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An Ethics of Divine Commands:
a Catalogue of Arguments



以茜阿著(Janine Marie Idziak孔祥烱譯



During the last several decades there has been renewed interest on the part of philosophers and theologians in an ethics of divine commands. Most basically, a divine command moralist holds that the standard of right and wrong is the commands and prohibitions of God. According to the divine command theory, “an action or kind of action is right or wrong if and only if and because it is commanded or forbidden by God.” In other words, the theory stipulates that “what ultimately makes an action right or wrong is its being commanded or forbidden by God and nothing else.” According to a divine command moralist, it is not the case that God commands a particular action because it is right, or prohibits it because it is wrong; rather, an action is right (or wrong) because God commands (or prohibits) it.


The defense of any ethical theory operates on two levels: the refutation of objections which may be brought against the theory, and the presentation of reasons in support of the position and for preferring it to other ethical systems. Recent proponents of divine command ethics have, for the most part, chosen the former strategy of defense.... The historical literature in general is richer in this regard, offering a variety of putatively “good positive reasons” for adopting an ethics of divine commands.

倫理理論的辯護可分為兩個層次:[1] 否定對該理論的反對,和 [2] 提出支持理論的原因,並該理論其他倫理體系更好的原因。最近神聖命令道德的支持者大多數選擇前者的辯護戰略歷史上的文獻都屬於後提供多種公認「良好積極的理由採取神聖命令倫理。

Our aim ... is to present and call attention to these historical arguments, drawn from discussions of the divine command theory in late medieval philosophy and theology, in Reformation and in Puritan theology, and in British modern philosophy. Some of the sources on which we will draw have hitherto gone unnoticed in the recent published literature on the divine command theory. Although we will not here undertake a critical evaluation of the arguments in question but simply set them out, our catalogue is meant to be suggestive to philosophers and theologians interested in the divine command theory and hence a prolegomenon to further attempts to defend it.


As well as considering particular arguments, we will attempt to discern some basic strategies for the positive defense of the theory.... [W]e consider arguments which connect an ethics of divine commands with various properties of the divine nature.... [W]e look at a line of argument centering on the unique status occupied by God. Arguments which are analogical in nature are examined.... Finally, ... we consider some wider implications of these arguments. Specifically, we describe a particular form of divine command theory to which some of these arguments point, and suggest that the body of historical arguments we have delineated serves to counteract one of the standard criticisms leveled against an ethics of divine commands.

考慮特殊的論據中,我們將嘗試辨別一些基本策略積極辯護理論。[1] 我們考慮那些將神聖命令倫理學繫於各種神屬性的論據。[2] 我們將注意那些集中如何佔據獨特地位的論據。[3] 我們也審查那些類比性質的論據。最後,我們考慮這些論據更廣泛的含意。具體來說,我們描述一個由這些論據帶出來特定形式的神聖命令理論,並結論說我們所排列的歷史性論據可以用來一個神聖命令倫理學常用的批判。

Arguments from the Divine Nature


The citation of authorities is a familiar element of the medieval style of argumentation, and discussions of the divine command theory from this period are no exception. Authoritative statements apparently favoring an ethics of divine commands were brought forward from the writings of.

中世紀論証風格的一種熟悉的元素是引用權威,神聖命令理論的討論也不例外。贊成神聖命令理論的權威性聲明,包括奧古斯丁、安波羅斯、大格哥利、西比安偽、塞維伊西多、聖維多之曉夫及安瑟倫等著作Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great, the Pseudo-Cyprian, Isidore of Seville, Hugh of St. Victor and Anselm

Such authoritative statements not infrequently represent mere assertions of a viewpoint or stance, rather than the presentation of reasons or evidence, properly speaking, for a position. From the point of view of the task at hand, that is, of searching for “positive reasons” for an ethics of divine commands, the most interesting of the authoritative statements comes from Hugh of St. Victor’s On the Sacraments. We quote in its entirety the section of the text from which various quotations were taken:


