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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Does the God of the Bible Exist?

Don Stewart :: What Is the Moral Argument for God's Existence?

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What Is the Moral Argument for God’s Existence? (Moral Standards Are Found Everywhere)

Does the God of the Bible Exist? – Question 8

One of the most popular arguments given for the existence of a supreme being is the fact that moral standards are found in every society. This is known as the “moral argument.” It can be simply stated as follows.

There Are Universal Moral Standards Found in Every Society

The moral argument states that there must be a God to account for the sense of right and wrong that is universal within humankind. Every human culture has some type of moral standards.

Human lives are regulated by conceptions of right and wrong and the need for justice to be done. This has to be explained in some way.

Our Inner Awareness, or Conscious, Tells Us

The reason humanity has moral standards is because the Creator put that within us. This human moral sense points to the existence of God. The Bible says,

For example, whenever non-Jews who don’t have laws from God do by nature the things that Moses’ Teachings contain, they are a law to themselves even though they don’t have any laws from God. They show that some requirements found in Moses’ Teachings are written in their hearts. Their consciences speak to them. Their thoughts accuse them on one occasion and defend them on another. (Romans 2:14, 15 God’s Word)

The conscience of every human being tells them when they do right, and when they do wrong. Whether the human conscience is obeyed or not obeyed, it is still speaking. Conscience does not create the standard, it merely testifies to it.

Therefore, Some Lawgiver Must Exist Who Gave Us These Standards

The conclusion drawn from this is that there is a Lawgiver who has placed a standard of right and wrong within each of us.

The value of the moral argument is that demonstrates that a perfect standard exists apart from humanity and there has to be something that accounts for this standard. Again, the simple explanation is that there is a Lawgiver who has given us this standard.

The Weaknesses of the Moral Argument

As with all of the other arguments for God’s existence, there are weaknesses and limitations. They are as follows.

1. We Do Not Know Whether the Lawgiver Created All Things or Merely Created Humans

We do not know whether this being, who gave the standard, is the Creator of all things or merely the Creator of humankind alone. Again, his creative abilities may be limited. From observing the universe as it now stands we are not able to tell.

2. We Do Not Know Whether This Lawgiver Was Himself Created

If there is a Creator who gave us these laws, we do not know whether this Lawgiver was Himself created or whether he is the sole Creator. It is possible that there were others who came before him who created him. From the creation itself, we have no way of knowing whether the Lawgiver is created, or uncreated. It is impossible for us to tell.

3. We Do Not Know Whether This Lawgiver Is Infinite or Finite

We do not know whether this Lawgiver is infinite or finite. While he may be the Creator, his ability may be limited, or finite. We cannot be certain. In fact, there is no way for us to know this unless the Creator reveals it to us.

4. We Do Not Know Whether There Is a Lawgiver

The fact that people everywhere have laws by which they live does not mean there is an ultimate “Lawgiver.” Societies have different ideas as to what “good” means, and what “evil” means.

Since there are a variety of moral codes in the world, this could give evidence that there is no such person as Lawgiver. It could be argued that moral codes are adopted in various societies merely because they work, not because there is some Lawgiver behind them.

Thus, like all of the other arguments we have listed for the existence of God, there are strengths and weaknesses with the moral argument.

Summary – Question 8
What Is the Moral Argument for God’s Existence? (Moral Standards Are Found Everywhere)

The moral argument recognizes that there are moral standards which universally exist. Each and every society recognizes that it must be governed by certain laws. These universe moral standards point to a lawgiver who has placed these standards in our conscience. Therefore, some God must exist.

While this is stated as evidence for the existence of God the moral argument has its weaknesses. They are as follows.

For one thing, from moral standards alone we do not know the extent of the creative ability of God. We do not know if he was created by some other God. Indeed, we have no way of knowing.

Furthermore, we do not know if this creator has unlimited ability or merely limited ability to create. Again, from looking at the universe we cannot come to any conclusion on this issue.

Finally, we cannot be certain whether or not there truly is a lawgiver. The codes adopted in society may be there simply because they work; not because some lawgiver put them there.

The fact that different societies have different codes may point away from the idea of a universal lawgiver.

Consequently, like the rest of the arguments for God’s existence, the moral argument has its weaknesses.

What Is the Anthropological Argument for God's Existence? ← Prior Section
What Is the Biological Argument for God's Existence? Next Section →
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