Posted: Apr 25, 2019 7:20 am
by Fenrir
Thomas Eshuis wrote:Argument via assertionist philosophy:
The dichotomy you propose only exists if the Christian espouses what is known as volunteerism and this view runs contrary to just about every major historical Christian teaching I am aware of.
In volunteerism, one would think that morality is arbitrarily determined by God. He just happens to like some things and dislike other things. That would be subjective, yes.
However, Christians have long held a very different view which to me seems clearly expressed in the Bible and makes more sense philosophically as well if we think of God as being a “maximally great being.”
This view is called essentialism - which affirms that God’s commands are rooted in His very nature or essence. That is to say that what he commands as being good or bad is not arbitrary but tied to his very nature - an essential property if you will.
If God lacked these properties he would not be God in the same way that a molecule is not water if it lacks a hydrogen atom. It’s necessary that a water molecule includes a hydrogen atom - and it’s necessary that a maximally great being (aka, God) would have essential properties such as justice, truthfulness, compassion, etc.
In the essentialists view, there is no dichotomy. Rather, divine commands are not subjective or arbitrarily determined by God, they are simply expressions or descriptions of his essential properties. What conforms to the properties being good and what opposes those properties being evil.


Yeah well, they forgot the third prong of that "dichotomy", justificationalism, whereby you make up any old thing that sounds good to you and that you can pretend explains whatever it is you already believe.