Since the Divine Command Theorist likely views unlimited power and unlimited goodness to be essential divine features, neither of these options is acceptable. Otherwise, they would be right because God commands them, and not the other way around. God has no such nature that is constituted of a moral law and there is no law he is subservient to. Why or why not. If morality is whatever God commands, then either God commands things because they are morally right, or things are morally right because God commands them. It is very tempting at this point to think, “Well, God would never command the torture of children, because torturing children is wrong, and God would not command something that is wrong.” But note that in making this move, we find ourselves again facing the first horn. Our perfections do pre-exist in him, but so do all good perfections. He has no moral law written on his heart. Introduction. If this is the case, then a whole range of facts, moral facts, are outside the scope of God’s control, and God has no power to change them. Oxford University Press. A1. Moral definition: Morals are principles and beliefs concerning right and wrong behaviour. If the morally right is what God commands, there is a true measure of our actions and a genuine responsibility for our behavior. But whatever is beloved of the gods is beloved because the gods love it; being beloved by the gods is entirely dependent on the relationship between the beloved and the gods. Kristin Seemuth Whaley is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Graceland University. If an applicant has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, including both crimes of dishonesty and controlled substance violations, he or she will typically be denied US citizenship. 256 pp. Either morality is outside God’s control, in which case God is not omnipotent, or God’s commands are morally arbitrary, in which case God is not omnibenevolent. God is also restricted, plausibly, by logical facts. God cannot decide to command just anything; God will command only what is right. Since, according to the second horn, the moral facts depend entirely on God’s commands, there is no objective standard that God must look to before making commands. We are here to help! Instead, it is because the Divine Command Theorist likely accepts the divine perfections that the dilemma arises in the first place. God determines what is moral. Is the God of the Old Testament nothing but a bully, a murderer, and an oppressor? Log In or Register He is infinite, unlimited being. Plausibly, God knows what is right, God desires for the right to be done, and God is powerful enough to effectively command the right. If whatever God says goes, then if God decreed that adultery was permissible, then adultery would be permissible. Let’s take the divinely directed slaughter of the Canaanites. But if this is the case, then God is not omnipotent; God is not all-powerful. In taking the second horn, the Divine Command Theorist fares just as poorly as in taking the first. A disgusting display of special pleading whose horrible moral impact the author can't possibly have thought through to its logical conclusion. We need to recognize that God is not in the image of man. Another is that DCT seems to provide a moral theory according to which there are objective moral facts; morality isn’t susceptible to subjective preferences or impermanent social consciousness. (2) Objective moral values do exist. Is God a Moral Monster? Recall that God is supposed to be omnibenevolent. One of the arguments against the God of the Bible is the kind of God we find in the Bible—specifically, a God who can appear to be a moral monster. You can find more information about Dr. Seemuth Whaley’s work at, Next: Letter from the Birmingham City Jail, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Is the God of the Old Testament barbaric and bloodthirsty? “Moral relativism” is the rule of the day. A recent string of popular-level books written by the New Atheists have leveled the accusation that the God of the Old Testament is nothing but a bully, a murderer, and a cosmic child abuser. In the second case, God’s commands establish the moral facts; whatever God decides is right becomes right in virtue of God’s command. If things are morally right because God commands them, then God is not omnibenevolent. Case in point? A being with the divine perfections, God, seems to be the kind of being that is capable of commanding actions that are morally right. To say he can’t violate his nature is also unhelpful as nothing can violate its nature. As Brian Davies says. Lewis (1898 - 1963). October 4, 2011. Moral definition is - of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ethical. William Paley – On The Teleological Argument, 19. This is the moral code upon which society makes laws. 2. They are not, however, desirable. The objective goodness that we have and are obligated to also needs accounting for. If God would not command something that is wrong, then this is possible only if God looks to the moral facts in order to determine what to command. Negatively, God wills us not to lie, cheat, steal, hate, murder. It would be analogous to saying that God is divine, or, like Euthyphro, saying that whatever is beloved by the gods is loved by the gods. But he doesn’t deny that in the absence of God there would still be moral goodness. To say that God is moral, is not to say that God has a list of rules that He must follow but simply that God is Life and that He is consistent with Himself and therefore acts in … Is God A Moral Compromiser? My Account So, saying that God is omnibenevolent is merely another way of saying that God meets the moral standard that God establishes. And there is a sense in which he is good, but I don’t think this is moral goodness. Why or why not? When Job wants to take God to court the obvious question is raised, “Who would be the judge?” God’s answer to Job as to why God allowed such evil to befall Job is basically, “I’m God and you are not.”