We have seen that the problem of evil is very real, and that we intuitively react against it. This in turn gives rise to a sense of morality – the sense that certain actions are somehow "wrong" and others "right"?
But what is the basis for morality? How do we know what is "wrong" and "right"? The biblical answer is simple and straightforward: "He has shown you, O man, what is good; / And what does the Lord require of you / But to do justly, / To love mercy, / And to walk humbly with your God?" (Mic. 6:8; NKJV). God is our Creator and Judge. He sets the rules. Nothing could be plainer than that.
Nothing, that is, except to a philosopher, and indeed many of them have, in fact, raised objections to what is sometimes called "The Divine Command Theory." Secularists sometimes point to a dialogue of Plato's ("Euthyphro") in which Plato supposedly demonstrated that morality cannot derive its source from God.
The obvious flaw in the argument, of course, is that the ancient Greeks were polytheists. Their "gods" were little more than glorified humans, and often behaved little better than humans as well. Not surprisingly, they often disagree with each other. The Bible, on the other hand, posits the existence of only one God, eternal, self-existent, , the sole Creator of heaven and earth. The creation derived its original shape and contours from Him. He is the source of all created reality. Hence nothing exists independently of this one God, and there is no authority outside of Him that can impose a standard of morality. His creative will determines the norms by which the universe functions. Thus there is no other source of morality. What is good, and true, and right is good and true and right for the simple reason that God said so.
But, it will be argued, all human beings have a sense of right and wrong whether they have read the Bible or not. (Well, at least all human beings outside the Washington Beltway!) That demonstrates that morality is not derived from the Bible as its original source.
The premise is true; the conclusion is not. Why does nearly everyone have an innate sense of right and wrong? It is because they are creatures of God, and have His law written on their hearts. ". . . for when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness . . ." (Rom. 2:14,15). Paul uses an interesting argument to demonstrate his point: "their thoughts accusing or else excusing them" (v. 15). Just look at the way people behave. One person accuses another of wrongdoing. The person accused quickly defends himself against the charge. Why? What is wrong with, let's say, lying? What is wrong with being called a liar? Both the accusation and the denial show that both sides know intuitively that lying is wrong. How do we account for this? Either we agree that lying is objectively wrong, or else we accept the fact that lying is perfectly normal and both sides are being irrational. The latter option is unthinkable.
Atheists are quick to proclaim that it is possible to be "good without God" and that belief in God is not necessary for morality. On one level this is certainly true. Atheists are human beings, and are capable of displaying human kindness. But on another level they are certainly wrong. What atheists have succeeded in demonstrating is that there is an objective, universally binding standard of conduct, and at least some atheists would freely deny that any such code of conduct exists. But even an atheist cannot escape his own humanity. He has a conscience, and his conscience tells him otherwise.
The Nature of Morality
The Case for Moral Absolutes
Jerry Coyne: Good Without God?
Alasdair MacIntyre: A Study in Moral Theory
A Scientific Basis for Morality?