Special Saturday Post
There is no reasonable difference between human behavior and moral behavior.
That is a strong statement to make and it requires a morally robust worldview in order to make it because any denial of that fact erodes any possibility of making sound and coherent moral judgments. In order to make statements about human behavior as to their moral composition, that is whether a particular human behavior is or is not moral, is dependent upon the presupposition that human beings are moral beings. Therefore if human beings are in fact moral beings it follows that all human actions are moral actions. But where can we apply such reasoning to demonstrate that it is in fact true?
One might could argue that any interaction between human beings requires a moral standard to which to appeal in order to justify whether or not any particular behavior between those individuals is or is not moral. Indeed this sounds reasonable, if not to be, in fact, the case. Where can such a fact be seen clearly, if not proven to be absolutely true, but in the context of human sexual relationships, and moreover within the context of dealing with the self-identified LGBT population.
The culture at large seems unwilling to consider even the mere possibility that there is an actual moral component to human sexual behavior. However, such instances as the #MeToo movement have demonstrated that human sexuality most certainly has a moral component. For if one is to deny that there is a purposeful and reasonable basis upon which human beings are to conduct themselves with other human beings, especially in regards to sexual behavior, then nothing wrong actually occurred. This point should be abundantly clear to any that care to think logically about the situation.
It indeed begs a revealing question: is there, in fact, a proper way that human beings ought to conduct themselves sexually with other human beings?
It seems that there are only two possible answers to this question: either yes or no.
If we have to ask this question, if one finds it necessary to pose the question, it says that something is desperately wrong with our culture and our society. Let us look at these two answers, these two responses, played out.
The “No” Response
If one answer is “no” to the question, that there is no way that human beings ought to conduct themselves with each other sexually, what exactly does that mean?
Obviously, it means that human beings can do whatever they want to do, sexually speaking, with whoever or whatever whenever and however they want. That means that long established sexual taboos are not only arbitrary but fundamentally meaningless. There’s nothing really objectively wrong with rape. Societal reactions against child sexual molestation is absurd. This key denial renders any arguments about consent moot. If there is no way that human beings are to relate to one another sexually then a society is actually being unjust to its citizens by defining certain sexual behaviors as immoral and declaring them to be criminal. But what if the answer is “yes”?
The “Yes” Response
If one answers “yes” to this question, then a whole other world is opened but it raises certain questions, such as, who says?
If the answer is one that is purely subjective, that is, the individual self-determines this, then it is actually a “no” answer masquerading as a “yes” answer because any such declarations are merely arbitrary. If the subject defines these sexual “oughts”, then whatever they decide to do on that basis is only limited to their actions, it has no authority over another’s actions.
If it’s society that makes these “oughts”, that’s simply a collective of individuals. It suffers from the same problem of arbitrariness. Further, just because a collective of individuals agree about a matter doesn’t mean that anything that they decide is true or authoritative. So, to appeal to such is actually another “no” answer.
If the nature of human beings defines these things, another very similar problem emerges because it begs the question of, who gets to define what the nature of human beings actually is? The individual? Society? Again, these suffer from logical problems.
So, how can the answer be “yes” and be true? How can individual determination be shown to be either true or false, right or wrong, as well as society?
This requires a humble heart to recognize and respond to, because the answer is confrontational.
The Truth of the Matter
If human beings are the end result of a cosmic accident, a mindless and unguided process that did not have them in mind, the entire scope of human behaviors are caused, not by conscious, or even unconscious deliberation, but by chemical reactions. Human behavior is then only visible expressions of those reactions as are any beliefs about the moral implications of those actions.
In order for human behavior to be meaningful and to have moral implications that are consistent with our innate beliefs about them, and to be coherent, whatever it is that gives them “oughtness”, the defining element of human nature cannot itself either be human in nature or being.
If human beings are not merely a cosmic accident but are beings created for a purpose, then “yes” becomes not only a possible answer, but the only answer to the question that renders all of our intuitions about the moral aspect of human behavior, even sexual behavior, as true. This is not to say that it makes all sexual behaviors morally equivalent, but it means that there is a basis upon which to judge human sexual behavior.
To answer the question in the affirmative presupposes something that the positive respondent knows about themselves and the world: that it was made for them to inhabit and to do something in.
The question then is, what makes sense of these innate beliefs and the effort to actively suppress what we know to be true?
