• It assumes the two options are mutually exclusive.

    This is false. God created morality the way it is because that is God's nature. And that is God;''s nature because it is what is morally. They are both dependent rather than negations. It is circular but circular is not always wrong if it is describing the nature of something as in this case.

  • There is another option.

    I believe morality is grounded in the character of God. So the laws of morality are not above Him so that he must be subject to them and therefore not the standard ( and not God), nor are the laws below Him in that the moral laws could be different.

    So for morality to be grounded in the character of God means that moral laws reflect the moral nature of God. He is good, so his laws are good. As Psalm 119:68 says, "You are good and do good; teach me your statutes." David sees that God is good, so David wants to learn the laws of God.

  • “Is what God commands good because it is commanded by God, or does God command what he does because it is good?”

    Being agnostic, this question is appealing to me.

    Accepting the first scenario, that “good” means “anything commanded by God”, leads to strict divine command. By this philosophy, ANYTHING commanded by God would become moral. It is an authoritarian viewpoint, that reduces morality to mere obedience. If God commands theft, murder, or rape, then these actions become morally good, because they have been commanded by God. While this takes all of the complicated decision making out of the picture, it clearly reduces morality to being a meaningless word. Under this framework, there would be no “right” and no “wrong”. Instead, there would simply be “obedient” and “disobedient”. Most people, theists and atheists alike, reject such a simplistic view of morality, and for good reason. In this scenario, objective morality does not actually exist. We are simply serfs, living under the reign of a cosmic overlord, and expected to carry out the master’s bidding.

    This leaves option 2, that God commands what he does BECAUSE it is good. In this scenario, both good and evil exist, and God is able to convey to us which actions are which, presumably because of his ability to recognize and appreciate good. Problem here is, God is now no longer the grounding for good OR evil. Instead, he is an interpreter, a middleman, and entirely superfluous to the core of the matter. If God is merely evaluating actions, and deciding to command those that are good, then it follows that morality is a reasoning process. God is simply doing the work for us, but in theory, we could apply the very same method to reach conclusions on moral actions. In this scenario, God is not the basis for morality, but rather an instructor who is attempting to steer us towards independently existent moral truths. This scenario necessarily comes with the confession that morality is independent of God. If God did not exist, these moral truths would still be out there to be discovered.

    It is also a peculiar viewpoint when combined with the idea of a perfect, and an omnipotent God. In the above option, God is not only separate from moral truths, but actually bound by them. God would not be free to act in any manner that was contrary to moral truth, as such actions would render him immoral. This calls into question either his omnipotence, or his perfection.

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