In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul lists some of the positive fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Earlier in Galatians 5:19-21, Paul lists some of the negative “works of the flesh”: “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.”
To these two lists of moral attributes and characteristics we could add the concepts of truth, honesty, dignity, loyalty, friendliness, honor, humility, dedication, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, humor, flexibility, empathy, forbearance, consideration, self-sacrifice, gratitude, persistence, commitment, discernment, rationality, logical thinking, being organized, being a peace-maker, fairness, generosity, passion…and a number of other distinct and precise words that describe finely differentiated moral characteristics.
This list could be expanded further by adding their negative counterparts.
Why is this important in a Christian book about science and faith?
When anyone who is a born-again Christian, Bible college student, Christian theologian, atheist, skeptic, or curious truth-seeker begins an examination of the perfect and sinless life of Jesus Christ, they are acknowledging the existence of the very tools of the sophisticated and varied concepts available that precisely define moral characteristics, that make such an examination possible.
Without this complete and exhaustive tool-kit of concepts by which to judge moral characteristics, a personal decision for or against accepting Christ as Savior would fall short of being meaningful, would not have all of the richly differentiated criteria to support a valid decision, one way or the other.
The three complimentary categories: the existence of the broad array of moral concepts, our capacity for intellectual and moral reasoning, and the divinely composed life-script for Jesus Christ, must all be fully developed and fully functional in-time for the appearance of Jesus Christ into this world in the first-half of the first-century A.D.
This discussion opens the door into a better and fuller understanding of the uniqueness of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, validating the life of Jesus to be at the top-most point of moral perfection.
This is an Excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.