Ralph's Daily Devotional - Wednesday, July 11

The people of Israel and the laws given by God arrive very late on the world stage of human history.  By what criteria, then, would the world have understood and been accountable to God prior to the written Ten Commandments given by Moses in 1200 B.C.?

Obviously the murder of Abel by Cain in Genesis was preceded by a great period of time prior to Moses' day and the Ten Commandments, yet Cain was still held accountable, as was the very world when later judged by God in the flood.  So on what basis could God hold men accountable when in fact the Ten Commandments were not yet given?

 The answer is that goodness and conscience are part of man's inheritance right from creation.  Created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27, 2:7), we are morally responsible beings.  If not so, any judgments on God's part would have been unreasonable since we would have been incapable of discerning good from evil.

You don't hold a lion accountable and punish it for killing, but you do hold a man accountable for this reason.  Even what we might call "primitive man" (if indeed human) would be accountable.  No human is so primitive as to condone evil on the basis of total ignorance of right and wrong (Romans 2:14,15).

So there is an inherent sense of morality within all men, but through sin, its light has been greatly diminished.  Paul states, "They are darkened in their understanding."  Jesus goes so far as to say, "Men love darkness rather than light."  This refers not to all men of course, but humanity as a whole, evidenced by its dark history.  Yet man's determination to create just laws rightly serves to his knowledge and culpability in areas of his knowledge of good and evil.

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