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56 Cards in this Set

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What are the three basic questions of ethics?
What goals ought we to pursue?

What kind of persons ought we to be?

What standards/rules ought we to practice?
How are the 3 basic questions of ethics answered from the perspective of the Christian faith?
Controlling purpose = Glory of God

Impelling motive = Love of God

Directing principle = Law of God

What goals? - Glory of God

What kind of persons? - Those who love God

What standards? - Law of God
The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the assertion: Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. What is the significance of this statement for ethics?
That life has a goal; a highest good.

This goal is to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
What are some other classic formulations of the goal of the Christian life?
Augustine: to know and to love God

Thomas Aquinas: friendship with God

Piper = Xpn hedonism

Jonathan Edwards: to reflect God's knowledge, holiness, and happiness

Neil Plantinga: Shalom: universal flourishing, wholeness, delight
Faith, hope, and love regularly appear in the New Testament as the essential characteristics of the heart transformed by God's grace. How do they function in relation to the question of motivation in the Christian life?
faith, hope, and love are a root-stem-flower

“Justifying faith engenders hope and expresses itself through love…

faith is thus the pivotal virtue, the gateway to a sure hope and a liberated love.”
Where in the OT do we find the first and greatest commandment and the second that is like it?
Deut 6:5 – “you shall the love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”

Lev 19:18 – “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”
Where in the NT are the greatest commandents brought together as the summary of the will of God?
Matthew 22:37-40

37Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments
How does the love commandment relate to what Jesus called ‘the weightier matters of the law’?
Short answer: The weightier matters of the law (justice, mercy, faithfulness) are the manner in which love is embodied and expressed.

Extended answer:

The weightier matters of the law (justice, mercy, and faithfulness/fidelity – Mt 23:23; cf. Mi 6:8; Hos 6:6) are the primary forms of love.

They are the practices that embody love for God and together “comprise the essence of all that God is calling us to be and to do.

“Justice, mercy, and faithfulness are thus the primary forms of obedient love and in principle its full and complete expression. They constitute the fundamental and irreducible moral norms that are always and everywhere to be maintained in practice.”
What are the various kinds of scriptural direction?

Command / Mandate



Commendation / Example

Give examples and indicate the distinctive function of Prohibition.
“You shall not murder" - Ex 20:13

Do no harm - Rom 13:10

Most definitive form

Take precedence over positive commands (forbidden to do evil that good may result – Rom 3:8)

Clear cut limits to what conduct is pleasing to God;

The things that men should never do.
Give examples and indicate the distinctive function of Command / Mandate.
Creation mandate - Gen 2:28

New Creation mandate - Mt 28:19

• Positive command (cultural mandate; Great Commission).
• Tend to be open-ended in their requirements.
• Require wisdom to implement
Give examples and indicate the distinctive function of Permission.
Eat anything - 1 Cor 10:23-32

The implicit assumption that what is not forbidden is permitted…
Give examples and indicate the distinctive function of Counsel
Whom to marry…? 1 Cor 7:25-28

• What is God’s particular will for me in my situation…
• Call for prudential judgment based on gifts, needs, etc. and principles
• No definitive “yes” or “no”
Give examples and indicate the distinctive function of Commendation/Example.
Beautiful deed (Mary with the oil) - Mk 14:6

Positive direction by commendatory example
Give examples and indicate the distinctive function of Precedent.
Jesus’ justification of picking grain on Sabbath - Mt 12:3-4

1st council- Acts 15

Direction by principles gleaned from narrative
What is the biblical basis for a natural knowledge of the moral law?
Short answer: Rom 2:14-15 "They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts."

Extended answer:
The moral law, i.e., the will of God for rational, free moral agents created in his image (lex aeterna), is known in two ways:

1. naturally, through general revelation, i.e., constitutionally in human nature (lex indita, the instilled law).

2. biblically, through special revelation, i.e., propositionally in holy scripture (lex scripta, the written law).

scripture also assumes all people have some standard:

Ro 12:17, 14:18, 2 Co 8:21, 1 Pe 2:12

The law is applied before Sinai:

Wrong for Cain to kill Abel

Wrong for Dinah to be raped – “such is not done” Ge 34:7 cf. 29:26;
What is the traditional tripartite analysis of the Mosaic law?
Moral, Ceremonial, Judicial
Explain Moral section of mosiac law
universal principles of piety and justice

perpetual application

universal will for humankind
Explain Ceremonial Section of Mosiac law
rituals pointing to work of Christ

Explain Judicial section of Mosiac law
theocratic application of the moral law

What is the traditional threefold use of the moral law?
1. Civil - to restrain sin, promote civic righteousnes (bit and bridle)

2. Pedagogical - to convict sinners, show need for savior (Mirror)

3. Directional - to guide believers in their new obedience - (Lamp)
Be prepared to examine the main methods of resolution of moral conflicts and to address how each would justify the falsehoods on the part of the villagers of Le Chambon.
A. Consequentialism says “an act is right if it is intended to produce a greater balance of good over evil than any available alternative” (Ends justifies the means).

