The Naturalist and the Theist Worldview

“The Naturalist and the Theist Worldviews”

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CENTURION EDUCATION FOUNDATION

A Theological Article

by

Dr. Andrew T. Knight

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What is a Theistic Worldview?

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Andrew Thomas Knight

DMIN Luther Rice Seminary, 2014

MABA Clarke Summit University, 2018

MRE West Coast Baptist College, 2010

MBS Emmanuel Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004

BB Pensacola Christian College, 1994

April 21, 2014

OUTLINE

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. CREATION POINTS TO A MORAL GOD
  3. THE SOURCE OF TRUTH LEADS TO ETHIC
  4. THE SOURCE OF EVIL AND SUFFERING
  5. FREE WILL MAKES MAN RESPONSIBLE
  6. ETHIC AND MORALITY HAVE PURPOSE
  7. CONCLUSION
  8. INITIAL SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

INTRODUCTION

The Naturalist worldview believes there is no God in part because there is evil and suffering in the world. The Naturalist may believe in a moral worldview, but that those morals come from someone other than a Divine Being. The Naturalist also may argue that because the world does have evil in it, and that suffering does occur then that would prove that God does not exist. And if God does not exist than that would further prove that the Naturalist cannot and should not be held accountable to a God that does not exist. Where the theist and the Naturalist disagree is one’s responsibility for their actions.

The Theist worldview believes that God is moral and just, and is the Source of all good in the world. The battle lines are therefore drawn along these subtopics. This list is not a complete of areas of worldviews but would be considered the major points of conflict between the naturalist and the theist. The Theist maintains that there is a Creator of the universe and that man is accountable to the moral God and Creator. The Theist believes that there must be a Source of truth and that that truth is found in Jesus Christ. Truth then defined dictates that there is a right and wrong and thus there are Christian ethics to be adhered too. Once again the naturalist and the Theist partially agree that in fact that there is evil and suffering in the world. The Theist believes the source of evil and suffering is Satan, and that God is not the Author of evil. The theist believes that man has free will, and that man is accountable to God for his actions. Finally the theist believes that because there are ethics there is a moral purpose in life.

CREATION POINTS TO A MORAL GOD

All of Creation points to a moral God. All of nature demonstrates that there is a morality and without a moral God and Creator this morality can make no sense. Ralph Cudworth stated, “Moral Good and Evil, Just and Unjust, Honest and Dishonest cannot be Arbitrary things, made by Will without nature; because it is Universally true, That things are what they are, not by Will but by Nature.”[1] Cudworth reasoned that in fact nature does exhibit right and wrong and a moral law. And this moral law points to the Creator of the Universe. Samuel Clarke and John Balguy came to the same conclusions when they argued, “That in matters of natural Reason and morality, that which is Holy and Good is not therefore Holy and Good because ‘tis commanded to be done, but is therefore commanded of God, because ‘tis Holy and Good.”[2] These men have argued that nature has purpose and has an origin, and that that origin is the Creator God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. Genesis 1:1-2:3.

The pluralities of the Godheads are seen in vv. 1:26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” The Creation account records that Christ was also the Creator of the entire universe. This would include all of nature. Nature demonstrates morality and thus demonstrates that Jesus Christ is the Author of morality.

God demonstrated His holiness by way of His declaration to the world, Gen.1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God had decelerated to the world that the world began with Himself. John wrote as he equated Jesus to the Word of God, and that God made everything. John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The argument is advanced further to show that God’s moral character was demonstrated by His being the Creator of the universe and everything in it. That is to say that there was no one before or after Him that has the moral authority to lay down foundations of mankind nor guidance to be followed other than God. The Lord had a conversation with Job that showed the Lord’s moral authority as He tied His authority to the Creation. Job 38:4 “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” As Job was the student and the Lord was the Divine Examiner so is the naturalist that questions the moral authority of God.

