Does the Moral Law Require a Moral Lawgiver?
One popular version of the moral argument for the existence of God has been that the reality or rational necessity of the moral law proves the existence of a moral lawgiver. However, we must admit that there are religious philosophies, especially in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism that do not find a leap from moral law to moral lawgiver necessary at all. In fact, in these, the moral law exists independently to any concept of deity. So, how justified is the argument from law to lawgiver?
I believe that the concept of a moral law and God are inseparable. Perhaps, the name God is better than the term Lawgiver, because the moral law doesn't exist because of an arbitrary command of God (as in divine command theories). Certainly, the moral law doesn't exist apart from God as if He only discovered or knew the principle and gave interpretations to humans in the form of rules and norms. The moral law is not just a set of commandments. It is the law of relationship between persons. Persons have the faculty for self-awareness and self-determination, which takes into account inter-personal relationships. A natural law is a law of relationship between elements or forces of nature. But, the moral law is the law of relationship between moral beings.
To say that the moral law can exist independent of God (Triune Inter-personal Being) is to claim that the moral law is not personal, or if it is personal, it isn't absolute and eternal. Obviously, it couldn't be absolute and eternal if it were restricted to just the flux of this-worldly phenomenon.
Also, this argues against the idea of an impersonal God. If God is impersonal, only impersonal laws would exist. The Eastern views consider personal consciousness as imperfect and impersonal existence as perfect. Thus, in their ultimate argument, the moral law would be very illusory. However, they cannot establish how such an idea could be justified by a "person" whose status of existence is "personal" and not "impersonal".
We know that the moral law exists by the fact that moral beings have concepts of justice and retribution. It is another thing if some call evil as good and good as evil. People usually resort to moral reasoning to settle these differences. However, moral reasoning about what is just and what is unjust would be baseless if there is not a law above the cultural or political "commandments", "traditions", and "customs" of men. Morality would then be highly relative, as some already accept so. But, to say that morality is relative is to make an absolute statement with the normative implication that relative laws ought not to be regarded as either good or evil. The relativist position is self-defeating.
This implies that the moral law does exist eternally and absolutely, not somewhere in the outer space but in the way in which persons are naturally inter-related. This involves the emotional-attitudinal-actional inter-relationship between persons. Such inter-personal relating cannot be the result of impersonal forces-- for if it were, then the idea of personal justice would be ultimately absurd. This effect of moral inter-relations cannot be caused by amoral causes. The cause must be Absolute, Eternal, and Inter-Personal. Therefore, we say that the reality of the moral law invites us to acknowledge the reality of the Triune God.