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I was sitting in a waiting room for our van to be repaired when my eye caught the cover of the Smithsonian magazine. It was the picture of a toddler in diapers with red horns coming out of his head and a red pitch fork in his hand. The title was: “Born To Be Mild.” The article was asking an important age-old question of where morality comes from. Naturally it grabbed my interest and I had to borrow the magazine.
Yale University has what is called an infant cognition center where researchers study the moral inclinations (behavior) of infants: How do they understand right from wrong before language and culture influences them? As I read I encountered the underlying assumption or presupposition I anticipated. Words and phrases such as, “are we a failed species ... Charles Darwin wrote ... Benjamin Spock ... the evolution of childhood ... the evolutionary road ... natural selection ... in our evolution,” to name a few. Yes, it was a purely-evolutionary presupposition. To put it simply, researchers are trying to understand human behavior without God as part of the equation. What is interesting is evolutionists will acknowledge the morals most people adhere to, which has their basis in the Bible, but will not acknowledge God as the great, moral law giver. In fact many evolutionists acknowledge evolution does not provide a basis for morality. So how does one determine good from evil, right and wrong, without a foundation defining what is good and evil? How can one say something is evil without a standard of good to compare it to?
So where does morality come from? We must begin with our Christian presupposition that God exists. He is the creator and man alone is created in his image and, as our creator, has the right to set the standards for morality. Man (Adam & Eve) were created with the understanding of what was good and the choice to obey their creator or to rebel against him. Man has not lost his sense of right and wrong, which we normally call a conscience. That is why researchers at Yale observe infants and toddlers often making choices that are good and right.
The Bible makes it clear our moral standard comes from the law of God given in the Ten Commandments, and they are written on every human heart.
Because of our sin nature, our perception of right and wrong is an imperfect guide to morality. Therefore, we are in need of God’s direction and that comes to us through his word which is the ultimate foundation for knowing good and evil. We need only to look at the Bible to understand the origin of morality and why some people choose evil. The God of the Bible has provided a universal standard of morality and it is summed up in Micah:
Without Christianity there is no lasting or universal right and wrong. The Bible must be taught to our children and grandchildren.