Humanity has struggled with problems like suffering, injustice, and evil since the beginning of time. As Christians, we believe that these problems originated when sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Ever since the Fall, all humans have inherited a sinful nature that leads us to make choices that result in pain, conflict, and separation from God (Romans 3:23).
In this blog post, we will explore the root causes of human problems from a Christian perspective. We will look at how sin, Satan, and the corruption of human nature have contributed to the troubles we face today. Understanding the origins of suffering can help us make sense of our broken world and point us to the hope found in Jesus Christ.
- The Fall introduced sin and its consequences into the world
- Human nature was corrupted through the introduction of sin
- Satan exploits human weakness and tempts people to sin
- Sin results in destructive behavior, pain, and separation from God
- Jesus came to redeem humanity from the power of sin
The Fall Corrupted Human Nature
According to Genesis, in the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth, and everything in it. After each act of creation, God declared that it was good (Genesis 1:31). This means that prior to the Fall, the world was perfect and flawless, with no presence of sin, evil, or suffering. Humanity also lived in harmony with God, creation, and one another in the Garden of Eden.
However, this all changed when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6). In that moment of rebellion, sin entered the human heart for the very first time, and the once unflawed human nature became corrupted. The apostle Paul explains how sin then spread to all people:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
Rather than living to please and honor God, humanity’s tendency now leaned towards disobedience and rebellion. People became more prone to selfishness, hatred, jealousy, greed, and pride. The innate goodness with which humans were created was tainted by the distorting effects of sin.
The corruption of human nature also broke humanity’s relationship with God. Whereas Adam and Eve once walked in perfect fellowship with God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8), sin created a separation between God and man. People lost their intimate connection with their Creator. This loss left a spiritual void in the human heart that we constantly try to fill through different means. However, nothing can fully satisfy our soul’s hunger for relationship with God except restoring that connection through Jesus Christ.
Sin Causes Destructive Behavior and Suffering
The corruption of human nature through sin manifests itself through thoughts, words, and actions that disrupt our relationships with God and others. When left unchecked, sinful tendencies lead to behavior that causes pain and suffering.
For example, the very first sins recorded after the Fall were destructive in nature. Adam and Eve covered up their nakedness and hid from God out of shame and fear (Genesis 3:7-8). Their disobedience broke trust with the Lord. Then the firstborn son Cain killed his brother Abel out of mere jealousy and anger (Genesis 4:8).
Unrepentant sin only multiples over time. By Genesis 6, the wickedness of humanity was so great that “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). The earth was filled with violence and corruption, which prompted God to destroy it with a flood and start over with Noah and his family.
The apostle Paul summarizes well the kinds of troubles that sin causes in our lives:
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
When left unchecked, sinful tendencies manifest themselves through sexual perversion, substance abuse, hatred of others, friendships ruined by selfishness, and divisions in families, churches and society. All these bitter fruits stem from the root problem of a sinful heart.
Sin does not just affect our outward behavior – it brings pain and destruction to our inner being as well. Unconfessed sin brings guilt, shame, fear, disappointment, emptiness, and isolation. It prevents us from becoming the people God intended us to be. Sin promises fulfillment but only delivers bondage. As Romans 6:23 states, “the wages of sin is death.” Ultimately, sin separates us from the Source of true life.
Satan Exploits Human Weakness and Tempts People to Sin
While the root cause of human problems lies in our sinful nature, Satan plays an instrumental role in exploiting human weakness and enticing people towards wrongdoing. The Bible tells us that he introducd sin into the world and continues to promote evil today.
After seducing Adam and Eve into disobeying God, Scripture describes Satan as the temporary ruler of this world and “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). He prowls around looking for opportunities to lead people into sin and rebellion against God:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Satan is crafty and knew exactly how to tempt Eve so that she would eat the forbidden fruit. By getting her to doubt God’s goodness and His command, the serpent opened the door for her to rationalize sinning (Genesis 3:1-5). Satan continues using lies and deception today to manipulate human thinking towards disobedience.
The enemy exploits situations where we are most vulnerable to temptation. When Jesus went into the wilderness to fast for 40 days, Satan came to Him when He was tired, hungry, and physically weak (Matthew 4:1-11). The devil will attack us in moments of hardship, loss, desire, anger, and confusion when our defenses are lowered.
He also uses our natural desires and twists them into sinful expression. Eve’s natural desire to become wise was exploited into directly disobeying God’s word. Sexual desire becomes sexual immorality. The desire for food becomes gluttony and greed. God created us with good desires, but Satan often tempts us to fulfill them in the wrong ways.
By alerting us to the schemes of the devil, Scripture helps us be on guard against his deception and lies. We can stand against his accusations using God’s truth (Ephesians 6:10-18). Though Satan exploits human weakness, we have hope of resisting Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Came to Save Us From Sin and Its Effects
Given the dreadful impact of sin upon the world, we desperately needed a Savior to rescue us from its grip. Jesus Christ came to provide that salvation. Through His sinless life, sacrificial death on the cross, and victorious resurrection, Jesus redeems people from both the penalty and power of sin. He reverses the curse that began with the Fall.
The apostle Paul explains why Christ’s sacrifice was necessary:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. (Romans 3:23-25)
Because we could never earn salvation through good works, Jesus lovingly bore the punishment we deserved for our sins by dying on the cross. His perfect life satisfied the justice and wrath of God against sin so that God extends mercy and forgiveness to all who have faith in His Son.
Not only does Jesus’ death pay the penalty of sin, but His resurrection also breaks the power of sin over our lives. Romans 6:5-7 declares:
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
The life, death and resurrection of Christ enable us to die to our old sinful nature and be reborn into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we repent and believe in Jesus, we receive new spiritual life through the indwelling Holy Spirit who enables us to resist sin and obey God (Romans 8:9-11).
Through His amazing grace, Jesus restores our broken relationship with God and one another. He redeems what sin has corrupted and provides the only solution to heal the root problems of humanity. We must each individually receive the salvation He offers to experience this transforming work.
From a Christian perspective, the root cause of human problems originates from the corruption of human nature through sin beginning with the Fall. Satan exploits this innate sinful tendency within people to lead us into destructive thoughts and behaviors that result in pain, conflict, separation from God, and spiritual death.
Thankfully, Jesus came into the world to save us from sin and restore our brokenness through His sinless life, atoning death, and conquering resurrection. When we put our faith in Christ, He defeats the power of sin over us and gives us new spiritual life through the Holy Spirit. This brings hope of redemption, not just for our individual lives, but for the entire world.
Through repentance and reliance upon the Lord, we can overcome the sins plaguing our society. As ambassadors for Christ, may we live out and proclaim the good news of salvation to others so that many will find healing and wholeness. While sin abounds, God’s grace abounds even more through Jesus Christ our Savior.