The Reality Of Moral Absolutes

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)

Years ago, the inspired Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church of Christ in Rome:

Romans 2:12-15-12    For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13    (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14    for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15    who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)  

Paul here makes mention of the fact that there is a “law written in” the “heart” of mankind. This universal law is a testament to the universal Lawgiver (i.e. God) Who placed that law in the heart.

Often when I study with atheists and unbelievers, I share with them how the existence of this law demonstrates to us that there is a God. In argument format, it could be stated thus:

If absolute moral law exists, then God exists.
Absolute moral law exists.

Therefore, God exists.

The reasons why the premises are valid is simple.

Why would a law demand the existence of a lawgiver?

Simply because law is the result of mind. I have heard atheists claim that moral law could have originated from the material universe. How ridiculous! The belief that amoral, non-conscious, non-living, non-sentient materials could give rise to prescriptive laws that may only function in moral, conscious, living, sentient beings is beyond the height of absurdity.

Since the existence of moral law would therefore point to the existence of God, we need simply to ask: is there evidence of an absolute moral law?

Indeed there is.

Cultures throughout time have recognized this; and it is incredible to observe that these cultures had in many ways nearly identical moral standards. The famous former unbeliever, C.S. Lewis, investigated these matters in detail. He writes:

“I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities. But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together in the appendix of another book called The Abolition of Man; but for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. 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. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to—whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or every one. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 5-6 (Kindle Edition); HarperCollins E-Books)

The existence of moral law shows us that there is indeed a Moral Lawgiver Who has revealed Himself to us through this “law written in the heart.”

The ultimate problem of humankind is summed up in this law: as Paul writes, the conscience of man bears witness to the fact that we are “accused” of breaking this law. This is the Bible definition of “sin.” Sin is the breaking of God’s law (1 John 3:4; cf. James 4:17). Our sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), and the result would be eternity apart from Him (Romans 6:23).

But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). His death, burial, and Resurrection on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) form the basis of our redemption.

Why not today believe in The Lord Jesus Christ, that you may be saved (Acts 16:31)? This “belief” means far more than a mere intellectual acknowledgment: it means a trust in God’s Word (based on the evidence) cojoined with obedience to Him (cf. Hebrews 5:8-9).

As such, “belief” in regards to the plan of salvation includes repentance and baptism as well (Acts 16:31-33; Mark 16:15-16). Why not turn to Him today?

The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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