Evidence For God: Through Morality

In my last blog, I mentioned that there are at least sixteen ways we can show that God exists. In this blog, I will present one way to know God exists: through human morality. Keep in mind, there are more than just sixteen ways to show that God exists. (By the end of this blog, you will know what “5-5-6-5-47” means.) I will begin with two premises for morality. Then I will present the reasoning we use and how it properly leads us to conclude that a moral Lawgiver exists, and this Lawgiver we call God. Let us now begin with two premises (propositions) for morality.

MORALITY

The goal is to show the first two premises are true. The third proposition is a conclusion that necessarily follows.

Premise 1.) A moral law comes from (the rule is set by) a moral lawgiver.

Premise 2.) There exists an objective (universal) moral law.

3.) Thus, there exists an objective moral Lawgiver (called God).

Since the first proposition (premise 1) is self-evident, we do not need to spend a lot of time proving it. Moral laws are found in a system of ethics where certain actions are thought of as “good” or “beneficial” to human beings. Moral laws are a guideline for “right living,” as in they are rules for what we should do and for what we ought not to do. For example, if a classroom posts two rules such as “Respect your classmates” and “Respect the teacher,” we know that those two rules came from someone who we can call a moral lawgiver. Maybe the teacher came up with them. Maybe the principal came up with them. Maybe a parent came up with them. Maybe the teacher’s professor came up with them. But the bottom line is that SOMEONE came up with them. The two classroom rules came from SOMEONE. Other examples of morals include fictitious tales that teach a moral such as Aesop’s (EE-sop’s) Fables or some other short story that describes a moral. Whatever the case may be, the moral came from SOMEONE who presented the rule.
Today, a number of different lists can be found where crimes against humanity are noted as criminal acts. In 1996, the Draft Code defined crimes against humanity which includes: “murder, extermination, torture, enslavement, persecution on political, racial, religious, or ethnic grounds, institutionalized discrimination…, arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, rape, enforced prostitution and other forms of sexual abuse, and other inhuman acts committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale and instigated or directed by a government or by any organization or group.” Once we begin examining lists and rules for what is good human behavior and what is bad behavior, we have found good reasons to believe premise 1 is true. We have also discovered that the moral lawgiver in all of these examples has a mind.
Premise 2 is not as self-evident. This means that we need to look at several aspects and determine if premise 2 is true. First, there is a sense in which a person is able to identify what is evil and what is good. This is because humanity carries within it a sense of right and wrong. In all cultures, humanity has the ability to sense what is right and wrong. Not only do various cultural morals exist, but objective morals are found in humanity. While cultural morals might change, “humanity morals” do not change. These humanity morals that do not change can be called objective moral values. America’s philosopher Mortimer Adler affirmed that an objective moral law exists. He said, “A natural moral law must be the same for all human beings, everywhere and at all times, if they are inherent in human nature and discoverable by our understanding of what is really good and right for human beings to seek and to do.” 
Second, a moral standard cannot fully be explained by evolution, social empathy, or relativism. Evolution as mentioned here can refer to empirical evidence for cultural changes from generation to generation and anthropological changes from generation to generation, which includes a change in knowledge. Evolution does not explain why human beings have a sense of right and wrong, nor does it explain who it is that sets the standard of right and wrong in humanity. Neither humanity nor evolution sets the standard of right and wrong. Humanity discovers a sense of right and wrong. There must be someone who sets a standard for objective moral laws. A Lawgiver has established a standard of morality on humanity. Empathy cannot be the standard because empathy varies from person to person. Relativism stems from individual preferences. Since preferences vary, preferences do not set a standard of morality. Saint Thomas Aquinas described acts of human rightness relating directly to an “enduring principle which has unchangeable rightness…” He further described the process of grasping a moral principle occurring in human consciousness. Instead of seeing our consciousness as having the ability to pick out right and wrong, Aquinas sees the conscience as being able to process reasoning skills in order to act morally. In addition, he thinks for an action to be morally good, it must be one in which the human is desiring a godly result. Where do these moral principles come from? Since evolution, social empathy, and preferences do not set an objective moral standard, we can reason that a moral Lawgiver who has a mind is the one who set the standard.
The question is, Who is this objective moral Lawgiver with a mind? And the other question is, Whose standard are you going to follow? Christian philosopher Edward Feser explained that “human beings can know what is good for them, and choose to pursue that good.” Knowing what is good comes down to whose standard you are going to follow. Your own standard? A politician’s standard? A religious leader’s standard? Or God’s standard? Feser went on to explain that each human being pursues what his intellect regards as good. He compares a human pursuing what he thinks is good to the actual essence of what it means to be a good human being.

