Sunday, September 1, 2013
Let's Play Socrates Jones: The Bible and Euthyphro, Or, God is Holy, Holy is God
from Socrates Jones: Pro-Philosopher
A dilemma was postulated by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, who asked Euthyphro: "Is what is morally good (holy) commanded by a god because it is morally good (holy), or is it morally good because it is commanded by a god?"
This was brought to my attention by the above game, Socrates Jones. It features an Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney-style gameplay, but instead of a court case, you are literally debating the meaning of morality for your life... because apparently you died since you didn't buy deer repellant and now you have gone to philosopher "heaven" (or more accurately, "purgatory"). At any rate, it's not an afterlife you want to spend much more time in.
Euthyphro is the first philosopher you debate against. In the game, he argues that mankind is flawed, which is true. He then argues because the gods are better than humanity, they determine what is good. But his premise fails because of his belief in polytheism, for the gods contradict each other. His counterpoint to that is most gods (and religions) agree on what is good and what is bad. Which brings back the dilemma, do the gods agree because that thing is intrinsically good?
After a few pensive thoughts, my mind turned to Scripture, which, naturally, has the answer.
1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
The passage equates God as thrice Holy (reflecting His Triune nature). It doesn't say "God says what is holy" or "God knows what is holy", it says He is the very essence of holiness and moral good. It cannot be separated from Him. His very nature is holiness and moral good! No God, no holiness.
Euthryphro fails to acknowledge the thrice Holy God of the Bible. There are no other gods but Him. What he has is only a false dilemma once you know the actual state of things.
5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
Note that the passage capitalizes the "G" in God on verse 5. While there are many small "g" gods, there is only one capital "G" God. Because the idols are beneath Him, whether the god be called Baal or Zeus or Thor, since He is the the God, they don't even start to compare, making them ill fit to be standards of morality. (It's a favorite strategy by atheists to equate the Christian God to Zeus due to the fact they are both religious entities, but the similarities end there. The Christian God stands by Himself while Zeus and his pantheon merely resemble petty immortal humans with great powers, i.e. superheroes.)
Which brings us back to a slightly altered question:
"Is what is morally good (holy) commanded by God because it is morally good (holy), or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?"
Answer: "God is holy and morally good, holiness and good morality is the nature of God. God commands what His holy nature is to be, and what His holy nature determines what is commanded by Him".