Apologetics: The Moral Argument for God
One of the most popular arguments against God is the problem of evil. We will be dealing with that later in the series. Today however we want to talk about an argument for God called the problem of good. The existence of morals and moral obligations points to a moral God who created us with this sense of obligation. Romans 2:14-16 gives us a record of this sense, ‘For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.’1 Paul is in a discussion with the Jews about their sinfulness. He argues that if those who do not have the Ten Commandments have the law written on their hearts by which they will be judged, how much more the Jews who have the Law. These verses clearly tell us that we have a law written on our hearts, that is the Law of God that is written there, that we reveal we know this law by the good we do and approve, and our consciences judge us by the law we know to be true. This reality has become very important in the secular evolutionary atmosphere that we live in the in the 21st century. In our day and age there are two basic answers to the question where does our moral sense come from? There is the answer that evolution gives us, and there is the answer that we gain it from culture. In other words, when answering the question of morals it is often a classic nature or nurture discussion to try and answer it without God. It is our contention that these worldviews are unable to give a satisfying account of our sense of moral obligation, and that God is the best explanation of it.
For you philosophers out there the argument looks something like this:
- Objective moral obligation exists
- The best explanation of objective morals objective is God, and not any modern accounts.
- Therefore God exists.
Now we have already argued that all arguments are rationally avoidable, and I need to qualify that this argument along with all the others is not an invincible proof. Technically all truths can be formally doubted if you make wrong assumptions. We are not placing our confidence in this argument as a type of silver bullet but we do recommend it as a reasonably demonstrating the existence of God as the best accounting of the problem of good. The strength of this argument can be appreciated when we see that this was one of the key things that brought C. S. Lewis to faith. He writes,
‘My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it?…Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it had no meaning.’
How can you know what good is if there is no God to distinguish good from evil? This is the problem of good as an argument for God.