The Consequences of Rejecting a Fixed Moral Standard as the Basis For Law

The rejection of a fixed moral standard as the basis for law means there is no longer a benchmark by which a society judges good and bad behavior. After the 1962 and 1963 U.S. Supreme Court rulings that outlawed prayer and the Bible in America’s public schools, cheating, stealing, rape, murder, and assault increased dramatically throughout the culture. After the 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that outlawed the posting of the Ten Commandments in our nation’s public schools, the increase in deviant behavior rose higher still, and that trend continues to this day.

What’s more, without a fixed moral standard as the basis for law, government has no moral purpose for its existence. According to Romans 13, the God-given purpose of civil government is to protect the righteous and punish the wicked; but without a moral foundation to uphold, defend, and use as the standard by which to judge and punish evil doers, government has nothing to enforce.

The lack of a fixed moral standard as the basis for law means our rights are not God-given but only granted to us by government. These days, people are dangerously close to accepting the idea that the state grants rights to American citizens. This thinking will lead to calamity. Government is not the god who creates rights. It is merely God’s minister to protect the rights God has given mankind. (Footnote #30)

Absent a fixed moral standard as the basis for law, “might makes right.” Thus the groundwork is laid for one of two (and possibly both) disastrous ends. Anarchy is one. And that would most likely lead to the second, which is for our nation to be subjected to the feelings, opinions, agenda, and worldview of a small group of immoral, elitist judges that rule from behind the bench or a dictator that rules from behind a gun. Attorney John Whitehead puts it this way:

Those who do not favor taking God’s law as the ultimate standard for civil morality and public justice will be forced to substitute some other criterion of good and evil for it. The civil magistrate cannot function without some ethical guidance, without some standard of good and evil. If that standard is not to be the revealed law of God (which, we must note, was addressed specifically to perennial problems in political morality), then what will it be? In some form or expression it will have to be a law of man (or men)—the standard of self-law or autonomy. And when autonomous laws come to govern a commonwealth, the sword is certainly wielded in vain, for it represents simply the brute force of some men’s will against the will of other men. “Justice” then indeed becomes a verbal cloak for whatever serves the interests of the strongmen in society (whether their strength be that of physical might or of media manipulation). Men will either choose to be governed by God or to be ruled by tyrants. (Footnote #31)

The loss of a fixed moral standard means Lady Justice is no longer blind, and those that have money and influence have a greater chance of getting what they want, to the detriment and harm of the middle class and the poor. Without moral law man will not be restrained from within, so he must be restrained from without. More intrusive and larger government presence in our lives will be required.

Finally, the loss of a fixed moral standard means injustice will naturally follow, resulting in the unjust suffering and death of many. Gary DeMar outlines the destructive consequences when evolutionary thinking is applied to law and morality:

Darwinian evolution has placed law in the arena with evolving man. If man has evolved then the standards primitive man once held must change along with him. When the higher law is abandoned, another law takes its place. The humanistic doctrine of evolution allows man to create for himself the law he believes will most benefit evolving man. Law then is what men or the courts say it is. Wrongs are defined in terms of what hurts man. There is no appeal to a law-order outside man. For example, abortion is made legal because it is convenient for the mother. For some women, having a baby is “harmful” because it restricts their freedom. These women are “wrongfully” curtailed in their desire to live as they wish. Laws are then passed to alleviate the “problem.” The developmental fetus is termed a “non-person” without protection from the more powerful. There is no consideration that God has defined the nature of life, or that freedom should be defined in terms of submission to the commandments of God. Nor are the necessarily destructive and suicidal long-term consequences of such legal thought and practice seriously considered. (Footnote #32)



30 John W. Whitehead, The Second American Revolution (Good News Publishing, 1985), 89.

31 Greg L. Bahnsen, By this Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today (Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), 264F.

32 DeMar, God and Government, 165–66. Banner