Listen: 63 Question 2

Morality did not begin with the commandments the Lord gave to Moses.  In fact, each one of the commandments was already known to be morally right.  Even without God’s revelation in the commandments, we intuitively know God’s law based on the fact that we were created in His image. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man has tried to change, distort, or deny God’s principles of morality, so we do need the Word of God to let us know that there is a morality that cannot be changed.

Romans 2:12-16 tells us, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”  Although this portion deals primarily with the Gentiles, we see that all people have the “law (or commandments) written in their hearts.”  Even those who had never heard the law naturally did the moral things that the law required.  This truth would certainly apply to those who lived before the giving of the law.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.  It is obvious that Adam and Eve taught their sons about the instructions of the Lord.  We read in Genesis 4:3-4, “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering.”  Adam and Eve must have taught Cain and Abel about sacrificing to the Lord, so we learn that the Lord’s truths were passed on orally to each generation.  Cain certainly realized that killing his brother was a sin.  After murdering Abel out of jealousy, Cain lied to the Lord about it, as we read in Genesis 4:8-9, “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”  So, we see that Adam passed down certain truths to their children, and people were also convicted by their own consciences about morality.

Abraham was spoken of as being obedient to the words of the Lord in Genesis 26:5 which says, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”  This shows that Abraham knew what the Lord’s commandments were.

Long before the law was given, Joseph knew that adultery was a sin as we read in Genesis 39:7-9, “And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”  Joseph knew that to sleep with Potiphar’s wife would be a sin against God.

These are just a few examples among many that could be given.  So, we can easily see that there was morality, or right and wrong, long before the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.