Morality Independent of God is an Aberration

Written by Hepuni Kayina on 04/06/13


MORALITY INDEPENDENT OF GOD IS AN ABERRATION

I was not really keen to speak on this topic realizing how inadequate I find myself against such a task, but the matter would not leave my mind, the proverbial bee in the bonnet thing. This feeling of unease was not justification enough to ignore the question of whether there can be a morality apart from God.

This troubling question begged an answer after I read an article in Time magazine, the April 8, 2013 issue, titled "Gay Marriage Already Won. The Supreme Court Hasn't Made Up It's Mind-But America Has", by David Von Drehle.

The article is about the historic courtroom battle raging in the US about extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians, the first hearing which happened on March 26 in the Supreme Court. Attorney Charles Cooper defended heterosexual marriage as the best arrangement in which to raise children. But according to the magazine, the tables were turned on him by Justice Anthony Kennedy when he here interjected, "What about the roughly 40,000 children of gay and lesbian couples living in California?" Kennedy argued, "They want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of these children are important in this case, isn't it?"

David Von Drehle says it is reasoning like this that have already decided the outcome of the great debate although the verdict is pending. Exit polls in November predict that 83% of voters believe that same sex marriage will be legal nation-wide in the next 5 to 10 years. But for our study of interest let me quote a portion from the article. It goes, "In recent days, weeks and months, the verdict on same sex marriage has been rendered by rapidly shifting public opinion (Italics mine) and by the spectacle of swing-vote politicians scrambling to keep up with it. With stunning speed, a concept dismissed even by most gay-rights leaders just 20 years ago is now embraced by half or more of all Americans, with support from among young voters running as high as 4 to 1." President Obama supported same sex marriage in the 2012 elections winning over Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Other political leaders are lining up to convert or have converted their stand.

Shifting public opinion: Public opinion is shifting on this issue as in many others. In 1996- 27% of US voters approved legalizing of gay marriage in national polling; 1999- 35%; 2005-37%; 2006-42%; 2008-40%; 2010-44%; 2012-50%; 2013- 53%. Netherlands (in 2001), Argentina, Belgium and Canada have extended marriage rights to gays and lesbians. So have 9 states and the District of Columbia in the US. Because of this rapid shift of public opinion, the writer states that "Yesterday's impossible now looks like tomorrow's inevitable."

In other words, is yesterday's wrong possibly tomorrow's right if future public opinion says so? Can the importance of a need, as in the argument of the 40,000 children of same sex marriages in California, justify using any means to address that need? To be more specific, are there no absolutes of morality at all? It appears more and more like anything is alright as long as you have a good argument. Entrenched idealism is considered fanaticism and taking absolute stands in moral matters invite accusations of being parochial.

I have chosen the story of David and Sheba to study what the Bible says about the absolutism of what is right and wrong. Let us look at their story as found in 2 Samuel chapters 11, 12. In chapter 11 we read of David's machinations to get Uriah killed in order to make his adultery with Sheba look alright. He knows that although he is king she is another man's wife; and although Uriah is killed in the war with the Ammonites, David orders general Moab to position him to meet certain death, thus committing murder. Had it been another ordinary situation, David would have been angered at the way Uriah and other soldiers got killed due to their rash attack and David would have bemoaned their deaths as wrong and needless. Joab knew this and so his careful coaching of the messenger on how to break the news to the king. When he hears the news of the battle and the deaths his army had suffered, instead of righteous anger David says, "Don't let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack on the city and destroy it. Say this to encourage Joab." - 2Samuel 11:25. In effect he is saying the murder of Uriah is alright, as well as the murder of the rest, for that is what it was, as they had to die too to have Uriah dead in order for the king to steal his wife. There is no need for anyone to be upset as everything is working out well for everyone involved. The pertinent question-If something works well for someone, is that something moral?

God said no. He sent Nathan to confront David with his sin. What David, Joab, Sheba and maybe others thought was alright, is plain sin to God. David himself vehemently passes judgment against himself when his story is put to him in a technical way and detached from himself. (V.5)
Principle: Sin is seen as sin when we look at it from God's point of view. But when we look at the same thing with lust(overpowering craving) we do not see it as sin but as something desirable. God says one can know God's point of view or His laws revealed in creation all around us (Romans 1:18-20) so there is no excuse to be morally wrong.

David knew the Lord's commandments well before he went ahead in sin. He knew he was breaking God's commands (6th commandment-you shall not murder; 7th-you shall not commit adultery; 9th-you shall not give false testimony against your neighbour; 10th-you shall not covet your neighbour's wife) because 1 Kings 15:5 says he was very well versed in them. ("For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord's commands all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite'.) Maybe he thought it would be alright this one time. But God is no respecter of person, time or circumstance where His holiness is concerned however close one might be to God.

Verses 7 & 8 of chapter 12 mention God emphasizing many times that He is the Creator-Power behind David's position and circumstances. "I anointed you..."; "I delivered you..."; "I gave..."; "I gave you..."; "I would have given you more"
Principle: God is the Creator-Power, and therefore the Law.

When we try to obtain things our own way we do not obtain more but rather the whirlwind. (Hosea 8:7- Israel sowed the wind of idolatry and reaped the whirlwind of Assyria)
When we do things independent of God we show contempt for Him. (V.10- "..you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite.")
When we break God's laws we bring judgment on ourselves.

  • "...the sword will never depart from your house." (V.10)
  • "..I am going to bring calamity upon you.>" (V.11)
  • "..I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you." (Galatians 6:7- "A man reaps what he sows")
  • "..you did this in secret..I will do this thing in broad daylight." (Numbers 32:23- "...be sure that your sin will find you out".)

Only after the judgments are pronounced does David then admit that he has sinned against God. (V.13- "I have sinned against the Lord.")
Principle: Judgment proves that God's laws have not changed.
Before being confronted David thought what he had done were alright. He was self deceived by spurious or counterfeit morality. Every morality that is not in line with God's laws is a spurious morality and is actually a sin against God.

Except for unmentioned matters, the morality of God related to things that are clearly stated in the Bible is not subject to time nor interpretation.

- Psalms 119:142, "Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true."
: 144, "Your statutes are forever right."
: 152, "Your statutes..You established them to last forever."
: 160, "All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal."

Homosexuality is clearly mentioned as sin in God's sight.
Leviticus 18:22- "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable."
Leviticus 20:13- "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own head."
In the New Testament particularly Romans 1:26 & 27, the Bible clearly calls this an unnatural act, and explains that this happens when we exchange the truth of God for a lie. This highlights the fact that no change in the law regarding homosexuality has been made.

But if there is shifting public opinion on this today it is a lie because it has moved away from the command of God. Away from God's view, everything can look right but the end of it is undesirable.
Proverbs 14:12- "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."
We must be ready to be hated by the world as Jesus was hated for being unyielding in matters that are absolute standards as set by God for moral behavior. Adherence to the absolutism of God's laws is the factor that will turn "a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter in law against her mother in law- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household."(Matthew 10:34, 35) Jesus clearly states that the decision that is taken on moral standards by each person is the reason why He does not bring peace but a sword.

We must remember that, "He who is the glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind." - 1 Samuel 15:29. Also James 1:17- Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth.... In other words, birthing us from the carnal to the spiritual person can only happen through the rock truth of God's word and not through shifting opinions. Shifting public opinion. It is the shifting sand that brings down a house built on it. But our "..feet are set on a rock" (Ps 40:2), a rock that is unchanging, immovable, irremovable and untransient that will take us firmly standing into ever eternity.
Read Psalms 19: 7-11.