General basic moral principles are the fabric of society. Most decent people would not argue that theft, murder, child molestation and so on were wrong and that persons committing those offenses deserved some form of punishment. However, many of those same people would struggle to answer why these offenses are wrong. Their struggle to do so is due to their lack of understanding about the origin of morals. This article will attempt to explain why morals are relevant to the origins debate and explain the origin of morality.
Morality, at least in a classic sense of the word, referred to a collected set of beliefs about right and wrong. It was wrong to kill in cold blood. Self defense was accepted but to murder a man was wrong. It was wrong to take something that did not belong to you or use something for which you could not pay. My grandfather rented apartments for years. When he first started renting, if someone fell on hard times and could not pay their rent, they would leave the apartment the night before rent was due and take any belongings they had with them. This was considered the moral thing to do. If you could not pay, you did not stay. In recent years, this had changed as people waited until the courts forced them to vacate the premises. This brief example illustrates that what once was considered moral may no longer be considered so. Societal morals can change and frequently do.
However, despite what societal flexibility may do to morality, there appears to be certain definitive lines which have yet to be blurred. I stated some of them in the opening paragraph. Why have these lines not yet been eliminated if evolution is true? Evolution demands a relative system of morality. If all that is around us is not guided by Divine design, but is simply a result of chemical reactions as evolutionists would tell us, then we can deduce a few things. If all we are is chemical reactions, then there is no reason for us not to follow what those chemical reactions prompt us to do. Restraint is meaningless. If the chemical reactions in a persons brain tell him to burn down a store, why can anyone tell him he is wrong to do so? Different chemical reactions in the human brain do not equate to an absolute standard of right and wrong.
To get around this relativism, evolutionists frequently will resort to a sort of “majority rules” argument. They will argue that laws are in place based on a majority of society agreeing. However, no mainstream evolutionist will agree that the majority of Germans were right to vote for the Nazi party in elections held prior to WWII so clearly the majority can be wrong. If the majority can be wrong, it cannot be relied upon to produce fair and just laws. To illustrate this, suppose I were to pick the pocket of an evolutionist and steal his wallet and keys. If the evolutionist confronted me for doing so, what basis would he have to tell me I am wrong and demand his wallet and keys back? The majority made a law would mean nothing to a thief. If I were to respond that I merely followed the chemical reactions in my brain, how well do my readers think an evolutionist would respond to that? At a minimum he would rightly demand his wallet and keys back and he should get them, because theft is wrong. However, the evolutionist has to assume basic morality to condemn theft. He must assume that morals exist and that they apply equally to everyone. Essentially, by demanding his keys and wallet back, the evolutionist is arguing for absolute standards of right and wrong.
If there is an absolute standard of right and wrong, as evolutionists tacitly assume, then where does it originate? As we demonstrated in the above paragraph, it cannot be based on the majority opinion, nor can it be based on evolutionary theory. Therefore, morality must come from something outside evolution. This is a huge problem because evolution is more than just a scientific theory. It is an ideology that must attempt to explain why people act in certain ways, not just why people exist. If it cannot explain the existence of an absolute standard of right and wrong, then it fails as an ideology, and therefore fails as an explanation for origins. Since absolute right and wrong cannot be based on man’s opinions or ideologies, it must be based on something higher.
The standard of absolute right and wrong must originate with an authority higher than mans. If it originates with man, then it is not absolute, because no man is absolutely infallible. Therefore an absolute moral standard must originate with a deity. There is no other choice. Only a deity could be both infallible and have the authority to set a moral authority that man must obey. Therefore, the existence of a moral code is evidence for the existence and creative work of a deity.
Creationists have no problem with the existence of morals. They ascribe their own existence to the creative power of God and thus have no difficulty admitting both to His existence, and to His creative work. Creationists derive their moral standards from God’s Word, particularly the standards of behaviour found in God’s moral law in the Old Testament. However, built into man, even those which reject God, is an absolute moral compass called a conscience. This can be dulled and blunted of course, and frequently is, but the mere fact that it exists speaks volumes about the creative work of God. Morality cannot be made by man, nor imposed by man. It must have been originated by God.