Following The Evidence #24

Have you ever asked yourself, “How do we explain the existence of morals and values?” God is the best explanation! Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust, are objectively evil. But if atheism is true, what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are objective moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. If human evolution had taken a different path, a very different set of moral feelings might have evolved. By contrast, God Himself serves as the standard of goodness, and His commandments constitute our moral duties. Thus, belief in God provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.

If there is no God, then an absolute standard of right and wrong only becomes culturally relative. Moral values become patterns of behaviour that have just evolved in a social context. However, moral values and duties do exist. Some things are really wrong. Rape, torture of a little child, molestation, hatred, cruelty are really wrong. Similarly, love, generosity, self-sacrifice are really good. From these two premises it follows, therefore, God exists.

If objective moral values and duties cannot exist without God, and objective moral values and duties do exist as is evident in our moral experience, then it follows necessarily that God exists. The argument is not that belief in God is necessary for morality. The argument is that God is necessary for morality.

This morality is consistent with a sort of generic monotheism that Jews, Christians, and Muslims would all be happy to affirm. That there is a creator and designer of the cosmos who is the source and point of reference of absolute moral value. The question is: which of these monotheisms is true, if any? What I would argue is that God has revealed himself decisively in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who claimed to be the Son of God and the absolute revelation of God and whose radical personal claims were publicly vindicated by God by raising him from the dead.

Paul had a point when he said that if the resurrection didn’t happen, we above all men are to be pitied, we above all men are fools. So, the resurrection event is decisive and sets Christianity apart. Belief in God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Historians have reached something of consensus that the historical Jesus thought that in himself God’s Kingdom had broken into human history, and he carried out a ministry of miracle-working and exorcisms as evidence of that fact. Moreover, most historical scholars agree that after his crucifixion Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty by a group of female disciples, that various individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death, and that the original disciples suddenly and sincerely came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection despite their every predisposition to the contrary.

 I can think of no better explanation of these facts than the one the original disciples gave: God raised Jesus from the dead. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, that means He must be who He claims to be. It means that God has publicly vindicated His claims. We will spend, in coming weeks, considerable time establishing the incredible evidence for the resurrection.

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