When faced by a world evolving at a rate that leaves us in its wake, we are beginning to realize how society has detached from any form of moral objectivity anchored in any reference point. Becoming isolated and redefined in our moral compass that our sense of community is reduced to a sense of one’s own selves. The tremendous leap in humanity had happened in the last two hundred years, from crossing the ocean in two weeks, to flying around the world in two days, as well as when we compare when it took weeks for a letter to arrive at its destination and today being able to talk to a person halfway across the globe virtually. Thus, we arrived at an impasse, which challenges our attempts to bring the Word of God to the people. People today have become more independent in their intellectual comprehension of the surrounding world through their own lenses of interpretation rather than seeking a reference point. They see their goal in life is to provide everything that meets their materialistic desires. There is no more compassion, love, caring, and sharing with others. There is a social outcry to anything they disagree with, but most disappear into the shadows after voicing their discontent. There is no emotional outcry and action apart from what affects them directly. If this is the world today, what is the world of tomorrow going to be?
Tomorrow will be no different from today or yesterday, as we shall see in the book of Acts. The book outlines the subjective nature of the world the apostles faced and the challenges that they had to overcome. When Luke wrote Acts, he was endowed with the Holy Spirit and the testimony of His witnessing the presence of Jesus Christ and his partaking in the unfolded events, including third-party testimonies. Thus, the Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts are ongoing divine revelations through the eyes of those who were present. These were not Luke’s subjective expressions of things that happened but were from the authority of the Holy Spirit; therefore, his objective reference. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and everything that is written in its narrative is objective and the reference we look at, through, and ahead in our lives.
As Wayne Grudem clearly states,
The inerrancy of Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm anything contrary to fact. ( Wayne Grudem, “The Inerrancy of Scripture”, in Systematic Theology.(London, Engalnd: Inter-Varsity Press, 2016) 91.)
The onus is now on us to seek the truth which is revealed in Scripture. In the Acts, Luke reveals the truth, which is supported by other writings outside Scripture. Moreover, they are supported by a historical timeline that coincides with the narrative, including geographical and cultural descriptions.
As we read the narratives, we are drawn to certain people driven by a force that made them capable of seeing past the subjective nature of the world around them. The force was the Holy Spirit, which, as stated earlier, grounded them within an objective framework anchored in God’s absolutes. What is this objectivity and subjectivity that frames our thoughts and actions in our lives?
SUBJECTIVE AND OBJECTIVE REASONING
Why is this heading crucial? These subjects hang at the extreme ends of our psychological framework. These two critical subjects define our moral outlook in life and define our conscious, subconscious and unconscious framework. It dictates our life and how we interact with others, and how others interact with us. As with any theist of any worldview, they define their moral character based on a framework and its application. Therefore, we establish our objectivity and apply it in our choices, moral judgments, tolerances, and behavior.
To understand the essence of person objectivity is to understand how that person hermeneutics are linked to issues like logic, reason, and rationality. These issues would entail long debates, and there have been volumes written on this subject, which would ultimately confuse the point of this paper. Instead, we will focus on the inherent objectivity of characters in their search for objective truth. No matter how debased and inhumane humanity has acted, the overall arching fact remains that we can clearly distinguish the good from the bad. Individuals like Adolf Hitler justified their actions within their own devised objectivity to pursue a goal deemed objectively wrong by the rest of the world. We judge him for the war and the holocaust. When we define evil within the constraints of a person’s actions, we cannot assume that everything he did was wrong. He united a nation that was the subject of abuse from the First World War and sought to bring the Arian Empire into full glory. He sounds very much like an emperor, king, or leader from the Old Testament. However, what he did to indiscriminately decimated the Jewish people was utterly wrong and inhumane, and there is no justification for it. History has shown the people of Israel suffering multitudes of times for their disobedience to God. Is there a difference? The issue here is the objectivity we seek within these evils that have happened. Hitler acted within his moral reasoning, excluding any moral framework apart from the derived goals that he had for the German people. In actuality, his objectivity was not wrong, but the framework he used was his and brought about one of the worst genocides known to man. Here we see a clear demarcation between a person’s objective reasoning void of any accountability or truth-centered revelation.