B. Tragic Morality selection of “the lesser of two evils” along with the confession of sin for doing it.

C. Hierarchicalism Obedience to the higher graded absolute exempts obedience to lower graded absolute.

D. Prima Facie Duties what you think is your duty on the first reading is not your (actual) duty when all things are taken into context, but remains your (prima facie) duty never the less. Problem: Blurs absolute distinction between right and wrong.

E. Case Analysis “careful, devout effort to discover by reflection and discussion, the right course of action in typical circumstances”
What is the essence of Christian character?
Christ likeness, Gal. 4:19
The fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23

union with Christ is the basic fact of salvation / conformity to Christ is the progressively realized goal of salvation (glorification consists of being made like Christ)
How is the essence of Christian Character formed?
a) Means of grace: attending to the word (Ezra 7:10), perseverance in prayer (Luke 11:13; James 1:2-8, 3:17-18), and believing reception of the sacraments

b) Participation with Communion of Saints: (Eph 4) this includes the imitation of Godly example (1 Thess 2:14)

c) Practice: (Heb 5:13-14) our engagement in our life with these principles

- apprenticeship
- interiorization…the process of understanding why
- maturity

Many times we want to be forgiven, but not to be made good
How does Pinckaers understand the relationship between happiness and moral theology?
They are two sides of the same coin. To be living morally is to experience happiness. He understands the need for reconciliation between moral life, happiness, and love.
According to Pinckaers, What is "freedom for excellence" and what is its source?
Short answer:

a) "it is the capacity to produce our acts when and how we wish"

b) God
How does Pinckaers distinguish between pleasure and joy?
Pleasure -- an agreeable sensation, a passion caused by contact with some exterior good.

Joy -- something interior, like the act that causes it.

Pleasure is External, Opposed to pain, Brief, Individual

Joy is Internal, Born of Trials, Lasting, Communicable
How does Webster's definition of happiness support Pinckaer's distinction b/w pleasure and joy?
(1) State of well being or joy (contentment) – objective and subjective
(2) A pleasurable satisfaction (sensation)

Webster's distinguishes b/w happiness as a state (joy)and as a sensation (pleasure).

If by happiness we mean #1 it is clear that it supports this distinction. An assertion about ones happy state in relation to God.
How did the church Fathers conceive of the moral life?
A. The first and consistent source of their doctrine is the scriptures.

(B) The judicious use of resources drawn from Greco-Roman culture and philosophy.

(C) The moral teaching of the Fathers is inseparable from the great spiritual currents animating the Church of their day.
What is Pinckaer's objection to making the distinct contribution of Christian ethics dependent on what is unique to special revelation? (45-47)
"Because biblical directives [in some ethical areas] are more rare and less clear."

That is, special revelation does not provide explicit ethical direction for every situation.

Viewed in its entirety, therefore, the question of Christian ethics has two facets. There is first a directly Christian dimension streaming from the more intense relationship now existing between ethics and the scriptures, between ethics and the gospel.

Next, there is a human dimension streaming from the relationship existing Christian ethics, philosophy, and the sciences. It is a relationship existing on the level of reason and is precisely the level at which the tradition placed the natural law.
Is Pinckaers' "Freedom for excellence" parallel to the Reformed doctrine of Christian Liberty?
Yes, very much so. We receive the gift of faith, and consequent union with Christ, through the Holy Spirit’s working (and our cooperation with Him) to cultivate his fruit in our lives.
What are the two distinct conceptions of happiness underlined by Pinckaers (78-80)?
Pinckaers distinguishes between pleasure and joy.
What are the components of Rachels' "minimum conception of morality"?
Rachels: "Morality is, at the very least, the effort to guide one's conduct by reason--that is, to do what there are the best reasons for doing--while giving equal weight to the interests of each individual who will be affected by what one does." (p.14)

1) Morality is the effort to guide one's conduct by reason

2) Morality is giving equal weight to the interests of all individuals affected
How is Rachels' "minimum conception of morality" perspective developed by Sissela Bok?
1) "Negative duties to refrain from harmful action"

2) "Positive duties of mutual support, reciprocity"

3) "Norms of fairness and procedural justice"
It is often assumed that the idea of universal moral values is contradicted by cultural relativism. What arguments does Rachels present against drawing that conclusion? What are the implications of his analysis for the virtue of tolerance?
Does it follow, from the mere fact that various cultures have different moral codes, that there is no objective truth in the matter? No, it could be that the practice was objectively right (or wrong) and that one of them was simply mistaken. In other words, there is no reason to think that since objectively right moral codes exist that everyone must know them. (Thus the existence of relative moral codes does not preclude the possibility of a universal moral value.) (p.21)

