Today, we continue to analyze the concept of Evil. Last time, we identified the logical premise that the question of evil assumes that life and personhood have essential value imbedded within it. Moreover, “when you assume that there is evil you assume a moral law from which to differentiate good and evil”. We then concluded that evil is a manifestation that is conceived in the hearts of man; that it is by freewill that man has the choice to act and preserve their version of the truth.
Today we must begin by identifying where objective moral values come from.
The world looks at moral values in a few distinct ways.
Firstly, basic sociology tells us that, “social norms are cultural understandings that are considered acceptable within a given society”. As we saw in our example of evil, we have to have a moral law from which to differentiate good and evil. A similar assumption exists within the theory of social norms: we as humans govern the rules of what is deemed socially acceptable. This brings forth the question, in comparison to what?
Secondly, let us consider the concept of statistical morality to determine right from wrong. R.C. Sproul provides us with an example of how statistical morality works, “to find out what is normal, we do a statistical survey, we take a poll, or we find out what people are actually doing. If the results are consistent and in favor of a given behaviour, it is then considered normal to indulge in that particular behaviour.” If it is normal, we deem it to be good and right. Again, this solicits the question: in comparison to what?
The problem with both of these examples is that they fall short on the grounds of human intervention. As humans, we often find it difficult to reconcile our trust in anyone, or any idea, that tries to pervert our own metric of goodness, as if we created the objective moral standard.
On the contrary, what we find is no matter where you are in the world – murder, child abuse, rape, human trafficking, drug abuse, sickness, poverty and suffering are all recognized as evil – no social norms, no statistics, no human intervention. We innately know, as if it was written on our hearts, that these things are wrong and I believe that is because our answer lies within the person who’s image we bare, Jesus Christ, who is the standard of objective moral values within Himself.
What this implies is that God is the very essence of goodness. He is the eternal objective moral standard from which we are able to differentiate the evil of this world; He also desires to be in eternal relationship with us so that we might choose to be reconciled to Him. C.S. Lewis writes, “free will, though it makes evil possible, it is also the only thing that makes possible love or goodness or joy worth having… The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely voluntarily united to Him and to each other… And for that they must be free.”
Lastly, it’s important to note, as Steiger states, “I am not saying that you need to believe in God in order to do good things. I am also not saying that you can not develop an ethical life without referring to God”.
What I hope we can begin to agree upon is that without God, good and therefore evil, would not exist at all.