Unlike contemporary prevailing views that assume human beings are innately self-interested, competitive, and conflict-based, the Bahá’í Faith has a positive conception of human nature. The Faith’s founder, Baha’u’llah stated that human beings are born noble. He refers to each person as a “mine rich in gems of inestimable value” and these “gems” or qualities can be “mined” or developed when an individual turns to God.
So for Baha’is there is no concept of “original sin” or any related doctrine that considers human beings as having intrinsically evil elements in their nature. All the forces and faculties within us are God-given and thus potentially beneficial to our spiritual development. For example, greed is the quality of asking for more. If a woman is greedy to acquire science and knowledge, or to become compassionate and generous, this application of greed is praiseworthy. But if she applies greed to money for buying status symbols and to feel superior to others, that greed is blameworthy.
In the same way, the Bahá’í teachings deny the existence of Satan, a devil, or an “evil force.” Just as cold is the absence of heat and darkness is the absence of light, evil is understood simply as the absence of good.
Baha’is believe the very purpose of the human body and its physical faculties is to serve as a vehicle for the development of the soul. As the energies of the body are gradually brought under the conscious control of the soul, they become instruments for the expression of spiritual qualities. It is only undisciplined physical passions that become causes of harm, and hinder spiritual progress. On the other hand, Bahá’u’lláh strongly discouraged any form of asceticism or extreme self-denial. His emphasis was on healthy discipline and the principle of moderation: things that are beneficial when kept within the limits of moderation become harmful when taken to extremes.