To what can we turn to in order to justify these beliefs that we work so hard to deny in order to do what it is that we want to do even when we know that we shouldn’t do them?
The Answer May Shock You
In the epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul clearly states that men know that God exists because of what has been made, they know enough to recognize his eternal nature and his divine power, this knowledge is enough to honor him and be thankful, but because of unrighteousness and ingratitude men actively suppress this knowledge.
We do all manner of things we ought not do to and with one another and because of that God reveals his wrath by removing any inclination among men to do what is right and good, so that in our undeserved hatred of his goodness and his sovereignty we dehumanize, demean, and destroy one another.
God made mankind to be a mirror for his love, his goodness, his holiness, and his creativity, not only to reflect it back to him but to one another. When the mirror becomes too corrupted to render an accurate reflection, then it is no longer a mirror. There is only one such destiny for mirrors that no longer reflect that being destruction. And any hatred that one man has for another, or himself, is because he sees the intent of his Creator in them, and in himself, and seeks to erase it from his presence.
If you believe that there is a way that human beings ought to behave towards one another, even in our sexual behavior, then you are giving tacit assent to this fact: you are an imager of God. Moreover, if you are an imager of God, then there is a good and, most importantly, an accurate way that you are supposed to reflect that image onto your fellow man.
If you are not willing to do this, then it is a very good indicator that you are under the wrath of the God who made you to reflect his character and his nature, a character and nature that was given to us so that we could fellowship with him, as the source of life and goodness. What we are saying by our actions when we adamantly refuse to engage with our designed purpose as imagers of God is that we don’t want life and goodness, what we want is death and evil.
There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is destruction.
Let me ask you who believe that there is a way that humans ought to relate to one another sexually, can you honestly look at what you may be doing and say with any certainty that its end result is life and goodness, or is it running headlong into the arms of death and destruction?
God has said that the righteous, that is those who long for life and goodness, live by being loyal to him. He calls for all those who desire life and goodness to be holy, as he is holy.
Do not be deceived friends, God is not mocked. Those who sow to destruction will reap a harvest of destruction, and those who sow to righteousness will reap the return of righteousness. To say that there is something that human beings ought to do, even as it applies to our sexuality, is admitting that there is a way that brings about a harvest of goodness, but when you know the right thing to do and don’t do it you are just as guilty as if you had done the evil thing. If you refuse to acknowledge that there is a right thing to do, all while knowing that there is a right and proper way to do things, you are perpetuating a lie.
By affirming that there is a way that human beings ought to relate to one another sexually, you must necessarily appeal to the God who made you and sustains you in order to justify those claims lest all reasoning be shown to be false. The problem is that appealing to the God who made in order to justify those moral claims means that you will have to agree with what God has said about his image bearers. It means that you will have to be brought into alignment with who God is and what man is. To disagree, to deny what the Creator has made clear and definitional for his creatures is to call God a liar. And God cannot lie. Any deviation from the design of the Creator and his intentions for his creatures makes any moral claims false. As creatures that bear the divine image, we are meant to inhabit the space of the Divine presence, but our obstinance and our resistance present an impediment, and cripples our ability to make meaningful and true moral appeals and justifications for our claims, and we need that presence in order to appeal and justify those claims.
The problem is that none of us, not one, can enter into the presence of a holy and just God to call upon him to demonstrate his truth and affirm the relationship with him that we should have as image bearers. We need someone to mediate between us and the God that we have offended, whose image we have corrupted so thoroughly, we need an efficient and effective person who perfectly reflects that image back to God. But who is there that can do such since all of us, in one way or another, have marred the surface of the mirror that we ought to be?
Thanks be to God that he made such possible by the sending of his Son, who willingly set off his divinity and took upon himself the form and likeness of man. A man who lived perfectly, who demonstrated what the reflection should look like. A man who suffered in this life, so that he might give to all who will come to him the life and goodness of God. A man whose shed blood purifies all who enter through it, and whose death satisfies the wrath of God against the defacement of his image. A man that God raised up, who has entered into the divine presence to intercede for all who call upon him as their justification and justifier. A man whose perfect life is applied to our imperfect one, making an application that enables all who bow the knee in submission to him to rise up and move forward, not in guilt or penance, but in new life, a life dedicated to truth, goodness, and holiness For it is only in the man, the true man, the God-man Christ Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, that we can live and move and have true being.