We are concerned with and limited to what the Bible says about Morality. Granted that this is a discussion that will touch on worldviews, and we, therefore, must discuss what others may think; however, it is what the Bible teaches that concerns us. For our basis of discussion, we are presupposing the existence of a Supreme Deity whom the Bible identifies as “the God Almighty” in Genesis 17:1 and as Jehovah in Exodus 6:3. Likewise we are presupposing an adequate translation of the Bible from the various sources used to make that translation.
Those that claim not to have any religion probably do not understand what it means to be religious. I found a quote, whose original source I neglected to record and have subsequently modified, that helps us to understand what religion is. “Your religion is any idea or set of ideas in which you believe so strongly that such belief affects your behavior.” Everyone has an ideology which they pursue religiously. The American Heritage Dictionary says, “Religion—an objective pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.” With these statements and definitions, and upon reflection of the lives and accomplishments of well-known historical figures as Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, and Charles Manson, as well as others that could be named, we see each clearly had an idea or set of ideas that affected their behavior and which they pursued with devotion. Granted, it was a religious worldview of darkness, but a religious worldview none the less.
Our religion is an expression of our worldview, our way of interpreting the world around us in which each of us exist. There are two foundations from which one draws one’s world view. Either you believe that all that exists originated from a special act of creation or you believe that the nature of matter is eternal.
Note a quote from the late eminent astronomer, Dr. Robert Jastrow, which he made in an interview as quoted in Wikipedia:
His expressed views on creation were that although he was an “agnostic, and not a believer,” it seems to him that “the curtain drawn over the mystery of creation will never be raised by human efforts, at least in the foreseeable future” due to “the circumstances of the big bang—the fiery holocaust that destroyed the record of the past.”
In an interview with Christianity Today, Jastrow observes “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact” (Jastrow).
Furthermore, the Law of Causality states: “Every effect must have a cause sufficient to produce the effect.” We therefore believe that it is entirely rational to affirm a special creation with a Cause that is outside of the effect and sufficient to bring about all that is. We believe that Uncaused First Cause to be God as He is revealed in the Bible. John Hicks said, “God is ‘the infinite, eternal, uncreated personal reality, who has created all that exists other than Himself, and who has revealed himself to his human creatures as holy and living’ ” (qtd. in Warren v).
Now what about a moral code? Does the Bible inform us of an idea which man is expected to incorporate into his life in such a way. What the Bible Says About: Morality that it informs his intellect and emotions directing his every activity? The answer is a resounding yes!
Consider the first three chapters of Genesis as a beginning. God created man and woman on the sixth day and communicated His will to them. We have some specific instructions from God as to what He expected of them in Genesis 1:28-29, 2:15-17, 24-25.
The relationship they had with God was at the very least one of familiarity, for we see God in the Garden seeking them and calling out to them, asking where they might be (3:8-9). We see in the ensuing conversation God gives very specific instructions and consequences to the couple as a result of their actions in the eating of the forbidden fruit.
However the most striking thing in the aftermath of this transgression of God’s law is the fact that Adam and Eve are still standing, alive, and well. How can that be since they were told that they would surely die in the day that they ate thereof (2:17)?
They are still alive and well because God had a plan for the soul of Man. He had this plan from before the foundation of the world. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Eph. 1:4). “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:20). The purpose of the plan was for Man’s purification and sanctification (Heb. 9:11-12, 15-23; 10:1-4, 9-10, 19-22) in order for us to have fellowship with Almighty God and have Him to walk among us, His people (Deu. 23:14; Lev. 26:12; 2 Cor. 6:16).
The reason for the preconceived plan is that God is able to look down the stream of time and know what would happen (Psa. 147:5). Man, created in God’s image, has free moral agency. He, therefore, is able to make independent decisions and act. As we have seen in the Garden of Eden, man does not always make the correct choice. Therefore, God had a plan in place for the time when man would break the bond of fellowship.
In view of God’s threat of death for partaking of the forbidden fruit, why did their destruction not immediately follow the act of touching and partaking? Sin is transgression of Law (1 John 3:4; 5:17). Sin causes separation from God (Isa. 59:1-2). Blood needs to be shed for sin to be remitted (Mat. 26:18; Heb. 9:11-12; 10:3, 22; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:16-18). Since this is all the case, observe what Genesis 3:21 says, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” God made coats of skins to clothe them and hide their nakedness. Where did the skins come from? Could it have been the animals used to sanctify the sinners from their sin, thus restoring fellowship with God?
There is unquestionably a divinely-instituted moral code man is to follow to maintain a proper relationship with God, man with himself, and then with his fellow man (Mat. 22:35-40). Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18 and states that all the law and prophets hang on these two commandments: love God will your entire being, and love your fellowman as yourself (Mat. 22:37-40). The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:3-17 can be divided into two sections. The first four commandments (20:3- 8) deal with the Israelites relationship with God. The next six commandments (20:12-17) define how the Israelites were to interact with their fellow Israelites and by extension even strangers.
