The Moral Man
A while back, I read one of C.S. Lewis’s books called Mere Christianity. Overall, I loved the work, but I was especially pleased with his explanation of moral law. Though I do it no service by trying to explain it herein, I must try to pull forward some of his interpretation to aid my further discussion. In the book, Lewis does a very good job of paving the way to a kind of proof of God’s existence through the idea that a rational-minded person is sometimes able to make judgments between right and wrong, without really knowing from whence those comparisons originate, and yes he does allude to the idea that it is quite rational to have morals, a concept almost missing from present society. An example he puts forward is that when given two moral codes to compare, an ethical person will quite likely be able to make the comparison between the two to decide which law is more just. The mystery of this whole feat is that it suggests that if you can compare the two laws to determine which is more just, then there must logically be some other, more perfect, code that is subconsciously being used to make the comparison. This mysterious code that we seem to know about, but don’t really know how we know about, is essentially God communicating to us through our conscious. It is the perfect law. Similarly, we can see that we have many other perfect ideas that clearly don’t manifest themselves directly in the physical world. We can also see that there are more than a few people worldwide who can make these comparisons, so this seems to be an almost universal phenomenon, and Lewis states as much.
In the next step, I would like to take a look at how a moral person uses this law. The obvious answer is that when an ethical person is faced with a moral dilemma, he consults with his conscious to determine what path to follow. He then uses his will to guide him in that direction. Of course, there are many stumbling blocks along the way, but in most cases, the moral man perseveres.
Now we must ask ourselves, who is this moral man? How can I speak of this hero of righteousness? Isn’t this moral man just another one of those perfect things we can somehow visualize, but can’t find an example of in the real world? Well, yes, in this scenario, this moral man does seem to be something of an archetypal self, a version of us that knows better, a version of us that always seems to know that we should walk down the righteous path, a version of us that knows that the good path leads to life and God, and the dark path leads to chaos and torment; if not in this world, at least in some world to come, when justice is dealt, but most importantly, a version of us that has the will to follow the right path, even if the physical version of ourself hasn’t the strength to overcome.
Now we must explore where this archetypal self might originate. Are we its creator? If so, then why does it seem to be guiding us, and not us guiding it? I mean, if we were guiding it, we wouldn’t feel that guilty for not traversing the road it wants us to follow, now would we? After all, if we were its creator, then we could just make it in our own imperfect image, and not have to worry about some future damnation or splitting of the ways with an eternal God, right? So, let’s suppose that this higher self somehow came from the same place as the higher law. Let’s just say that God created this image. What would that mean? Isn’t it conceivable that God creates things in a way similar to how we create things? If that is true, perhaps I can compare it to how I might create something. Being a software engineer by trade, I can tell you that I have never created an application in the present. I create it in the future. This may sound absurd you say, but let me explain. I am not a time traveler, but sort of I am. When I start writing the code to the application, the idea of the final product is already formed in my head. I merely have to guide the code into the form so that it will be there in the future. Along the way, the wayward code sometimes doesn’t do exactly what its archetypal future form dictates, so I have to push it back in line. Sound familiar? What does this all mean, you say? Well, what if, God didn’t create us at the beginning, but instead he created us at the end? What if the image he envisioned was one of us with him in the future? Then you might say to yourself that that can’t be true because you are here in the present, not in the future, but what about your past? You know that your body and cells change as you age, and even die, but don’t you know deep down that those cells were not you, as they couldn’t be, because you are here now in the present; just like you were you back then in the past; just like you will still be you in the future. That archetypal self, that is you, all if it, spread throughout time. That is how you know what direction to go, because the future you is already there, with God, just as God envisioned it. You know how to get there, because you are there. Now, let your conscience be your guide. You know the path, just take it. Become the person that God designed you to be!