As one continues to look closer at the character of God and the event of Creation it becomes less and less plausible to deny the moral authority of God. Walter Schultz discussed Jonathan Edwards understanding of the Creator this way, “Edwards proceeds carefully to argue that only God’s own self-awareness, love, and happiness meet all the conditions for being God’s ultimate end in creation. Through inexhaustible in God, such self-awareness, love, and joy can be viewed as constituting an end to be achieved and sustained in this sense: by there being creatures ex nihilo who experience such things given.”[3] Edwards first expressed that God exemplified love, and then that God exemplified the ultimate moral authority when He created the universe out of nothing. He demonstrated His power over matter, matter makes up nature, and nature to moral laws.

Jonathan Edwards described God’s moral character this way,

God communicated Himself to the understanding of the creature, in giving him the knowledge of His glory; and to the will of the creature, in giving him holiness, consisting primarily in the love of God; and in giving the creature happiness, chiefly consisting in joy in God. These are the sum of that emanation of divine fullness called in Scripture, the glory of God.[4]

The Naturalist and the theist have both the general revelation, that is to say, the entire physical world and universe around them and those pointed to a Creator. And that Creator exemplifies moral authority. That is moral authority over the Creation, moral authority over the universe, and moral authority over life and eternity.

  1. If nature point to a moral law there must be purpose.
  2. If there is purpose there must be a Divine plan.
  3. If there a Divine plan there must be a Creator.

THE SOURCE OF TRUTH LEADS TO ETHIC

C. B. Eavey while discussing education explained how education was directly connected to morality as he explained,

“Jewish education trained servants of God who knew how to be obedient to His Law. The chief end of their education was to make the boy a good son, one who feared the Lord. God was high and exalted, yet very near to His people. The comprehensive aim of education was righteousness, which consisted of three subsidiary overlapping aims: happiness, good character, and fellowship with God.”[5]

The roots of education were in fact the Hebrew fathers teaching their sons. And the education that was taught was all intertwined with the morality in the Law. King Solomon understood that education came directly from knowing the Lord when he penned, Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” He also explained that it was the Bible that led young men to being morally upright when he penned, Psalm 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” King David continued to make his case and the connection between the source of truth and morality when he penned, Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It is more than plausible, it is trustworthy that the Bible is the source of truth and that it has the authoritative power to state morality and persuade its readers to live morally. The early Jewish parents and religious leaders taught the children the connection between the Law of Moses, that is to say the first five books of the Old Testament, and morality. Better said, the source of truth directly connects to ethics in which to live by. Eavey also addressed this connection between truth and ethic on a national level this way,

“They taught the Law of God gave them in order to preserve their nation and give it a high position among the nations of the world, and in order to make this Law known to other peoples. While the people of Israel developed their education, God was educating them to bring them and all mankind to realization of the total insufficiency of man and abundant sufficiency of God through grace.”[6]

Eavey wrote in such terms that morality was so critical to the reputation and even the survival of a nation. The Law did something that nothing else could it showed the inability of mankind to be right with his God and fellow man. The Law then pointed mankind to God in order that man might be morally right in relationship to God and all human relationships.

Daniel Heimbach discussed how Norman Geisler formatted biblical truth in terms of Christian ethics. He stated, “While Geisler draws heavily from the Bible and moral theology, he does not structure Christian ethics in biblical terms. Instead Geisler orders content from the Bible in philosophical terms.”[7] What Heimbach was restating from Geisler was that he was taking biblical truth framing it in terms of reason.

Heimbach then addressed the biblical moral theology perspective of truth and ethics. He explained like this, “The second position evangelicals hold that mixes biblical content with philosophical ethics consists of those who not only employ biblical moral content but also rely on the Bible and moral theology to structure the way Christians understand ethics.”[8] This second position of truth and ethics Heimbach was saying moved the source of truth from a philosophy to the source of truth being in theology.

