The Secret of the Universe, by Nathan R. Wood, , at sacred-texts.com
It should be no surprise to us to find that moral action is based in its structure on that Triunity which is the reflection of the Being of God.
Would that all moral action were based in its character upon the Being of God! But in its structure, whether its character is good or bad, all moral action, whether it will or not, is inevitably based in its procedure upon that universal triunity which is the structure and pattern of God's physical and spiritual universe.
For in the Motive, the Act, and the Outworking or Consequence, of every moral action or decision, will be seen in every way the triunity by which the universe reflects its God.
This is especially reasonable.
For Ethics are based upon the Being of God. Ethical standards are not arbitrary. Moral Laws are not accidental. Goodness is not based upon some speculative, or over-abstract, or over-practical, or materialistic, or unreal principle. Goodness reflects the Goodness of the Creator. Holiness is what every personal being ought to have because God is holy. Conscience is the reflection in the human soul of the Holy Nature of God. Purity is the clear light of God in a human life, so that the "pure in heart can see God." God is more than holy. That He is "holy" is a characteristic. It describes God. But there are words which define God. They declare His absolute Being. "God is Light," absolute, stainless, shadowless, sinless, ineffable, glorious Light. "God is Love," absolute, unselfish, glowing, radiating, marvelous
[paragraph continues] Love. "Light" and "Love" are more than adjectives, describing His characteristics; they are nouns, defining His very Being.
And Ethics are based on that moral Being of God. That is why right is right, and good is good, and wrong is wrong, and evil is evil. God is the reason.
It is especially reasonable, then, that all moral action should in its procedure be based on the Being of God, which is so reflected in all universal things. Evil acts are of course a distorted reflection, a darkened, hateful, degenerate reflection. But in their structure all moral acts are a reflection. And good deeds are a glorious reflection. For good acts reflect not only His Triune Being, but His Being of Light, and of Love.
What is the structure of moral actions?
1st, is the Motive. That is the Source. Without the Motive there is no moral action.
The Motive is the Source. It lies deep in the soul. It wells up from unknown depths. It may even emerge from the subconscious. The object of the action may be from without, but the Motive which responds to it is from within. The Motive is unseen. It is invisible. It is the Source of every action.
2d, is the Act. The motive takes form in the Act. It is only as it does so, and becomes an act, that there is moral action. It may be inward, or intellectual, or emotional, or imaginative, but it must take some form, visible or invisible, to make it moral action.
The Act is the embodiment of the motive, in visible, or tangible, or audible form, or intellectual, or emotional, or imaginative form. Visible or invisible, the Act is the embodiment of the Motive.
The Act is the executive factor in moral action. It does whatever is done. The motive does things through the Act. Whether visible, or audible, or tangible, or invisible, intellectual, or imaginative, the Act embodies the motive, and does what is done, and makes moral action actual.
3rd, is the Consequence, or outworking, of the Act. It is the Act in its impact on other lives, or other things. Moral actions never take place in a vacuum. If they influence no one else, they influence one's self. No action can be judged, as to its moral character, entirely apart from its consequences.
It is not only the Act which works out in other lives, in other things, in environment, in one's self, through the Consequence. It is the Motive also working, through the Act, in the Consequence.
In all these aspects Moral Action is a vital part of that vast triunity by which the universe is in its pattern and structure the reflection of God.
All three of these factors in moral action must be judged together. The Act must be weighed by its Motive, and by its Consequences. So it is in any righteous court of judgment. The Motive must be judged by its outworking in Act and Consequences. The Consequences must be judged in the light of the Act itself, and back of that by its Motive. So it always is in honest, understanding comprehensive judgment, by every candid judge or observer. No one of the three,motive, act or consequence, may stand alone. Each pervades the other two. Each permeates the entire moral action. Each has part in making the whole moral action good or bad.
Moral action is impossible without all three of these factors.
The causal order is always the same. The motive is always the source. The act is always the embodiment. The consequence always flows from the act, and from I the motive through the act.
It is a fixed, inevitable, invariable order, in absolute reflection of that Triunity which rules the universe.
Even the man who defies God, who hates God, who denies Him, who strikes at Him, does these things, in spite of himself, in a triune pattern and structure of activity which reflects Him whom he defies, hates, strikes at, or denies.
And acts of goodness, of love, of mercy, of unselfishness, of purity, of heroism, of patience, of humility, of sacrifice, how marvelously they reflect God, not only by their structure reflecting His Triune Being, but by their character reflecting Him who is Light and is Love. And the human life which is made up of such acts as these,is there any other reflection of God so like Him, in all this universe as we know it?
So does the principle of Ethics become truly Divine. So it is lifted out of all trivial, or calculating, or self-seeking, or merely human, or mechanical, explanation, and becomes grounded on the Centre and Cause of the universe and of human existence.
And so does the Good become profoundly, not only in its moral character, but in its very pattern of action, the reflection of God.