The first cause of all things is the will of the Creator which no antecedent cause moved because it is eternal, nor any subsequent cause confirms because it is of itself just. For He did not will justly, because what He willed was to be just, but what He willed was just, because He Himself willed it. For it is peculiar to Himself and to His will that that which is His is just; from Him comes the justice that is in His will by the very fact that justice comes from His will. That which is just is just according to His will and certainly would not be just, if it were not according to His will. When, therefore, it is asked how that is just which is just, the most fitting answer will be: because it is according to the will of God, which is just. When, however, it is asked how the will of God itself is also just, this quite reasonable answer will be given: because there is no cause of the first cause, whose prerogative it is to be what it is of itself. But this alone is the cause whence whatever is has originated, and it itself did not originate, but is eternal.


This text suggests a connection between the dependency of what is just on the divine will and God’s recognized status as first and uncaused cause. Although the text is somewhat obscure, it bears the following interpretation. When trying to determine what is just, we look to what accords with the will of God, for the divine will is considered to be paradigmatically just. Now in seeking the foundation of justice, it does not make sense to seek something else beyond the divine will. For the divine will is the first cause of all things, and as such, it is uncaused and has no cause prior to it. Thus, there is no cause of the justness of the divine will; rather, the divine will itself generates justness.


The text from On the Sacraments takes on additional significance from the point of view of subsequent discussions of divine command ethics. The connection suggested by Hugh of St. Victor between an ethics of divine commands and God’s status as first cause and uncaused cause is a connection which recurs in the historical literature, in somewhat varying forms....


The connection in question is also found in Reformation and early Protestant theology. Whatever may be the best interpretation of the ethics of Luther and Calvin overall, there are passages to be found in their writings which are indicative of an ethics of divine commands. Such statements of a divine command theory are at times contextually intertwined with statements about the uncaused nature of God’s will. This juxtaposition is unmistakable in a passage from Martin Luther’s The Bondage of the Will, in which assertions of the uncaused status of the divine will immediately precede and immediately follow a statement of the divine command ethical principle:


The same reply should be given to those who ask: Why did God let Adam fall, and why did He create us all tainted with the same sin, when He might have kept Adam safe, and might have created us of other material, or of seed that had first been cleansed? God is He for Whose will no cause or ground may be laid down as its rule and standard; for nothing is on a level with it or above it, but it is itself the rule for all things. If any rule or standard, or cause or ground, existed for it, it could no longer be the will of God. What God wills is not right because He ought, or was bound, so to will; on the contrary, what takes place must be right, because He so wills it. Causes and grounds are laid down for the will of the creature, but not for the will of the Creator...

下列兩個問題應該獲得同樣的答覆:[1] 為何祂容讓亞當墮落?[2] 如果神可以保護亞當安全,祂也可以用其它的物質或者用已經潔淨的種子創造我們,那麼為何祂創造我們有同樣的罪污沒有任何起因或基礎可以成為神意志的規則和標準;因為沒有任何事物和神的意志平等或在其上,但它卻是所有事物的規則。如果它在任何規則或標準、起因或基礎之下,它就不是神的意志。神的志是正確的,並不是因為祂必須這樣做;相反,神所決志的事物就一定是正確的。起因或基礎為受造物而,但並非為造物主意志而成立。

This text of Luther was subsequently quoted by Jerome Zanchius in The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination in his assertion of the position that “the will of God is so the cause of all things, as to be itself without cause.” The juxtaposition of an assertion of the divine command thesis with a description of the divine will as uncaused is again in evidence in John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. At one point in the text, it is after warning “how sinful it is to insist on knowing the causes of the divine will, since it is itself ... the cause of all that exists” that Calvin goes on to affirm that “the will of God is the supreme rule of righteousness, so that everything which he wills must be held to be righteous by the mere fact of his willing it.” ...