Heimbach then gave his final interpretation of the source of truth and where ethics are derived from. He stated it like this, “But he warns that while doing this we should not forget that ‘Christian ethics begins with revelation while philosophically ethics starts with reason,’ and that Christian ethics ‘possesses the truth’ while philosophical ethics only ‘pursues the truth.”[9] He summed it up between possessing verses pursuing the truth.

  1. The Law teaches truth.
  2. Truth reveals ethics.
  3. Ethics leads to God.

THE SOURCE OF EVIL AND SUFFERING

The debate with evil and the existence of God is that the Naturalist takes a default position that God must not exist if evil exists. The thought is that if evil exists God exist, as if the two would have to take up all the space in the universe for either one to exist. The first approach to the problem with evil as stated in the text is referred to as the “The Logical Problem of Evil.”[10] This approach looks logically at evil and the existence of God an reveals why the Theist believes this way and why the Naturalist may consider it.

Alvin Plantinga explained it differently,

If God creates human beings with true, morally significant free will (where human beings can freely decide to act in ways that really do advance goodness in the world, or really cause evil in the world against self, others or world), and if God wants a world in which there are significant amounts of (angels- or human-oriented) moral goodness, it’s possible that God cannot get that kind of world without significant amounts of moral badness as well. After all, if people are left free will by God, then the morally significant states of the world will in large part be up to the decisions of humans (and angels), not up to God.[11]

Plantinga argued this way, or maybe one might say to the naturalist, let’s just pretend for a moment that God does exist. Though the Naturalist would most certainly agree with the Theist that mankind should be moral and there should be order in society. Well, this may be a place of common ground. Let’s just agree for a moment that God also wants people to be moral and for goodness to increase in the world. What Plantinga was explaining was that all people have free will to decide to do right or wrong. Therefore, if there were any good in the world and there is it was a choice to do good in the world. On the contrary, he explained, that because man has free will badness will happen in the world. The answer to the Naturalist was that God is not the author of evil nor does He give Divine order for evil to happen in the world. The real question that might be asked of the Naturalist is, why one would blame God for evil and not Satan?

The second approach to the problem of evil was referred to as, “The Evidential Argument from Evil.”[12] Stephen Wykstra argued for a purposeful God that has a plan when He allows suffering to happen. Here the consideration is not based on logic but rather evidence when evil and suffering has happened. Wykstra explained the existence of evil this way,

It is possible that God, in creating a world suitable for humans to achieve moral growth of their own making (and not God’s), must create a world where evils sometimes happen that are never directly ‘redeemed.’ A soul-making world must be one in which our actions could sometimes help others—necessarily entailing our actions could also really harm others as well. That is, gratuitous evils are a necessary by-product of God’s greater good of creating a world with human free will and potentialities of soul making.[13]

What Wykstra had argued for was that man are free moral agents. That is to say that people, even Christian, are not robots. God has made man in such a way that they have free will to make good or bad decisions. They can choose to do good or to do evil in this world. And what should be noted, from Wykstra’s argument, was that evil does happen in this world while also affirming that God is not the Author of evil.

The problem of evil was discussed by Edward John Carnell. He specifically dealt with the sovereignty of God. Carnell explained, “One preserves the freedom of God at all points or he loses it at every point, for a God that is not absolutely sovereign over history is not sovereign in Himself.”[14] The challenge of the problem of evil, particularly from the unbelieving world, was that if holes could be poked in one area of God’s sovereignty then God Himself would be relegated to a weak and powerless God that does not have much influence in the affairs of men. This is no new challenge to God when Jehoshaphat had questioned God this way, “And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?” II Chronicles 20:6 One might say, it is not so much where the dialog begins with regard to God’s sovereignty but what one believes after inspecting the character of God.

God answered this line of questioning with Job in Job 38:4-6 “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;” From one level God addressed and challenged the skeptic in Job’s account. The response to Job from God as Creator was a rebuke to Job as Creation is a rebuke to the Naturalist that has no idea how the universe came into existence but somehow the Naturalist knows more than God.