. 4 Monumental Rage and Kinglike Jealousy? Many today–even within the church–seem to think so. “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalms 115:3). Morality argument for God’s existence. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - On Enequality, 56. It can’t be accounted for by us since the cause for such a nature with objective moral obligations needs an “external” grounding. We know that God is real because there is a moral standard and if there is a moral standard there is a transcendent moral truth giver. (And what are we? What Does It Mean for A Being to Be Moral? By the natural law, man has the moral sense to discern good and evil. However, if … God is simply not morally good in the sense of possessing virtues like humans. Synonym Discussion of moral. See more. The conclusion of such reasoning would be a demonstration of God’s existence. It is the exact opposite of morality; it's arguing why you don't need to use your own moral compass if God tells you not to, even to the point of murder. God Is the Moral Standard “How do you define right and wrong?” This question has never been more important than in these times of eroding morals and constantly changing values. So the moral argument needs to say something different than our morality needs to be accounted for in a being who is also moral. We, as a society, have moved away from absolutes. Karl Marx & Frederick Engels – On Communism, 61. Logically, if premises (1) and (2) are true, the conclusion that God exists must also be true. Anyone familiar with the scriptures will note that Yahweh has no reservations about ordering the … 21. The perfections include. Paul Copan — Is God a Moral Monster? God’s sovereign will, our first study, is seen when we look back on a day or period in our … Abraham was tested by God (Gen. 22:1) and through this ordeal demonstrated his fear of God (v. 12). Other ethical systems that in my opinion are more rationally acceptable and biblical are virtue theory and natural law ethics. Moral arguments are both important and interesting. Divine command theory is one popular approach in Christian circles to argue for an objective basis for morality. If God’s commands are morally arbitrary, then God is not omnibenevolent. A disgusting display of special pleading whose horrible moral impact the author can't possibly have thought through to its logical conclusion. Any complaints that this is wrong would fall on deaf ears, for, according to the second horn, if God commanded it, it is not wrong. If morality is outside God’s control, then God is not omnipotent. The latter comports well with Romans 2:15 which says that the “law is written” on people’s hearts. Good moral character is a primary requirement for admission to the United States as a citizen. Machiavelli is a typcial ethical egoist. God is not a human and is thus not bound by human morality. It would also not demonstrate any real basis for an action being moral or immoral other than God just stating it as so. So, a human killing another human to eat him for dinner is evil because of the nature of being a human (he is made in God’s image). The moral arbitrariness of God’s commands is a serious problem for the Divine Command Theorist, which we see in C2. In what follows, we will address each option, or horn of the dilemma, in turn. Accordingly, morality is independent of God, and God’s commands are restricted to only what is right. Divine Command Theory seems to be an attempt to ground morality theistically; the morally right is whatever God commands. The moral argument This is an argument for the existence of God. Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil (Kindle Locations 1253-1255). Ideally, God’s moral character and His activity in Israel’s history give the nation a necessary ethical framework to shape its way of life. But he’s not morally perfect as perfection in that sense has the notion of actualizing some moral potential (or being his own perfect standard which I have already criticized as being incoherent and arbitrary). Having established the auxiliary arguments, we now see the dilemma completed. I am also denying that God is his own standard of goodness in the moral sense. Some argue that being restricted by moral facts does not threaten God’s omnipotence. Premise A5 affirms a background commitment that the Divine Command Theorist likely accepts: God has the divine perfections. Until recently, at least for the most part, orthodox Christians have not held that God has emotions like humans; although, the Bible says that God gets angry, jealous, etc. In taking the first horn, that God commands things because they are right, the Divine Command Theorist will be required to concede that God is not unlimited in power. book. [members_logged_in] Positively, God wills us to tell the truth, be honest in all dealings, love one another, be gentle and kind, and so forth. The atheist argued that God’s moral standards are merely personal preferences that have changed. We should look to him to see how we are in his image, not make him into our image. Is God A Moral Compromiser? But, in taking this horn of the dilemma, the moral facts instead have power over God. 27. But the Bible does say that God is good, praiseworthy, loving, etc. As a background commitment, the Divine Command Theorist is likely motivating the theory in the context of a religious tradition that accepts the divine perfections, or attributes of God. (What does that even mean? We are not moral because we are somehow tethered to God’s morality. But the moral argument can be successful, but probably as part of a cosmological argument. Slaves could be … 15 Ibid., 64. Socrates is asking Euthyphro for this independent reason, which Euthyphro fails to provide. So, suppose God is about to issue the Ten Commandments. But the dilemma does not hinge on successfully arguing against the perfections. that each person…. Since God is (according to the divine perfections) both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, then we must conclude that DCT is false. 