| Peter Singer does not like God to be the standard. He says that it makes right and wrong “entirely arbitrary.” If God had happened to “approve of torture and disapprove of helping our neighbours, torture would have been good and helping our neighbours bad.” Without noticing in his objection, the humanist assumes that God is like us, faulty, corruptible, subject to mood swings. He brings God down to our level in order to show that he can’t be the standard. He uses this assumption to “prove” that a better standard exists. Of course, then God isn’t God. The standard is God.
Singer is right to call it “arbitrary” though.The standard of good is arbitrary in the sense that nothing higher exists to keep it in check. Any standard of good whether theistic or humanistic is taken by faith. The law of conscience points us beyond ourselves to a place that belongs to God alone. Good, by definition, is whatever God approves.
Peter Singer doesn’t agree. He says that theists “are caught in a trap of their own making, for what can they possibly mean by the assertion that God is good? That God is approved of by God?”
Logically, there must be a law outside of God to show that God is good, but Singer doesn’t notice that humanists have the same dilemma. Whatever ethical standard they come up with, they must judge and approve it and then use it to judge and approve themselves. It makes more sense for God to approve
of himself than for us to take his place.
A law does exist outside of God (e.g. the Ten Commandments), but the law simply reflects the character of God. It doesn’t exist independently of God. God did not come upon the law one day as he was walking along and say, “Hey, here’s a law of right and wrong, and fortunately, it appears that I measure up to it quite well.” God always had the law, because it is his image.
The conscience proves that we’re not the standard, because it points to a law that doesn’t reflect us. Sometimes it approves of us, and sometimes it does not. Our pride makes us pretend that we’re the law, but it’s clearly a game of pretend.
When God tells us his law through our consciences and experiences and Scripture, he simply projects an image of himself. He reveals to us aspects of himself through his law.
Humanists likewise in their thoughts and experiences and writings recognize a law of right and wrong, but they refuse to acknowledge God as the source. They dismiss the only basis for ethics and create their own standard to the praise of themselves.