Another argument that the Naturalist may bring up is that God must not be omnipotent if bad things happen in the world. Likewise the Theist are troubled sometimes by the Naturalist that never pay for living a life apart form God. This is an age old problem which King David addressed in,

Psalms 73:3-19 “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.”

One might consider that the opposite of evil is believing there may be no accountability for evil or evil doers. But according to Kind David that is not the case. There is evil in the world. All commit varying amounts of evil. And there is accountability for all evil. The problem of evil is a logical one at that Carnell has addressed the sovereignty of God logically like this,

Is it logical to believe that God is sovereign both in goodness and in might, when the universe is of such a character that the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper? When the lightening, which is sent by God, seems deliberately to miss the sinner, but strikes upon the saint in prayer? But what shall we say? If we teach that God is not good, we render Him indistinguishable from the devil; and if we say that He is not omnipotent, it may be that He is no longer God.[15]

It may be that Carnell was writing this passage in a logical way that life appears in the natural sense, as opposed to looking at life circumstances from a spiritual perspective. Isaiah spoke to this issue in this way, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 Thus what may appear to be an injustice by the Judge of the universe is invariably do to the limits of man’s finite minds, whereas the Lord has a much longer horizon on life as seen in, Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” Humanly speaking, one may look at evil and think that this or that is not fair, but one might also consider the judgment of the One that does know the end from the beginning and trust the Judge to do right.

The existence of suffering is a difficult thing to understand for Christians as well as unbelievers. Why is suffering part of the human experience? Why do good people suffer? Why does a good God allow suffering? Are there any benefits that come from suffering? Matthew Brubaker discussed evil and suffering this way, “Regarding evil being used as a teaching aid, Swinburne claims that God desires humans not only obtain happiness, but also to learn how to make morally good choices.”[16] There may very well be biblical president for Divine teaching through suffering. II Corinthians 13:9 “For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.” That is to say, that through suffering spiritual maturity may be brought about. Brubaker when on to further explain suffering in the context of parenting like this, “To prove that pain and suffering are logically necessary for moral growth, Hick notes that while most parents seek pleasure for their children, they do not desire for them pleasure at the expense of their character development.”[17] It is when one puts suffering in the context of parenting that suffering begins to make some sense. Not that any parent wants to see their child suffer but every parent wants to see their child mature.

  1. If God is the Author of sin the naturalist must accept that God exists.
  2. Since God wants moral goodness He cannot be the Author of evil.
  3. For good to happen man must have free will.
  4. Because man has free will evil will happen.
  5. God may allow evil to happen that maturity may be the end result.

FREE WILL MAKES MAN RESPONSIBLE

The Naturalist may very well be in denial with regard to personal responsibility of evil. The Naturalist need not necessarily commit himself to Romans 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Or Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” to understand that there is right and wrong decisions that have consequences. Even the Naturalist has experienced a disobedient child. He my blame the misbehavior on the child’s environment but none the less a child will disobey even with the best of parenting skills and disposition of the child. This can only point to the free will of man. Scott Henderson discussed the free will of man like this,

The first of these is his insistence on the gift of free will possessed by all human persons. Although free will is a good gift from God and is the means by which we can do good things and affirm our place in the eternal order, it is also the means by which we can bring sin into the world. So while free will is a good thing given by God, it can also be used in perverse ways.[18]

Henderson’s argument was that free will is a gift from God, and one does what he will with that gift. What can be inferred from this statement is that by no means is God the Author of evil. This is where the Naturalist misses the accountability for evil. The Naturalist and Theist could find common ground in the fact that someone is and should be held accountable for evil. The divergence in the matter is who is culpable for the evil in this world? The Theist, and Henderson by inference, is making that the human being that commits evil or omits good is culpable for their own action or inaction. The Naturalist is blame someone he does not believe in instead of the one he does believe in, himself, for the evil in the world.