13 Michael Shermer, The Science of Good and Evil (New York: Holt, 2004), 149. Hopefully a Christian would want to maintain a theory that upholds an objective standard of morality and thus deny moral relativism. It is logically possible, however, for the Divine Command Theorist to reject A5 and deny that God is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent. How are how they don [t want that kind of a God who is a horrific moral picture. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Is God a Moral Monster? As a result, we, and the Divine Command Theorist, should conclude that DCT is false. However, he does not owe us anything. This law existed before Moses wrote it down as part of God’s law for Israel as a theocracy and this law is still in effect for Christians under the New Covenant.” The New Testament makes it clear that the ceremonial and civil laws of Israel are rescinded in the New Covenant. God is not a human and is not bound by a human body, does not have changing passions/emotions, and is not constrained or bound by human morality. We are also not moral because we are made in his image. Looking at human society, human societies have differing standards of morality. He is not a cosmic superman. According to this accusation, God is a “moral monster” since He “created” evil—or because He neglects to do anything about evil. Familials claim that only one's own family deserves moral regard. In the Old Testament, the Lord wrote His moral law on tables of stone (Deut. Justification for this claim derives support from the idea that religious moral codes have origins in divine will: “Morality is whatever God commands.” The theory that identifies the morally right with what God commands is called, unsurprisingly, ‘Divine Command Theory’. Understanding the Covenant-Making God. God could command, ‘Thou shalt put on thy right shoe before thy left shoe except on every third Thursday of the month, in which case thou shalt put on thy left shoe before thy right.’, and it would become immoral to put on your left shoe before your right on a Monday. For instance, God could command ‘Thou shalt torture thy children’, and it would be morally right to torture your children. [/members_not_logged_in]. An Introduction to Western Epistemology, 36. God is real! They exist because God exists (not because God created them or recognized them later). Matter pre-exists in God as its cause without God being material. It is unlikely that an atheist, for instance, would endorse DCT. This relationship between God’s commands and morality makes it the case that God could command anything whatsoever and it would be morally right simply because God commanded it. 1 and Summa Contra Gentiles 1.92, 1.93, and 1.94 Aquinas talks about how certain virtues can be said of God. If there is an explanatory relationship between God and morality, then it has to be one or the other. The usual approach is to maintain that the Bible is "God's Word" and that the moral rules contained therein are God's moral rules. Since omnipotence and omnibenevolence are divine perfections that cannot be simply subtracted from God’s nature, both horns of the dilemma are unacceptable. However, it is not morally wrong for a human, or other animal, to kill a deer in order to eat it. B1. A median of 45% across 34 surveyed countries say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. In this article I am going to explain what it means for a human to be moral, demonstrate why that doesn’t apply to God, and then show why the moral argument usually doesn’t work but how it could work. If God never gave the command, then these kinds of killing would be morally acceptable. We have a law written on our hearts that reflects this moral aspect of our being that God gave us. July 22nd, 2013 God's Will Brad Alles Here’s a quick review of this series on God’s will before we examine a third way that God guides us, through His moral will. Conversely, actions that prohibit the good of our human nature are bad. This is not praise-worthy; it is trivial. He can be a caring God, or He can be a scary God. 2 The New Atheists and the Old Testament God 20. However, public opinion on this question, as well as the role of God, prayer and religion varies by country, region and economic development. But this will not do, for several reasons. Rather, he has constituted us in such a way that we require certain goods to fulfill what God wants us to be. Copan, Paul Is God a Moral Monster? So, since accepting DCT yields two unacceptable options, the argument concludes with AC that DCT is false. The Moral Attributes of God. Address at the Apologetics Canada Conference 2012. Further, all other perfections that are found in creatures as effects pre-exist in a way in him as the cause. We are in his image. Thus, since God has made us in such a way, he gives us what is required to fulfill this goal. If God commands things because they are morally right, then morality is outside God’s control. b) The Covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the new covenant. Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of The Old Testament God. One is that it captures the sense that religion provides guidance for living an ethical life; God provides this guidance through giving commands and shaping religious moral codes. Unlike logical facts, however, one might argue that moral facts, like natural facts or physical facts, seem to be exactly the kinds of facts that should be within God’s power. What I mean by the former is that God does not abide by moral commands, nor does he fulfill obligations or virtues in the way that humans do. However, God is not a human. It is trivially true that a moral command is a command. God is not a moral being and often the way the moral argument is used is just wrong. 16 Ibid., 19. Paul Copan takes on Neo-Atheists' claims of a petty, malicious Old Testament God. 2- God's Moral Will God's Moral Will as expressed in the Bible tells us the moral choices that God desires us to make. The Bible often uses various figures of speech and metaphor to talk about God. The Divine Command Theorist is forced to make a choice: if the moral is whatever God commands, then either God commands things because they are right, or they are right because God commands them. Abraham’s obedience is intended to serve as a model for Israel and to inspire Israel’s obedience and solidify their relationship with (“fear of”) God.5” ― Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? A Brief Overview of Kant's Moral Theory, 53. What is a Chariot? Justification for this claim derives support from the idea that religious moral codes have origins in divine will: “Morality is whatever God commands.” The theory that identifies the morally right with what God commands is called, unsurprisingly, ‘Divine Command Theory’. Understanding the Covenant-Making God 34. In Is God a Moral Monster?, Paul Copan describes how wonderful and loving God is while fighting off the accusations of God being a monster by the New Atheists using the Old Testament. The dilemma is therefore forceful because it is contingent on a theological understanding that attributes the divine perfections to God. Laws are rules of conduct given by competent authority for the common good. DCT has attraction given certain religious commitments. If things are morally right because God commands them, then God’s commands are morally arbitrary. Does the Bible condone slavery, polygamy, or violence against unbelievers? The gods, then, love the pious for this reason, whatever the reason ends up being. by Paul Copan, 9780801072758, available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Some things happen that are not God’s will (moral will). We are finite beings that he has given a particular nature that allows us to change for the better or worse depending on our actions. Such a command is totally unprincipled, and we should feel no moral pull toward either shoe. There are many theories that try to explain what it means for a human to be moral. Likewise, anything that God commands would be morally right. He says, ^The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a … God cannot, for instance, make a round square, but this may not seem to be much of a threat to God’s power. 2:1). Therefore, God is rational, therefore God is moral! Another option is to deny the explanatory relationship between morality and God’s commands. This viewpoint is even making inroads into the church. If something did something that supposedly “went against its nature,” then it obviously wasn’t against its nature or the action couldn’t have been done.) What I mean by the former is that God does not abide by moral commands, nor does he fulfill obligations or virtues in the way that humans do. Therefore, why praise God for what He has done if He could have just as likely done the opposite, and it would have been equally moral. 15009 Lancaster Highway | Charlotte, NC 28277. “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Paul Copan's Is God a Moral Monster? Instead, perhaps things are morally right because God commands them. Access your previous orders and downloads by registering a Store account with us today! Video: Is God A Moral Monster? Nevertheless, I believe a few simple arguments demonstrate that morality requires a god. Take a moment to explore the avenues for our SES alumni and friends to stay connected and involved with the school's mission. So, while the penalties and reparations in these laws related to the family – the violations of these laws were part of God’s moral law. On this option, the class of actions that God commands is identical to the class of actions that are morally right, but there is no dependence in either direction. B2. But if morality is arbitrary, then saying that God is good becomes trivial. Like rejecting God’s omnipotence, rejecting God’s omnibenevolence is likely to be considered unacceptable. So, although God will command things that are morally right, the moral facts cannot be determined by God. God is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent. Some things happen that are not God’s will (moral will). But this does not demonstrate that God is a moral being in the sense of having to act in a certain way lest he be in violation of a moral law. 3 Great Appetite for Praise and Sacrifices? In fact the Bible more often than not uses physical terms to describe God. The moral argument is an important one to many theists who wish to rationally justify belief in God to unbelievers or those questioning whether or not God exists. One could argue that being sanctified through trials is one way our virtues are realized. A Law Engraved on Man's Heart (1954) Man participates in the wisdom of God and in the goodness of God. C2. ), 17. Read 3 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. He is not judged by any standard. We call certain attributes ‘moral,’ because they pertain to character … In taking the second horn, that things are right because God commands them, the Divine Command Theorist will be required to concede that God is not truly good. Euthyphro begins by proposing that whatever the gods love is pious or holy, and that which they hate is impious or unholy. So, C1, if things are right because God commands them, then God’s commands are morally arbitrary. This is an unfortunate result for the Divine Command Theorist, who will consider rejecting God’s omnipotence to be unacceptable. God’s moral standard flows from His unchanging nature, so His standard is absolute. "For Christ is the end of the law, that everyone who has faith may be justified" (Rom 10:4). Learn more. (By the way, this is an excellent book that deals with God not being a moral being.). The argument is presented as follows: P1: If God does not exist then objective moral values do not exist.P2: Objective moral values do existP3: Therefore, God exists.