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Biblical Ethics And Moral Dilemmas: God Is The Answer

2778 words - 12 pages

Throughout the history of the world, people have been concerned with what it is to live a moral life. Many answers have been put forth for this question, but the best by far is found in the Christian Bible. This is because the Bible is a revelation from the Creator. While people can grope in the dark to find answers to moral questions by looking at natural law, they are always frustrated because the real nature of the world we live in is fallen and corrupt. We have an adversary who tries to deceive us and minds that are easily deceived. Even at our most rational, we make mistakes in logical inference, and need to be corrected. In this paper, we will look at biblical ethics in terms of ...view middle of the document...

However, Plato’s dilemma is more applicable for the Christian, since we believe that God must be the ultimate source of the good, so a standard that is higher than God is problematic; and we are forced to deal with the apparent arbitrariness of a God who makes things good by commanding them. What if God commanded that we torture babies? That would imply that torturing babies was good, which is strongly counter-intuitive.3 A possible answer to this objection is that what is good is grounded in God’s character, and his commands flow from his character. While this is true, it does not really solve the dilemma – it only pushes the criticism back another step. What if God liked torturing babies? That would still imply that torturing babies was good, and it would still be strongly counter-intuitive.
The real solution to the objection can be found by asking why it would be counter-intuitive if God commanded the torturing of babies. The reason is that God created us with a conscience that comports with the standards that he determined for goodness. If he had commanded torturing babies, he would also have built that into our conscience. The truth of the matter is that he has not commanded anything opposed to a properly trained conscience,4 so the “what if” questions that are supposed to be a dilemma are really just excuses for not submitting to his commands.5 It should be noted that this does bring us back to God’s character, because it assumes that God is not capricious, and will not create consciences that contradict his commands. However, that is no longer an ontological question: “What is the Good?” The Good is what God commands. It is an epistemological one: “How do we know that God is not capricious?”6 Whether we know the answer to that question or not does not affect the objective status of his commands as being morally binding on us.
The fact that moral statements have their source in the Creator of all humanity implies that the statements are universal in scope. They apply to all people regardless of culture or personal preference. Ethical relativism, whether cultural or individual, is unable to solve conflicts when people or cultures disagree over what is right and wrong. Biblical ethics, on the other hand, has a consistent standard that can be appealed to by anyone. In addition, since the law is written on everyone’s heart, it is easy to find examples that most relativists would recognize as things that are universally wrong, such as the Nazi experiments on Jewish children.
Moral judgments can be defended primarily by appeal to the Bible as the special revelation from God. While the Bible does not directly address every issue, such as the use of technologies that were not available when it was written, it still provides moral principles that can be applied. Secondarily, especially when trying to justify moral judgments with unbelievers, they can be defended by an appeal to a person’s conscience, since that conscience is made by God to...

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