In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.Judges 21:25, King James Bible 1769
The bottom line up front would be if I’m not listening to and obeying God’s word in my heart, validated through the Bible, but instead come up with my own ideas of what is good, I will need to repent of many if not all of those supposedly good deeds.
The road to hell is paved with the good intentions I follow where good is defined as what I find right in my own eyes. Eve, deceived by the serpent and with no objection from Adam, saw the forbidden fruit as “good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3). When they ate the fruit, they were doing what was right in their own eyes.
The 20th century Catholic philosopher, G.E.M. Anscombe seems to have been saying something like that in her classic paper, Modern Moral Philosophy, where she criticized moral philosophy from Kant onward. Her message, as I understand it, is there’s no moral law that a philosopher can come up with outside of that coming from a divine lawgiver.
When a philosopher tries to ground moral obligation on something other than God’s command the philosopher’s own good intentions become what is right in his eyes. Since he is the author of his particular moral system this makes him one of many self-righteous lawgivers. Walk down the path of that self-righteous moral philosophy and one walks down the road to hell either on this earth or hereafter. Injustice, addiction, and conflict are some of the results one can expect.
Over the past few centuries that Anscombe was critical of people had powerful means to implement what was right in their own eyes leading to autonomy from God. Such humanistic autonomy is best seen as rebelliousness. We live in a dark age regarding morality because we rationalize what we should do based on criteria like maximizing happiness or effective altruism rather than hearing God’s voice confirmed through the Bible. We don’t listen to God’s voice because we don’t believe there is a God to listen to, or if we do like Adam and Eve surely did, we think we know better.
So, how do we hear God’s soft voice and how do we distinguish it from the deceiver’s misdirection? That is the topic of the video series below.