Slides in this set
What Makes An Action Good?
There is a classical problem called the Euthyphro Dilemma that
comes from the writings of Plato.
The crunch point of the dilemma is a question that Socrates raises
about how goodness is defined:
Is an action `good' because:
1. God commands it, or
2. God commands what is good?
The choice to be made is double-edged. If you choose (1) God's
commands make things good, it would mean that if God
commanded that `murder is not wrong', then there would be
nothing morally wrong with murder. Some philosophers do not like
this view as it could mean that God is a divine dictator because
whatever God commands is the law.…read more
Option (2) suggests that God only commands what is good. The
problem with this view is that goodness does not originate from God.
Instead goodness is some sort of independent standard and God is the
enforcer of this standard.
This view is not supported in Christian tradition, which emphasises the
goodness of God's actions, and the fact that goodness originates from
In the Bible, God is clearly pictured as being perfectly good and
commands are the moral law. For example, the Ten Commandments
express God's will and state what is good according to God. On this
view, things are good because God commands them- God sets the
standard of what is good and bad.…read more
The Goodness Of God In The Bible
Two key ideas emerge about God's goodness in the Bible;
1) God is good.
2) God's actions are good.
Many passages in the Jewish scriptures and the new testament state that
God is good and perfect.
The story of the sacrifice of Isaac at the command of God clearly presents
an image of God as the lord and master of all, whose will is beyond
However, The fact that God challenged Abraham to do something which
most people believe to be immoral raises important questions about the
nature of God's goodness.
An important aspect of this story is that faith in God involves
surrendering your will and wishes to God.
The story ends with God preventing the sacrifice but the story presents a
strange and uncomfortable image of God for Christians.…read more
The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments are a clear example of God setting the
standards of what is morally right and wrong.
These reveal that God intervenes with the world in good ways.
They are a gift to help people lead a good life.
God's goodness in the Bible is revealed through his covenant even
when the people break it.
Jesus is an example of God's goodness because through him he saved
people from their sins and wrongdoing.
God's goodness is revealed when he offers forgiveness to people.…read more
Plato's Form Of Good And God In The Bible
Both Plato's form of the Good and God are sources of goodness.
God and the Form of the Good are shown as being "good."
They are both transcendent and separate from the world.
God is described in the Bible as acting in human ways but there is
awareness that God is different from human beings.
Therefore, God's goodness is not always understandable in human
The Form of the Good is the source of all other forms - it does not act
in the physical world.
But God is not only a source of goodness who decides what it right
and wrong but he also acts in morally good ways in the world.
Examples of such activity could be miracles.…read more