Saturday, May 26, 2007

On Right and Wrong

(I may have discussed this before, but that's the problem with semi-prolific blogging and a 43 year old memory. Things happen - again and again...)

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the fruit of knowledge, they gained the ability to discern right and wrong.

Interesting. What is that? Is that truly a gift we all have or is it perhaps misunderstood? This says that animals don't know right from wrong. On the surface of things, that seems true. But what about pets?

When Grizzly makes lemonaide on my nice wood floor, he "knows" he's done wrong. He certainly avoids me for awhile. Isn't that knowledge of right and wrong?

No, it is not. It is knowledge of consequences to a specific action. If we let him, he'd make the whole house his little-dog's-room (which, come to think of it, he does...) Going inside and outside is no different to him, except inside he gets scolded and outside he gets blissfully ignored.

Knowing right from wrong is different than that. No, cynics, it isn't still fear of what God will do to us, it's more than that.

At least is should be. I'm not convinced for most of us, it is, though.

The Fall tells us two things: There is an Absolute Right, and we are capable of discerning what that is.

It's just that most people don't do it. Instead, too many of us deny an Absolute Right (either literally, as in Atheism; or functionally, as in ignoring it or not getting to it). We do what is "right" when people are looking and whatever we think we can get away with when they aren't.

I can imagine some piety going on now: "I don't do that." Yet you have to ask yourself, do you abstain from wrong because it is wrong or simply because it doesn't interest you? Example: illicit drugs have no interest to me. Getting high, stoned, or messed up is not a good time. As a result, I don't get to "is it right or wrong" because it's just not for me. If it WERE something I enjoyed, would consequences have the higher place in my life before getting to right or wrong? I don't want to get arrested, so I don't do drugs?

So it could be an order problem. What comes first in our consideration? Interest, then Consequences, THEN Right and Wrong? Or is it first Right or Wrong (and therefore nothing that follows matters).

Lack of interest of a thing might be a ditch around that thing. Fear of Consequences could be considered a fence around that thing (as could laws, rules, commands). Evil people might seek to build bridges over the ditch to entice the uninterested in crossing over, and if interest is already there, then we don't need anyone else to entice us to scale our fences...

... but look around that kind of world. Ditches and fences everywhere. That is certainly the Old Testament method, with the Israelites even building fences around their fences.

The New Testament method, though, says to fill in the ditches and tear down the fences. Instead of navigating through life bumping and avoiding; navigate through the knowledge of right and wrong (bolstered by the Grace of God). It makes for a clean landscape and a better journey.