Skeptic objects: The objective moral lawgiver is evolution.

Believer: How does evolution determine what is right and wrong?

Skeptic: A mass number of people decide what is right and wrong.

Believer: In 1933, the Nazis received 43% of the popular vote, and they occupied 288 seats in the Reichstag out of a total of 647 seats. A mass number of people such as the Nazis got it wrong. A mass number of people might not be able to decide what is right and what is wrong. Why does a mass number of other people know what is right and wrong?

Skeptic: Because humanity has the right to survive and not be tortured.

Believer: That doesn’t tell me why humans have a sense of right and wrong. Why is it right to value survival? Why is it wrong to kill off the disabled? Who gives humanity the right to survive?

Skeptic: Evolution.

Believer: No. God established humanity rights and a sense of morality in us, even if it is in our DNA.

The empirical evidence we have shows humanistic microevolution relating to a changing process in a culture of people over time. Humanistic microevolution, or humanistic macroevolution for that matter, does not explain why people know what is right and wrong. Even a newness in knowledge relates to the discovery of new knowledge. Discovering an objective moral law is not the same as making up a cultural law. Objective moral laws do not come from a changing culture. For example, back in the days of Hammurabi king of Babylon, two of his 282 rules were as follows: “If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off. If anyone is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.” Cultural laws come from a people within a changing culture, but humanity laws remain throughout cultural changes. “Thou shall not steal” and “Honor your parents” from Moses’ Ten Commandments in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 5 and the book of Exodus chapter 20 seem to be the objective morals that remain unchanged. Unchanging objective morals and humanity rights are set by a Mind who gave them. The question is, Who established humanity rights and objective morals? Which “Mind” has set the standard of right and wrong? We find the answer in Romans 2:15, “God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscious and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.” The Ten Commandments were proclaimed by the Lord God, and then the Lord God wrote them on stone tablets for Moses (Deut. 5:22).
Third, there is a difference between talking about where morality comes from (what it is grounded in) and talking about how we know about morality. To use some fancy philosophical terms, the former is an ontological task (concerning the nature of reality), the latter an epistemological one (concerning the nature of knowledge and how we acquire it). How we learn about morality and who morality comes from are two very different questions. If we take a closer look at the laws of math, logic, and morality, for example, we come to find out they exist necessarily. Where do they come from? So we need an explanation of where objective morals come from. That is the whole point of arriving at the conclusion of a moral Lawgiver. Why do people all over the world have the ability to know what is right and wrong? Where does this knowledge come from? We also carry a sense of obligation to obey these prescribed objective moral laws. However, everyone fails at some point to perfectly keep the moral law, which means we all need grace, which is a separate but very important topic. C. S. Lewis made two observations in human behavior. “First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it.” The moral argument for the existence of God can be further described as follows:

1.) A prescriber is the one who prescribes moral laws.

2.) Objective moral laws necessarily exist. Objective moral laws cause humans to be obligated to those laws. Objective moral laws can be discovered by humanity, but humanity does not set the standard that already exists.

3.) There exists an objective moral Lawgiver called God. Moral laws are endowed on humanity (prescribed to humanity) by our Creator.

