Famous writers from even a very long time ago, have presented the moral argument for the existence of God. It is found in Paul (Shaul) the apostle and C. S. Lewis (Mere Christianity) and countless others. There are several aspects to this argument.
First, we find ourselves with a conscience which either convicts us or tells us that we are guilty or not guilty. The guilty or not guilty judgment for our behavior is a constant part of our human experience. We are guilty before the law as our conscience understands right and wrong. That is an amazing fact about human beings that is not the case with animals at any level. Animals survive and do quite well by instinct and mental awareness. They don’t’ follow moral standards. There are two aspects to this.
- Who are we guilty before? There are many things where we believe we are guilty or not though the wrong we perceive does not violate any civil law of society. Lying, mistreating another, unfair anger, cheating, manipulating, selfishly grabbing the bigger piece, little things, and big things, all produce guilt. Good behavior produces a sense of peace. If we are guilty, who is it before? If there is a Law Giver, this would explain that we are guilty before Him. We could argue that we are guilty before parents, teachers, and society who taught us standards, but as an adult, we will not be punished by our parents or teachers. If we are very bad, people will avoid us. However, guilt has to do with punishment. How do we find forgiveness from our guilt? The nature of guilt points to One before whom we are guilty. This is not absolute proof, but as C. S. Lewis says, a pointer.
- Secondly, we believe in right and wrong. Some people say there is really no right and wrong. It is relative and only because we think it so. However, no one acts as if this is the case. When a driver cuts us off in a dangerous move, we do not say, “Wow, I don’t like it when people do that.” Rather we get angry sometimes and say that it is wrong. When someone works harder and better but does not get promoted but the one not performing as well does get it due to favoritism, we do not say, “I feel bad and wish it were not so.” We say, “it is unjust and wrong.” We constantly judge others as right and wrong for their behavior as if there is a standard of right and wrong that they violate. It is not just a matter of feeling preferences. Romans 2 states that this sense of right and wrong is from God. We will thus be judged by the very standards we express in our judgment of others. Though cultures vary in their view of right and wrong, there is much in common as well. So where does the law come from, the idea of just and unjust? To really take right and wrong seriously it can not just be what parents and teachers happened to say to us. Again, the law and standards of justice can be most easily understood as from a great Lawgiver. He is the one before whom we must give an account, the ultimate Judge before whom we will gain reward or punishment. Our forgiveness and guilt can be removed only by repenting and asking forgiveness from Him and the ones we have wronged and by making restitution or payback for the wrong.
This understanding of right and wrong, Lawgiver and conscience, and the guilty and not guilty verdicts of conscience have been the overwhelming consensus of western culture for 1600 years. Only in our day do we see a loss of confidence in these views. It has produced terrible social decline. Those who make the moral argument are not saying conscience is a perfect guide but that it tells us something. It is a pointer. Law, conscience, guilt, etc. make sense if there is a righteous God who created us and gives the Law. However, we also argue that we need biblical revelation to really understand God’s law more accurately and his way of forgiveness and judgment for those who do not repent.