For centuries, society has, as a whole, agreed that certain actions and behaviors were wrong. More serious offenses such as murder, rape or theft, were/are even punishable by the local, state or federal justice system. In more recent years, however, more and more people are subscribing to moral relativism, where individuals determine and live by standards they have ordained right for themselves, with no consideration as to their actions’ impact on society or other individuals.
Among and perhaps the biggest of problems with moral relativism is that it doesn’t allow for judgment of anything or anyone except for the individual – and those they choose to involve, with or without the other person’s consent.
A rape victim would not be able to press charges, because she’s not allowed to judge what somebody else does – even if it’s to her body and against her will. Police officers couldn’t arrest the burglars who you caught breaking into your home, even though they were caught red-handed. Families of murder victims would never get closure or justice, because the murderer would never be brought to trial. In fact, these criminals probably wouldn’t even be called rapists or burglars or murderers because that in itself requires judgment.
I would argue that morals are either universal or nonexistent, with no in between. They either apply to ALL individuals or nobody at all. If people are left to their own individual moral codes to pick and choose from, the streets would be running amuck with rapists, thieves, and murderers because we would not be allowed to discern (judge) when somebody has committed an offense.
But where do we get a universal code of behavior?
In order to be any sort of moral authority, it stands to reason that one must have more knowledge than whom they are governing. If one governs over ALL people, then one must have more knowledge than ALL people and have the capacity to determine what is right vs. what is wrong for ALL people collectively. As well, one must display certain other characteristics for which only God qualifies.
God’s particular qualities are attributes that only He possesses:
God is omniscient. He knows everything. He has ALL the knowledge.
God is omnipresent. He sees ALL things in ALL places at ALL times – past, present and future.
God is omnipotent. He is ALL powerful. God has the ability to do anything. With that power He created all things – time, space, and matter; not one of which could exist without either of the others. All three had to have come into existence at precisely the same moment.
Just like the time, space, and matter He created, each of God’s three “omni” characteristics go hand in hand. For one to be omnipotent, he must also know all and see all in order to execute His power wisely and with maximum efficiency.
What good would it do God (or you or me, for that matter) to know each person’s passions and interests if He had no power to give them the talent to do what they love? Oh, did you think it’s just a coincidence that people’s gifts and talents happen to line up with what they love to do? What good would it do Him to be everywhere and see everything at all times (past, present, and future), but be powerless to guide us away from danger or toward what He has planned for us?
God is our Creator…He made us and knows how we operate. He knows what it takes to keep us running in good condition. He knows the consequences of our actions – good or bad – because He set those consequences into place. He also knows how to fix us when we’re broken, even though in many cases we choose not to allow Him to fix us. He is the Creator of life, and the answer to the age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Spoiler alert: it was the chicken.
A natural extension of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, purposeful and intentional Creator would be that He has moral authority over all His Creation. No other person or entity would have the qualifications to set universal moral standards, neither does any make such claims.
Not only is God omni-everything and not only did He create us with intent, but He also gave us an instruction manual so that we would know how to live our best lives. Even those who don’t believe in Him still live by most of the Ten Commandments, or at the very least believe they are good laws to follow: don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t murder, etc. It seems about the only commandments that cause outright rebellion are the ones that directly reference God. Apparently His laws are good enough to follow but giving God credit for the commandments and expecting us to worship the entity who gave us everything we have including our lives and His son’s life is going a bit too far.
If the instruction manual weren’t enough, He also gave each of us a conscience so that we’d know right from wrong: …which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one other;… Romans 2:15. He also gives us examples in the Bible of the kinds of negative consequences that can – and most often do – happen when one participates in immoral acts, as well as examples of positive consequences that come from obeying our Almighty Creator.
The reason we know right from wrong is not simply because man recorded God’s words in the Bible and not because society tells us or conditions us into our moral code of conduct, although it is society’s responsibility to uphold the same moral standard God sets, otherwise the world would run amok with people doing whatever they wanted, regardless of the consequences to others. There are no gray areas with God. We know right from wrong because God uses his omnipotence to “write in our hearts” His laws and rules governing our behavior. This means that we inherently understand what is good and bad for us. Those things are rooted in what most would call their conscience, which just so happens to be what God called it thousands of years ago as referenced in Romans 2:25 above. From my own experience, I know this not because I read it somewhere or because somebody else told me so. I know this because only AFTER I already realized all on my own that God is my conscience and knew that He wrote these things in our hearts (those words were running through my mind verbatim), I found not only Romans 2:15 but also this gem of a scripture:
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be My people. – Jeremiah 31:33
As we draw nearer to God, he instills in us this supernatural ability to discern His voice distinguishing right from wrong and good from evil. To the point where we often instinctively know things that there is no other explanation for knowing. The further we separate ourselves from God, the less we are able to distinguish these things, to the point where we suffer from what is called spiritual warfare. We still hear God but we choose to ignore Him. Sometimes we blame others or blame God for negative consequences when, had we listened to God, we would have known ahead of time what kind of consequences could be expected from our behavior. Without this supernatural discernment and guidance, we struggle with the spiritual warfare going on inside our hearts because we know we are not doing right by God. Spiritual warfare often leads to depression and even suicidal tendencies. And, if we’re not careful, if we tell God enough times that we don’t want Him, He may very well leave us alone as He has been known to do in the past. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Romans 1:28
There is literally no limit to God’s knowledge; as our Creator, He has it ALL. This is clear from the beginning of Genesis through the end of the Bible where prophecies are discussed in Revelation. He knows it all, therefore has the right to supreme moral authority over His creation.
Whether or not we agree with God’s laws or the consequences of keeping or breaking those laws makes no difference. Even man-made laws are not subject to interpretation or acceptance by individuals; nor, for the most part, are man-made consequences set by the courts. If a person gets caught breaking the law, there are consequences. With God’s law, there is no such thing as “not getting caught” due to God’s omnipresent and omniscient nature. Remember, He sees all things in all places at all times. And that is the only kind of lawmaker and judge that can be completely unbiased. Unlike the law of the land, which we all know can be completely unfair and biased in doling out consequences, God is fair and just. With God, we are all rewarded and punished based on individual merit; however, we must not confuse good behavior with Salvation. No matter how many of God’s laws one follows, inadvertently or not, one cannot expect to gain entry to Heaven without a belief of – and IN – Jesus Christ.