“I’m good” has become quite the humorous way to buffer a “No!” When asked if we want something, the negative response is “I’m good.” Such as, “Do you want a coffee?” “I’m good.” Or, “Let’s walk on the ice over that lake!” “I’m good.”
The idea of goodness has worked its way into the conversation about the existence of God. Philosophers have posed the question, “Can we be good without God?” I would be out of my league to engage those thinkers, but some thoughts come to mind. Perhaps this will get you to thinking, too.
Notice the question doesn’t demand belief in God. Sure, there are non-believers who do good things. The question is really about how we know what is good.
The secular answer is that our morals come from ourselves and whatever evolution has built into us, including survival of the fittest. As products of random chaos humans have no more intrinsic value than other species. So the value of a person and her morality are subjective. What or who she values is her choice.
The theist responds, how do you define good? When you acknowledge good and evil, that’s a moral law. Skeptic philosopher Immanuel Kant admitted, “Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.” If there’s a moral law, there must be a moral lawgiver. Moral law is innate to the value of a person. Where could that value and the moral law within us come from, if not God? Could molecules or chance do that? If there is good, there is God, so we cannot be good without Him.
The God of the Bible is loving and just. His moral commands are not arbitrary or random, but are an expression of His character. We are accountable, and our choices have eternal consequence. He values us enough to provide a Savior to balance the scales of justice, and enable us to live lives of moral consequence today.
William Lane Craig thinks logically that “if God does not exist, then it is plausible to think that there are no objective moral values, that we have no moral duties, and that there is no moral accountability for how we live and act. The horror of such a morally neutral world is obvious. If, on the other hand, we hold, as it seems rational to do, that objective moral values and duties do exist, then we have good grounds for believing in the existence of God.”
The story goes that a wealthy young man approached Jesus with a question. Jesus answered, “There is only One who is good.” Without God to define good, the question of good without God cannot even be asked! So, the next time someone answers you, “I’m good,” that could start an interesting conversation!