Where did we get the ability to tell right from wrong? Evolution has no explanation for this, but creationism does. Please don’t overlook this fact. It’s a big problem that evolution has no way of explaining human morality. This is important because this is what separates us from the rest of creation. We don’t see animals living by moral standards because only humans have this unique attribute to tell right from wrong.
The Bible teaches that since God made humans in His own image, He gave us the ability to distinguish right from wrong. We see evidence of this as we witness our children exhibit this knowledge at a very young age. For example, if we tell our child to not touch a hot stove, inevitably the child will wait until we look away so they can reach out and touch it. They attempt this while we’re not looking because they intuitively know that what they are about to do is wrong.
In fact, none of us ever had to learn how to lie. None of us ever had to take a class to learn how to lust. And none of us had to read a book to learn how to be jealous or wish harm to our enemies. To sum up, none of us ever had to learn how to sin. Not only do we naturally know how to sin, but we sometimes even hesitate before we are about to do something wrong because we wrestle in our souls as we contemplate it. Each of us has embedded within us a moral code, and we immediately know when we violate that code.
So where did this knowledge come from?
The Bible teaches that it comes from God. God gave us a conscience, and our conscience is the part of us that signals what we are about to do is wrong. It’s also the part of us that causes guilt after we’ve done something wrong. We all know the difference between a guilty conscience and a clear conscience (Romans 2:14–15).
So if our conscience enables us to differentiate between right and wrong, then why don’t we always follow our conscience? Why don’t we always live up to that moral code each one of us has inside our souls? We violate our conscience because we like to take matters into our own hands just like the child did when touching the hot stove. None of us likes to be told what to do, so we prefer to be “judge” and decide for ourselves how to live. However, the problem with this is none of us can be an impartial judge when making decisions. This is because something else comes into play when we make choices—namely, desire. Desire plays a significant role in making moral decisions. Our conscience may tell us one thing, while our desires may tell us the opposite. Instead of making decisions that are purely based on right versus wrong, we are easily tempted to make decisions that favor our desires.
But is there an absolute moral standard? The Bible says yes. And that moral standard is set by God. This is why He gave us commandments: they teach us what is right from wrong. I wrote in chapter 1 that truth is true regardless of whether I know it, whether I agree with it, whether I like it or believe it. Therefore, regardless of how I feel about it, the Bible teaches that God is both Lawgiver and Judge.
But again, we don’t like this very much. We like to run our lives according to how we see fit. But here’s an example of how that scenario plays out:
John says, “I decide what’s right and wrong in my own life. I’m the god of my universe.”
Then Bill says in response, “Well, John, I’m going to kill you.”
John says to Bill, “You can’t kill me. You can’t do that!”
Bill answers, “I’m the god of my universe and I say I can.”
Do you see the problem with each of us wanting to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong? In fact, listen to what the world says and before long you will hear statements like, “Do whatever makes you happy, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” This may sound fine on the surface, but who are we to decide what may or may not hurt someone else? Throughout the ages, there have been many choices made in the pursuit of happiness that have indeed hurt others.
We are naturally drawn to any subjective morality code that allows us to live out our desires. This is why there are such deep differences when discussing issues like abortion, capital punishment, sex outside of marriage, and homosexuality. This is why there are so many differences in how families are run, or how countries are led.
The Bible teaches that God has given us a conscience to speak to our souls in the matter of what is right and wrong and we immediately know when we have made choices that go against our conscience. How could this have come from evolution? There’s no good explanation for the existence of morality other than what the Bible says.
This article is an excerpt from Fara Martin’s book, Truth Exists.