Is there ever a time when no one is looking?


Below is an interesting article from Bruce Schneier:

Honor System Farm Stands:
Many roadside farm stands in the U.S. are unmanned. They work on the honor system: take what you want, and pay what you owe.

And today at his farm stand, Cochran says, just as at the donut shop years ago, most customers leave more money than they owe.

That doesn’t surprise social psychologist Michael Cunningham of the University of Louisville who has used “trust games” to investigate what spurs good and bad behavior for the last 25 years. For many people, Cunningham says, trust seems to be at least as strong a motivator as guilt. He thinks he knows why.

“When you sell me something I want and trust me to pay you even when you’re not looking, you’ve made my life good in two ways,” Cunningham tells The Salt. “I get something delicious, and I also get a good feeling about myself. Both of those things make me feel good about the world­ that I’m in a good place. And I also see you as a contributor to that good ­ as somebody I want to reward. It’s a win win.”

I like systems that leverage personal moral codes for security. But I’ll bet that the pay boxes are bolted to the tables. It’s one thing for someone to take produce without paying. It’s quite another for him to take the entire day’s receipts.

I’ll take a different spin on this: many people are honest when no man is looking because of a belief that there is never a moment when no one is looking; either God Himself, or His designated watchers, see and record the acts of man.

Consider:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers: But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The wicked are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For Jehovah knoweth the way of the righteous; But the way of the wicked shall perish. (Psalm 1)

David understood the actions of man to be recorded:

Be merciful unto me, O God; for man would swallow me up: All the day long he fighting oppresseth me. Mine enemies would swallow me up all the day long; For they are many that fight proudly against me. 3 What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in thee. 4 In God (I will praise his word), In God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid; What can flesh do unto me? 5 All the day long they wrest my words: All their thoughts are against me for evil. 6 They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, They mark my steps, Even as they have waited for my soul. 7 Shall they escape by iniquity? In anger cast down the peoples, O God. 8 Thou numberest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle; Are they not in thy book? 9 Then shall mine enemies turn back in the day that I call: This I know, that God is for me. 10 In God (I will praise his word), In Jehovah (I will praise his word), 11 In God have I put my trust, I will not be afraid; What can man do unto me? 12 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render thank-offerings unto thee. 13 For thou hast delivered my soul from death: Hast thou not delivered my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living? (Psalm 56)

David understood that all his actions are observed:

1 O Jehovah, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off3 Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, And art acquainted with all my ways4 For there is not a word in my tongue, But, lo, O Jehovah, thou knowest it altogether5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, And laid thy hand upon me6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall overwhelm me, And the light about me shall be night; 12 Even the darkness hideth not from thee, But the night shineth as the day: The darkness and the light are both alike to thee13 For thou didst form my inward parts: Thou didst cover me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My frame was not hidden from thee, When I was made in secret, And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: When I awake, I am still with thee. 19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: Depart from me therefore, ye bloodthirsty men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, And thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O Jehovah, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred: They are become mine enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139)

We are told that the Christ is the judge:

22 For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. (John 5:22-23)

And:

35 The good man out of his good treasure bringeth forth good things: and the evil man out of his evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:35-37)

 Daniel wrote concerning the Judgment:

9 I beheld till thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days did sit: his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousands of thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened11 I beheld at that time because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was given to be burned with fire. 12 And as for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:9-14)

And:

1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. 5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on the brink of the river on this side, and the other on the brink of the river on that side. 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. 8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my lord, what shall be the issue of these things? 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but they that are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. 13 But go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and shalt stand in thy lot, at the end of the days. (Daniel 12)

John wrote thus in the Revelation:

1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years5 The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years should be finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years7 And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 and shall come forth to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. 15 And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20)

And:

22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple thereof. 23 And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb. 24 And the nations shall walk amidst the light thereof: and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. 25 And the gates thereof shall in no wise be shut by day (for there shall be no night there): 26 and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it: 27 and there shall in no wise enter into it anything unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie: but only they that are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:22-27)

So, based on the assumption that the Creator has created mankind is His image (Genesis 1:27), records the actions of mankind in a book (or books), and will use contents the book(s) to judge mankind, does it not also make sense that mankind would have a hardwired moral compass? And that he could chose to follow this compass or ignore it just as he can a magnetic compass? Such is the free moral agency granted that is granted to humanity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s