路德的文章後來為山其奧(Jerome Zanchius所著《絕對預定論的教義》所引述,他堅持「神的意志既然是所有事物的起因,故它是沒有起因的。加爾文的《基督教教義》再堅持神聖命令和無起因的意志並列。在文中,警告「堅持要知道神的意志的起因是多麼有罪,因為它本身就是所有存在的起因。加爾文接着申明:「神的意志是正義的至高無上的法則,所有祂所決志的事物一定是正義的,單單因為這是祂所決志的。

While the appeal to God’s causal powers represents one strain in the defense of the divine command theory, it is by no means the only aspect of the divine nature to which this ethical position has been related. One can find yet other historical arguments which have the form of showing that an ethics of divine commands is compatible or consistent with some established attribute of God whereas rejection of this theory is not.


This strategy is employed by John Preston in Life Eternal, in contending that an ethics of divine commands is required to preserve God’s impeccability. His argument is straightforward and succinct:

普雷斯頓(John Preston)在永恆的生命》中利用這戰略去支持神聖命令倫理,認為要保存神的錯誤就需要這理論。他的論據是直接的和簡潔的:

…we should finde out what the will of God is; for that is the rule of justice and equity; for otherwise it was possible that the Lord could erre; though he did never erre: that which goes by a rule, though it doth not swarve, yet it may; but if it be the rule itselfe, it is impossible to erre.


Of the same ilk is a line of argument recorded by Ralph Cudworth which involves the divine omnipotence. In describing the divine command position in a Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality, Cudworth claims that “this doctrine hath been since chiefly promoted and advanced by such as think nothing so essential to the Deity, as uncontrollable power and arbitrary will, and therefore that God could not be God if there should be any thing evil in its own nature which he could not do....”

與此相同的是加德夫Ralph Cudworth有關神聖全能的論証他在《有關道德永恆和不變的論証》中,他描述神聖命令這教義已經被提倡和推廣為神性的基本特徵,就是祂有不可限制的權力和自主的意志因此,如果神的本性中有任何邪惡,是祂不能做的,祂就不是神

The argument which Cudworth reports might be unpacked in the following way. Omnipotence is one of the essential or defining properties of God; or, in other words, “Necessarily, God is omnipotent.” Now let us suppose that an ethics of divine commands is a false theory and that there is something, x, which is evil in its own nature entirely apart from a divine prohibition. If this is so, then God, being good, cannot do x. But then, if God cannot do x, God is not omnipotent—which is impossible. In other words, the rejection of the divine command position seems to lead us into the unacceptable position of denying the divine omnipotence. An ethics of divine commands, on the other hand, respects God’s omnipotence, for if God can make anything right which he wants to, then there is nothing which he is morally prevented from doing.


Cudworth himself is not a proponent, but a vociferous critic of the divine command position. Thus one can ask the question of how accurately he reports the actual thinking of divine command moralists.


A number of medievalists have suggested a connection between adherence to an ethics of divine commands and exaltation of the divine omnipotence in the case of William Ockham. This explanation for Ockham’s favorable disposition toward the divine command theory has been offered in papers by David Clark, Francis Oakley, and Oakley and Elliot Urdang. It has also been suggested by Frederick Copleston in his history of philosophy. This explanation for the espousal of an ethics of divine commands may seem intuitively plausible, for God’s postulated institution of morality surely represents an aspect of what God has the power to do. In the case of Ockham, however, this explanation turns out to be purely speculative from a strict textual point of view.

一些研究中世紀的學者建議,岳金(William Ockham堅持神聖命令倫理和高舉神聖全能繫的。解釋岳金贊神聖命令理論的論文克拉克、奧克利、奧克利和奧特David Clark, Francis Oakley, and Oakley and Elliot Urdang哥普斯頓(Frederick Copleston在他的哲學歷史中也這樣建議。表面上,解釋擁護神聖命令倫理好像是可信的,因為神要求成立道德架構無疑代表這是神有能力做的事。不過,這解釋岳金卻是純粹從著作觀點的猜測。

In reviewing the texts which serve as evidence for Ockham’s adherence to a divine command theory, one can see that they do not contain any deduction of divine command ethics from the concept of divine omnipotence, nor any explicit argument for an ethics of divine commands which involves the notion of divine omnipotence. Further, the connection in question is not suggested by the larger context of discussion. Ockham’s statements of the divine command position do not occur within questions dealing with the divine power.... [Later] we will consider further the implications of this connection for the acceptability of a divine command ethical system.


