The Euthyphro dilemma

Revision cards on the topic of the euthyphro's dilemma

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  • Created by: Lucy64
  • Created on: 23-03-13 16:10

Euthyphro's dilemma

1) Does God command X because it is good?

  • Acts are good in themselves (Intrinsically good) independent of God
  • Moral goodness exists before God issues a command
  • God would have to appeal to the moral commands to find out what is good 

2) Is X good because God commands it?

  • Nothing is good until God commands it so good is subjective to God's will
  • God is the source of morality
  • The Divine Command Theory- Whatever God commands is good (Judaeo-Christians belive in this)

An argument is that God could command anything to be good e.g. murder

However God wouldn't do this because he is good.
In the OT when Aber murdered his brother Cain, he knew that what he had done was wrong 

The ultimate act of goodness was when Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross.

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The goodness of God in the Bible

  • The Jewish scriptures and New Testament paint God as being good
  • Many passages state that God is good and perfect, his good is revealed diretly to people through God's activity in the world
  • God is the creator and God's creation is stated to be good and to reveal God to the world. 
  • God's goodness is seen through his actions for the benefit of people such as healing miracles or support for God's followers in battle
  • The goodness of God's actions is not a matter of human judgement. This can be seen in the story of Abraham's attempt to sacrifice Isaac at the command of God
    -God is seen to challenge Abraham to do something that is immoral
  • God is what makes the action good
  • It is our human duty to obey these commands
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Problems raised by God's goodness

1) Many Christians and non-Christians have questioned whether it is possible to believe in a good God when evil and suffering exists.

2) Does God intervene in the world? We have not personally witnessed miracles and visions

3) Some events in the Bible make people question God's goodness 
e.g. the destruction of the city of Ai (Joshua 8) and the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19)

4) We cannot state that God's actions are good
-He is not a physical being so we cannot easily judge the goodness of his actions

5) God is unchanging and perfectly good. How can he respond to the changing of human needs if he is unchanging?

Judaeo Christians would see God as testing Abraham's faith to God and his response to God's commands

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