First of all, ethical statements are propositions, capable of being either true or false. They are not simply exclamations of emotion, nor are they descriptions of the beliefs of the person making them. Ethical statements correspond to objective features of the world – namely, that the Creator Trinitarian God has revealed that things are either good or bad, right or wrong. This implies an obligation to do what is good or right and to not do what is bad or wrong. This is commonly known as divine command theory.
The most common objection to divine command theory was raised as early as Plato in his dialogue, the Euthyphro, where he asks “Does God (in Plato’s case, the gods) command things because they are good, or are things good because God commands them?”1 In response to this, the first thing to note is that it is a much bigger problem for Euthyphro than it is for a Christian, since Euthyphro envisioned a pleth...
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...so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (Jam. 1:4). Without the divine command, there would be no way to evaluate virtue, but without virtue, and that only by the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, there would be no real keeping of God’s law. In all of this, we look forward to the consummation of the Kingdom of God, when “they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9, NIV).
Groothuis, Douglas. “Foundations for Christian Ethics: Old and New Testaments.” Class notes, Christian Ethics and Modern Culture, Spring 2009.
Plato. Classics of Western Philosophy, 4th ed., Edited by Stephen M. Cahn. Euthyphro. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1995.
Rae, Scott B. Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.
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