MORAL CAUSALITY PLUS FREE CHOICE

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Excerpted from The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, edited by John Clover Monsma. New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons, 1958

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MORAL CAUSALITY PLUS FREE CHOICE

By Andrew Conway Ivy, Ph.D., M.D., D.Sc, LL.D., F.A.C.P.

Dr. Ivy is a scientist of world-wide renown. He was appointed by the American Medical Association as its representative at the 1946 Nuremberg Medical Trial for Nazi doctors and is the recipient of decorations from many American and foreign scientific institutions. From 1923 to 1946 he was Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Northwestern University Medical School; from 1946 to 1953 he was Vice President of the University of Illinois. Presently he is Distinguished Professor of Physi­ology and Head of the Department of Clinical Science, U. of III. College of Medicine, Chicago. Among the positions he has filled in the past are: Scientific Director, Naval Medical Research Institute; Commander, Aviation Medical Naval Re­serve Corps; Consultant to U.S. Secretary of War; President, American Gastro-Enterological Association; and President, American Physiological Society. Dr. Ivy has written more than a thousand (1,320) scientific articles, and is one of the world’s outstanding specialists in cancer and functions and ailments of the gastrointestinal tract.

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There are many reasons for believing in God. One which should never be overlooked is what I term moral causality plus free choice. By free choice I mean freedom to make decisions.

The spiritual and moral aspects of man’s life—what he ought to do—is of vastly greater importance for man’s well-being than is his knowledge and control of non-human Nature. The knowledge of Natural Science increases our understanding of the world in which we live and our means to improve the production and distribution of the necessities and comforts of life, and to decrease suffering and prolong life. The great­est problem, however, in the world today is a moral and reli­gious problem, namely, how to use atomic energy for the welfare rather than the destruction of human beings. The greatest problems which have always confronted the indi­vidual and society have been moral, namely, to make the right decisions.

All around us we find Physical Nature governed by inexor­able laws. The same holds for Animal Nature in the wild. But Human Nature has been created par excellence with freedom to make decisions. Or, human society has been created as a society of souls or persons with freedom to make decisions, to eat or not to eat of “the tree of knowledge.” And if we do not obey the moral law of God we suffer the consequences. Obviously, if Physical Nature had freedom of choice, freedom of choice by man could not exist; all would be chaos.

The denial of an objective moral law, based on the compulsion to deny the existence of God, results ultimately in the denial of evil itself

Ravi Zacharias

The study of the behavior of animals reveals that the two general natural laws which govern the conduct of all living things below man are: (1) survival of self; (2) survival of the species. Very little reflection demonstrates that if such laws were not paramount, no species would survive very long. Unlearned reflex behavior appears to control the conduct of lower animals almost entirely, but the higher one goes in the animal kingdom, the more learned behavior operates. But it is doubtful whether freedom to make a decision, as it occurs in man, is manifested to any extent below man; if so, it is quite limited. So, in Animal Nature, the individual is forced to have respect or “love” for his body and not injure it, except to protect and maintain him or herself, or his or her species. In the intra-species and inter-species relations of animals the principle of expediency, the “law of the jungle,” “might makes right,” operates. A “peck order” is found from “mon­keys” downward as far as it has been studied carefully. A dictatorship or totalitarianism appears to be required, espe­cially among all animals that form societies (flocks, colonies, herds). The point is that there are laws of behavior in lower animals which are practically inexorable.

The history of man reveals the operation of the natural law of the animals plus the appearance of certain additions: first, the feeling of awe for the mysterious; second, the feeling of guilt or oughtness (conscience); and third, a judgment that the power which awes condemns those actions or deci­sions which cause guilt.

Thus, it is observed that a causal chain from the physical world to the lower animals and then to the higher animals has resulted in the production in man of a high order of freedom of decision, which has resulted in a greater control over the environment and the self. At the same time this freedom of decision has been associated with the development of a consciousness of right and wrong, a discriminative aware­ness of right and wrong.

What could be the source of this causal chain? Did this causal chain come from nothing and happen as a matter of chance? It is many times more absurd to believe that this causal chain came from nothing and was due to chance than it would be to believe that you could get a map of the world by spilling a glass of water on the floor.

