A likely misunderstanding of ethics would be to assume that God has left no standard or moral compass for guiding how we ought to live and how society ought to be governed. The reason By This Standard is such an essential book is because it reiterates its thesis over and over in various ways through forceful and persuasive angles. In defining Theonomy’s basic thesis Dr. Bahnsen writes:
Fundamental to the position taken herein is the conviction that God’s special revelation — His written word — is necessary as the objective standard of morality for God’s people. Over against the autonomous ethical philosophies of men, where good and evil are defined by sinful speculation, the Christian ethic gains its character and direction from the revealed word of God, a revelation which harmonizes with the general revelation made of God’s standards through the created order and man’s conscience(p.2).
The overwhelming majority persists in seeing some ethical norm not derivative from God’s Holy Word. The more a society denies its necessary guide the more its decline is inevitable. Where is the world to find a moral standard by which to judge right and wrong? Where is government to find ultimate basis for judging criminality? Bahnsen states that the fundamental position of theonomy is that the answer to all those questions is found in the revelation of God.