HAVE YOU WONDERED? Does God exist – Part 3
When I began this series of articles, I set out to present three basic arguments traditionally used for reasons to believe in the existence of God.
Reason No. 1 was this: Whatever begins to exist must have a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe must have a cause.
Reason No. 2 was this: Every complex design that serves a purpose has an intelligent designer.
In this article, I would like to present reason No. 3: Objective moral values can exist only if God exists. Objective moral values do exist. Therefore, God must exist.
Have you ever wondered why we feel a strange gnawing inside when we have done something wrong? In Carlo Collodi’s famous children’s novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” we are reminded that to be fully human (as opposed to a piece of wood) is to possess a conscience. What is this inner voice of moral obligation? Where does it come from? How do we decide who is right and wrong when it comes to morality?
When World War II was over, some of the war criminals were brought to trial. Many of these were asked, “How could you kill so many innocent people?” Some answered, “I was just obeying the commands of my leaders and following the laws of my country.” The judges rightly countered, “But, is there not a law that is bigger and above national laws? Isn’t there a universally recognized law of morality that we all must live by?”
Trying to decide who is right or wrong without the universal standard of an objective moral law is like trying to decide whose imaginary friend is more attractive.
The moment we take God out of the picture – right, wrong, good and evil go with him. In the process, we lose the right to say that anything is absolutely wrong or evil. When God is no longer in the picture, terms like “morality,” “good,” “evil,” and “truth” can only be defined by conflicting human opinions, personal feelings or personal tastes. If morality is based solely on human opinion or personal feelings, we are left wondering, “whose opinion or feelings should we choose to follow?” If nature is the author of the moral law, we are left asking, “whose nature do we decide to follow?”
In “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis wrote:
“The moment you say one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other … you are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.”
C. S. Lewis concludes the following about implications of this objective moral law:
We intuitively know what we ought and ought not to do.
At times, we all choose to do what we ought not to do, thus we all break this Moral Law.
The Creator of the Universe, being a Moral Being, does not take this lightly.
If these disconcerting ideas are true, then it may occur to us to say “Hey, wait a minute ... I may be in serious trouble!”
“It is after you have realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power – it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk. When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor. When you have realized that our position is nearly desperate, you will begin to understand what the Christians are talking about. … They tell you how the demands of this law, which you and I cannot meet, have been met on our behalf, how God Himself becomes a man to save man from the disapproval of God.
The Bible says “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11)
Russ Whitten is minister of Destin Church of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.