Implications for Rachels' analysis for the "virtue of tolerance": (p.21-22)
1. We could no longer say that customs of other societies are morally inferior to our own. (i.e. can we not label Nazi Germany as morally inferior?)
2. We could decide whether our actions are right and wrong just by consulting the standards of our society (i.e. should an Indian consult someone within his country to determine if the prejudicial caste system is morally acceptable?)
3. The idea of moral progress is called into doubt. (I.e. should the progress of women's rights be called into question?)
What is emotivism? What is C. S. Lewis's response to it?
Emotivism: Moral right and wrongs are simply expressions of your feelings grounded in your subjective opinion.

Lewis' response: The fact that we have feelings about morality reflects the fact that an objective standard exists-we are either in harmony with that order or not.

"the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are…And because our approvals and disapprovals are thus recognitions of objective value or responses to an objective order, therefore emotional states can be in harmony with reason…or out of harmony with reason."
What is ethical egoism?
Ethical Egoism is the idea that each person ought to pursue his or her own self-interest exclusively.

By this theory, our only duty is to do what is best for ourselves.

(in contrast, Psychological Egoism says that every person does in fact pursue their self-interest exclusively.)
What three arguments does Rachels present in opposition to Ethical Egoism?
1. It cannot handle conflicts of interest

EE does not help resolve conflicts of interest, it only makes them worse. One in favor of EE would say that each person has the right to do his or her best to come out on top. The argument against EE assumes that an adequate morality must provide solutions for conflicts of interest in such a way that everyone concerned can live together harmoniously. Self interest is not a valid enough starting ground for moral solutions.

Example- In order to win, J must kill D. In D’s best interest, D must stop J from killing him. Each would be acting in their own interest, but what would the outcome be? They cannot both succeed.

2. It is logically inconsistent (the one that might be the weakest of the 3)

EE leads to logical contradictions. Follow up from prior example – how could both parties act and succeed in their best interest when one is supposed to murder and one is to prevent him from murdering? EE would argue that it is wrong to prevent someone from doing his duty. Therefore, in this case it would be both wrong and not wrong for J to kill D. Contradiction lies in an action being both wrong and not wrong. If you take out the stipulation “wrong to prevent someone from doing his duty” you do not have to logically rule out the Ethical Egoism here.

3. It is unacceptably arbitrary (the one Rachels sees as the best refutation)

EE divides the world into 2 categories of people – ourselves and everyone else and sees the interests of self as more important than the interests of others. However, some might ask, what is the difference between me and everyone else that justifies placing myself in a special category? Not posing an answer to *what makes me special* makes EE an arbitrary doctrine (as racism is an arbitrary doctrine). They both violate the principle of Equal Treatment (we should treat people in the same way unless there is a relevant difference between them. Ex-two law school candidates-one passed the entrance exam, one didn’t even take it and is not qualified). We should care about others’ needs because they are similar to our own. Therefore our morality must include some recognition of the needs of others. (In the Christian sense, do unto others as you would have done unto you/love your neighbor as yourself)
What is the fundamental principle of utilitarianism?
The fundamental principal of utilitarianism is this…"Right actions are those that produce the greatest possible balance of happiness over unhappiness, with each person's happiness counted as equally important" (102)
Several things are Included In this principle

A) Actions are judges right or wrong solely by virtue of their consequences.

B) Happiness is the only consequence that matters

C) Each person's happiness counts the same.
Summarize the three questions Rachels poses in critique of utilitarianism.
A) Is happiness the only thing that matters?
-Rachels argues that it is not. In fact the whole doctrine of hedonism puts the cart before the horse. Things make us happy because we find them to be good, not vic-a-versa.

B) Are consequences all that matter?
Rachels argues that backward looking considerations are just as important as forward looking considerations. (For example - I should help my neighbor not only because it will make him happy, but because he helped me out before). Also a consequence only approach can lead to the justification of any number of actions (lying, murdering, and stealing) that are universally condemned.

C) Should we be equally concerned with everyone?
-Again Rachels answers no. A mother is rightly more concerned with the happiness and well-being of her own child than she is of other children.
What is the defining principle of Kantian ethics?
Categorical Imperative
Be able to present both formulations of Kant's Categorical Imperative.
A) "Act only according to that maxims with universal applicability."