Arguments from God’s Unique Status


... [In this category of arguments] is the contention that there cannot be anything which is independent to God. For in A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, Richard Price also makes mention of the issue whether “we must give up the unalterable natures of right and wrong, and make them dependent on the Divine will” in order to avoid “setting up something distinct from God, which is independent of him, and equally eternal and necessary.”

論証目錄]的論點是沒有任何東西是獨立於神的。正如皮來斯Richard Price在《評論道德的主要問題》中提到這一點是否「我們必須放棄是和非不可改變的性質,使他們依賴神的意志」,以避免「在神以外設立一些事物,是獨立於神與神同是永恆的和必要的。

The suggested contention that a divine command theory must be adopted in the realm of ethics because there cannot be anything independent of God may be seen, we believe, as an attempt to capture the religious insight of the absolute centrality which God is to enjoy. As such, it bears some analogy to a point made in favor of the divine command position by Robert Merrihew Adams, namely, that such a system satisfies the religious requirement that God be the supreme focus of one’s loyalties.

有人建議神聖命令理論必須收容倫理的領域中,因為不能有任何獨立神的事物,我們認為論點是嘗試表達宗教的見解,就是讓神享受絕對的中心。因此,它類似亞當斯Robert Merrihew Adams贊成神聖命令理論的理由,就是這樣的系統滿足宗教的要求,讓神成為一個人效忠的最高焦點。

Analogical Arguments


An ethics of divine commands was a major topic of discussion in late medieval philosophy and theology, and E. Pluzanski has hypothesized two reasons for the attractiveness of this theory to the medieval mentality. On the one hand, he connects the espousal of an ethics of divine commands with the unwillingness of medieval theologians to take liberties in interpreting Scripture, which contains accounts of actions which clearly seem to contradict moral laws and which yet are presented as accomplished under the direct order of God.

神的命令倫理是中世紀晚期的哲學和神學一個重大的討論課題,普辛斯基E. Pluzanski指出兩個原因推測這理論中世紀心態的吸引力。[1] 一方面,他認為擁護神聖命令倫理與中世紀神學家不願意自由解釋聖經有關因為聖經記載一些似乎明顯違反道德律的行動,而這些行動也被記載為神直接指令的。

This postulated connection is verified by the use made, within the medieval divine command tradition, of such Scriptural cases as Abraham sacrificing Isaac, the prophet Hosea committing adultery, the Israelites despoiling (and hence stealing from) the Egyptians on their way out of Egypt, Samson killing himself, Jacob lying to his father, and the patriarchs practicing polygamy. Secondly, Pluzanski suggests that the structure of civil society in the Middle Ages, in particular, the large number of special regulations admitted by customary and canon law, prepared the way for acceptance of the idea of an arbitrary moral law.

這個假設的關係被中世紀神聖命令的傳統所証實,他們提出了聖經的事例,如亞伯拉罕以撒獻祭何西阿先知姦淫以色列人在出埃及掠奪(就是盜竊)埃及人參孫殺死自己雅各欺騙他的父親始祖實行一夫多妻制。[2] 其次,普辛斯基認為,中世紀民間社會的結構(尤其是習慣法和教會法典大量的特殊規接受任意道德律的思想開路。

At first blush, Pluzanski’s second suggestion appears to be a sociological and psychological thesis of a highly speculative character. On closer examination, one can see in Pluzanski’s comment the suggestion that an analogical mode of reasoning with respect to legislative activity may underlie the position of the divine command moralist.