Jesus’ statement regarding the first commandment in Matthew 22:37-38 corresponds to Exodus 20:3-8 and Matthew 22:39 corresponds to Exodus 20:12-17. It is not the case that Christians, or any one today, for that matter, are to keep the Ten Commandments or any other portion of the Mosaic Law. It must be understood that the Divine principles expressed in the Decalogue are restated in the Law of Christ, and, as such, we are to observe those principles as the Law of Christ (Mat. 28:18-20; John 12:47-50; Acts 17:29-31; Rom. 3:23; 6:23).
God has established a universal moral code for which all mankind is held equally and individually accountable, which moral code is revealed in the Bible (2 Cor. 5:10). As Creator (Gen. 1:1-3), God has all the power necessary (Luke 1:37) to enforce His divine will (Isa. 43:13).
The Bible teaches God is holy in an ethical sense (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2), and it is demanded that we, likewise, are to be that way in conduct flowing from our hearts (Isa. 6:3, 5; Psa. 24:3ff).
What are some specifics of this moral code to which all are amenable? The first (and it would seem to be the most obvious) is the institution of marriage. The relationship is introduced on the sixth day of creation, as recorded initially in Genesis 1:26-28 and in more subsequent detail in Genesis 2:18-25. In Matthew 19:3-6, Jesus accepts the historical accuracy of the Genesis account by His approving use of it in teaching on the marriage relationship.
We can learn that the marital relationship is for those with sufficient maturity to leave the home of their parents and establish their home and family. The woman that is fit for marriage ought to already possess or be able to acquire the qualities as described for us in Proverbs 31:10-31. This woman is labeled as a virtuous woman in verse 10. It must be strongly noted that the only man qualified to have a woman such as this for his wife is described for us in Ephesians 5:22-33. He is to have a love for her that is as sacrificial as is that of Christ for His church. The husband is to cherish her at least as much as he does his own body. It is this man that a Proverbs 31 woman will submit herself to and reverence as she ought.
A God-joined marriage (Mat. 19:6) is a relationship between a man and a woman only, a male and female exclusively. These two are to have never previously contracted a marriage (1 Cor. 7:36-38), or if they have been previously married, the marriage must have been one dissolved by either the death of a spouse (Rom. 7:1-4) or by the adultery of the spouse (Mat. 19:9).
To the unacceptability of divorce we must add the unacceptability of separation for even a brief period of time. The only exception to this is for the reason of fasting and prayer, and it must be a mutually-decided upon event that is brief and temporary (1 Cor. 7:5). How brief? Brief enough so that neither spouse is defrauded in their personal needs to avoid fornication in the first place (7:2-4).
Another area covered by this moral code is that of civil government (Rom. 13:1-7). Paul states that civil government as a concept Gene Hill 207 is ordained of God (13:1-2, 4, 6). Agents of civil government are God’s ministers. They are to serve His purposes in ruling in the affairs of men. The purpose of civil government is to protect the innocent citizen against evildoers as a revenger against that evildoer.
Citizens are to be obedient to rulers that serve in that capacity and manner (13:2; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). We are not authorized to submit to ordinances that violate any law of God (Acts 5:29), but we must be willing to suffer the consequences without complaint on the basis of persecution (2 Tim. 3:12).
The last item of this list of moral issues is that of the church. Keep in mind that morality is defined as the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct and a system of ideas of right and wrong conduct (American). This body is part of God’s plan from the beginning.
Under the Christian Dispensation beginning in Acts 2, all of mankind is obligated to come to God through Christ (John 14:6; Eph. 1:3). Bible students know that there is a way and manner of life that God has mandated all must follow to have hope of eternal life (Heb. 11:6; 1 John 1:6-7; Mat. 7:13-14; Jer. 6:16; 10:23).
The church which Jesus built (Mat. 16:18) is now the place in which sanctification through His blood is to be found (Acts 20:28; Heb. 9:11-12, 21-23; 10:22, 29; 1 Pet. 1:2). To gain entrance into this body, and to then possess a real hope of eternal life, there are conditions one must meet. These conditions are ordained of God (Eph. 2:8-10).
One must understand who the Father is and what that means (John 6:44-45). Coming unto Jesus as the Messiah is required (John 1:29; 8:24). A change of conduct called repentance, from one way of morality to another, is required (Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19; 26:18; Col. 1:13-14). Confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior on the part of the one coming to the Father is next (Mat. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:10). Immersion in water to obtain remission of sins is the final step to be granted addition by the Lord into His blood-bought body (Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:16-18).
There is a moral standard to which all mankind is amenable. It is a source of Truth that transcends the human condition being absolute, objective, and obtainable. It is the rule against which all are to be judged concerning our behavior during this period of time we recognize as our span of life. At the close of this period of probation, our book of life will be closed to be opened again when we stand before the judgment bar to receive the things done in the body. The consequence of ignoring this Moral Standard has eternal consequences (Mat. 25:46).
Remember, everyone has a religious worldview through which they interpret and interact with the world around them. What worldview do you possess, and is it in harmony with the God of this universe?
All Scripture quotations are from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.
American Heritage Dictionary, The. 2nd College Ed. 1982.
“Robert Jastrow.” Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. 24 Feb. 2010.
Warren, Thomas B. Have Atheists Proved There Is No God? Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press, 1972, Second Printing 1974.
Reprinted from What Bible Says About:, Thirty-Seventh Annual Bellview Lectures, Pensacola, Fla., 2012, Ed., Michael Hatcher.