Divine Command Thoery And Theodicy


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Divine Command Thoery And Theodicy

  1. 1. Divine Command Theory and Theodicy <ul><ul><li>Sullivan Upper Philosophy Society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tuesday 30 th September 2008 </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. Divine Command Theory <ul><li>The metaphysical theory that an act is obligatory if and only if, and because, it is commanded by God. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Puts God as the source of all morality. </li></ul><ul><li>Answers the question “Why be moral?” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scrutinised by God </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Presents us with the Euthyphro dilemma </li></ul>Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods? Does God command things because they are good or are things good because God commands them?
  3. 3. Euthyphro Dilemma <ul><li>Either </li></ul><ul><ul><li>God commands things because they are moral </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>God is bound by morality, just like creation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>God becomes a passer on of morality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Things are moral because God commands them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Implies that there is no morality outside of God </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is good is arbitrary based on God's whim </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Calling God good is a nonsense </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Euthyphro Dilemma <ul><li>Bite the bullet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If God commanded e.g. Cruelty it would be morally obligatory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mere logical possibility, not reality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A good God would not order cruelty </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Human Nature response </li></ul><ul><ul><li>God created humanity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Commands based on what will fulfil humanity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God could have created humanity differently </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Euthyphro Dilemma <ul><li>Aquinas claims it is a false dilemma </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A good God will only command good things </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The things God commands will be good because God is good </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does this mean we have a pre-set idea of what good is outside of God? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Omnipotence objection <ul><li>Modified divine command theory suggests there are things God can not do </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Command cruelty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>God can do all things that are possible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not red green lights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To sin is to fall short of perfect action which is repugnant to omnipotence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aquinas </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Omnibenelolence Objection <ul><li>To call good is a nonsense since goodness only relies on God following his own commands </li></ul><ul><li>However God has traits which are good but not obligatory </li></ul><ul><li>Similarly God need not command something for it to be good </li></ul>
  8. 8. Theodicy <ul><li>A specific branch of theology and philosophy that attempts to reconcile the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the belief that an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Théos </li></ul><ul><ul><li>God </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dikē </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Justice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Justice of God </li></ul><ul><li>An attempt to justify God </li></ul>
  9. 9. Theodicy <ul><li>God either wishes to take away evils and is unable ; or he is able and is unwilling ; or he is neither willing nor able; or he is both willing and able. If he is willing but unable he is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God. If he is able and unwilling, he is envious , which is equally at variance with God. If he is neither willing nor able, he is both envious and feeble, and therefore not God . If he is both willing and able, which alone is suitable for God, from what source then are evils? Or why does he not remove them? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lactantius </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Theodicy <ul><li>The most serious challenge to theism was, is, and will continue to be the problem of evil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ronald Nash </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Number of responses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evil is illusionary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God is finite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God had to create the best of all worlds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Since evil exists God must have seen that it would be best </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Since the universe is finite its goodness must be finite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evil doesn't exist on its own but is relative to good </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God need not be justified to man </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Theodicy <ul><ul><li>Events which are seen as evil aren't really </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evil is propagated by the Devil in opposition to God </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evil is a natural consequence of free will </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mankind gets what it deserves </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The afterlife will balance things out </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Heaven </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Karma </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God is not good </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Overall divine plan <ul><li>God is totally superior to mankind </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,&quot; declares the LORD. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Isaiah 55:8 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>No theodicy necessary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We can not understand the necessary limits of our reflections on the subjects which are beyond our reach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Kant </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Free will and process theodicies <ul><li>Man has free will </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Man chose to bring evil into the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Surely an omniscient God foresaw this </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Must free will lead to evil? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For God to interfere would contradict this principle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This requires free will to be better than the absence of evil </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Crimes like rape and kidnap deny victim's freedom </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The world is almost allowed to make itself </li></ul>
  14. 14. Calvinistic Theodicy <ul><li>Strictly pre-determinist </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deny existence of free will </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implies that God intended evil to come into the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Things that seem evil are actually for the greater good </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hyper Calvinism asserts that everything is the apparatus God uses to accomplish his plan </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>God planned the fall </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Satan works because God allows it </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Human Nature <ul><li>God uses evil to improve character </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Micro level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, &quot;My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.&quot; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2 Corinthians 12:7-9 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Macro level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If God made humanity, surely he made our nature </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>View that this violates free will </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Humans chose their current nature at the fall </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>View that this enhances free will </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Choice to improve </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. God isn't omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent <ul><li>Theory that God can only persuade and not coerce. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Renders miracles impossible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God chooses to give up his omnipotence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>God chose to create an imperfect world to maximise freedom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arguably makes him less than omnibenevolent </li></ul></ul><ul><li>God did not foresee what would happen </li></ul>
  17. 17. Karma or Heaven <ul><li>The righteous are rewarded in an afterlife </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Karma </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bad things happen to good people as a punishment for past misdemeanours </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heaven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Theory that one is rewarded in proportion to one's suffering </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sermon on the plain </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Against Theodicy <ul><li>Nullify morality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If humans aren't responsible for their own actions (e.g. Murder) then it is not immoral </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oxymoron and idolatry </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>John Howard Yoder </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does one evaluate God? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arrogant to try </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is impossible to define good and evil </li></ul>