B) "Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means."
What are the strengths and weaknesses of Kant's theory of ethics?
Strengths of the Kantian position:

A) Establishes absolute moral principles

B) Eliminates subjectivism from moral analysis

Weaknesses of the position:

A) Oversimplified - Can something really be wrong in every circumstance (I.e. - the enquiring murdered - see 124/125)

B) Does not help us resolve Conflict Cases (one If my only options are to lie or to murder?)
"Only a belief in the necessity and the possibility of a new birth can keep us from reading the Sermon on the Mount with either foolish optimism or hopeless despair" (29). What leads Stott to say this? (Consult pp. 36-38)"
Stott emphasizes the context of the sermon (It was preached to those who were already Christ's disciples, those who were already children of the Father). Christ gave the Sermon on the Mount not as a tool by which we are able to earn our salvation but as a measure to which we can gauge our life.

Jesus had two purposes in giving the sermon. First, he gave it to show men that they can not save themselves by keeping such an ethic. Second, to show those who are already justified how they can live In order to please God.

Therefore It Is Imperative that we understand the nature and necessity of the new birth. We are only able to keep this ethic (yet imperfectly) by the empowering ministry of the spirit in our heart. Only them will we avoid foolish optimism (lowing the demands of the sermon and naïvely thinking that we can keep them) and hopeless despair (realizing that the ethic is far more than we are able to carry out on our own)
Mt 5:17, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." How does Christ fulfill the law and the prophets? (Consult pp. 70-73).
Christ did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, nor did he come to endorse them in a dead and literalistic way, rather he came to fulfill them. This happens in several different ways.

1) OT doctrine teaching - "Jesus fulfilled it all in the sense of bringing it to completion by his person, his teaching, and his work."

2) Predictive Prophesy - "Jesus fulfilled It In the sense that what was predicted came to pass In him"

3) Ethical Precepts - "Jesus fulfilled them in the first instance by obeying them…but he does more than obey them himself; he explains what obedience will involve for his disciples."
How do Rom 12:1-2 relate to the basic ethical question: What is God calling us to be and to do?
He is calling us to be whole persons directed by the will of God

Paul teaches:

Three things about human nature:
(1) Affectional: By the mercies of God → heart motive = God loves us (Rom 5:8; 1 Jn 4:19)
(2) Volitional: to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (self-conscious decision). See Heb 13:15-16
(3) Rational: which is your spiritual (λογικός = possessed of reason/reasonable; rational; intellectual; also in 1 Pet 2:2) worship (latreia = worship, service; LXX always means divine service; cf. Dt 10:12; Lk 1:74-75; Acts 27:23; Heb 9:14).

Three things about the “will of God”: In apposition to it, therefore they describe the standard for the Christian life as:
(1) The Good –most comprehensive term for what human beings ought to be and do (Mi 6:8)
(2) The Acceptable (better “what is well pleasing”) – what is right in God’s eyes is what counts; it is the standard (Heb 13:20-21; Ex 15:26; Dt 12:28; 1 Ki 11:38).
(3) The Perfect – it completes us; brings us to fulfillment.
How is the term law used in scripture?
Use of the word law (Hebrew, torah) in scripture:
the revealed will of God -Psa 40:8

the OT scriptures-1 Cor 14:21

the pentateuch-Lk 24:44

the Mosaic admin.-Gal 3:17

the decalogue-Rom 2:23
Why was the moral law promulgated at Sinai?
The Ten Commandments are the comprehensive summary of the moral will of God. They promulgate ("make known by open declaration, clearly, forcefully, and authoritatively") in a covenantal context the universal norms of morality revealed and known through the creation from the beginning. (See BCE, 108)
What is the ground of the moral law?
The character and purpose of God
What are Charles Hodge's categories of divine commands?
• Laws founded on the nature of God. (love, etc.)

• Laws founded on the permanent relations of human beings in the present age in view of the way God has constituted human nature. (marriage, property, etc)

• Laws founded on temporary relations or conditions of society. (judicial, dietary laws, etc)

• Positive laws, which derive all their authority from the explicit command of God.
Be able to discuss the issue of cultural relativism and universal moral standards.
Start with Romans 2 demonstrating that all humans have the law written on their heart. Eg. Human life is precious to people across the board. Eg. See Rachel’s example about Eskimos. Remember that expression of a law is different than the law itself.
How does Pinckaers correlate the natural aspirations or propensities of persons created in the image of God with the moral law? (ch. 8).
Man (as the Imago Dei) is attracted to the natural/moral law in the following ways:

By way of:
1. The inclination to the good (i.e. yearning for good)
2. The inclination to preserve one's being
3. The inclination to marry (i.e. power to transmit life through exercise of sexuality)
4. The inclination to know the truth (as the object of the intellect in its activities)
5. The inclination to life in society
Write out the 10 Commandments
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image...
You shall no bow down to them or serve them...
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain...
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy...
5. Honor your father and mother...
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet...anything that is your neighbor's.
Write out the Beatitudes
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.