Eric Massengill's Ethics Class Blog

Divine Command Theory | September 10, 2008

The question of should/could God change the nature of morality is moot. In order for God to be God, God must have no limits. If God made everything, and morality exists, then God made morality. This is true if even the nature of morality is whatever achieves the greatest happiness. If this is what we define as morality (or what “is”) then God can change it. If it is the greatest happiness, then God can change what the greatest happiness is, or even happiness itself. God cannot be judged by anything, because God defines the standards (and I would argue, actually is the standards, but I won’t spend 100,000 words here advocating pantheism). If God defines morality, then you can’t judge any action by God – including the changing of morality – unjust or arbitrary because those inheirently demand a standard that is itself created and subservient to God. (How can God be unjust when God makes justice? How can God be arbitrary when God makes purpose? Could God even avoid arbitrariness, considering that justification is subservient to God, and in order for God to be just, Justice must be above God to be capable of describing God.) Who’s to say that we would even be aware if morality changed? If it is concrete, and it was altered, being ourselves subservient to the orders of the universe our perception of morality would change (I assume here that our morality is based at least somewhat on rationality, so therefore if what was rational changed, so would our observations and opinions). The problem with even having this argument is that we can’t physically have it. A) The concepts and restrictions that must be discussed don’t even apply to a being that is litterally above all catagories and concepts; B) Even if there are any restrictions that would apply to God (and I would argue that if there are that “God” isn’t actually worth the name – but that’s another argument) we would be incapable of comprehending them, in the way that a two-dimensional intelligence could not understand 3-dimensional life because it is mentally equipped to only handle two (which means in order to fully understand all things, humans would probably have to modify their own intelligence – but that’s, again, another argument). We probably don’t even have full understanding of the concepts at stake. Really though, a true “God” is omniscient and omnipotent, and thus any argument over limits or “should/could/can” are irrelevent. (The only relevant arguments then, are not about these things, but about how best to break down our conceptions of boundries to more further comprehend true “infinity” when talking about God.)


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  1. I think that your stance on the necessity of God’s absolute omnipotence might be a little extreme. This is something I want to talk about in class, so I don’t want to go too deep into it here, but consider this: even the Catholic Church considers there to be limits on God’s power yet still considers him omnipotent (See the Catholic Encyclopedia article on omnipotence). The kind of omnipotence that you suggest here is probably internally inconsistent, which automatically precludes the existence of an omnipotent God. But perhaps we can be more charitable toward the theist in this regard by examining less extreme concepts of God.

    Comment by Boone B. Gorges — September 11, 2008 @ 5:50 am

  2. Totally agree mate. Who are we to set rules or hold standards to something that you cant hold standards to because there wouldn’t be.We don’t even know our own set of standards as a species. That’s like a person stepping into a football game and starts playing referee when he doesn’t know squat about the game itself; he starts to create rules about things he doesn’t know and eventually the real ref or players will intervene in a non-positive way…but you never know….they might be a tolerant group. Kicking the person’s ass ever so “kindly”.

    Comment by D@vid R. — September 14, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

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I am a person. I am alive. I am capable of mechanical motion. My respiratory system is functional, as is my digestive, and circulatory system. My neurons operate.







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