Is objective morality even possible if it is God’s will?

I’m always fascinated by people who know about Euthyphro’s dilemma, but still think that God can somehow choose what is moral without it being completely subjective. It’s very simple, if God needs to think about anything while creating a moral, then whatever he had to think about is an outside source. Let’s forgive the fact that he wouldn’t be omniscient if he had to think of anything. If it’s an outside source, then there’s something outside of God that God used to reason and decide, which means that there’s objectivity, but it’s not God’s choice that the moral was good. If it’s not something outside of God, meaning there was no outside reasoning or evidence, then morals are subjective and mere preferences by any definition. When there is a standard that we can judge God with, then objectivity can exist.

There have been a few criticisms that people have run across, but none of them fundamentally change the issue. If God is ingrained with goodness (and again, did God ingrain himself with this, or was this goodness external), then everything God does must be good. Otherwise, there would be no point of God being fused with goodness, if he can just ignore it. “We can’t know God’s reasoning because he is such a superior being”, is what many people say, but this is nothing more than an attempt to deflect further thought. Remember, if God is ingrained with goodness, then everything God does must be good. Any action that God takes is the most good. So when God punishes people for eternity for disobeying his rules, then this is a good thing.

Many people have a hard time with this, because the instant conclusion that most people jump to is that if it’s good to torture people when they disobey your rules, then why does it not apply to humans? Goodness becomes subjective. The common counter to overcome this issue, is that God trying to teach us morality, is like us trying to teach morality to an ant. Again, thinking about this with a few brain cells for more than a few seconds will help us spot a few important differences. We aren’t holding ants morally responsible for their actions, while God is holding us responsible. This is key, because there are only two possibilities. Either we as human beings are morally responsible, or we are not. If we are going to be accountable to morality, then we should have the capacity to learn morality. Otherwise, God is seen as nothing more than a person who punishes ants that have no comprehension of the criteria that they are being judged by. Do we think it’s just to jail and torture an emotionally and mentally retarded person for killing someone, even when we’ve given them the knife and didn’t bother to make sure they knew the consequences of their actions? Of course not, but then again, we’re not as smart as God, so what we consider morality in this situation may not be the case.

One further objection is that God gives us moral rules that are attainable as humans, but that runs into issues as well. Either we’ll be accountable to the morality that God applies to himself, or we’ll be accountable for a version of morality he thinks that we’re capable of handling. The first option doesn’t speak very highly of the goodness that’s fused with God, as mentioned above. But, if God is judging us by an alternate version of morality than ethics that is not universal, we have a few issues, the most important is that the rules are just made up and arbitrary, and again, subjective.



12 thoughts on “Is objective morality even possible if it is God’s will?

  1. A better question is simply this: If God did create the universe and life, does He then have the right to require anything of mankind?

  2. Again, it depends if objective morality exists. If morality is subjective, then God can require anything he wants from his creations. God’s rights would be determined by himself alone, with no standard to judge by. De facto goodness, as it were.

  3. No, it does not. Regardless if objective morality exists, God has the right to require from His creation what He chooses to require just as you have the right to require from your children whatever you require.

  4. If my child us unruly and steals my ATM card, my car and ties me up in my own house, do I have the right to punish her (after I get these ropes off my wrists)?

  5. You’re answering a question with a question.

    But, just for clarity… If it’s subjective morality, you can do whatever you want.

    If morality is objective, you’re going to be limited in the types of punishment you can use. For example, torture, while punishing, is not just.

    So is it my right to make my children my physical and sexual slaves?

  6. “God has the right to require from His creation what He chooses to require just as you have the right to require from your children whatever you require.”

    So then, you disagree with this statement that you’ve previously put forward. Just because I define torturing my creation as something that I require, that doesn’t make it a right. There is an objective standard outside of my desires that I am held to.

    So I’ll ask you the same question you asked me. Assuming God exists, does he have the right to require anything of mankind?

  7. God has all and perfect knowledge and is not subject to any authority. You, as a lesser, created being are required by your Creator to be in subjection to Him and His law. He is God, you are not.

    If you are accusing God of evil as in the example of requiring your children to be sex slaves, then why would an evil God send His own Son to pay the penalty for your sin? God is good, you are not.

  8. Assuming by “not subject to any authority” that means that there is no outside objective morality that God can be held accountable to, thus morality is subjective. Am I correct in this interpretation?

    I’m not so worried as to whether or not God would be good or evil. I’m worried whether the concepts good and evil have any meaning.

    To address a point of yours, you’re stating that lesser created beings are subject to the laws of their creators. If I am under God’s law, then my children would be under my law, thus any law I propose, my children would be subject to.

    In order to be objective, the rule “Beings are subject to their creators” must be either true or false. If it’s true in one instance, and then false in another instance, then the rule is subjective. That’s all I’m trying to get at.

  9. Morality is not subjective if you know all that can be known. If you are limited in knowledge and not influenced by others then your morality is subjective. God knows all things.

    …who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?

    Children are always subject to their parents even if the parents are evil, however, that does not mean that you are always correct in what you require of your children because you are not all knowing.

    Perhaps I am not able to fully follow your thought and I may not be addressing your point at all. For this I apologize.

  10. “Morality is not subjective if you know all that can be known”. This suggests that there is something outside of God to know.

    It boils down to this: Did God create the rules of morality, or did God look to something outside of preference for morality?

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