Divine and Command Theory Comes from Plato

He had written an entire book about his problems with the divine command theory a dialogue called the Euthyphro, the dialogue is set outside a court house with Socrates preparing to defend himself against charges that will lead to his death and he was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens and not having the right kinds of beliefs about the Gods.

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The Euthyphro Dilemma is 1. What is morally good good/moral because it was commanded by God or 2. Did God command it because it was good. These are known as the two horns. If you choose the first horn then you’re accepting that right actions are right because God commanded it and this means that you’re accepting that God’s simply commanding it is what makes something right. The problems with accepting Divine command theory is that God’s command would be arbitrary.

If God determines the goodness and badness of everything, just because he says so, then the entire concept of goodness and value becomes meaningless. God commanding goodness would be the same as God commanding what he commands and the idea of good means nothing. For example, if God came to you and said everything he has commanded in the 10 commandments was to be switched to the opposite, you now have to honor God’s commands by killing people, committing adultery and not honoring you father and mother.

Would you do it because God commanded or would you think your mind was messed up. What would be considered good and moral? It would be an attack on God’s rationality and wisdom and so anything can occur. It would be moral/good because God commanded it, therefore that is what you should do. On the other hand, the second horn asks if God command it because it was good. This rejects the Divine Command Theory, it means God isn’t omnipotent. Values do not come from God, they come from something else and God is just using it.

So, if God follows some rules created by something else, these rules that necessarily bind him to command what is morally good; then there has to be things that God cannot command. Also, if there’s something else that holds the moral and ethical rules, then we can figure out the morals for ourselves, assuming this is what God did. Whichever horn you choose there’s a problem or a dilemma so either God is held to a standard above himself or God’s goodness means nothing. 

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Divine and command theory comes from Plato. (2021, Nov 29). Retrieved January 29, 2022 , from
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