Monday, August 22, 2011

What is the true arbitrator of morality? Part 3

Thirdly, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if we are the products of only matter/energy. The epistemological implications of evolution dogged Darwin: can we know we know anything?

The eighteenth century philosopher and patron saint of materialism, David Hume, explained that all we can know is what we receive as impulses impinging on our nervous system; truth is nothing more than a consistent outcome from a repetitive series of stimulus/responses. If we are only the outcome of matter/energy slow-cooked in a crucible of chance, then Hume would be perfectly correct. But how could concepts of right and wrong ever emerge from such a state? They couldn’t.

Hume’s ideas awoke Kant from his intellectual slumbers. Even though Kant disavowed any possibility of uniting the particulars with the universals—nature with grace—creature with Creator--he saw the necessity of the universal of a transcendent morality, and proceeded through his concepts of the maxim and the categorical imperative to prove the existence of God—albeit, despite his Lutheran upbringing, a deist god, not the Christian God. Kant took a leap of faith because practical reason demands that there is a transcendent morality, and in the process showed that there has to be a God.

The point is the evolutionary philosophy, which is founded on the eternal existence of matter/energy, cannot accommodate concepts like morality without contradicting itself. I am reminded of one such philosopher who went to great lengths to show that infanticide, war, rape, and such are all valid mechanisms of natural selection, and therefore not wrong. Okay, at that point he appeared to be living his worldview. But then he finished by saying that we all really should try to love one another. Sorry, dude, you cannot do that. Your worldview simply doesn’t have any explanation or justification for making such a leap. But you made it anyway because you knew that it is impossible to live your worldview in the real world. So you imported morality—Judeo-Christian concepts of love and justice, I might add—into your philosophy in order to make it livable. What it should tell you is your worldview is fatally flawed.

We can know because the Creator, God, is both infinite and personal. He created an ordered universe; therefore, it can be investigated. He interacts intimately with us whom He created for that purpose, so we can know and understand the cosmos He placed us and our purpose in it. Being personal, God’s right order of things naturally involves relationships. And these relationships are driven and maintained by Love. But Love cannot be divested from the right order of things, otherwise everyone would attempt to interrelate on the basis of what feels right, and the result would be chaos and destructive relationships.

Love is therefore inextricably tied to the right order. This inseparable and essential union demands and defines the transcendent morality. The only way we can apprehend this morality and so exist in and fulfill the purposes for which we were created is if we walk intimately with God; for God is the only source of the Love and order that defines true life; we depend solely on our Creator for our existence. When we turn our back to him by believing we can be our own moral agents, we die. Sadly, that is the state we are all in. And this state of death keeps us floundering in the particulars without any way to the universal we know must exist because we cannot really live without it.

But precisely because God is both merciful and just, he hasn’t left us in death. Instead, in a real moment in history, He took on flesh and dwelt among us and entered death, and then, because He died unjustly, by the power of God’s Love and in His justice, Christ was raised back to life: Christ lives! And because He lives, we can live with Him if we only acknowledge Him as King and live to please Him, which is to conform to the Love and order God demands and created us for—to seek God to be our one and only moral agent. And we trust that we will please Him because, through Christ’s faithfulness to God for the restoration of His creation, God will be faithful and dwell forever with us who believe Him, trust Him, and so obey Him, and because of God’s faithfulness we will succeed.

Jesus the Christ promises us: “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.”