This is the third part in which I examine an article on Dr Craig’s website reasonablefaith.org . The original article can be found here and I suggest, that you read my first part and my second part of this series, if you haven’t done so already.
After his brief talk on voluntarism Craig continues: “ Yes, right. He is consistent with his own nature. Remember, it is his nature. It is not as though there is something outside God that compels him to act in a certain way. Rather, this is just the way God is. It is who he is.”
Now as I’ve said earlier, I see no reason why God can’t change his own nature, that is, evolve in his nature just like we humans do. We can go from being honest people to becoming dishonest people and vice versa. Of course, Craig won’t accept, that God can change his nature in any way, which of course leads to a dead end since he can’t prove it.
and now it’s get interesting: Now it’s time for the age old Euthyphro Dilemma to enter the picture. For those of you who might be unaware The Dilemma goes as follows: “Is something good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good?”
The first option leads to voluntarism and the second option would mean that there is a standard outside of God that is good which God merely reveals to us, which makes God esssentially superfluous.
Craig thinks he can solve the dilemma in the following way: ” So when Socrates asked him, “Is something good because the gods will it or do the gods will it because it is good?” what Euthyphro should have said is that the gods will it because they are good, or he is good if you put it in the context of monotheism. So that is the correct answer. It is a third alternative that splits the horns of the dilemma. God wills it because he is good. He is the paradigm of moral value.”
I see a couple of problems with his solution: First of all it renders the phrase “God is good” which Christians love to use a tautology. Being good essentially means being God. In theory God would be perfectly good and just, if he slaughtered thousands of children. Once again, we’re moving in circles here. God not being able to change his nature, creates problems for his omnipotence and once again saying God is the paradigm is completely arbitrary. If it is just, that God happens to maximize these values Craig posits in his nature, then once again we can go ahead and just appeal to those and not God.
In the following Craig outlines the platonic moral view:” I think that you are right – they don’t exist on their own. That was Plato’s view – that they exist as sort of abstract objects. There is such a thing as Justice or Greed or Vice or Self-Sacrifice. Even if there were no people there would be these sort of values that just sort of exist out there.”
and then outlines the difference of his view: “Yeah, that was the Platonic view. But on the Christian view, moral goods exist as properties of God. So they would exist in the same sense that the length of a meter bar exists. There isn’t some sort of abstract thing called “The Length” that exists on its own. But it is a property of the meter bar that is there in Paris in the Bureau of Measures and Weights and the length of the bar is the property of the bar itself. The meter was the paradigm for what a meter was. The meter was the length of that bar.”
First of all I must say, that the analogy fails badly. A “meter” is a human concept. It’s completely arbitrary. A meter is a meter, because we as humans have taken a certain length and assigned it the word meter. If a meter is the standard for what a meter is then this means God being a standard for what good is is arbitrary since the meter is arbitrary. And you know what: I think Craig hit the nail on the head with that!
Craig arbitrarily took certain values such as honesty, faithfulness etc. and assigned it the word “good” . He then said, that these properties are all an essential part of an all powerful eternal agent to whom he assigned the word “God”. He then said, that possessing and exercising these qualities makes one “good” or “like God” .
In principle there is nothing wrong with that but if you think, that you can derive any objectivity out of defining your subjective words “God” and “good” in this way, then you’re terribly mistaken. It’s still circular. It’s still a tautology. It’s still asserted without evidence.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation