Seeing God through Your Search for Justice
Morality makes no sense without God. The idea of right and wrong has no place in the strictly naturalistic world. It would be not only illogical but dangerous for animals to have scruples. “Mother Nature” therefore never produces morality. There is no justice or mercy in the jungles. These would get in the way of the survival imperatives that are hardwired into animals. It is only God’s pinnacle of creation, mankind, who yearns for these abstraction. Why?
This reflects God’s clear plan – you are made in His image. God loves justice. He made you to do so as well.
I watched The Lion King many times with my kids It is a sweet movie about love, perseverance, and unlikely friendship. It is also nowhere near the truth. The lions who nobly rule in the film would eat their sidekicks in real life. Simba would devour Timon and Pumba without a second thought, probably while they were still alive. It is a grisly thought but that is exactly the point. There are no heroes or villains in the animal kingdom just predators and prey.
Nature is brutal, direct, and amoral. Nature is relentless and unthinking. You will never come upon a pack of hyena discussing the morality of killing a wounded deer. Yet, you don’t judge a stronger animal for eating a weaker animal for food. This tells you something important, if you are willing to consider it.
One human killing another is a heinous crime. Yet, animals eat each other alive every day and you don’t bat an eye. Why the difference?
The answer is simple and we all seem to know it.
Animals are not made in the image of God. They are just different than people. This truth is proven every day.
Your conscience reflects your creator. Your broken heart over injustice mirrors God’s. It also places you in a whole different category. Your hunger to make things fair is not compatible with the natural world. It testifies to the existence and character of your Creator.
Outrage Leading to Insight
C.S. Lewis was originally an angry atheist. He was outraged at the state of world. You can certainly understand this if you look at his circumstances. He saw the horrors of the First World War as a soldier. He lived through the Spanish Flu Epidemic and the Second World War. Hundreds of million people died during these years. Lewis himself saw terrible things. He felt secure condemning God for the state of the world as a result. He concluded there could be no loving God if the world was so clearly unjust. Then he realized a simple truth:
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?
Lewis reasoned his outrage had to come from somewhere. Mourning over injustices in the world made no sense for a product of the simple forces of a universe. There should be no desire for fair play without God to create it. Anarchy should be the norm if there was no God to imbue man with a need for justice.
Nature Cannot Create Morality
Even the most intelligent creatures do not have a conscience. A lion doesn’t feel bad when taking down a wounded gazelle. Death is just lunch to them. Nature is brutal. Elephant seals often will crush the newborn pup seals simply because they are in the way. This act would be unthinkably evil if done by a person. Yet, it is just another day in the natural world for animals. Nature is nasty, unbelievably harsh, and amoral.
Success in the wild is access to the best food and the most mates. A heart for justice or fairness is an impediment to survival as an animal. They are ruthless and often appear cruel. A cat often will kill for sport and play with its prey.
Yet, you don’t judge them for their actions. You may not like it, but you don’t send you cat to jail for wantonly taking life. Why? They are not human. They don’t have the same imprint. It is just what they were made to do.
As a human, you know murder is wrong. Theft is immoral. You should not lie or cheat or kill the neighbor’s dog for food. Racism is wrong. These are all bedrock moral truths people agree upon.
Would this be true without a Creator?
Morality should not matter if you are just a more advanced animal. There is no good or evil in the natural world, just survival. How would monkeys even define evil? If you are just a “super” version of an animal, it would make sense for you to be even more amoral than the vilest predator. Things that get in the way of basic instinctual needs should be destroyed without thought. Evolution would breed things like mercy, empathy, and unselfish love out of man. It would never develop these characteristics. They can make you weaker, more vulnerable, and more susceptible to attack.
Yet, you hurt when other humans are injured. You weep for people who are competing with you for resources. You don’t hurt your rivals even though they challenge your power. The leader of a lion pride will often kill the young of another male lion to preserve its own kind. This rightfully would be seen as a abomination among men. In nature, it is just pragmaticism. This contrast points to the simple fact that you are different. You are made in the image of something greater than the animals.
Let Us Make Man in Our Image
God testifies of Himself in the innate morality of man. You are not just another accidentally developed animal despite Darwin’s best attempts to tell you differently. You were made to glorify God and He loves you. 5 Reasons Why I Love You
You may not understand God yet. You may be like C.S. Lewis and may be desperately trying to figure out the question of suffering – if God exists then why is this happening? You may be struggling with the answer and trying to figure out where God fits in your life. You may even deny God as you fight for the good of mankind around you.
But just realize this!
Your desire to help your fellow man unavoidably proves you are something special. You are not just a better version of a monkey. Your search for justice testifies to the One who made you in the image of Himself.