Henderson then referenced Augustine on this matter of free will like this,

Augustine recognizes that there is an order of creation reflective of the goodness of God and that all things that exist are inherently good. One of these goods is free will, which carries with it the possibility of its use to bring about evil. Moral evils, therefore, find their cause in the willing of persons. While God is the cause of human freedom, human persons are the cause of their free acts, some of which are good and some of which are evil.[19]

The logical way that Henderson laid out the sovereignty of God to give the gift of free will and the responsibility of man to use that gift for good or evil in such a way that the Naturalist must conclude that every human being is responsible for their own actions or inactions. Every human being is a free moral agent and should be treated as such. Furthermore the Naturalist must begin to take responsibility for his own actions or inactions and stop blaming a God that he does not even believe in for the present of evil in the life of the Naturalist.

The theist believes that God is good and that He is the source of good in the world. The Naturalist however skip over Satan and man, as previously mentioned, and blame the source of good in the world, God, for all the evil in the world. But consider, Psalm 100:5 “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” And, Psalm 34:8 “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” And, Nahum 1:7 “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” And, Psalm 136:1 “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

God is a good God and wants only good for mankind. Millard J. Erickson put it this way, “We have spoken of the nature of God’s providence and have noted that it is universal: God is in control of all that occurs. He has a plan for the entire universe and all of time, and is at work bringing about that good plan.”[20] God’s character is not where the indictment should rest but rather in God’s accusers. Another promise of God’s goodness and good intent is found in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Thus the goodness of God can be understood by the plan He has for people’s lives.

The Naturalist may be conflicted with regard to man’s free will, God’s sovereignty and evil in the world because of a lack of understanding of the character and nature of God. Erickson explained the Naturalist’ conflict this way, “The problem of evil then may be thought of as a conflict involving three concepts: God’s power, God’s goodness, and the presence of evil in the world.”[21] Anyone void of an understanding of God’s power and goodness would not be able to reconcile these three. The Naturalist, as was previously addressed, does not need to accept the power and goodness of God in order to see the flowed character of man.

The Theist would take the position that God is all powerful and that He did create everything as Erickson explained,

We have noted that creation and providence are implementations of this omnipotence, meaning respectively that God has by His own free decision and action brought into being everything that is and that He has chosen. Further, we have observed the goodness of God—His attributes of love, mercy, patience.[22]

That might explain why man has free will when one sees that God is autonomous in His decision making. One should not infer from that statement that God’s actions are not bound by His own moral character and divine attributes. The biblical evidence that expresses the likeness of man to God is seen in, Genesis 1:26a “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:,” and in Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Thus man was created to be free-moral agents, able to do what is good or to do evil. The Naturalist may do well to concede this aspect if they are to be intellectually honest, as the Naturalist and the Theist both enjoy the freedom to make one’s own decisions.

  1. All enjoy free will.
  2. Therefore God is sovereign.
  3. God then is the source of good.
  4. Evil action or inaction leads to culpability.
  5. Only a moral, just God can punish evil.

ETHIC AND MORALITY HAVE PURPOSE

Ethic and morality are matters of the heart, and the Old Testament message to

Samuel revealed this in I Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” Thus the point of being morally right is not an academic exercise but rather is the heart of man conforming to the heart of God. Ethic and morality are both vertical, that is toward God, and horizontal, toward man. Mark referenced this as the greatest commandment, Mark 12:30-31 “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Harry Bunting discussed the moral significance of ethics like this,

An emphasis on the moral significance of inner character is of importance to our present purposes for two inter-related reasons. First, a stress on inner character as opposed to outward action is a prominent feature of contemporary philosophical ethics where the emphasis has given rise, in recent decades, to the emergence of the school which is called ‘virtue ethics’; and thereby has been reasonable, if confident voices are to be believed, for the most significant restructuring of the general contours of ethical theory in the modern period.[23]

That is to say that if one only conforms outwardly to biblical ethics then there has really not been any real change. On the other hand if one has a heart change on ethical matters then there has been more than an outward conformity there has been a real heart change. The Naturalist may look at ethics in terms of what the Law may require, and so the Naturalist may not grasp the significance of the Theist holding to ethics based upon biblical convictions. The Naturalist has rejected the indwelling Spirit, the Savior, and God the Father and Judge. Bunting explained the theological conviction and virtue of ethics this way,

