Intro: Continuing our investigation into the evidences for God’s existence.
What is man? Why does he exist? These are the questions of the philosopher, and have long troubled and perplexed the most learned of them. The fact of our existence elicits a desire to know the reason. What is our purpose?
This morning we discussed the evidence of the existence of God from the standpoint of the existence of intelligence, or knowledge. We know things and this fact begs the question, how? Where did knowledge and intelligence come from? Science would lead us to the conclusion that it is derived from previous intelligence. Since inorganic matter is not intelligent, physical evolution could not have produced intelligent life. There must have been an intelligent maker.
But we see more than just the ability to know things. We can and do make judgments about what we know. We don’t just know, we can know truth. Humans live by a system of ethics.
What is truth? These two questions are important to the discussion of God’s existence.
IV. Morality Demands a Moral Law Giver – When a lawyer addressed Jesus as “good teacher, He replied, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The apostle Paul wrote, When the 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, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thought accusing of else excusing them.. (Romans 2:14-15)
A. Where did morality originate? Why do we humans possess the ability to know right and wrong? Why do most people believe that it is “evil” or “wicked” (1) for an adult to torture an innocent child, rape a woman, or murder another person? Because, as evolutionist Edward Slingerland noted, humans have metaphysical rights—rights that are “a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses” (“Metaphysical,” 2014)—and “rely on moral values” (as quoted in Reilly, 2007, 196:7). The fact is, most people, even many atheists, have admitted that real, objective good and evil exist. Atheist Michael Ruse admitted in his book Darwinism Defended that “[t]he man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children, is just as mistaken as the man who says that 2 + 2 = 5” (1982, p. 275,). Most rational people do not merely feel like rape and child abuse may be wrong; they are wrong—innately wrong, just like 2 plus 2 is always 4.
B. But moral objectivity demands a moral point of reference. However, reason demands that objective good and evil can only exist if there is some real, objective point of reference. Without God, that reference is absent. If not, where is it?
1. It does not exist in the material universe, apart from humans. According to atheism, man is nothing but the product of evolved non-living matter. How could moral value come from rocks and slime? We don’t speak of rocks being “wrong” or minerals being “immoral”. We do not talk about morally depraved donkeys, evil elephants, or immoral monkeys. Pigs and Komodo dragons often eat their own offspring. Do we hold them accountable? Killer whales are not guilty of murder. Dogs are not morally wrong for stealing the bone of another dog. The fact that humans do contemplate morality testifies to the chasm between man and animals and the fact that moral value could not have arisen from animals.
2. Some argue that morals are the product of societal development – like herd instincts among the animals. (monkeys that behave as the group expects them to) C.S. Lewis gave a strong argument against this reasoning. If morality was simply instinct, then the stronger instinct would always win, but this is not the case. Often, man suppresses his stronger instinct in order to do what he thinks is right. For instance, when confronted with imminent danger, a man may desire to run for safety but instead chooses to disregard his own well-being to rescue another. Therefore, the moral law is not man’s basic instincts. It rises above it.
3. Is morality simply learned behavior? We certainly learn moral values from others, but not everything we learn from others is simply a social convention. Mathematics is learned, but it is also objective truth; true whether we learn it or not. Morality is real regardless of what one’s society teaches about it. If the moral law is merely invented by society, then one society (America) cannot call the actions of another society (Nazi Germany) wrong.
4. Moral law is not a law of nature. A law of nature, (such as law of gravity) is descriptive. It describes how nature is, how it usually acts. But, the moral law does not describe how nature is. The moral law is prescriptive; it prescribes how nature ought to be. The moral law stands above man and judges his behavior.
5. There exists a moral law above all men to which they are subject. However, matter could not be the cause of moral laws. Matter gives instructions to no one. Experience shows us that mind is the cause of moral laws. Therefore, this universal moral law that stands above all men must come from a Mind that stands above all men.
