Objective Morality – 9

A final objection is sometimes thrown up, which challenges the coherence of God as morally good.  This is known as the Euthyphro dilemma, and it goes like this:

Is God good because his commands are aligned with the Good?  Or are God’s commands good because He commands them?

Now if you’ve been following along, you might detect some redundancy here.  In fact, we have built our argument in such a way that this dilemma isn’t one.  But for clarity, let’s break it down.

These questions are seeking the standard by which things are judged to be good.  The first asks if we can judge God to be good because His commands are good?  That is, the Good resides apart from God, so that He must be informed by something apart from Himself in order to command good things.

And let’s say the answer is “no.”  The second question suggests (implicitly) that there is only one other option, which is that the commands are good because they are issued by God.  In other words, God might say anything, and whatever He says, it’s good – because God said it.

Which is it?

In fact, this is a false dilemma, because it leaves out a third option:  God issues the commands that He does because He is good!  He Himself is the ground of objective morality, against which we compare all words and deeds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *