|Jan Brueghel: The Younger Creation of Adam|
Christians for centuries have been trying to answer these questions. Many of the voices in Protestantism about human nature come from theologians around the time of the reformation. You may notice that people like John Wesley and Rob Bell have a very different perspective than your average evangelical Christian. Their theology is strongly influenced by a 3rd century theologian named Irenaeus whose work laid the foundation for the beliefs the church would grow on. There were many different sects who claimed to follow Jesus' teachings that were far from what you or I believe about God, and Irenaeus wrote directly confronting those groups and in doing so laid out a convincing perspective that continues to have appeal even today. Irenaeus had this concept that we were created good and that makes all the difference. Below is a paper I wrote attempting to explain this concept in some depth. I hope you are able to see truth in it that you have known with your life, and that you can see aspects of things you hear in a Methodist church, or even in Rob Bell's books/videos.