O Lord, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
2 Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!
3 O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
4 They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
The verses above might seem a bit random, but let me explain.
So the church Luke and I attend, Gracenet Community Church, has a Thursday night theology class. For the past 4 months or so we have been studying a lecture series on apologetics taught by R. C. Sproul, who uses the classicist approach to apologetics: proving the existence of God through rational thinking. The series has been great as it's exposed me to many thoughts and ideas I'd never even heard of, let alone thought about before.
One of these ideas is Immanuel Kant's moral argument. Kant (1724 – 1804) was a German philosopher who argued that to have morality, humanity must assume the existence of God. In fact, in order for morality to not only exist but also be meaningful, there needs to be perfect justice. However, one quick look at the morning paper will lead anyone to conclude that perfect justice does not happen in this world. Therefore, for morality to have meaning, one must believe that immoral actions are judged in an afterlife. In order for perfect justice to be administered in the afterlife, there must be a perfect judge who is all-knowing, infallible, righteous and omnipotent.
It is an interesting thought. What makes morality meaningful? After all, if we just do "the right thing" because it makes us feel good, what happens if that changes and suddenly the "wrong thing" makes us feel better? Haven't you ever felt an overwhelming sense of injustice when you hear cases of judges letting child molestors or rapists off with the slightest slap on the wrist? Or when you hear about countries where there is no punishment for certain horrendous crimes? Thinking of these things, doesn't it make you want to join in with the psalmist and shout: "God of vengeance shine forth! Rise up and judge the earth!"
To say that morality evolved gives no meaning or depth to it. And if we are evolving our morals as a society and they are changing, doesn't that mean they could change to anything? We could decide that rape is good or that murder is a good. In a world of relative truths, there is no right or wrong - just preferences. And in my opinion such a world is a very scary place.
Right now, you might be thinking that a righteous and holy judge is a good thing, so that those really wicked people will get justice. But what about you? Would you count yourself amongst the wicked people? The people that pour out arrogant words and boast, according to the psalmist? You see, if God is all-knowing, perfectly just and completely righteous, this means one day He will judge everything we've ever done and said and every thought that has entered our head. Are you sure that He'd be pleased with what He sees in you?
You see, all of us have broken God's laws. Sure, it may not be as blatantly obvious as someone who has murdered, but Jesus said that if you have ever hated anyone you have committed murder in your heart (Mathew 5:21). Can you honestly say that you have loved God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind every moment of your life (Matthew 22:37)? Have you always loved your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:39)?
The truth of the matter is we have all fallen short of the glory of God, and we all deserve to be judged and punished by Him because we are lawbreakers. The only just punishment for sinning against the almighty God is eternity in hell. However, the good news is that God has provided a way for sinners like us to be reconciled to Him, through Jesus' death on the cross. Two thousand years ago, God sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth. Jesus was both fully God and fully man. Unlike us, He lived a perfect life, and willingly sacrificed that life for us on the cross. Because of Christ's sacrifice, His righteousness may be applied to us, so that when God looks upon us, He no longer sees our sin but rather the perfect life of Jesus. Thus we can be saved from God's wrath and have eternal life.
However, salvation is not automatic. We must repent (confess and turn away from our lawbreaking ways) and decare our complete trust in Jesus' saving work on the cross.
So, I guess here's food for thought: where do your morals come from? If morals are to be meaningful, there must be perfect justice, eternal life and a perfect judge. How will you fare in front of such a judge? Are you really a good person?