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Evidence for God: The Axiological Argument

The term axiological is a fancy way of saying morality. The axiological evidence is the classical moral argument for the existence of God. The moral argument appeals to an innate sense of right and wrong that the Bible claims is written on the hearts of mankind (Romans 2:12-16).

Before going further, we need to define two words: subjective and objective.

Subjective Moral Values

Morality that is decided by a specific person or culture but is subject to change with time and culture.

Objective Moral Values

Morality that is always the case, can never change, and applies to all people at all times.

Subjective is individual opinion, while objective would claim certain things are right and wrong no matter what people think. Subjective would be saying, “I prefer this flavor of ice cream”, while objective would be to say, “One plus one always equals two”.

Here is the simple structure of the axiological argument for God’s existence:

Premise 1: If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

Premise 2: Objective moral values do exist.

Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.

Many in our world today identify themselves as relativists, claiming individuals and cultures decide what is right or wrong for themselves. But is there reason to believe morality is objective in nature? Here is why each premise should be accepted.

Defense of Premise 1: In order for objective standards to exist, there must be a timeless, unchanging standard on which moral codes are based. That standard needs to be outside our universe to be truly objective, because if it’s within our universe, it’s subject to change. Finally, the standard must be personal in nature, because morality is always interwoven with personhood and about personhood. One author gives the following defense for why the standard for objective morality must be personal:

Now one may wonder: Why do you actually need a moral law giver if you have a moral law? The answer is because the questioner and the issue he questions always involves the essential value of a person. You can never talk of morality in abstraction. Persons are implicit to the question and the object of the question. In a nutshell, positing a moral law without a moral law giver would be equivalent to raising the question of evil without a questioner. So you cannot have a moral law unless the moral law itself is intrinsically woven into personhood, which means it demands an intrinsically worthy person if the moral law itself is valued. And that person can only be God.”

God is the only possible timeless, unchanging, personal standard that is beyond our universe. Premise 1 should be accepted.

Defense of Premise 2: The defense of this premise is the most experience- or human intuition- based of the evidences. But again, that is what one would expect if the Bible is true and God has written the law on our hearts and given us a sense of right and wrong. As we explore this premise, please understand that extremes must be used to make the point as clear as possible. You must decide for yourself if you believe this to be true.

Objective morality, which requires God, states raping a child or murdering an innocent person is just as wrong as insisting one plus one is three. Raping a child is not a preference of right and wrong; it’s not merely based on a culture but is a violation of the moral law that governs mankind. If one rejects objective moral absolutes and standards, he must maintain that, while raping children or putting Jews in gas chambers during the Holocaust was wrong in his own opinion, it can’t be said that it’s wrong for other people to do it – simply that it’s not right for him.

If Hitler was wrong in murdering six million Jews in concentration camps, objective morality must exist. You decide as the reader: was that wrong? If someone walks into an elementary school and murders a dozen children, is that wrong? Or is it just not something you’d choose to do?

Most people intuitively know these things are evil and egregious. While cultures may disagree on some things, there are certain things that are wrong even if an entire group thinks they are permissible. Atheists often use the existence of these evil things to argue an all-powerful and good God doesn’t exist, but that line of reasoning actually admits certain things are right or wrong, good or evil, proving the existence of God.

C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia and other books, was actually converted to Christianity on this argument. C.S. Lewis said:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such a violent reaction against it?... Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too--for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist - in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

If objective morality exists, God is the only possible source for it, and therefore God exists.

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