Human beings are not cosmic accidents nor are they advanced mutations of the animal kingdom. Human beings are moral agents designed in the image of the eternal, personal Creator of the universe. This involves the possession of certain natural attributes that make it possible to produce moral character. Previously, we considered how this applies to the concepts of sovereignty (authority), eternality (duration), omniscience (mental capacity), spirituality, trinity (relational), omnipotence (power), and omnipresence (presence). In upcoming articles, we will consider three aspects of our nature that are especially important for producing moral character (and accountability). These are the mind, the emotions and the will.
If we do not understand and appreciate (or worse, dismiss) the moral operations of our created design, we will eventually reduce ourselves to the function of an animal, driven by mere impulse, governed by our urges. The apostle Peter refers to those who are “…like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge…” (2 Pe.2:12), going on to say, “These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Pe.2:17-19 – please read the entire chapter).
The Mind (An Introduction)
IF you are reading this, an amazing thing is taking place (the fact that you are reading this). You are looking at little squiggly marks that represent letters with assigned sounds, while these marks and sounds, strung together, form words to which your mind is capable of assigning meaning. As the words are combined in different orders, they form sentences and paragraphs, which enhance and expound upon the meaning of each word (context). This is something we take for granted but, when you THINK about it, is outrageously amazing. Beyond simple, factual statements such as “the car is red,” which triggers images of a car and the color red (quite fascinating), we can read a statement such as, “…do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1Co.6:9-10). This string of letters are compiled in such a way that they communicate moral information. This is information that implies something about choices and conduct being morally right or wrong. You might or might not agree with what is being stated, but you have the ability, through mental analysis, to understand the concepts being mentioned. You can read the word fornication and (even if you have to use a dictionary) know of what moral behavior it refers. This is meaningful. If you were to tell a dog that fornication is wrong, it would, not only fail to curb his or her behavior, but have no meaning, whatsoever.
Possessing this information, one might allow it to inform and regulate behavior or one might choose to deny the accuracy of the moral assessment, engaging in fornication regardless (this is a future topic). Presently, I trust you are inclined to reflect upon this basic description of the mental capacity we possess that allows us to process information that has moral value – ideas about purposes, plans, and actions being proper or improper, good or bad, right or wrong, not just on the level of mathematical equations, but on another level, the realm of moral reality. The empiricist is sorely baffled at this point and feebly attempts to ascribe such function to naturalistic causes, requiring deeper faith than the type of faith empiricist are feverishly attempting to eradicate. The moral nature of the human race is an extension of our being created in the image of the eternal, personal moral agent and moral governor of the universe.