Where do morals come from? This was the discussion between Andrew Rappaport and Evan in Conversations with an Atheist on Apologetics Live. Though, the conversation did revolve around the morality of slavery, it repeatedly came back to where morals come from. This conversation does give much insight into the thinking of moral relativism and Christianity. Therefore, it would be important to watch this episode on Apologetics Live. What makes this episode so valuable is that both people are cordial and knowledgeable of the other’s viewpoint.
So, let’s look into where morals come from.
Origin of Morals
Rappaport states morals come from God, not the Bible. God does not lie (Numbers 23:19), therefore, man should not lie (Exodus 20:16, ESV). God is love. Hence, people should love one another (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39). God, being the Creator of the world, organized the world in such a way that it operates according to his mind. This is reflected in the Proverbs:
“23 “From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.24 “When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water.25 “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth;26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world.27 “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed,29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth;30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I [wisdom] was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him,31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men.” (Proverbs 8:23-31, ESV).
Since the world runs on God’s wisdom, morals come from the wisdom and character of God. Therefore, people should treat each other according to God’s wisdom. Wisdom is based upon God’s character. This even applies to human sexuality, because God created marriage. So sexual activity in marriage is based upon God’s nature.
Morality and Slavery
Towards the beginning of the conversation, Evan argued that slavery in the Bible is a case for moral relativism. Rappaport showed that Biblical slavery is not the same as other types. Biblical slavery was a seven-year period to pay off debt (Exodus 21:1-6, ESV). The slavery of Egypt was based upon racism. Also, Rome’s was based upon conquering war and debt. The truth about Paul telling slaves to submit to their masters was to not revolt against the system, but to trust in God’s justice. When one considers where morals come from, that makes sense.
Rappaport shows in real time how to accurately defend where morals come from–God himself. One caveat about moral relativism is that it cannot be consistent with its own worldview. The moral relativist cannot argue against slavery being wrong and promote abortion. Since both situations have to do with the idea of bodily autonomy. One could ask the question, “Is moral relativity absolutely true?”
Please pray for Evan’s salvation. He knows the gospel. Also, he is respectful. Since he is in the image of God, we want the best for him. That best is to be saved from sin and be freed to live eternal life with God. Rappaport shared the gospel well with him. The bad news is we have all sinned. All people have lied, stolen items, used God’s name in vain, and looked with lust. Therefore, we are lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterers at heart. That should concern us because God is a good judge and must punish sinners in Hell for all eternity. Yet, God in His mercy sent the Lord Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, to live a sinless life. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin. Therefore, God can freely dismiss one’s case. Also, Jesus rose from the dead to give newness of life for all who turn from sin (repent), and trust in Christ’s sacrifice. Morals come from God. Salvation does as well.
More From Striving For Eternity
If you want more information on studying the Bible and how to interpret it correctly, check out the store section at strivingforeternity.org/store. There are tons of resources to help you get started on your journey to interpreting the Bible better. Also invite Andrew Rappaport and Aaron Brewster to come to your church and teach you biblical interpretation with their Biblical Interpretation Made Easy Seminar. Andrew Rappaport, Aaron Brewster, and other guests on Apologetics live would also enjoy answering your questions on the live show on Thursdays from 7pm–9pm CST with the link to the stream yard at strivingforeternity.org/apologeticslive. Lord bless you and strive to make today and eternal day for Christ Jesus.