Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why Universal, Moral Truths point to the existence of God

2 Peter 1:3  "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence."

Review from last week: We live in a physical universe created by God
In last week's posts we had spent considerable time looking at how we see evidence for eternity in this world. Paul's masterful sermon to the Greek philosophers in Acts 17:16-34 was the text from which we based out study. We see four areas from which we see evidence for God's Eternal existence:

1). Creation declares eternity. Acts 17:22-25

2). Humanity discerns eternity. Acts 17:26-29

3). The Bible defines eternity. Acts 17:30

4). Jesus Christ demonstrates eternity. Acts 17:31

Paul's sermons utilized features of the created order, humanity, the scriptures and the life of Jesus Christ to arrive at the firm conclusion of the fact of God's eternal existence. Knowing about God and the truth of His eternal existence is the property of inherent understanding within every human being born into this world. (See Romans 1:18-20) To put it bluntly, all people are born with an understanding about God and must go to schools specializing in the denial of such a universal truth to affirm Atheism. 

In using these arguments, the Apostle Paul demonstrated from general revelation that the same God revealing Himself in general (in creation and in humanity) also revealed Himself specifically (i.e special revelation) in the written Word of the Bible (Acts 17:30) and the Living Word Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31).

In understanding we live in a physical world created by God, we necessarily understand that we live in a moral universe created by God
For some readers, hearing arguments for the existence from God from either the universe and the created order or from the internal make-up and assumptions of human beings may come off as impersonal and disconnecting. The big question of "so what?" can certainly be applied here by some, being that many people today operate under the assumption that they can live as they want, whether or not they believe in God. 

This is where it is vital to point out the fact that in defining the nature of our world and ourselves, we must at some point deal with the nature of morality and ethics. Why? Because obviously, life is lived out and choices are made everyday by people in this world. Is it true that there is one ultimate standard of right and wrong, justice and injustice, truth and error? Such questions lead us to consider the issue of morality and the fact that we live in a moral universe. To say we live in a "moral universe" is not saying that the universe is a "personal entity" or "god-like". Rather, when I say we live in a "moral universe", I am simply stating that we live in a universe that is not only governed by physical, universal laws made by God, but also morally universal laws that point to the existence of The Moral Lawgiver. 

By aknowledging the fact we live not only in a physical universe, but a moral one, leads to the understanding that the question of morality necessarily leads us to yet another way of demonstrating the existence of God. 

Briefly stating the moral argument for God's existence
Over the centuries various Christian thinkers have formulated what is commonly called "The Moral Argument for the existence of God". Space does not permit the tracing out of the various thinkers and their expressions of this powerful argument. However one modern day Christian thinker by the name of Dr. William Lane Craig represents a fine example of such an argument, as gleaned from his article on the moral argument: 

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore, God exists.

Why the moral argument for God's existence is so-powerful
Whenever we look at the above argument, it is very clear that the existence of an All-powerful, All-good, Personal and Intelligent Creator is necessary in order for their to be objective or universal standards of right and wrong. 

Why does this argument make sense? Think for a moment what consistutes a universal and objective moral standard? Is it wrong, for instance, to do physical harm to babies? Answers to such questions are answered affirmatively with a "yes" across all cultures. When an individual or society chooses to harm infants, that is regarded as an injustice or an evil. When anyone, even an atheist or skepic, raises the problem of the so-called "problem of evil", the unstated assumption is that there must be a corresponding "all-good". 

If it be agreed upon that universal right and wrong exists, what then is the nature of such standards? They are not physical, but "non-physical". No one can drive to a ware-house wherein is stored physical objects called "right" and "wrong". These are immaterial, non-physical properties that everyone, whether they like it or not, whether they agree or not, know deep down inside to exist. 

Another Christian thinker, the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen, has noted that universal moral laws are not only universal and non-physical, but also unchanging. So for example, if it is wrong to do physical harm to infants today, we know that it was wrong at the beginning of history and that it will remain wrong for as long as humanity endures. The big question in all of this is: Why? Who says so? Why is it that such moral absolutes truly characterize the world in which we live? 
As both Drs. Craig and Bahnsen point out, if there were no Divine Law-Giver, there would be no universal laws. To see the absurdity of an opposing argument is to actually demonstrate our point. For instance, the most popular belief today suggests that human beings in ancient times came up with a handful of laws to ensure the continuation of the human species. However, even if such a scenario did take place, it does not answer the question from whence such an imaginary agreement got the idea, or why they felt those rules were better than their opposites. 

Based upon the atheistic, materialist worldview that typically proposes such a scenario, if we are the sum total of the electrical impulses in our brains, then ideas such as morality and meaning would be indiscernable from immorality and non-meaning. Atheistism, materialism and skepticism cannot make sense of why we have morality from their own assumptions. Ultimately, such worldviews lead to absurdity and thus leaves us with the only alternative that makes sense: proof for the existence of God.   

Closing thoughts
This is why the existence of universal, moral truths point to the existence of God. As Peter writes at the beginning of His second letter: "Seeing that His Divine Power has granted us everything that pertains to life...". We know of course the rest of the verse and the chapter deals with the spiritual life of the Christian, as well as the matter of physical life. With the affirmation that that God created the world and moral absolutes as seen in the general revelation of creation, Peter is saying that this same God is responsible for the salvation of every believer specifically revealed in His word. 

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