Divine Theory

Topics: Morality, God, Ethics Pages: 2 (722 words) Published: August 14, 2008
The Divine Command Theory Religion and ethics are seen to be somehow inseparable in our culture. Religious leaders are usually appealed to in some capacity when dealing with various moral and political problems. Their opinions are given great weight because they are thought to be in some kind of special relationship with God that the common person does not have. The view that God creates the moral law is often called the Divine Command Theory. According to this view, what makes an action right is that God desires it to be done. The divine command theory is the idea that moral actions are those which correspond to God's will. The simplest and most common form of the Divine Command Theory states that the phrase morally right actually means commanded by God. Similarly, morally wrong means forbidden by God. Accepted, this explanation of Divine Command Theory does not consume all possible expressions, but it is the simple is used to introduce the theory and it is its common form. A slightly more sophisticated form of the Divine Command Theory would be that something is right if and only if God commands it, and this form should be kept in mind. However, if goodness is not an essential property of God, then there is no guarantee that what he wills will be good. Even if God is all-powerful and all knowing, it does not follow that he is all-good. One can be powerful and intelligent without being good. Thus, the Divine Command Theory faces a dilemma: if goodness is a defining attribute of God, the theory is circular, but if it is not a defining distinction, the theory is false. In either case, the Divine Command Theory cannot be considered a potential theory of morality. The preceding considerations indicate that it is unreasonable to believe that an action is right because God wills it to be done. One can probably believe that God wills an action to be done because it is right, but to believe this is to believe that the rightness of an action is independent of God. In any...
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