“the imagination of people’s hearts is evil from their youth.” The Devil promotes the lie that in our fallen world people are basically good, but God says just the opposite, that people are basically evil. Experience should teach us this. Children need to be taught not to be selfish but to be polite. Adults have to constantly work at being godly but don’t have to put any effort into being angry or selfish. The Devil promotes the lie that people are basically good because it downplays the need for rules, regulations and laws that keep society godly and safe. Jesus will have laws and rules when he rules the earth. In fact, that Jesus will rule the future earth with a rod of iron is a well-established prophecy (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). If Jesus will need to have godly laws in his future kingdom on earth, then surely we need them now in our fallen world.
[For more on humans being basically evil, see commentary on Zeph. 3:1. For more on Jesus ruling over the earth in the future, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.”]