Thursday, October 22, 2015

Christianity and Civilization

Back in December, 2005 I wrote an article for Biblical Worldview magazine. At one point they had all issues available online but have since taken everything down. I scanned the article and have included it below.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Moral Law is Forever Binding on All

The idea that God could set aside or change His moral law is blatantly unbiblical and repugnant to the Father’s love for the Son.

First, according to the Bible, the law is a transcription of God’s holiness, righteousness, and perfection. This is why the Law instructs us to be holy, righteous, and perfect because God is holy, righteous, and perfect (Lev. 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7, 26; something the New Testament unapologetically repeats – e.g. Matt. 5:48, 1 Pet. 1:16).

In light of this, to say that God’s moral norms have changed necessarily presupposes either that God Himself has changed or that God is at variance with Himself. Both of these notions are contradicted by Scripture, the former by what James says, i.e. that with “God there is neither variableness, nor shadow cast by turning” —the same James, by the way, who defines sin as transgression of the Law (Jms. 2:9), even citing in the process the summary of God’s moral law found in the Decalogue (Jms. 2:8-13)— and the second is contradicted by what Paul told Timothy, namely, that God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13)—the same Paul who also referred to the Old Testament as inspired by God and therefore “profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16). The immutability and absolute consistency of God are everywhere presupposed in Scripture, easily deducible from sundry truths of Scripture, and are explicitly asserted in Scripture. When this is coupled with the fact that the law is a revelation of God Himself, of His righteous character, of His holiness, of his goodness, then it follows that the moral law has neither been set aside nor changed. (BTW, any Christian who rejects the eternally binding nature of the moral law should forever forego arguing for God’s existence on the basis of absolute, universal, invariant laws of morality. When a Christian says that morality has changed, he has said nothing other than what atheists are forced to say by the dictates of their philosophy, though Christians can’t reason consistently by that assumption any better than atheists can. Autonomy is just as philosophically preposterous for a Christian as it is for an atheist, though the former have even less excuse for it, which is saying a lot since Paul says non-Christians have NO excuse – Rom. 1:20.)

Second, given God’s free and gracious decision to save man, the work of Christ in satisfying divine justice by his vicarious, sacrificial, atoning death became an absolute necessity. This clearly follows from our Lord’s own plea to the Father that if there be any other way to redeem lost sinners that the Father would remove from Christ the cup of His wrath (Matt. 26:39; Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:42). The very fact that the Father did not remove the cup, as He surely would have had there been any other way, shows that there was no other way. However, if God can change or set aside His moral law as some allege, then there would have been another way to rescue sinners, i.e. God could have simply changed or set aside His law by which sinners are consigned to wrath for their sins, and then he could have waived his hand and declared bygones to be bygones (“For where there is no law, there is no transgression” – Rom. 4:15). In effect, those who say God’s moral laws are mutable and dispensable are obligated by the demands of consistency to say that the Father delivered the Son of His love over to death when He didn’t have to do so, and that He rejected the Son’s request in spite of there being another way of saving sinners that would have spared His beloved Son the accursed death of the cross.

Accordingly, any denial of the ethical continuity of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation ought to be completely rejected by those who hold to the orthodox doctrine of God as unchangeable and self-consistent and of Christ as the beloved Son of the Father.