Without God, Men Will Not be Good

The natural consequence of rejecting God is the degradation of the human character into wickedness. God being the sum of all goodness in every aspect is necessarily its only source; to reject God is to reject good, leaving men with only what is other than good. We cannot define goodness for ourselves; it already exists as an expression of the nature of God. We either know and acknowledge God and by extension all that is good, or we refuse God and by extension embrace wickedness.

God created man in God’s image: “And God said, “We shall make man in Our image and as Our likeness…'” (1)  He intended that we would live and reflect the goodness of God among all creation. When we live in communion with God, we are directed by His Spirit into the fullness of His goodness. When men choose to live according to their own ideas, their own needs, wants, and urges, the desires of their physical nature take precedence over good; men will do many wicked things to fulfill their own desires. Without God, men will not be good.

Living in rejection of God removes any external motivation for the exercise of goodness. If our feelings are inclined to some good action, we perform it, but if we are disinclined or believe that some wickedness is more expedient to our personal preferences or agenda, the perception of the absence of an absolute authority and the belief that none will ultimately hold us to account leaves us with only our own motivations and our judgment of whether the negative consequences justify the outcome of meeting our personal desires. The motivation of ultimate accountability is removed.

Men who know God, love God. We recognize God’s goodness, majesty, power – all of the attributes that characterize God and God only. Our knowledge of the glorious sovereign Creator conditions our decisions through both our awareness of God’s nature, and our love for such a worthy Divine Object. We desire close communion with God; we long for the closeness of an unbroken relationship, the pleasure of our Father and King – His pleasure in us and our pleasure of Him – the precious elixir of godly approval: well done, thou good and faithful servant.  (2)

Men who don’t know God, who have chosen to refuse Him, must work to escape the inescapable reality of His sovereign authority, as well as ignore the fact of His profound love. This man must develop an argument against God’s inherent right to direct the affairs of the universe, or he must admit himself to have violated that right. Moreover, he must by some design insulate himself from the powerful love of God; when we spurn human love, we are rightly considered callous. For man to spurn the love of Him Who died to cover our debt to Himself is beyond callous; a man who has learned of such love and spurned it, is dead: morally dead, emotionally dead, humanly dead. Only by dying to all that is human can a human refuse Him after Whom humanity was created. The man who denies the only living and true God has in essence denied his own humanity, for only when we live in unity with the God Who made us are we able to live as full human beings, reflecting the holiness, righteousness, majesty, and glory of God. Without God, we have no such qualities; they are God’s alone and dependant upon His presence to be manifest. We are dependant upon intimacy with God to create and motivate goodness in ourselves. Without that intimacy, we are bereft; nothing good can reside in us because without God there remains only self, and without God self remains without good.  (3)

God calls every man into fellowship with Him, through faith in the cleansing blood of Christ. We may walk this life according to our fleshly desires, and finish the course in loss, separating ourselves forever from the love and goodness of God. Or we can accept His invitation to enter into His grace, receiving His forgiveness of those times when we have done according to our own ideas, and His provision of an eternal communion in His glorious presence: the only Good and Perfect God.

 (1) Gen 1:26
(2)Matthew 25:21
(3) Romans 7:18 – 8:1