“The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭14:2-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Does “they have all turned aside” in verse 3 mean that none of the “sons of men” (all humankind?) in verse 2 seek after God?

3 Answers 3


Ps 14:2, 3 is quoted by Paul in Rom 3:9-18 -

What then? Are we any better? Not at all. For we have already made the charge that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin. As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”

“The venom of vipers is on their lips.”

“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery lie in their wake, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Paul is very clear about this - the natural man is a very sinful creature bot in his thinking and tendency of the heart and also in the wicked acts committed. we ALL desperately need salvation and a change of heart. Even David said:

  • Ps 51:5 - Surely I was brought forth in iniquity; I was sinful when my mother conceived me.

Paul's theology is consistent - he strongly maintained that all people, without exception are sinful. Note Paul's frustration with himself:

  • Rom 7:24 - What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

The Apostle John said the same thing:

  • 1 John 1:8 - If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
  • 1 John 1:10 - If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us.


The answer to the OP question, according to NT writers is, YES - ALL are sinful and need Jesus Christ as our Savior.

  • 2 Peter 1:1 - To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours

Two groups of people are contrasted in this passage: one group is described in some detail and is generally referred to as they who are corrupt (v.1-6); the other group is comprised of the righteous and the poor and are referred to as God’s people (v.4-7).

We do not know how the first group behaves on the outside, but “in their heart,” they are corrupt.

v1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts; There is no one who does good.

v2 The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of mankind

Though the words “the sons of mankind” may be a reference to all of mankind, the text here continues to build the case against the corrupt, suggesting that these words are still referencing the same group.

  • That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. —John 3:6

They are incapable of doing good because they no longer seek God or seek to understand his will.

v.2 The LORD has looked down …To see if there are any who understand, Who seek God.

They are accused of doing detestable things (v.1). In order to benefit themselves, they take advantage of the poor and the righteous, the people of God.

v.4 Do all the workers of injustice not know, Who devour my people as they eat bread

v.5 For God is with a righteous generation

v.6 You would put to shame the plan of the poor

Surely all mankind is sinful, but the group depicted here represents a more extreme state of moral deterioration. Those who sin may knowingly go against God's will, but the corrupt "do not call upon the Lord" (v.4). Thus they act without any consideration of what God wills. All can be contrasted against the Son of Man, who came to do only the will of God (Jn 6:38).


Psalm 14:3 New International Version

All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

There are two ways to interpret the word good: strictly and loosely.

Strictly speaking, Mark 10:

18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.

According to this definition, Psalm 14:3 is literally true. Universally, every person is no good according to God's standard's goodness. No one seeks after God's standard's goodness. All have turned aside. So Romans 3:11 declares:

there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.

We can loosen this definition as in Luke 8:15

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Isaiah 55:6

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

This kind of goodness was practiced by the Ninevites in Jonah 3:

8 Furthermore, let both man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and have everyone call out earnestly to God. Let each one turn from his evil ways and from the violence in his hands.

Because the Ninevites sought after God. God relented on the disaster to destroy them.

Does no one seek God, according to Psalm 14:2-3?

That depends on the definition of good. No one seeks after God's standard of good but there are repentant/good people who seek after God.

  • This answer doesn't correctly comprehend the texts quoted. Ij the O.P's question, psalms says that no one seeks God. This means that we don't naturally seek God of our own accord. You go on to quote texts where men turn to God only after they have been approached by someone else. These are two different things. So in your use of the term loosely, I light of this, it is false. Sinful nature does not innately seek God at all...even though His laws are written on all our hearts, naturally we ignore them.
    – Adam
    Apr 23, 2021 at 21:58
  • Sinful nature does not innately seek God at all. Agreed. I have said to that effect in my answer.
    – Tony Chan
    Apr 23, 2021 at 22:15
  • the part of your answer i do not agree with (because the quoted texts do not lead one to reach such a conclusion) is "loosely". God is not a fence sitter, either you are with Him or against him (Matthew 12:30) People who repent are those who have had their sins pointed out to them. that is different from the desires of sinful carnal nature.
    – Adam
    Apr 24, 2021 at 0:08
  • Did I say that God is a fence sitter?
    – Tony Chan
    Apr 24, 2021 at 0:14
  • your use of the term "loosely" affirms you did. comprehension is everything in scripture...far too many people simply do not adequately understand what is being read...these are the sorts of people that the word "loosely" gives license to poor doctrine. you use the term in relation to the quoted text in Luke...that is not an adequite interpretation because in Luke, he is talking about those who "HAVE HEARD". The O.P's question i believe is asking about innate or carnal habits. Not the same thing.
    – Adam
    Apr 24, 2021 at 4:10

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