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Where Do Morals Come From?

How can we know whether something is right or wrong? Where do morals come from?

Some might answer that we as individuals should determine our own morality. But think about it: if there is no objective standard for good, then everyone will consider themselves to be good, including the child molester and the rapist. The Bible says most people think they are “good” people. If morality can mean anything for anyone, then it means nothing for everyone.

“If there is no objective standard for good, then everyone will consider themselves to be good, including the child molester and the rapist.”

Others would claim that society determines morality. This view makes it impossible to criticize another society’s practices, no matter how morally offensive they may seem to us. Within this view, a society such as Nazi Germany could only be quietly observed, not judged or opposed. In fact, if Nazi morals were right within Nazi society, there would have been a moral obligation to participate in the murder of innocent people. And obviously, that isn’t right.

Keep in mind that this view makes it impossible to reform the morals of a society. When morality is defined by the present society’s standard, then challenging the standard would be an act of immorality. Within this worldview, social reformers such as Martin Luther King Jr. who stood against society, claiming a great biblical truth that all men are created equal, or William Wilberforce, who sought the abolition of slavery, should be considered moral outcasts because they opposed the status quo. We count these people as moral heroes precisely because they had the courage to fight for reform. They stood against their society because their society, according to God’s Word, was wrong.

C.S. Lewis wisely said, “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”

Without God, morals are meaningless. When man makes the rules, either individually or by majority rule, there will always be mistakes, because mankind is not perfect. God alone is perfect, holy, and good. He exists outside of the realm of mankind as the source of objective moral standards.

So the next time you hear someone claim they are a good person without God, remember…that’s just no good.

If you use any of the above text, please give attribution to:

“Way of the Master” TV
This segment is taken from the “Way of the Master” TV show, Episode: Timisoara.

Mark Spence

Mark Spence is the Vice President of Outreach at Living Waters and the Dean of the online School of Biblical Evangelism, with over 18,000 students enrolled since its inception. A popular speaker at conferences and universities, he also cohosts season five of the television program “Way of the Master,” engaging skeptics and equipping Christians in evangelism and apologetics. A former assistant pastor, Mark is the Producer and Editor of several Living Waters films, and he and his wife, Laura, homeschool their five children.

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