Moral certainty is a concept of intuitive probability. It means a very high degree of probability, sufficient for action, but short of absolute or mathematical certainty (Wikipedia).
The folly of our time is the quest for scientific certainty in all areas of life. This just can’t happen. The world doesn’t work that way. We accept this in things like the court of law where the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. We recognize we could never render judgments if the courts depended on the standard of certainty used by science and math. That’s just not the world we live in.
But when it comes to other areas of life we seem to want the “assured results of science”. This has been disastrous in the areas of faith and morals. At one time people understood that these areas are to be treated more like the court of law or the study of history than the search for scientific truth. They realized some things can’t be known the way science knows things. They accepted their limits as human beings. In biblical terms, they acted with humility.
In my last post I noted that the Christian claim is that God has chosen to be known not through science but through his Spirit speaking to people. He prefers the spiritual. He is God. It’s his prerogative. Christian apologetics must make it’s stand on this truth. It must call people to humility. It can do this by pointing out the limits of the scientific method.
Christians can also do what Carmen LaBerge counseled those attending the National Convocation of the Evangelical Association. Christians can demonstrate the power of a beautiful life. While God does not offer signs of his presence in the sense of empirical, scientific evidence, he does offer the world the sign of his people.
Jesus said Christians would be the salt and light that causes people to glorify their Father in heaven (Matthew 5.16) and that people will know they are his followers by their love for each other (John 13.35). Moses said to the Israelites that if they would follow God’s laws the world would take notice (Deuteronomy 4.6). None of this has the power to convert people, of course, but it does open doors for witness and for hearing the word which alone gives life to the dead.
Likewise, it’s as we live out our faith, really live in accordance with what we believe, that we grow in the conviction that what we believe is true. There is an inner and outer witness, the inner witness of the Spirit and the outer witness of a life that is right (is the way God meant it to be). Confident in the kind of moral certainty this gives (see definition above) we can live our lives in peace, assured of God’s embrace, and this kind of peace is highly attractive.