As we head into another ‘New Year,’ and put 2017 in the record book, I find myself watching the pages of the calendar tear off in more rapid succession. The realization that we are given only a few years to do this thing called life is becoming more apparent, and I don’t know about you but for me I tend to think a lot about the “what if’s” that passed me by, and if not for my faith how easy it would be to dwell on.
God has promised us eternal life, so that we do not have to dwell on things we might have missed in this life, and we can get excited that this life is just practice for the next one. If we really believe (trust based on knowledge) Jesus died for us in defeat of death so that we could have eternal life would we live this life a little differently? Would we have a sense of urgency to share what we know to be true with others?
Good vs. Evil—The Moral Argument
Over the last few posts we have been looking at tons of evidence for God’s existence from Philosophy, Cosmology and Teleology. Today we will look at the argument in favor of a universal moral law and a universal moral lawgiver. This is often an area that atheists and skeptics will cite as a denial of God (the problem of evil), but in reality it is one of the strongest arguments for the existence of God. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, “we can’t say a line is crooked if we don’t know what a straight line is, and we can call something evil unless we know what good is.”
Everyone, no matter where they live or what culture they come from, has the innate knowledge that certain things are right and certain things are wrong. You can go anywhere in the world and observe in humans a general sense that things are not the way they are supposed to be. Why, where does that come from? We see murders, wars, and injustices everywhere and something inside gives us that little “squeeze” telling us this is wrong. Could this reaction we get be evidence for a universal moral law? If there is a universal moral law there must be a universal moral lawgiver.
“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.
A Pastor once addressed the concept of moral truth, giving an example he said: “If someone tells you there is no absolute right or wrong, or no universal moral law, then just grab his cell phone away and punch him in the face! You can be sure he will tell you that you can’t do that, because it is wrong! If he doesn’t then just hit him again!” It doesn’t take long to upend a relativist’s view and when reality sets in we all have to admit there is a universal moral standard.
Most Atheists hold a relativist’s worldview concerning morality (they believe it is subjective), but this view falls flat when put into practice because they must accept what you believe to be right (punching them in the face or taking their cell phone) as your subjective moral truth. Following their view to its logical conclusion relativists cannot praise Mother Teresa for doing good, nor can they say that what Hitler and the Nazis did in the Holocaust was wrong because that was their subjective moral truths. Thank God that the Nuremburg trials supported an objective universal ‘Moral Law!’
God has placed a moral code in the conscious of all mankind:
Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thought either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
God’s Word teaches us:
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
The Moral Argument:
A universal moral law must have a moral lawgiver (any law must have a lawgiver).
There is a universal moral law evident in the universal behavior and expectations of all humans.
Therefore there must be a universal moral lawgiver.
*Evidence for a universal moral law:
“Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five.” -C.S. Lewis
Whether or not you believe in a universal moral law you have to admit every human has a conscious. It is the thing that is talking to you right now—you are probably saying I agree or I disagree and there is a little argument going on in your head—that’s your conscious. Could our conscious bear the image of an immaterial transcendent parent whose perfect standards we fall short of, but whose standards or laws are imbedded in our souls?
Our founding fathers thought so…
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE:
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
How do we feel when we hear the following statements? Is there a difference between them? What is your reaction?
- Love and care for our babies
- Killing for fun
- Forgiveness and mercy
- Rape and torture
- Freedom and liberty
- Stealing for fun
- Helping our community
- Purposeful injury to others
- Gratitude for a kind act
Did you get a little “squeeze” in your chest when you imagine some of those statements in action? Is it because all humans instinctively know when something is wrong?
We know the Moral Law exists because…
- It is undeniable: It is not always the standard by which we treat others, but it is nearly always the standard by which we expect others to treat us.
- We know it by our reactions: Simply be rude to someone, or do something out of line, or put people in a position where you violate their right to express their opinions and they will scream “injustice, unfair!”
- It is the basis of Human rights: After WWII Nazi war criminals were brought to trial and convicted of violating basic human rights. This is manifested in international law and found in our Declaration of Independence.
- It is the unchanging standard of justice: C.S. Lewis said, “As an atheist my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crocked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
- It defines a real difference between moral positions: We use it when we evaluate the behavior of others, for example Mother Teresa against that of Hitler. If the moral law doesn’t exist then there is no real difference between them, their actions are just subjective. As atheist Richard Dawkins said, “they are just dancing to their DNA.”
- Since we know what’s absolutely wrong, there must be an absolute standard of right: We all identify things that are wrong socially, politically, and personally—but often people will say that they don’t know what is right, but admitting things are not the way they are supposed to be (wrong) is an admission that there must be a universal right.
- It is the grounds for political and social dissent: People take up causes for “rights” and we often agree on particular injustices—the problem is usually the means to the end. For example, we all agree peace is good but is it best accomplished with or without military intervention?
- If it did not exist, then we would not make excuses for violating it: People make excuses all the time for their behavior and we legitimize bad behavior in many ways: Abuses become diseases, crimes become oppressed behavior, immorality becomes lifestyle choices, and laziness becomes a need for entitlement.
(From “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist,” by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler)
- How would you answer a person who claims that morality is subjective? What examples could you give?
- Prayer: Read John chapter 14, then focus on God’s promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus.
Join us next week as we examine the problem of doubt, evil and suffering from a Christian worldview.
Please continue to pray for God’s peace and comfort that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:4-7) for Nabeel Qureshi’s family, and the continued ministry of his wife Michelle, especially during the holiday season which can be especially tough at times like these. In God’s will and Jesus’ Name always we pray, Amen.
You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in! Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.
Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.
Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.
1 Peter 3:15