Moral Absolutes and Moral Relativism

Moral Absolutes:  The same moral code applies to everybody.  What is morally right is morally right for everybody, and what is morally wrong is morally wrong for everybody.

Moral relativism:  What is morally right for one person may not be morally right for another person.  What is morally wrong for one person may not be morally wrong for another person.

What Does the Bible Say?

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. (Leviticus 19:35-36)

Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 24:22)[1]

Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. (Deuteronomy 12:8)

Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25)

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. (Proverbs 11:1)

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25).

A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work. (Proverbs 16:11)

Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD. (Proverbs 20:10)

Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good. (Proverbs 20:23)

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2)


Scripture clearly shows that God wants moral absolutes. Moral relativism is clearly an abomination to Him. After all, the reason that we have laws is the need for moral absolutes. Besides, people who do believe in moral relativism often question another person's moral beliefs if these beliefs negatively affect the first person. For example, few people would approve of their spouses being sexual relativists. If the whole society were to have moral relativism as its norm, we would end up with anarchy. This is similar to the society during Judges 17:6[2] and Judges 21:25 (which, in Deuteronomy 12:8 and Proverbs 3:5-7, God gave a Thou shalt not), when God would oppress the Israelites for their continual disobedience.

Relativism nearly anywhere else leads to chaos.  Imagine, for example, if no traffic laws existed.  You could drive on whichever side of the road you wish, as fast or as slowly as you wish. You can proceed through intersections any way you wish.  You would probably have an accident every time you drive anywhere!  Or, if carpenters were working on a building; and each carpenter had a different idea how long a foot is.  That building would probably collapse well before it was finished!  This list could go on and on.


[1] All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Please see my about page for why I chose this translation.↩

[2] I am adding the ability to link to scriptural references for convenience, especially for users of mobile phones. You will not leave this page by using these links.↩