5/4 So Where do we get our Conscience for Total Wholeness?

In our previous posts, we talked about a definition of what we mean by conscience.  Then we discussed what our conscience is NOT.  We saw that it is not our opinions, judgements, discernments, emotional reactions, the real ‘you’ or ‘facts’ we believe with our mind.  In this post, we continue by trying to define what we meant by ‘The Conscience’ and how valuable this gift can be.


1.  In brief, there are three main views about the source of our Conscience:

a.  Our conscience is given to us by God.

b.  We pick up our conscience come from other sources, i.e. our culture, family.

c.  Or it is an accidental result of evolution.

We shall examine the three different views as we seek to understand the Conscience.


1.  Our Creator has given every human being a Conscience.

a. The conscience is found in all humans.  No matter how primitive their civilisation might be, people have a sense of right and wrong.  God has written His laws on their hearts.  Details will vary with each culture, but a person is born with an active conscience.

“… since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness ….” Romans 2:15.

Everyone, even the most uneducated, savage has a conscience: “When Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Rom. 2:14–15, emphasis added).

b.  The conscience is unique to human beings.  Animals do not have a conscience.  They are conditioned by training rather than having an in-built conscience of their own.

2.  The Bible speaks of the first development of the human conscience:

“For God knows that when you eat from it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” — Gen 3:5   From this, we can describe the conscience is both the “opening of eyes” and the “knowledge of good and evil“.  The Conscience became the part of the personality that tries to make the decision if things are good or evil, right or wrong.

3.  Because of the actions of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Conscience has become ‘tainted’ with the old nature, deceived into acting in rebellion an wilful choices.

The conscious is a fallible witness because it has been corrupted by sin. When a person comes to Jesus Christ, their conscience can function as it was originally created. Otherwise the conscience cannot correctly lead them to worship the true God.

Therefore, we are born with a Conscience and we learn moral guidance from our family, our parents, schools and our peers, however ‘tainted’ all these views may be.


This view holds that human being are nothing but just a puppet to the collective neurons, cells created by the force of Evolution for survival and reproduction purposes.  It’s an evolutionary property of brain development over several millennia.


1.  Common secular or scientific views regard the capacity for conscience as probably genetically determined, with its subject probably learned or imprinted (like language) as part of a culture.[4]

2.  Our sense of right and wrong is taught to us by society, and it becomes part of our belief system.

3. Our need to do what is right or appropriate stems from the human need to feel good about oneself.

The conscience is basically the need to behave in a fashion that agrees with what we have learned is right or appropriate.  So essentially we do what we have learned is right or appropriate in order to maintain a positive view of ourselves or win the acceptance of others.

Conscience can be seen as a personal “moral compass”. Perhaps it is derived entirely from reason. We’ve had a conscience for as long, a sense we have developed over time in response to our environment.  Thus the Conscience is a conditioned part of our thinking process.

4.   The New Age View:

a.  We have outgrown the Biblical concepts of sin.

We can eliminate Good and evil as standards as Sin and evil do not exist. Ethical standards can be abandoned as experience is our guide for right and wrong. “Our experience of life validates the truth we know”.

“The tragedy of the human race was that we had forgotten we were each divine,” according to Shirley Maclaine, Out on a Limb, page 352. “….my own ‘out of body experience’ ….served to validate the answers to many questions – the surest knowledge being derived from experience.” (Shirley Maclaine, ‘It’s all in the Playing’, page 192)

b. There are not absolute right and wrong values.

Again, the experience is to evaluate the truth rather than any other goalpost, as these have to be removed to establish this new world order.  There is no absolutes but good and evil become conditional on the circumstances.  The Conscience has been replaced by the guidelines of ‘whatever feels good’, right and in your best interest.

c.  As another New Ager suggested:

‘The truth is that there is no such thing as making the “wrong” decision. Your life is your life, who is to tell you the right or wrong way to live it? You get to decide. In any decision you’re ever faced with, just remember; there is no right or wrong answer. Yours is a unique path unlike any other’s and it is yours to walk and choose.

‘Remember, you can’t control every aspect of life, you can only go with the flow and take things one step at a time, and make those choices as they come.  Very importantly, always be true to yourself. Listen to your heart and try not to over-think things.

‘Whatever path you choose to walk, turns you wind down, roads you stumble along, falls you must make, or decisions that you must choose, are all part of your beautiful and unique life and none of it will be “wrong” or “right”, it just Is. There are no mistakes (or sin), just choices that coincide with your path.’

Perhaps mixing ‘mistakes’ with sin and evil is too simplistic a view?


There is a heated debate in our society about how the Conscience can be taught right and wrong or have we just inherited our values system.  However, it may very well be impossible for us to completely understand the human conscience since it is difficult to study and understand something as we must use that very thing to study that something…..but we must have some ‘cornerstone’ to begin our study.

The teachers of the New Age religion firmly believe that their beliefs will conquer all obstacles in their paths. As mankind has accepted more and more the lies the serpent told Eve, “Do what thou wilt” philosophy has spread. “Become ruler over the self. Release your full potential and become god” is the heart of the belief system of the New Age.

The Evolutionary theory doesn’t necessarily help in our debate either as different ages and times in history held different views of what is right and wrong.  So to say that our Conscience is a product of evolution is faulty.

So that brings us back to what the Bible teaches about the Conscience as our foundation for behaviour that benefits the whole society rather than the self-centred individual….again part of the coming debate.  Join us for our next post as we look at whether the Conscience can be trusted as an infallible guide to life.

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author



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