Stated informally, it is claimed that there are biblical and theological foundations for the claim that character is the primary focus in Christian ethics. The moral perfection of Jesus and His role for believers as master and guide, the centrality of the doctrine of sanctification, the stress on the communal nature of the moral development of the believer: the existence of these and other themes has convinced some recent writers that Christian ethics is a virtue ethic.[24]

The ethic of the Theist demonstrates what the Theist believes in his heart, and thus the heart is the object of what the conformity to ethic reveals. The Theist according to the Christian doctrine of sanctification is to hold to an ethic that is continuing to become more and more like that of the Savior. As indicated in I Corinthians 1:30 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”

David Baggett and Jerry Walls placed a relationship with the Lord over personal virtue when they stated,

Christianity thus argues for a powerful personal understanding of reality, and this necessarily results in a shift when understanding ethics away from a list of rules and toward a personal relationship with other persons, and ultimately, God Himself. This makes sense of why virtue would ultimately take primacy over moral lists and rules, since virtues and traits of persons, and we have argued that a personal God resides at the foundation of ethics.[25]

Baggett and Walls reiterated from the Theist perspective that moral virtue must be based upon a personal relationship with the Divine. They summed it up simply that a relationship supersedes a set of rules in the pathway to practicing a life of ethics. The Naturalist on the other hand is at a loss on two fronts. The Naturalist has no concept of a personal relationship with the Devine, or the concept of sanctification (becoming more like Christ). The Naturalist, if he is to be an ethical person is limited by the strength of his own character, and limited by his lack of understanding of the character and essence of God. Only the Theist has a moral purpose to hold to moral ethics.

  1. Moral ethics must reside outside of man.
  2. The moral God is the foundation of all ethics.
  3. Therefore ethics are based on a relationship with God.
  4. Moral ethics are adhered to by a changed heart.
  5. The purpose of moral ethics is to become more like Jesus Christ.

CONCLUSION

The research has shown the Creation, nature, biblical references, and purposeful plan all point to God being a moral and just. Genesis passages reveal the likeness of the image of God seen in man. This would indicate the purpose that God has for man in the world. The determination of purpose is seen in God declaring the Creation of the heaven and earth. The moral authority of God is seen as He created everything seen out of noting. God’s moral authority was demonstrated through His purpose. His purpose showed that He had a plan for the world and mankind. His purpose authenticated that He was the Creator.

The search for ethic and its origin went back to the Jewish Old Testament era. The research revealed that parents and religious leaders taught from the Law of Moses. Thus while teaching truth it was always connected to a moral principle. Biblical research also found that knowledge began with a relationship with the Lord. Christian ethics was clarified as possessing the truth. The truth revealed ethics and ethics leads to the Lord.

This research led to discover the source of evil and suffering. This research looked at the problem with evil from a logical and an evidential perspective. The study revealed that God wants goodness to happen. It was also revealed that man has a free will to do good or evil. The broad view is that the Lord is good. He is not the Author of evil. In His sovereignty He does allow suffering with the purpose of maturing His people.

The research on the free will of man revealed that the evil man commits is responsible for it. All enjoy free will and it is a gift from God. Man may make right or wrong decisions but is culpable for evil actions or inactions. Man is a free moral agent. God is the source of all good and He is sovereign. The Lord is a moral and just God, and because of His moral judgment He can and does punish evil.

Finally this research found that moral ethics must originate outside of man. God alone has the moral virtue and is the foundation for all ethics. All ethics then coming from God requires a personal relationship with God. These moral ethics were shown to be possible by a changed heart. The final significant truths revealed of the purpose of moral ethics were to be sanctified through a maturing relationship Jesus Christ.

