Is an action good because God commands is? Or does command it because it is good?
This is a double-edged question; if you choose that an action is good because God commands it, then it means if God commanded '**** is good' then this would become true, yet we all know that this is not the case. Many philosophers dislike the idea of God having this much power.
On the other hand if you go with the second one, then it takes away the idea of all good originating from God. Instead it is independent from him and he is merely the enforcer. This view is not supported in Christian tradition as here the goodness of God's actions are emphasised and that all goodness comes from God.
Goodness of God in the Bible
Two key ideas emerge in the bible; one that God himself is good, and another that God's actions are good.
The Jewish Scriptures and New Testament paint a clear picture of God being good, and his goodness is revealed to the people through his activity in the world. God is the creator and his creation is repeatedly stated as 'good' and reveals God to the world. By saying that it reveals God, Christians mean that something is learned about the nature of God through creation.
God's goodness is not only seen through his creations, but also his actions for the benefit of people, such as healing miracles, or support for God's followers in battle. The picture that emerges is of God acting within the world and his activity is clearly seen as good.
The goodness of God's actions is not a matter of human judgement, as this nowhere seen more clearly than the story of Abraham's attempt to sacrifice Isaac at the command of God. The story concerns duty and faithfulness towards God, but the fact that God asks Abraham to sacrifice a child, something most people believe to be immoral, raises questions about the nature of God's goodness.
This story clearly presents a God that is lord and master of all, and whose will is beyond human comprehension. This story indicates that God's commands are what makes an action good. The duty of people is to respond to and obey these commands.
The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments in Exodus is a clear example of God setting moral boundaries of what is right and wrong.
God commands what is good, and in some parts of the bible it states that God wrote the commandments down on a tablet as opposed to Moses hearing them. The giving of these rules shows very clearly that God's goodness is a matter of moral action - meaning God intervenes in the world in a good way.
Within the commandments God is described as 'impassioned' meaning committed to Israel. The commandments are a gift to the people if Israel to enable them…