In this essay, I will examine and assess the Divine Command Theory. The theory will first be summarized. Then I will state the theory’s strengths and what makes it worth examining. Lastly, I will cover the flaws and weaknesses of the theory.
The Divine Command Theory is the idea that what makes an action wrong or right is the command of God. Therefore, an action is morally obligatory if God commands it is right. An action is morally wrong if God commands it is wrong. Lastly, an action is only optional if God doesn’t command it or forbid it. Morality is commanded by God independently of what we think is right or wrong. For instance, if God commands that murder is wrong, than it is wrong only because God commands it is wrong. If he commands that donating to charity is right, it is only right because of his will.
The Divine Command Theory has more arguments against it than for it. However, it is strongly favored by the religious, while also being opposed by many religious people. The argument from divine supremacy is the main argument that is used to promote this theory. It states that everything is dependent on the will of God. Therefore, morality in turn is dependent on God’s will.
The argument from objectivity of morality also advocates the Divine Command Theory. It states that moral standards are objective, separate from all culture’s judgment. It also states that they’re universal. Thus, morality can only be objective and universal if it depends on the commands of God. In response, morality is solely dependent on God’s commands.
While both these theories have something of value, they both hold flaws. The theory from divine supremacy, while being agreed upon within many religions, makes several significant assumptions. For instance, even if the assumption that God actually exists is true, it is a giant step to say that everything has to depend on God’s will. If this is the case, the only things that would need to depend on God’s will could depend on God’s will. This means that if something wasn’t dependent on his will, there is no reason it should. With all that said, there is also the fact that God’s own existence could not possibly depend on his will and neither could the existence of his will.
The argument from objectivity of morality has similar flaws. Firstly, God’s will does not necessarily secure the objectivity of morality. Despite universality, morality still could depend on someone else’s will. Secondly, there are also several other theories that state that morality is universal and objective. Utilitarianism and Kant’s moral theory display this trait as well.
The arguments of the Divine Command Theory might not hold up very well, but that does not mean they are false. That being said, the objections for the theory are quite significant. The most obvious objection is that the theory is based solely on the existence of God. That is a rather large assumption to make. If God does in fact exist, it is just as possible...