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“Is man basically ’good’ or basically ‘bad’?”
The short answer is “yes!” However, I suggest that we change the terms. “Good” and “bad” are quite subjective in meaning, depending on the current usage in the culture. Scripture offers a bit more precise, and also more complex perspective.
First, biblically speaking, man is inherently valuable. He has intrinsic worth and dignity. Created in the “in the image of God” (Gen. 1:26f), he is only “a little lower than the angels” (or “gods”, Ps. 8:4f). This is to say, God has good intentions for mankind. He sees humans differently from other creatures. He has given man a unique role in creation. He is the object of God’s love, affection, and redemptive work (Rom. 8:38-39). Humans are capable of making good decisions, doing great things, and acting with love and respect.
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