Part 2: Is there such a thing as a universal Moral Law?
(This blog is part of a series. You can start the series by going back to the September 1, 2014 Introduction called A Case for Christianity: Why do we need one?)
“The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” –Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason
Kant, even though he is often seen as an antagonist to the Christian worldview, had much to say in support of a Moral Law. As I ponder the arguments for the existence of God it seems to me that there is no argument from the side of Atheism that can stand up to the Cosmological Argument (evidence from the origin and maintenance of the universe) and the Teleological Argument (evidence from design in the universe and life) in partnership with the Moral Law Argument. Last week we talked about the existence of the human soul and the implications it has on us having an immaterial parent (God). If humans have an immaterial nature we call the soul then there should be evidence for common immaterial characteristics that all humans share. One common characteristic is found in the existence of a universal Moral Law. In other words, there appears to be an objective (vs. subjective) knowledge of right and wrong in all humans no matter where they live or what their background and culture might be. My Pastor addressed this concept in his sermon the other day. He said, “If someone tells you there is no absolute right or wrong then just punch him in the face. I’m pretty sure he will tell you that you can’t do that, because it is wrong! If not, then just do it again!” Most Atheists hold a relativist’s view (that truth and morality are subjective), but this falls flat when put into practice. They must accept what you believe to be right (punching them in the face) as your subjective moral truth. Following this view to its logical conclusion they cannot even say that what Hitler and the Nazi’s did in the Holocaust was wrong if they subjectively believed it was good. Thank God that the Nuremburg trials supported an objective universal Moral Law!
Evidence for a moral law:
Everyone has the innate knowledge that certain things are right and wrong, no matter where they live or what race, religion or culture they come from. Can you label these actions right or wrong?
- Love and care for our babies
- Killing for fun
- Rape and torture
- Freedom and liberty
- Lying for gain
- Stealing for fun
- Helping our community
- Purposeful injury to others
- Gratitude for a kind act
How can we distinguish between these things if we don’t have a universal standard of right to measure by? C.S. Lewis, before he became a Christian, argued against God because the universe seemed so cruel, but then he realized that he was using a standard of rightness when he claimed wrongness in the universe: A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. Someone had to have made the straight line in which we can compare the crooked line and we cannot know what is evil from good unless there is an unchanging standard of good outside ourselves. This standard is called the Moral Law and the argument goes like this:
Every law has a lawgiver
There is a universal Moral Law (evidence cited)
Therefore, there must be a Moral Law Giver
In their awesome book (I highly recommend for any serious student of Christian Apologetics) I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist Norman Geisler and Frank Turek offer examples of evidence for this argument under these eight categories:
- The Moral Law is undeniable.
- We know it by our reactions.
- It is the basis of human rights.
- It is the unchanging standard of justice.
- It defines a real difference between moral positions (e.g., Mother Teresa vs. Hitler).
- Since we know what’s absolutely wrong, there must be an absolute standard of rightness.
- The Moral Law is the grounds for political and social dissent.
- If there were no Moral Law, then we wouldn’t make excuses for violating it.
Romans 2:14-15 tells us that God has placed this Moral Law inside all people.
God’s Word, the Bible, teaches us how to live righteously (knowing right from wrong):
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
Let me know what you think: Is morality universal and objective or is it a product of one’s culture? What do you use as your standard for right and wrong?
Over the next several blogs I am going to continue to present logical reasoning and sound scientific evidence not found in the public school textbooks.
Join us next time for: Who are we, where did we come from and why are we here? Part 3: Creation vs. Evolution—who’s right in the origin of life debate?
Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have in Christ Jesus as Lord.
1 Peter 3:15