When Friedrich Nietzsche wrote “On The Genealogy of Morality,” it was considered one of the darkest books ever written.(“Introduction: on Nietzsche’s critique of morality.” In Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought – Friedrich Nietzsche – On the Genealogy of Morality, ed. Keith Ansell – Pearson, translated by Carol Diethe.(Cambridge, ENgland: Cambridge University Press, 2006.)xiii.) He provided us with a stunning story about man’s monstrous moral past, which tells the history of the deformation of the human-animal in the hands of civilization and Christian moralization; but also hints at a new kind of humanity coming into existence in the wake of the death of God and the demise of a Christian – moral culture.
A point he emphasized repeated times, beginning in his works, The Gay Science,
“God is dead, God remains dead, and we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
Unilaterally, this brought forth the infamous Times article, “God is Dead,” on April 8, 1966. When we look at these articles and narratives, we should be asking ourselves if God is dead. The point is that have we, as Christians, killed God and removed all objectivity in Him. Even as Christians, no matter how well versed we are in theology, Scripture, preaching, and everything that makes us stand above all others. Is God dead in us, and we have embarked on a roller coaster ride of subjective choices that fit our narratives? We justify the actions of the church to meet ‘the changing landscape.’ We bow too pressure to look the other way when issues like the LGBTQ arise. God is dead, and we genuinely have killed him. Killed and removed Him from our hearts, soul, and Spirit. We are our gods of self-contained subjective reasoning, accommodating, ever-changing choices and desires.
From the moment we open our Bible, YHWH provides us with every Word and verse, forming the narrative that describes the character of Himself. Since Creation, YHWH has been absolute in all His actions, covenants, laws, judgments, and prophecies. From the darkest moments in Scripture, YHWH has kept His promises. He is absolute. Humanity has been consistently denying our Creator’s true essence and has embarked on our self-righteous, unaccountable journey of debaucher and sin. We are changing direction at our whim. As Nietzsche claims if God is dead in us, can we revive Him within us? Therefore, we are leading to questions that drive us to seek answers related to our objectivity. How do we find God and anchor our objectivity in our hearts, soul, and spirits? In George M. Marden’s book, Lives of Great Religious Books, he quotes Austin Ferrer related to C.S. Lewis’s book, Mere Christianity, objectivity, and morality. How Lewis books were not just an apologetics book but “Mere Christianity, Farrer maintained, was not so much a work of apologetics as a display of the moral force of Christianity.” (“Light on C.S.Lewis.” In The Christian Apologist, by Austin Farrer, edited by Jocelyn Gibb.(Geoffrey Bles, 1965)37.) Lewis understood the driving force in our faith was not just a conscious acceptance of Christ but reaching deep within one’s self and exposing our soul to the moral absolute in God.
Yale theologian Paul L. Holmer further supports by providing a classic sustained analysis of a similar point of Lewis’s work;
“observing that few have combined such a “plea for objectivity with a portrayal with the riches of human subjectivity.” Rather than battering his audience with a host of hypotheses and arguments so that they are rendered helpless to decide, Lewis approaches them as active moral agents who are engaged in relationships: “It is as if the argument does not begin to gather its force until the reader has realized something about himself.” ( Paul L. Holmer, C.S.Lewis: The Shape of His Faith and Thought.(MI: Harper & Row, 1976)8.)
We see that many scholars and philosophers sought to understand the driving force behind a faithful and righteous person whose objectivity is anchored in God. How does a person within their mental and physical capabilities bring themselves to submit to Christ? Submission is not subjugation but freedom to live and enjoy the life given to each of us who, created in the image and likeness of God, are given intrinsic value, unique and special, which characterizes us as God-fearing Christians. The Moral Absolute does not bind us but sets us free, as its defines our boundaries in life.
by Luke Shori