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On The Eutyphro Dilemma - Religion - Nairaland

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On The Eutyphro Dilemma by DoctorAlien(m): 6:21pm On Jul 17, 2019
The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, in which Socrates asks Euthyphro, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?”¹

A paraphrase of the dilemma, and how it concerns Christianity, is given thus: “Does God command a thing because it is good, or is a thing good because God commands it?”

The dilemma is that if God commands a thing because it is good (objectivism), then it means that there is a moral standard which exists outside of God, and that when God commands a thing, He merely conveys those moral principles to us. And if a thing is good because God commands it (divine command theory), then it means that morality is arbitrary, and that, for example, God can decide at any time to command what he presently forbids.

On the side of each of the horns of the dilemma you will find supporters, each group pointing out the problems with the other position. Christian apologists have, however, pointed out that the dilemma is a case of false dichotomy, meaning that there is a third option which the dilemma ignores. And that third option, they say, is that the standard for good is God’s nature/God Himself. As such, a thing is good if it approximates God’s character or nature.

This is where I weigh in. For me, the whole discourse hinges on the definition of the word “good” as it appears in the dilemma. What is good? (And by extension, what is bad?) One option is to say that there is no such thing as objective “good” (and thus, no such thing as objective “bad”). This is in essence moral nihilism. But if there is no such thing as good or bad, then there can’t even be any discussion in the first place.

But if, for example, we define good in this context as “acceptable”, the question comes again: “acceptable to whom”? Any entity that can be given in answer to the question can be legitimately labelled as an arbiter of moral truth. (Indeed anything that is given as the definition of “good” would still necessarily appeal to an entity as the standard.)

But then if we accept that “good” is what is acceptable to God, the dilemma vanishes, and we have it that, well, what is good is what is acceptable to God. However, if at all any entity qualifies for us to say that “good” is what is acceptable to such an entity, then it is God Himself, because He is the Creator of all things, and his nature and character are changeless (Malachi 3:6). Indeed Christians view the commandments of God as emanating from principles which are the very character and nature of God.

A Change of Focus

But what if we shift the focus of the entire discourse to creation (even as the entire focus of God’s love is on His creation), and define “good” in this context as “beneficial to creation”? This shift in definition of “good” is necessitated by the fact that in the end, when God metes out judgments on the wicked based on how they have rebelled against his commandments, everyone, the wicked themselves inclusive, will voluntarily agree that God’s judgments are good and just. (Revelations 16:7; 19:2) Thus we can agree that when, in the end, God’s judgments are proclaimed “good and just”, they are described as beneficial to creation.

Thus, a paraphrase of the dilemma would now be “Does God command a thing because it is beneficial to creation, or is a thing beneficial to creation because God commands it?” If we define “beneficial” along the lines of “preserving the existence of creation and its happiness in existence”, then I would say that a thing is beneficial to creation because God commands it. After all, the greatest benefit to creation in this case would be its very existence which God Himself gave to it. And if, acting from the principles of His changeless character (Malachi 3:6), He brought creation from non-existence into existence, then it is logical to conclude that, based on those principles of His changeless character, all His commandments will forever be towards the preservation of creation in existence and the preservation of its happiness in existence.


Source: https://doctoralien.home.blog/2019/07/10/on-the-eutyphro-dilemma/
Re: On The Eutyphro Dilemma by DoctorAlien(m): 6:23pm On Jul 17, 2019
Thoughts?
Re: On The Eutyphro Dilemma by EmperorHarry: 8:35pm On Jul 17, 2019
I disagree with you because not all God commands is beneficial to nature and humans if we are using commandments found in major religious books as an objective paradigm.
Burnt offerings weren't beneficial to nature in respect to the climate and animal life.Death of all first born sons of Egyptians wasn't beneficial to humanity on account of favouritism of a particular people.Almost obliterating all of the nature because of one species isn't beneficial to creation.Job.So "God said" is not all good or beneficial to creation.
Re: On The Eutyphro Dilemma by DoctorAlien(m): 9:29pm On Jul 17, 2019
EmperorHarry:
I disagree with you because not all God commands is beneficial to nature and humans if we are using commandments found in major religious books as an objective paradigm.
I speak about the Bible and Christianity. I don't really come defending all of religion.
Burnt offerings weren't beneficial to nature in respect to the climate and animal life.
Burnt offering system was instituted by God in His wisdom for man to do as a means of obtaining pardon for his sins (actually as an expression of Faith in the Lamb of God to come in the future), without which he would not have obtained pardon for his sins, and he would have been destroyed justly for his sins, together with the home prepared for him, which is the Earth and everything in it, including the animals. (Yes, the Earth was made for man). But if he practices the burnt offering, he obtains pardon from God, and he is sure of life everlasting in the world which God will make anew, and which will contain even animals, where the Lion and the lamb shall lie down together. (Isa. 11:16)

Death of all first born sons of Egyptians wasn't beneficial to humanity on account of favouritism of a particular people.
It is beneficial on an overall basis in the sense that it was a last resort (after nine others) punishment (both for the evil ones among the firstborns who were killed and for the evil nation at large, who refused to discern the finger of God in the nine previous plagues), as well as a call to repent and honour the true God who had the power to give and take life (and who would eventually destroy them if they did not come to live right as much as they had knowledge), as opposed to the powerless idols they worshipped. I believe anyone who followed the Israelites to do God's instruction of putting blood on the doorpost was spared. Even if innocent people (e.g. babies who have not reached the age of knowing good and bad) were killed by the angel that night, they will be resurrected at last, when the righteous resurrect, and live forever.

