Divine Commands and Arbitrariness

Religious Studies 31 (2):149 - 165 (1995)
Abstract
According to the divine command theory of morality, what is right or wrong, good or bad, is entirely dependent on the will and command of God: what He commands is right and what He forbids is wrong just because He commands or forbids it. It is argued here that the principal religious objection to this theory -- that if it were true, moral precepts would be arbitrary -- is rendered ineffective when due consideration is given to the consequences of God's omnipotence, and in particular, to His rationality and to His responsibility for deciding, in creation, what the characteristics of human nature are to be.
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