• Created by: imogen
  • Created on: 28-11-17 11:47

God as the origin and regulator of morality

God has established eternal and objective principles of morality.

Frankena: “the standard of right and wrong is the will or law of God.”

Moral goodness is achieved by obeying Gods divine commands

Followers accept that there is an objective standard for ethics and it originates from God- it is not external to him

That which God says is good, becomes good; right or wrong are objective truths based on gods will and command. This ethics relates to a higher good which is revealed in scripture and teachings. God created laws which if followed allow harmonious living e.g. the Decalogue

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The Euthyphro Dilemma

Socrates and Euthyphro are at the courthouse. E thinks he is being holy in his actions, so S challenges him to state what he thinks is holy. E’s answer is “what is agreeable to the Gods is holy and what is not agreeable is unholy.” Socrates notes that there are disagreements within thre Gods so there can be no universal definition of holiness.

The dilemma: “is the holy approved by the Gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is approved?”

Does God exist independently, and separate from approval, or does good exist as a consequence of it being approved?

Socrates argues that God commands right behaviour because it is right. God is good and only commands what is good. If God is good, ha can only command what is right.

However, this assumes a standard of goodness independent of God and this makes him no longer the ultimate standard of morality. God seeing truthfulness as right is not the same as him making it right.

DCT states God would never command evil. Goodness in internal to God, he has fully identified with goodness and he is never inconsistent with his loving nature.

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Robert Adams

“Any action is ethically wrong if and only if it is contrary to the commands of a loving God.”

In response to the dilemma, Adam gives us a modified DCT

He proposes that God’s commands precede moral truths

First dilemma: morality is arbitrary.

Response: morality is rooted in the unchanging omnibenevolent nature of God, founded in his character. God would not command cruelty for its own sake as it would violate his nature

Second response: God is the source of morality; it is grounded in his character. God is not subject to a moral law that exists external to him. Moral law is a feature of Gods nature, it is internal to him.

God therefore retains his supreme moral and metaphysical status.

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