Friday 14 January 2011
The Euthyphro dilemma is the apparent impossibility of attempting to invoke God as the source of morality. In simple words the problem can be put as: Why did God choose the moral rules he did? For example, why did God make charity good and rape wrong? Were there any reasons for that (Lets say because they increase human well-being)? If there were any reasons, then those reasons provide the basis of morality and not God. And if God had no reasons and he decided arbitrarily, then he could just as easily have made rape good and charity wrong. The problems exists because we all feel that there is something intrinsically moral about certain actions, which exists independent of anyone commanding us to do that action. This dilemma is clearly a fatal blow to any conception of God that relies on a revealed scripture for providing a moral code for humans. However, this dilemma can be by-passed by considering certain conceptions of God.
Komal explains the problem and then offers its possible solution:
The Euthyphro dilemma is a dilemma that the believer in Divine command theory is supposed to be faced with. The dilemma goes as follows: either what God commands is the good, or God commands what is good. If the first, then that may have counterintuitive consequences, such as having to accept that a genocide is good if God commands it. If the second, then Divine command theory is false.
This dilemma is fairly easy to resolve, if one posits that the source of one's moral intuitions are the same as the source of Divine command. In other words, if our moral intuitions are an expression of the Divine nature within us (our souls), and Divine command is an expression of the Divine nature, then the two cannot conflict.
Further, the Divine nature is orderly and intelligible. For example, God is love, not hate. God is providential, not malicious. God is truth, not falsity. Thus, there is only kind of thing that can be an expression of the Divine nature. God does not act arbitrarily, but acts in accordance with His nature.
If the Socratic opponent argues that God lacks free will if He is only able to act in one way (according to His nature), then I would simply disagree with my opponent's conception of free will. My view of free will is similar to that of Leibniz, who believed that free will was to act according to one's nature. I believe free will is to act according to the highest nature; or rather, that there are degrees of freedom, such that the higher the nature from which you are acting, the more free your actions. Since the highest nature is the Divine nature, it follows that God is always perfectly free. However, this freedom does not entail arbitrariness, as this conception of free will is not one that defines free will in terms of the ability to make an indifferent choice or to act arbitrarily.