth? Does an all-wise, all-powerful, loving God take innocent children and turn them toward terrible evil from the moment they are born? And, if God does not put this nature there, then where does it come from?
Paul wrote the Ephesian Church about the life that God had called them out of when He revealed His truth to them. Chapter 2, verse 2 references the power of the devil and his influence upon the world: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.”
This is an amazing passage. The phrase “children of disobedience” is also found in Ephesians 5:6 and Colossians 3:6. Let’s examine how these references relate to the phrase, “prince of the power of the air.”
Notice that verse 2 states Satan’s “spirit…works in the children of disobedience.” Do you see this? Did you grasp it? Satan has the power to use the “air” to broadcast, through his spirit, an attitude of disobedience! His spirit sends moods, feelings and attitudes of hostility into people’s minds. These “work” within people’s hearts and minds, bringing disobedience. This “air power” gives the devil tremendous influence, allowing him to send thoughts of confusion, deceit, anger, pride, hate, foolishness, vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, envy, rebellion and much more directly into people’s thinking!
Think of it this way. The devil owns a most powerful radio station, broadcasting 24 hours a day. Revelation 12:9 states that he “deceives the whole world.” This mighty “station” reaches and deceives the entire world! Yet, his incredible cunning has been so seductive that he has even been able to convince most that he does not exist!
The devil is immensely more powerful than most realize. The Bible identifies him as this world’s god. Notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4).
Only one who has enormous power to influence—as a virtual “god” (Satan is this world’s god)—could blind and deceive on a scale so staggering. As a result, he has produced a world filled with disobedience—lawlessness!
On the other hand, a Christian follows God and obeys His Law. Paul recorded that God has a spiritual Law, and that it is holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12, 14)! Christians keep it. But how do they do this?
In Acts 5:32, the apostle Peter referred to “the Holy Spirit, [which] God has given to them that obey Him.” Christians understand and practice obedience to God. His Spirit is given upon repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). This Spirit helps Christians obey the Ten Commandments! (Read our book The Ten Commandments – “Nailed to the Cross” or Required for Salvation?)
Before the invention of the radio, Satan’s power, as arch broadcaster and prince of the power of the air, could not be as easily understood. But now you can comprehend!
We can now better understand the “children of disobedience.” Like Christians with the Holy Spirit, these people are also inspired and guided by a spirit—that of this world’s god. Satan broadcasts a spirit of rebellion against God’s law—disobedience—through attitudes—into humanity. Ephesians 2:2 is plain. But a deceived world knows nothing of this understanding!
If you listen to the radio, you usually pick a station that plays what you want to hear. Today, people “surf” radio or television stations. Eventually, something interests them, and they stop and listen to a station of their choosing. In every case, stations are selected by choice. People have control over what they hear or watch.
It is not the same with Satan’s station. The world—and you—do not decide to tune into the devil’s broadcast. And no one ever sets out to be deceived. But every human being on earth is automatically tuned to Satan’s wavelength! His wickedness, hostility, rebellion, deceit and selfishness are continually “on the air.”
Therefore, it is really satan’s nature that is being labeled as human nature. In fact, once it is injected into people, Satan’s nature becomes natural to them. It becomes their nature—now, human nature.
Though you cannot see it anymore than you can see radio waves or television signals, the air around you is literally charged and “crackles” with the power and energy of Satan’s broadcast.
It is absolutely critical to see how this spirit works in people. It is the single most important key to understanding exactly how Satan can deceive and manipulate over six billion people.
Before further examining the devil’s role and how he came to be as he is, consider this illustration. It demonstrates how Satan can influence and sway humanity through his broadcast.
The setting involves King Cyrus of Persia. God wanted him to return to Jerusalem and build a second temple to replace Solomon’s, which had been destroyed. Here is how God communicated to Cyrus: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing” (Ezra 1:1).
God was able to communicate with Cyrus through (by “stirring up”) his spirit.
Satan does the same thing. Just as God can lead a human being toward a right purpose, Satan’s spirit influences people toward hate, anger, selfishness, violence, competition, vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, murder and deceit. (Read our booklet What Science Will Never Discover About Your Mind to understand more about the spirit in man.)
Of course, when Satan injects his attitudes into an unsuspecting mankind, it has no idea that he is doing it. The devil does not announce his intentions in advance or speak aloud in an audible voice.
Just as God the Father has children, the god of this world is also a father with his own children! Consider this proof:
On one occasion, Paul addressed a sorcerer named Bar-jesus, who was trying to hinder Paul’s preaching and ministry. Paul directly labeled this man: “O full of all subtlety and all mischief, you child of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10).
Besides identifying him as a “child of the devil,” Paul teaches that the devil’s children are enemies of “all righteousness” and “the ways of God.” This is what being children of the devil means!
But what is righteousness? Psalm 119:172 defines it: “All Your [God’s] commandments are righteousness.”
Satan’s children hate, and are enemies of, the laws of God—His commandments! Remember, they are “children of disobedience.”
Revelation 9:11 describes Satan as “a destroyer.” The Hebrew word referenced there, Abaddon, means “Satan.” The Greek word used there, Apollyon, means “a destroyer.” This understanding sets the stage for the next scripture.
A confrontation between Christ and people who professed to “believe on Him” occurred in John 8:30-31. You should read the entire account, but here is a summary. Those who professed belief in Christ actually sought to kill Him moments later (vs. 37)! Christ said, “But you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.” He further added, “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man that has told you the truth” (vs. 40). Many say they want to hear the truth—but not if it means being told that they are wrong, particularly about cherished ideas.
This story comes to a remarkable climax in verses 43-44. Jesus asked, “Why do you not understand My speech?” He answers His own question with, “…because you cannot hear My word.” What could possibly cause people standing right beside Christ to “not hear His word”? Verse 44 answers, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Christ plainly said, “You are not of God” (vs. 47), and these devil-inspired religious leaders immediately accused Him of “having a demon” (vs. 48)! Many today who profess to “believe on Christ” are no different than those described here.
This is a powerful, instructive statement. The devil is a father who murders, lies and destroys. As the author of killing, deceit and destruction, he broadcasts these attitudes to his children around the world!
To continue learning about the subject of human nature, read our booklet Did God Create Human Nature?