“Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.” (Deuteronomy 8:5)
Are humans born to innate goodness (人之初、性本善) or innate badness (人之初、性本惡)?
Lately Chase is getting to the age where he starts doing lots of mischievous things. Like today, he approached the electric fan and tried to touch it, which is dangerous and he knows he shouldn’t do that. How do I know that he knows he shouldn’t do that? Because when he approached the fan and just as he was about to touch it, he looked toward me like he knows he’s doing something he’s not supposed to do, while moving his finger ever so slowly toward the fan. This kind of episode happens a lot lately. It’s like Chase knew he’s doing something wrong.
So my conclusion is: humans are neither born innately good nor bad; rather, humans are born in the image of God but we’re fallen. We have the capability to be good. We even have the sense about what is good, such as Chase having a sense of obedience and a sense of appropriate behavior. But we also have the fallen tendency to disobey and go against the goodness.
Parenting Chase and seeing him in those episodes gave me a strong sense of the existence of a moral God. C. S. Lewis said in “Mere Christianity” that “if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do.” But “if the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless.” Parenting Chase gives me an ever greater sense that we are indeed living in a universe governed by an absolute goodness.