In the science of Physics there is a principle called the Principle of Duality, which states that both energy and matter have dual natures — each is both particle and wave. In the early days of Physics, between Newton and Einstein, it was believed that energy (light) was typified by wave motion, and its characteristic was velocity. Matter, on the other hand, was basically an aggregation of particles, and the characteristic of a particle was its position. But Einstein showed that light also has particle characteristics, and later physicists showed that the elementary particles of matter (electrons, protons, etc.) have wave characteristics. But this duality of characteristics is evident only when we probe deeply into the structure of matter — into the atom itself. Thus, the determination of position can no longer demonstrate that the unknown is a particle, or the measure ment of velocity identify a wave, when one is dealing with the atomic world. To make matters worse, a German physicist named Heisenburg showed that the more accurately you measured position the less accurately you could determine velocity, and vice versa. It was therefore impossible to determine conclusively, in one experiment, that light was both particle and wave or that an electron was both particle and wave. The experiment had to be designed to measure either position or velocity; it could not determine both with high precision.

The same duality is present in the moral world of human thought and action, in the concepts of good and evil. In the major areas of evil — murder, theft, adultery, perjury, etc. — there is no difficulty in correctly labelling the action as evil. But there are many areas of modern life where it is quite difficult for us to say whether a certain action is good or bad. The more complex the society or human relationship, the more difficult it is to identify the moral issue. In some situations it is considered “good” to kill another person, as in warfare, in executing criminals, in preventing serious crime. But in other circumstances it is evil to kill another person. One of the situations in the middle is represented by the “mercy” killing of old, suffering people who want to die. Is it good or is it evil to kill a person who is suffering, as by the administering of drugs by a doctor, to end the suffering by death rather than wait for the disease to kill the person, with its prolonged agony? This question has not been answered to the satisfaction of any modern culture.

The Bible recognizes this duality in good and evil, and provides definite guidance. The Writer to the Hebrews has this to say in Heb. 4:12: “For the Word of God is alive and active. It cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the place where life and spirit, joints and marrow, divide.” The Bible contains passages covering every moral area of life that will show the reader whether the action is motivated by the Spirit of God in man or whether it is the desire of natural man, in rebellion against God. For this is the ultimate test.

The more carefully we consider the matter in relation to God’s Word, the Bible, the less it concerns the beliefs of modern society. And the more we consider the matter in relation to the standards of modern society, the less it concern’s God’s Word. Just as the physicist tries to determine the nature of the unknown phenomenon he is studying by the measurement of either position or velocity, so the person with a moral problem tries to find out the right or the wrong of the situation by considering either God’s Word or the ideas of modern society. But the more we probe the one, the less we can consider the other. If we test the rightness or wrongness by the standards of human society, we cannot know the attitude of God on the matter. If we seek to resolve its moral duality from the Word of God, we must ignore what human society thinks about it. Several examples should make this clear. Human society in many nations today condones sexual relations between unmarried men and women (even between persons of the same sex). But the Bible is quite clear that both are evil and an abomination to God. I Cor. 6:9 says: “Make no mistake, no fornicator, none who are guilty either of adultery or homosexual perversion, * * will posses the Kingdom of God.” Jesus denounces fornication and adultery in Matt. 5:27-28, 19:18, Mark 7:21 and many other places. Divorce is another area where the Bible and modern society disagree on what is right and what is wrong. In some modern societies, an evil act such as murder, theft, wanton destruction, abduction, etc., is “good” if it is carried out in connection with a “good” objective. The various guerrilla organizations around the world are examples of this thinking.

The Principle of Duality in Physics states that both energy and matter partake of the nature of particles and waves, but it is not possible to determine the two characteristics in any one experiment. The physicist must decide before he conducts his experiment whether he will investigate the particle nature and measure position, or whether he will examine the wave nature and measure velocity. The corresponding principle in morals can be stated: It is not possible to determine whether a given action is morally right or wrong by considering both what the Bible says about it and what modern society thinks. The person with a moral problem must choose which criterion of moral quality he will accept, the Bible or the standards of society. In both physics and morals, one choice excludes the other.