This is a tough question! The simple answer is yes. The more difficult answer gets into the idea of morals and how we understand the concept of sin. How do I know something is wrong? There are honestly several ways. One of the main ways is looking to God’s Holy Scripture. Through reading God’s Word, we have a direct link into the mind of God and what He thought was important for us to know. Some things aren’t mentioned in there. However, you can use logic and reason to begin to understand the overall mind and nature of God. Through the tool of reason, we have divine wisdom in the areas where he was silent. So, let’s talk directly about sin and how it manifests in our lives.
What is sin?
Sin is the direct willful turning from God’s known will, direction, or the law. It’s not your actions that are the sin, it’s the decision to turn away from God; to go your own way. This is why no one sin is greater than any other. I turn from God and then I do something. The sin is not the action, but the decision before the action. The action is the result of the decision to turn away. All sin is equally abhorrent in the eyes of God. Because of the fact that all sin is the same, we are able to understand that God is the ultimate decider of what is “wrong” or what “sin” is.
Without God, there is no sin. There is no wrong:
If there is no God, then there is nothing I can do that is wrong. Let’s pretend for a moment that God does not exist and everything I believe has been a lie. Would it be wrong for me to steal a candy bar from the supermarket? Nope, if I can get away with it, it’s not wrong. There is no basis for you (my accuser) to say that what I have done is bad or wrong beyond your own opinion or that of others. Basically, if you don’t believe that God is the ultimate truth and decider of the moral law, then you have created some sort of system for yourself. Perhaps you believe that the state is the ultimate authority or the government. However, laws can be changed. If an extremely rich person decided to throw all their money into making it legal to have sexual relations with little kids, they could probably get that sort of thing passed into law. But does that make it suddenly right and okay to do that? I would argue no, but under a system where government or the state makes up what is moral and immoral, then it becomes right and okay. The same could be said for people who make the decision for themselves if what they are doing is right or wrong.
Now, some of our decisions have to be based on our knowledge of God’s nature, but ultimately we believe that God will lead us in a direction through prayer, the study of His Word, and conversation with other believers into knowing his correct direction for us. None of those assumptions can directly contradict God’s Word or His known nature. For example, I don’t believe God would have it in His will for your life for you to murder your whole family and then use their bodies as shields to defend yourself from the law as you run naked down the street. That’s just not in His will and it would directly go against the known law of God and His nature. However, if a person decides that their own feelings and thoughts are the ultimate form of truth, and that is the truth, then there is nothing stopping them from making decisions and creating any form of moralistic code they want. They literally become their own god within their own mind.
If their own morals dictate that murdering their family and running down the street naked while using those bodies as shields is right… who am I to say they are wrong? Their opinion is just as valid as mine if there is no higher power that is greater than our own desires. This gets into the idea that all ideas are not equal. Not everyone can be right. Someone has to be wrong. You will hear it said that all paths lead to “god”. No, they don’t. They just don’t. You can’t believe that unicorns and fairies save your soul and still get into Heaven. It just doesn’t work that way. There has to be a greater form of truth. There has to be a higher power, other than your own will and selfish thoughts. Without God to lead us, we are lost in our own will.
D. Michl Lowe