Thursday, July 21, 2016

Whence Morals?

Outside of the teaching of the Word of God there are only two arguments for the sinfulness of human beings. All of human history and all of human experience. We try frequently to evade this conclusion by grading on a curve. But God does not grade this way (Romans 3:23; Matthew 5:48; James 2:10). However, there is a deeper question here: why is it we as human beings fall short of God’s standard? But more than that, we even fall short of our own standards. What person who has more than a rudimentary idea of right and wrong can say they honestly consistently live up to it? So what are the possible explanations for this?   

We can say that this is just the way it is. Human beings are just more developed animals, with a veneer of civilization. We really cannot expect any more from them. Which makes our situation hopeless. And leaves us with the question of where we ever got this strange idea of moral standards anyway. Do animals evolve standards of behavior that are totally contrary to their nature? Or we can put our trust in progress; if we just have enough education, enough science, enough time, we will overcome our problems. The problem with this is it has been the philosophy of western civilization for some time now. And it has failed miserably. Instead of a culture steadily ripening toward perfection we have experienced two world wars, the cold war, the killing fields, Nazism, Communism, the atom bomb, chemical and biological warfare, and many other major setbacks. The last century was quite possibly the bloodiest one in the whole history of the human race. Or maybe if we just try and work harder at it we can change things. But we always seem to fail.

The Christian answer is that we live in a world in rebellion against God (Romans 3:10-12; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9). Now I realize that this raises the question of whether it is fair for me to be responsible for something that is the result of the sin of another (Romans 5:12, Genesis 3:1-7). I do not know of an easy answer to that one. I am not sure God’s justice always fits our ideas of fairness. But it is this situation that makes a solution possible. It is because we live in a world in rebellion against God that God can intervene and offer salvation. Jesus Christ, the One who is without sin, can offer Himself to pay the price for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:18-21; Hebrews 2:14-18) and can undo what was done in Adam (Romans 5:15-20). Therefore, we can be saved through faith in Him (Romans 4:4,5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Acts 16:31) and can wait for a time when God will change this world from its present condition to one in conformity to His will (Romans 8:19-23; Philippians 3:20,21; Revelation 21:3,4). For only in Christ do we find a real solution to the problem.

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