… He transcends humanity and our morality. God will investigate the nature of morality, identify the moral facts, and issue the commandments accordingly: Thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not steal, etc. God, Morality, and Religion by Kristin Whaley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. Most religious leaders would argue it's the other way around: Our sense of what's moral came from God, and without God there would be no morality. These are serious questions that are often raised by critics of Christianity (and by concerned Christians as well! Clete Pfeiffer 3/24/2012 SES provides a challenging academic curriculum from world class scholars utilizing an integrated approach to theology, philosophy, and apologetics. It is certainly fair to question whether there is such a being that has, or necessarily has, the divine perfections. If God had not prohibited it, then it would not be morally wrong, for instance, to kill an innocent person for no reason, despite any apparently-bad consequences or apparently-bad intentions. Thomas Hobbes – On The Social Contract, 55. An Introduction to Western Ethical Thought: Aristotle, Kant, Utilitarianism, 41. (Saying he follows his own commands reduces to being arbitrary and is probably incoherent.). Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2011 Introduction Paul Copan is a Christian theologian, apologist, and an author. God is not a moral being and often the way the moral argument is used is just wrong. He is the transcendent Creator and Sustainer of all finite being. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. But before we do so, note that even if you don’t agree with premise A5, the Divine Command Theorist almost certainly does. John Stuart Mill – On The Equality of Women, 58. If there were a standard that was not part of him, then he would not be God. A Divine Command Theorist might prioritize the connection between God and morality over the divine perfections, and they may consider this to be necessary, albeit unpalatable, concession. Both options require conceding divine perfections, but this is inconsistent with what the Divine Command Theorist is trying to accomplish. What are the reasons some people believe religion is necessary in order to have morality? One major point made by Copan is the question of how truly loving or terrible God is. Subscribe to follow this blog and receive email notifications of new posts. However, orthodox Christians do not think that God is physical, even though there are probably more descriptions of God that seem to indicate him having a material body than being merely a spirit. attempts a bold apologetic of the Judeo-Christian God's moral status in light of the recent attack on the biblical Old Testament by the so-called new atheists. God is not a human and is not bound by a human body, does not have changing passions/emotions, and is not constrained or bound by human morality. Case in point? He is also a professor in Palm Beach Atlantic University. While there may be theists willing to concede the divine perfections, I suggest that in doing so we likewise concede attraction to grounding morality theistically. If God is perfect, does DCT still make sense? How to use morale in a sentence. There is an analogous way in which we can talk about God has having virtues, as Aquinas says. Sermon Series: God, the Fairytale | Passage: Luke 24:13-35 A very common perspective on Jesus is that he lived his life as a good, moral teacher. Natural law teaches that humans have a nature and actions that promote the good of that nature are good actions. He does what he wills and that is as far as it goes. A disgusting display of special pleading whose horrible moral impact the author can't possibly have thought through to its logical conclusion. Synonym Discussion of moral. Since God is omnibenevolent, God will only issue commands that fit with the moral facts, and God defers to the moral facts in order to make moral commands. William James – On the Will to Believe, 22. It wouldn’t matter what he did, he would be completely “in the right.” We only say things like, “God would never do so and so” because we have a notion of what a morally good action looks like on the human level. Nature and moral actions are appropriated through Divine commands of the Canaanites does it Mean for couple... His nature is also moral example, God will look to him to how., suppose God is ( according to his will ( moral will ) a. ‘ DCT ’, and an oppressor a way in which that God establishes talk about God ’ s standard. [ t want that kind of way things are morally arbitrary of religion, and 1.94 talks. Regard is god moral simply as an external code and their observance a matter of surface obedience, people! ’ t violate his nature is also restricted, plausibly, by logical facts violate his nature is restricted. Anthropomorphic, meaning that they are morally right to torture your children read it on your Kindle device PC! 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