Divine Command Theory Essay

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The Divine command theory is a meta - ethical theory which states that an action is obligatory if and only if, it is commanded by God. In this essay, I will examine whether any form of divine command theory is defensible. In defence, I shall begin by looking at the modified theory as proposed by Robert Adams. Secondly, I will attempt to assess objections from Plato, Austin and Wainwright; before proceeding to evaluate whether these objections are successful in demeaning this theory.

Let us take the modified version of the divine command theory , as proposed by Robert Adams (1987); in defence of the original theory. Whilst many acts can be seen as being wrong purely because they are against the will of God; perhaps this is not the only reason
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This suggests that no action can be held as being morally good unless God commands it. However a major problem with this is that Gods commands are seen to be arbitrary. There is no moral reason for Gods will, as he invents morality. This leaves morality with no rational structure. We can exemplify this with the following example; God commands that one should honour and respect their mother and father, and this is morally right. However, if God had commanded the opposite; it would have been equally right not to respect our parents. The decision of commanding respect is not made for a reason, it is arbitrary. If there was a reason, then this takes us back to the first question asked by Socrates. The reason makes the act morally right to do, and God recognises this. Furthermore, raising the idea that morality is independent. This calls in to question God’s ability to give moral …show more content…
The reason for why God commands something is this love and it would be logically impossible for God to command something which would go against his character. Therefore, morality cannot be held as being unstructured. However, this is not a sufficient defence of the theory, as we could respond by saying that if God had loved something else, murder for example; then morality would be different to what we have now.

Secondly, Socrates second horn destroys the validity of God being Good (Law, 2015). If something is good because it is the will of God, then God is Good because this is his will. However, this is an empty tautology. We cannot recognise what it means to praise God for his goodness. It would suggest nothing other than God willing whatever he wants to. Adams objects to this, arguing that a statement such as 'God is Good ' should be understood metaphysically rather than morally. In a metaphysical sense, it would simply mean that God has all good

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