6. If there is no God, then there is no objective basis to say that some things are right and others are wrong. The only reasonable answer to an objective moral law for humans is a supernatural, moral law Giver
V. What is man? “Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving… his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms” – (Bertrand Russell , Why I am not A Christian”) This is the answer of Atheism. It is the only answer they can be given. Believing that man is little more than an accident, unbelievers have devised a number of scientifically unproven formulas to explain how man came to be; Matter + Time + chance – God; or Inorganic matter + energy + natural law = man… the same formula that accounts for man account for everything else. If he is the product of chance, he is qualitatively no different than slime, snails, or skunks.
A. The believer has a completely different view of who and what he is. He is created in the image of a moral God, for the purpose of displaying the moral character of God in their own existence (love, truth, hope, joy, peace, compassion, perfection, etc.)
B. What are the implications if God does not exist? What are the consequences of atheism? So many have accepted the atheist’s assertion and the evolutionists’ explanations. The accompanying worldview has spawned many of the most serious problems of our society. When man forgets his place as a creation of God – (“made a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor” – Psalm 8:5) he descends to the level of just an animal.
1. Read Romans 1:22-31 – reads like the front page of the newspaper. Should not surprise us.
2. No moral compass – if man is qualitatively no different from animals, killing a man should stir no more protest than killing a rat.
a. In January 1918, for instance, Lenin issued a degree in which he called on agencies of the state to “purge the Russian land of all kinds of harmful insects.” The “insects” he had in mind were homeowners, high-school teachers, officials of trade unions, and others, (Modern Times, p. 70). But if atheists are right, why shouldn’t Lenin swat insects that were annoying him? Sidney Harris observed that, “The twentieth century is the most murderous era of mankind.” In fact, there has been a greater destruction of man by his fellows in this century than in all of recorded history; Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot – Genocide, fratricide, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia continues unabated. And we shouldn’t be surprised. Whenever human life is cheapened to the level of animal life, the destruction of human life is accordingly deemed as insignificant as the slaughter of a pig.
3. No absolute truth – only two possible ways to establish truth or ethics. Read Matthew 21:23-25. – Where is it from, heaven or men?
a. We derive our truth from either divine authority (with is objective, fixed, and unyielding) or we get it through personal authority (subjective, changing, determined by each individual.) The first view holds to the declaration of Romans 3:4, “Let God be true, but every man a liar,” while the latter view is described in Judges 21.25: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Those who opt for personal authority have bought the lie told Eve in the Garden, “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil,”
b. Consider this assessment by psychotherapist, Dr. Albert Ellis –“There is no certainty, perfection, nor absolute truth in the world; whether we like it or not we live in a world of probability and chance, and we can be certain of nothing external to ourselves.” (Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy, p 87) Two things come to mind after reading this: how can he be certain there is no certainty? And, second, if there is no God, he is right!
c. We search for truth in human experts, majority opinions (polls), even common sense or intuition. But each of these avenues are a dead end street. We struggle with the consequences of “fake news” and a loss integrity at the highest levels.
4. We sometimes wring our hands in fear at the questions and accusations of the atheist as he rants about the so-called contradictions of the Bible, the death of innocent children at the hand of God in the Bible, or the immense suffering of innocent people today. Those can be problematic for us. But let me assure you the emotional and ethical consequences of atheism are much greater. For the simple reason that he has no basis on which to view this suffering or evil a “problematic”. He has no objective truth by which to judge the ethics of others.
5. Psalm 14:1 – The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable things. There is none that do good.” Nabal – fool – “which does not mean a simpleton, but one whose moral thinking is perverted and who has deliberately closed his mind to the reality of God and to the imperatives of God’s moral government” (Burton Coffman)
Conclusion: In Acts 17 Paul faced the challenge of his own culture on the question of God’s existence at Athens. Many gods were being honored, but not the true God. He proclaimed God as the intelligent Creator and Designer of all things, who gave life to all things, and is the source of all morality. This is the God we know exists.
- Acts 17:23-31 – Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”