Is There a Moral Standard?
While it may seem to be a vast generalization that all humans agree morals exist, the fact remains that all humans recognize certain behaviors as wrong. On many occasions when I correspond with atheists I will ask them if they would mind if I came to their house and robbed them blind and killed their children? Without fail, everyone I have corresponded with has stated that they would definitely have a problem with that. On one occasion an atheist argued that criminals have no ethics. I simply questioned what would happen if two criminals robbed a bank and one of the thieves tells the other that he is taking 90% of the stolen money. The other criminal is not going to view that as “fair.” Everyone, even criminals, recognizes a standard for right and wrong.
Mankind, unlike the animals, has a moral code. Where did it come from? The very existence of our moral code places atheists into a unique situation. There are forced to argue that morals came from naturalistic measures—in other words, they must argue morals and ethics simply evolved. Imagine visiting more than 10 different island populations who were completely isolated from one another…and learning that they all possessed laws regarding murder and adultery. Furthermore, each group viewed things like lying and stealing as wrong. Even though these islands did not communicate they held to a similar moral standard. Where did these independent groups come up with such a similar moral code? (This experiment was actually carried out—and the results pointed to a similar moral code.)
It is impossible for matter—by itself—to evolve a system of moral “right” and “wrong.” Yet, man recognizes right and wrong. The question then arises from whence did morals originate? In 1967, George Gaylord Simpson admitted, “Morals arise only in man.” However, in order for something to be “right” or “wrong,” there must be an absolute standard for morality. What is that standard? There are really only two options that could adequately explain the existence of morals—either: (1) they were conjured up and created by man, or (2) they originated from God.
Consider the plight of an atheist. They admit morals exist—otherwise they wouldn’t have a problem with your murdering their family members. However, they refuse to acknowledge a belief in God. As such, they must contend that morals arose from man. The question then becomes who gets to decide what behaviors are right and which are wrong? For instance, Adolf Hitler thought what he was doing was “right”. He thought he was perfecting the human race, and in the process he extinguished millions of Jews. The problem with saying man evolved ethics and morals is that each person would view “right and wrong” a little differently. What may seem right to you may seem wrong to me. Humans would constantly be changing what they felt was morally acceptable
Isn’t evolution all about the “survival of the fittest?” So if I decide a certain behavior will allow me to survive better, shouldn’t I participate in it—even if it hurts you? Evolution would presume that furthering one’s genes is a good thing—whether by adultery, rape, incest, pedophilia, or marriage. Yet, we recognize many of those behaviors as wrong. Or how about a “survival of the fittest” competition for your livelihood? For instance, what would be the problem with slicing a coworker’s tires before a job interview if both individuals were applying for the same job?
A more logical conclusion is that man has adopted God’s standard for right and wrong. The very existence of morals presents a large problem to atheists and evolutionists. Morals provide strong evidence for an immutable Creator. God’s unchanging nature allows our morals to be recognized as absolute standards for all situations. Only God is eternal (Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). Only God is holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). Only God is just and righteous ((Psalm 89:14). And only God is forever consistent (Malachi 3:6). The existence of a worldwide system of morals is excellent proof that God exists.
Rather than continually trying to tweak, alter, and redefine a poor naturalistic theory maybe we should give attention to the very existence of the moral code mankind has adopted. And rather than trying to embrace a Godless theory and live an immoral life, maybe we should recognize there truly is a right and wrong way to conduct ourselves. Solomon summed it up well when after tasting all life had to offer he concluded that the whole duty of man was to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiates 12:13).