INITIAL SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Allison, Michael and Jude Kaye. Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations: A Practical Guide and Workbook. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.

Caner, Ergun and Ed Hindson, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics (Eugene, Or: Harvest House Publishers, 2001.

Carnell, Edward John. An Introduction to Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans Publishing Company,1948.

Clarke, Samuel, and John. Balguy, A Discourse concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of National Religion, (British Moralist: Being Selections from Writers Principally of the eighteenth Century Vol. 2 (L.A. Selby-Bigge; New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1705.

Cudworth, Ralph. A Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality (British Moralist: Being Selections from Writers Principally of the eighteenth Century, New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1964.

Baggett, David, and Jerry L. Wells, Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Eavey, C. B. History of Christian Education. Chicago: Moody Press, 1964.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999.

Journal Articles

Brubaker, Matthew. “Gratuitous Evil Revisited: Is the ‘Greater-Good’ Theodicy the Best Theist’s Defense?,” Faith and Missions Journal (Summer 2004): 68.

Bunting, Harry “Ethics And the Perfect Moral Law,” Tyndale Bulletin (NA 2000): 237.

Heimbach, Daniel R. “Toward Defining Christian Ethics: An Evaluation of Contrasting Views,” Global Journal of Classical Theology (January 2011): 3.

Henderson, D. Scott. “Atheism, Theism, and the Problem of Evil,” Journal of Biblical Ministry (Spring 2011): 11.

Schultz, Walter. Jonathan Edwards’s End of Creation: An Exposition and Defense (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 2006), 258-9.

  1. Ralph Cudworth, A Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality (British Moralist: Being Selections from Writers Principally of the eighteenth Century Vol. 2 (L.A. Selby-Bigge; New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1964), 247.
  2. Samuel Clarke and John Balguy, A Discourse concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of National Religion, (British Moralist: Being Selections from Writers Principally of the eighteenth Century Vol. 2 (L.A. Selby-Bigge; New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1705), 32.
  3. Walter Schultz, Jonathan Edwards’s End of Creation: An Exposition and Defense (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 2006), 258-9.
  4. Ibid. Schaltz, 259.
  5. C. B. Eavey, History of Christian Education (Chicago: Moody Press, 1964), 49.
  6. Ibid. C. B. Eavey, History of Christian Education, 69.
  7. Daniel R. Heimbach, “Toward Defining Christian Ethics: An Evaluation of Contrasting Views,” Global Journal of Classical Theology (January 2011): 3.
  8. Ibid. “Toward Defining Christian Ethics:, 3.
  9. Ibid. 3.
  10. Ergun Caner and Ed Hindson, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics (Eugene, Or: Harvest House Publishers, 2001), 211.
  11. Alvin Plantinga, God, Freedom and Evil (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 212.
  12. Ibid. Ergun Caner and Ed Hindson, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, 212.
  13. Ibid. 213.
  14. Edward John Carnell, An Introduction to Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans Publishing Company,1948), 276.
  15. Ibid. Edward John Carnell, An Introduction to Christian Apologetics, 277-278.
  16. Matthew Brubaker, “Gratuitous Evil Revisited: Is the ‘Greater-Good’ Theodicy the Best Theist’s Defense?,” Faith and Missions Journal (Summer 2004): 68.
  17. Ibid., Brubaker, “Gratuitous Evil Revisited:,” 68.
  18. D. Scott Henderson, “Atheism, Theism, and the Problem of Evil,” Journal of Biblical Ministry (Spring 2011): 11.
  19. Ibid. Henderson, “Atheism, Theism, and the Problem of Evil,”11.
  20. Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999), 437.
  21. Ibid. Erickson, 437.
  22. Ibid. Erickson, 437.
  23. Harry Bunting, “Ethics And the Perfect Moral Law,” Tyndale Bulletin (NA 2000): 237.
  24. Ibid. Bunting, Ethics and the Moral Perfect Law, 238.
  25. David Baggett, and Jerry L. Wells, Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 185.

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