Who determines what is good?  

Isaiah 5:20 – 20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 

A couple of years ago there was a picture floating around the internet of a dress that some people see as blue and black and others see as white and gold.  It created quite a stir because two different people looking at the exact same picture swear they are seeing two different color dresses.  Each thinks the other person is insane for seeing something different than what is obvious.  The arguments, after a few laughs, usually end in the astonishment that we just see things differently as human beings.

The dress color debate speaks to how our current culture views the world.  Right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable and not acceptable are all relative.  What is right for you is not necessarily right for me.  Ultimately, governments and cultures determine what is right and wrong for the flourishing of the people and the advancement and sustainment of the government.  This is why we see things become illegal that weren’t legal in the past.  This is how something becomes socially acceptable or unacceptable that was the opposite in the past.  Times change, cultures change, laws change, and we believe what is right and wrong changes.  This is how we can hold historical figures in such high regard one day and the next day discount everything about them as completely wrong and evil.  To our culture, good and evil and right and wrong changes as time changes.  But is that what the Bible teaches?

The Bible teaches us that it is the very breath of God and that He is without change.  Out of His very nature is where we understand what is good and evil and what is right and wrong.  Anything that is different from the character of God opposes God and is therefore wrong.  What was always good and right in God’s eyes always will be good and right in God’s eyes.  What was always evil and wrong will always be evil in wrong.  It does not change because God does not change.  This is where the warning above in Isaiah comes from.  We cannot and have no right to declare something to be right when God has declared it otherwise.

Cultural influences and declarations of what is right and wrong will always change.  Human beings, in their sinfulness and following their own desires, will always see things differently.  Any culture that is not rooted in God’s unchanging character that is revealed to us in the Bible will be like the waves of the sea that are constantly changing.  Like the owner of the dress (who verified the dress is blue and black), only God determines what really is true.  Truth is truth.  Disagree with it and fight against it at your own peril.  That doesn’t change what it is.