Once we have established that premises 1 & 2 are true, the conclusion necessarily follows: Thus, there exists an objective moral Lawgiver called God. Believers know that people look to God for Him to tell us what is good and what is evil. He is the one who has already set the standard of right and wrong. Strong believers know the benefit of keeping a focus on the Source of morality. Dr. Norman Geisler puts it like this. “…if there is such an objective moral law beyond all of us, then there is a Moral Lawgiver (God).”

Morality is one of the “Five Common Ways” that can be traced back to various people including ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, ancient Arab philosophers, and from other ancient philosophers and theologians such as Augustine and Anselm. The “Five Common Ways” have been further refined and clarified by philosophers such as C.S. Lewis, and more recent philosophers, William Lane Craig and Norman Geisler. Another five ways are commonly referred to as “Aquinas’s Five Ways.” They come from the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas as they are found in his book, “Summa Theologica.” The next six ways I will refer to as “Six Additional Principles” because they significantly contribute to the existence of God. These sixteen ways are divided into three groups as listed below.

“Five Common Ways” (also known as Five Standard Ways) are as follows:

morality, teleology, cosmology origins (first cause of the universe), cosmology in the present time (cause of sustaining the universe), ontology

“Aquinas’s Five Ways” are demonstrated through:

motion and change, causes, necessity, gradation, governance of the world

Six Additional Principles

from science, metaphysics, and philosophy include:

life comes from pre-existing life, metaphysical contradictions, time reasoning, one actual infinite principle, creation comes from a creator principle, contingency reasoning

Evidence from Edward Feser’s “Five Proofs”:

change, parts, universals, essence & existence, explanations
In addition to the sixteen ways to show God exists, Edward Feser has very recently explained five more ways to know God exists, as he has described them in his book, “Five Proofs for the Existence of God.” After I present the sixteen ways, I will also present Feser’s Five Proofs, giving you a total of twenty-one ways to know God exists. Each of the twenty-one ways are unique ways and principles that point you to the existence of God, but some aspects of the ways and principles overlap with others. It might seem as if one way or one principle is repeating another way, but there are both clear and subtle differences found among the twenty-one ways. I will also caution you that the way in which I am presenting the evidence is not going to be the exact same way in which someone else would present it.

In addition to these Twenty-One Ways To Show God Exists, there is an anthology called “Evidence For God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science” compiled by Dembski and Licona that demonstrate more ways to show that God exists. Only about three of the fifty ways repeat with three of my twenty-one ways described here. So altogether, you could go through “68 Ways To Show God Exists” as a good starting point, that is, if you are up for doing the homework.

If you are the type that likes to look ahead, I will tell you that the bulk of evidence for all “Five Common Ways” is found in relation to the following propositions:

