God Remains The Best Explanation For Objective Moral Laws

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   7/15/2014

When a Sunday School Teacher was discussing "sin" with a group of preschoolers, it was my child who stated, "I've never sinned. Sometimes I hit and lie, but I've never sinned."

Though humorous when heard from the mouth of a tot, this statement is quite serious when purported by adults.

It would be hard for many to admit that much of their life is under the scant umbrella of their own moral code or idea of right and wrong. But for many, it is.

I've caught myself making statements like my child did: "I know I should have told the truth, but it just didn't seem right at that time" (so I lied instead). "I know I shouldn't have been part of that conversation, but she needed a listening ear" (therefore I joined in with the grumbling, complaining and gossiping).

We often try to re-write God's moral code, just like my child did. But the fact that we try to reinvent a new code is evidence of an existing code! The two sins my child pointed out were part of God's moral code. She did not have to be taught what was right or wrong. At the age of three, she knew it was a sin to hit in anger and lie. Otherwise, she would not have tried so hard to rewrite her own morality!

Us adults are the same way. We know what we should or should not do, yet we have become masters at making excuses to justify our sin. If there was no universal moral law, we would not cringe in guilt and try so hard to justify our actions.

It's this conclusion that points to the reality of a creator and moral law giver. J. Warner Wallace hashes this out in his article with CrossExamined.org: "Is God real? God is the best explanation for objective moral laws." 

Genetic Evolution

In his article, he asks questions from a skeptic's angle: "Are objective, transcendent moral laws a product of genetic evolution?" Since humanity shares similarities in body structure, organs, and body function, isn't it possible that ways of thinking are also shared? In response to this question, Wallace points out the following flaw: "We don’t blame people for being brunettes or having blue eyes; if our genes are the cause of our moral understanding, what right do we have to blame people when they simply express genetic moral wiring different from our own?"

This is a dangerous point of view that I have seen operating within the courts. There's a tendency to look at a person's sin in the same way as their hair and eye color. If we see their violent behavior as part of or a malfunction of their DNA, how do we prosecute them? The perpetrator is no longer seen as a criminal but a victim. The word "sin" is avoided altogether.

Cultural Agreement

The next question Wallace addresses is "Are objective, transcendent moral truths a matter of cultural agreement?" Wallace referred to the Nuremburg trials which dealt with the charges against German soldiers who worked in Jewish prison camps during World War II. Some thought the German soldiers should not be convicted because they were simply acting upon the overarching "morality" in their nation at that time. They were obeying their superiors- to act in any other way would have been immoral, from their perspective. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson challenged this by stating, "There is a law above the law."

Let's put this in perspective, though. At the time of the war, German citizens were incredibly nationalistic. They obeyed their Fuhrer at all costs, and the Fuhrer manipulated the church to make the German people think that their service to their country was also a service to God. They were instilled with the belief that the Jews were an unclean race and that they were doing humanity a favor by wiping them out. Wallace calls this "shared morality." Yet when faced with a command to kill or torture an emaciated Jewish "prisoner," wouldn't an inkling of wrong rise to the surface?

I think of our nation. What "shared moralities" have we been taught or blindly followed? Probortion viewpoints might be an extreme case, but what about the more subtle view that children are an intrusion and treated like an unwanted litter of puppies instead of the valuable treasures that they are? Or the "manifest destiny" viewpoint that we are in control of our future and must pursue greater accumulations and wealth? 

These examples point out the danger of groups of people making their own moral code. The Crusaders would be another example- their "shared morality" deceived them into committing massive murders which were in direct opposition to God. Certainly, God's law is higher than any society or group law. Though there were a few Germans who recognized the un-Christian ways their nation was functioning during World War II, most did not until it was too late. May we never get caught in this trap of "shared morality," but know the word of God well enough to recognize an immoral path before we set foot onto it.

Human Flourishing

Finally, Wallace also asks the question, "Are objective, transcendent moral truths a consequence of 'Human Flourishing'?" In other words, has our overarching moral code simply been the result of people recognizing what is "flourishing" for humanity and what is "debilitating" for humanity?

This argument bends strongly toward Darwin's "natural selection" viewpoint where the strongest survive. This way of operating, however, can actually lead to blatant immorality-- like theft and murder-- to boost one's survival. In order for a society to truly flourish, a strong respect for right and wrong needs to exist, which points again to the existence of a universal moral law and creator. A universal moral law is not only innate, it is absolutely necessary for the peace, prosperity and "flourishing" of our world.

There's no way my 3-year-old can convince her Sunday School teacher or myself of the legitimacy of her own moral code. Conversely, try as we might, there's no way we can convince God to rewrite His moral code for us. God's code for right and wrong is a blessing. Living a life free from complaints, theft, or murder offers the umbrella of protection we desperately seek after. And it doesn't take long to notice that every human is born with God's code inside.


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