Almost obliterating all of the nature because of one species isn't beneficial to creation.
It is in the sense that the total corruption of humanity was going to happen, and hasten the descent of God's wrath on man, therefore God wiped out the evil men who refused to go into the ark. Plants are growing again on earth. Animals were preserved on the ark. So what else? The most important of God's creation is man, which He made in His own image, and which He gave His only begotten Son to save. When man is present, that is when we can begin to talk about his home, the Earth, which includes animals and other things.

Job.
You can glean the answer from the case of the Egyptian firstborns. If anything results in the death of an innocent man, such a man will be resurrected at last to live forever. God repaid Job for his suffering (and will still repay him in the world to come.) But what is more? The story of Job has served to encourage people to remain true to God despite the hardest of adversities imaginable, and doing so will ensure their salvation, which is beneficial to humanity.

So "God said" is not all good or beneficial to creation.
It is. You have to show any of God's commandments which is not for the greater good of creation, even though it may involve momentary suffering.
Re: On The Eutyphro Dilemma by EmperorHarry: 9:51pm On Jul 17, 2019
I specifically referred to the bible for the same reason but needed to first acknowledge all records to avoid being accused of favouritism.I also wanted to reply your quotes one at a time but realised it can all be summed up in one question..Why would you choose such commands if there are alternatives or if it can be avoided all together?
Re: On The Eutyphro Dilemma by DoctorAlien(m): 10:03pm On Jul 17, 2019
EmperorHarry:
I specifically referred to the bible for the same reason but needed to first acknowledge all records to avoid being accused of favouritism.I also wanted to reply your quotes one at a time but realised it can all be summed up in one question..Why would you choose such commands if there are alternatives or if it can be avoided all together?

You see, you're talking about alternatives, but that can only come up when you don't recognize that God is all wise and all knowing, and that He follows the best course of action. You may as well retort, "why did God choose the method which he chose to provide salvation for man?". But does He not know best?
Re: On The Eutyphro Dilemma by EmperorHarry: 10:17pm On Jul 17, 2019
DoctorAlien:


You see, you're talking about alternatives, but that can only come up when you don't recognize that God is all wise and all knowing, and that He follows the best course of action.
I fail to see how a wise and all knowing being would regret it's actions to the point it decides all of nature should suck it except those aboard the Noah's cruise ship.You overestimate the wisdom and all knowingness of God.
You may as well retort, "why did God choose the method which he chose to provide salvation for man?". But does He not know best?
Would you admit that God doesn't know all and is somehow limited by things we can't comprehend?If you could make everybody happy today,would you suffer any soul another second of unhappiness? If your prolly thinking " What if the instant happiness is detrimental to creation and the existence of this creation ",then I ask you to reason from the same perspective that there are limitations for God.
Re: On The Eutyphro Dilemma by DoctorAlien(m): 10:47pm On Jul 17, 2019
EmperorHarry:
I fail to see how a wise and all knowing being would regret it's actions to the point it decides all of nature should suck it except those aboard the Noah's cruise ship.You overestimate the wisdom and all knowingness of God.
Let me reply you with this answer by Christian Courier. It comes very close to what is in my mind:

First, let us demonstrate what the passage cannot mean.

It does not mean that God created the human family, expecting that it would remain loyal to him, but that, eventually, humanity strayed. The Lord was then disappointed, and so regretted he had made us. That cannot be the meaning for the following reasons.

God is omniscient.
God knows everything. “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite” (Psa. 147:5). If the Lord’s understanding is infinite, he must have known, before he created man, that he would fall.

God planned for human sin before creation.
This is further evidenced by the fact that the plan of salvation was purposed before humanity was created.Paul affirms that God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world,” and that our redemption was “through [Jesus’] blood” (Eph. 1:4,7; cf. 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 13:8 ).

Since the sacrifice for human sin was provisioned even before the world was created, it necessarily follows that our Creator knew we would transgress long before Adam and Eve were placed in Eden.

In What Way Did God Repent?
How, then, is Genesis 6:6 to be explained?

There are several figures of speech in the Bible that accommodate the human level of understanding. One is anthropomorphism (man form), where physical features are ascribed to God, e.g., the eyes of the Lord (1 Pet. 3:12), Jehovah’s arm (Jn. 12:38), etc.These depict God’s watchfulness and his power.

There is another figure called anthropopathism (man feeling), whereby human emotions are sometimes attributed to God. To say, therefore, that God “repented,” or that he was “grieved,” is simply a symbolic way of asserting that man’s conduct did not meet the divine standard. This language vividly portrays, from a human perspective, God’s displeasure at our rebellion.


Source: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/627-genesis-6-6-did-god-repent

Would you admit that God doesn't know all and is somehow limited by things we can't comprehend?If you could make everybody happy today,would you suffer any soul another second of unhappiness? If your prolly thinking " What if the instant happiness is detrimental to creation and the existence of this creation ",then I ask you to reason from the same perspective that there are limitations for God.
we could think up a billion and one things that Omnipotence should be able to do, but they don't have to fit into the definition of Omnipotence as it describes God. Really.
Re: On The Eutyphro Dilemma by EmperorHarry: 7:09am On Jul 18, 2019
This is one of the problems I'm having with the bible.The use of later verses to justify the beginning or add more information to the beginning.The serpent was never portrayed as the devil until much later.The new testament verses by Paul only seeks to justify the omniscience of God but contradicts his omnibenevolence because how can a God know what was best from the beginning but tarried until a much later time to redeem man unto himself? Why wasn't Jesus sent during the days of Noah to show them signs and wonders that they may believe and harden their hearts like he did pharaoh and the Jews that they be blinded from the truth and crucify him then? Using later verses as a reference to understand God's purpose from the beginning is not acceptable by me.
Like I said,God isn't omni- judging from the Bible.

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