  1. From morality, an objective moral law exists.
  2. From teleology, the universe (finite material things) has a great design.
  3. From cosmological origins, the universe had a beginning.
  4. From the cosmological present, every part of the universe depends on other things to exist.
  5. From ontology, contrasting “finite things can cease to exist” with “Pure Actuality” which has no potential to not be.
I will caution believers that many skeptics have attempted to give objections to the evidence of an objective moral law. It is good to be familiar with these objections and how to respond with kindness and gentleness. As soon as the skeptic’s objections are found lacking, the lazy skeptic often ends up denying the propositions, belittles the person making the statements, or twists any number of facts to suit his false agenda. At other times, the professional skeptic remains as academic as possible. I have found that both kinds of skeptics are emotionally attached to his false belief system to some degree, sometimes refusing to call his belief a “belief,” and he is often aggressive in his comments, displaying a range of emotions from arrogance to hostility.
Is there any evidence of God? I would answer with a resounding 100% yes. We can find a lot of evidence. However, if I told you that fire and dominoes are evidence for something, it would not make much sense. Skeptics often jump to the “god of the gaps” objection prematurely or reject evidence prematurely, based on a lack of information on how the evidence is used. So instead of making either mistake prematurely, it would be wise to examine a full case for the existence of God, which includes of course, understanding how the evidence is used and the reasons for believing certain propositions are true. If a skeptic insists that we cannot conclude the objective moral lawgiver is God, then at the very least, we can conclude that “Someone – a moral Lawgiver who has a mind” has prescribed an objective moral law for humanity.
What do we mean by “evidence”? Evidence includes things like fingerprints, but it also includes good reasons to accept certain propositions as true. When taking a look at the big picture of all the evidence that exists for the existence of God, the evidence can be used in such a way that it directly relates to specific propositions The evidence presented in regards to the twenty-one ways here will only relate to a general revelation, also called a natural revelation, of God’s existence. One piece of evidence might not be enough for a skeptic to accept that God exists. The twenty-one ways mentioned in my list refer to evidence from the general category, not from the category of Jesus.
In a courtroom, evidence is used in order to prove whether a person is innocent or guilty. In a similar way, we can use evidence to build a case and prove it, without the shadow of doubt, and properly conclude that God exists. If I presented to you two pieces of evidence such as fire and dominoes, it would not seem to make much sense unless I do the following: I give you my definitions of fire and dominoes, I give you my proposition, and I give you my reasons for believing that the proposition is true. For example, if I give you two pieces of evidence for the existence of God such as objective (universal) human morals and an expanding universe, I would need to demonstrate how those pieces of evidence are being used. To a very large degree, it might seem useless to first present a long list of evidence if we do not know how the evidence is being used. However, in a criminal investigation, searching for evidence, reasons, clues, and a motive might be the only way to find the criminal. In a homicide investigation, the investigator usually tries to find a dead body, search for clues, and other evidence that leads to the criminal. When searching for the existence of God, though, we not only work with evidence, but we also work with propositions that are backed up by evidence and good reasons to believe those propositions are true in order to establish a proper conclusion. When presenting a syllogism as a way to understand that God exists, we should have at least two true propositions that give a conclusion that naturally follows. This is why we say, “It is important to give reasons why we believe the propositions are true.”
So in a very real sense, we first work with the evidence in reality that is knowable (such as morality) in order to reason and find our conclusion, but the more important point to make is the way in which we are using the evidence of an objective moral standard and the way we are reasoning matters significantly because it makes all the difference in the world. Now you know the meaning of 5-5-6-5-47, or the shortcut 21-47. Hopefully, it won’t take me 67 more blogs to get through them all. Thank you for reading my article. Please click like and share.

Sources

Adler, Mortimer J. Truth In Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth. 1990.
Davies, Brian. The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Feser, Edward. The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 2008.
Geisler, Dr. Norman. Systematic Theology Vol. One. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2002.
“Hammurabi’s Code: An Eye for an Eye,” US History: Ancient Civilizations, accessed June 4, 2018, http://www.ushistory.org/civ/4c.asp
Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1952.
United Nations. Draft Code of Crimes Against the Peace and Security of Mankind, Article 18: Crimes Against Humanity. 1996, 2005. Accessed June 3, 2018,  https://crimeofaggression.info/documents/6/1996_ILC_Draft_Code_of_Crimes.pdf.

3 Comments

  1. I read the article and I thought you did a really great job with it. You gave a strong defense of your premises, which was excellent. I think it’s great that you’re using logic and evidence to defend your faith in Christ, you’re great at apologetics. I was particularly interested, because some of the books you cited are books I’m planning on reading soon. If it takes you 67 blog posts, I don’t see a problem with that.

    I’m curious, how was The Thought of Thomas Aquinas would you recommend it?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Davies’ book, “The Thought of Thomas Aquinas” is a good resource. I like how he analyzes the thirteenth century teaching of Aquinas. For example, Davies said that Aquinas thinks God gives us a chance to become divine. I agree with that. The daily process of sanctification depends on both the divine as the Potter and a dedicated human being as the willing lump of clay. Another thing I like about the book is the Index in the back. It is easy to find certain topics that way. One of my favorite topics is angels, and Aquinas had plenty to say about angels.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather,

    Thank you for such a post, packed with good information. Morality is one of my favorite things to think and talk about when defending our God. Keep writing blogs and I’ll keep reading!

    Chuck Dailey

    Like

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