It should be no surprise to find that the law of causality which is essential for the operation of the laws of the physical universe, the laws which govern plant and animal life, and the laws of the development of mind, leads us to the values of the Natural Moral Law, such as love, justice, mercy, rights, responsibilities, beauty—and to God. In other words, to values and high concepts which cannot be literally weighed or counted.

I submit that the hopes of the future of man rest primarily on an urge to possess those values in life which cannot be weighed or counted. Provided the basic necessities of life are available, true happiness in life comes from things which cannot be weighed or counted, and from pleasures for which repentance is not required.

History and reflection have convinced me that the certainty of the primacy of spiritual and moral values rests on whether a Divine Personality, who represents Divine Perfection, exists or does not exist in the faith which guides human behavior. Our intellect reveals the unity and order in the universe, and the principle of causality. But these facts do not constitute a religion, nor a religion with permanency, unless they are permitted to operate in our everyday conduct on the basis of the freedom to make decisions and the con­cept of the Fatherhood of God and the consequent brother­hood of man.

If the better earth life is to be maintained, with the upward trend characteristic of the past, Divine guidance will be required. Recent sad, sickening, tragic historical events demonstrate that morality, truth, justice, mercy and freedom lead a dastardly existence when not rooted in applied theism. Under Nazi paganistic state socialism and under atheistic communism the most cherished God-given possessions of man are profaned and tramped into the mire.

Only in a moral world, a world of responsibility, can man be free and live as a human being should. Men are truly equal and free only as creatures of God, because only as the children of God and only in the sight of God and ultimate moral law are men truly equal. If God and the ultimate moral law are denied, there can be no absolute argument against slavery, against “might makes right” and man’s greedy exploitation of man. If human beings have no absolute intrinsic value, no absolute intrinsic freedom of decision, no absolute liberty, no absolute duties, they possess only extrinsic value and may be used as chattels, slaves or serfs by those who have the intelligence and power. Rights given to man by God can be taken away only by God, but rights given to man by man or man-made institutions can be denied or taken away by man or man-made institutions. Unless inalienable rights come from the Ultimate, from the Creator, it is irra­tional to say that human beings have rights which no man-made institution may ignore or deny. Man has no absolute claim of intrinsic worth and dignity, no absolute duties and responsibilities, except as a creature of God.

Is the brotherhood of man a concession of a man-made materialistic State, with expediency the only guide of indi­vidual and governmental conduct? Or is it derived from the Fatherhood of God? Which source will guarantee it the greatest permanency? Does freedom come from freedom of the spirit, from freedom of decision of the individual mind? Or is it a concession of a materialistic society? How can freedom of choice and liberty exist when a person is a creature of the State?

In the absence of a belief in the intrinsic worth and dignity of the individual, moral enormities and atrocities occur, and are justified by the doctrine of “superior orders” and the doctrine that the welfare of the State is the supreme good and end, and that the end justifies any means. This was the dilemma at Nuremberg. How could the Nazi leaders and doctors who were responsible for the atrocities be indicted and convicted when they were obeying Nazi law and orders? They could be indicted and convicted only under the Eternal Natural Law of God, called in condescension to the atheistic Russian representatives the Laws of Humanity. If man-made law is the sole source of basic human rights, why condemn the Nazi assault on Jews, Gypsies, Poles, and politi­cal enemies? Why condemn the assault on the Hungarian Patriots? Under Nazi laws Jews had no rights. Under Red Communist laws the Hungarian Patriots had no rights. Under the communist governments behind the “iron curtain” no human being has inalienable rights. If inalienable rights exist, what made them inalienable? If man did not create the world, how can he delegate to himself the creation of his worth, dignity, rights, duties, freedom of choice, and liberty? You always get into a causal chain which leads to God unless you arbitrarily dismiss it from consideration before you arrive.

We see too much evidence in contemporary American life indicating that the American form of democracy is being undermined. It is being slowly secularized and deprived of its religious and spiritual foundation. There are too many attempts in the Western World to preserve the inviolability of human rights after surrendering or denying their ultimate Divine source. The spiritual capital and the fruits of Christi­anity cannot survive if their roots are destroyed, or mutilated, or left uncultivated.

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