From this point of view, it is worth taking note of an argument reported by Thomas Bradwardine in The Cause of God on the side of the divine command theory:

從這個角度來看,一個值得注意的論點是伯維Thomas Bradwardine在他所著《神的起因》支持神聖命令理論

This could be confirmed by human ecclesiastical laws, and even by secular ones. For frequently in ecclesiastical laws the Pope says, “It pleased us thus, or so,” which, from that very fact, is established for a law and is obligatory. Imperial laws too very often have a similar foundation, wherefore they also say, “What has pleased the sovereign has the force of law.” But so is God free in establishing laws for governing his whole state, just as these are for his state. Therefore the will of God is sufficient for law, and the highest law.


This argument works with a comparison between civil and ecclesiastical law and divine legislative activity. From the realm of civil law, it makes use of a statement in the code of Justinian, “What has pleased the sovereign has the force of law. When reporting arguments in favor of the view that justice as found among created things depends simply upon the divine will, Thomas Aquinas mentions precisely the same text from the Justinian code as supposed evidence that law is “nothing but the expression of the will of a sovereign. Thus the argument reported by Bradwardine can be interpreted as claiming that civil law can be, and indeed frequently is constituted by the mere will of the ruler.


Further, according to this argument, the same thing holds true in the realm of ecclesiastical law, since papal legislation is often formulated in the terminology of “It pleased us thusly.” Having established a connection between law and will, the argument proceeds by way of analogy. Just as the pope is governor of the spiritual realm and just as a civil ruler governs a political state, so God governs all of creation as his “state.” And hence, just as an ecclesiastical or civil ruler has the power to make law by sheer choice of will, so it must be the case that the will of God is enough to create law in those matters appropriate to divine legislative activity....


The ... strategy of establishing an analogy between what obtains in metaphysics and what obtains in ethics is employed and indeed ingeniously exploited by Peter of Ailly in taking the familiar medieval cosmological argument for the existence of God and constructing an analogue of it supporting an ethics of divine commands. Ailly’s version of the cosmological proof is divided into three stages: firstly, an argument that it is necessary to reach one first efficient cause; secondly, establishment of the contention that no created thing can serve this function; and thirdly, an argument that the first efficient cause is to be identified with the divine will.

艾伊(Peter of Ailly運用也是機靈地利用他的策略,形而上學的結論和倫理學的結論建立了類比,他利用中世紀熟悉的宇宙論對神存在的論証,建立一個類比去支持神聖命令倫理。艾伊的宇宙論証分為三個階段[1] 辯說必須達到一個第一有效起因[2] 建立論點証明被之物不能有這功能;[3] 辯說第一有效起因神聖意志是相同的。

The analogous proof of divine command ethics likewise involves three steps. Through rejection of the possibility of an infinite regress in obligatory laws, Ailly argues for the necessity of one first obligatory law; he then contends that no created law enjoys this status for the reason that no created law has from itself the power of binding; finally, using the divine attribute of perfection and Augustine’s definition of eternal law, he establishes that the first obligatory law is the divine will. Given the enduring popularity of the cosmological argument, Ailly’s extrapolation of it into the realm of ethics is sufficiently intriguing to merit quoting the text of the argument in its entirety:

命令倫理的類比証明包括三個步驟。[1] 通過拒絕強制性法律無窮倒退的可能性,艾伊辯說有第一個強制性法律的需要[2] 然後他辯說被法律不能享有這地位,因為沒有一個法律約束的權力;[3] 最後,他利用神聖完美的屬性和奧古斯丁永恆法律的定義,建立結論說第一個強制性法律就是神的意志。鑑於宇宙論論証持久的普及性,加上艾伊如何將論證帶入倫理學的領域是極有趣的推論,我們將論證的全文節錄如下

Thus the first conclusion is this: Just as the divine will is the first efficient cause in the class of efficient cause, so, in the class of obligatory law, it is the first law or rule. Now the first part of this conclusion is commonly granted by all philosophers; therefore it is assumed as something evident. But in order to prove the second part, I must first advance some preliminary propositions.


The first proposition is that, among obligatory laws, one is a law absolutely first.


Proof: Just as there is not an infinite regress in efficient causes, as the Philosopher proves in Metaphysics II, 3; so there is not an infinite regress in obligatory laws. Therefore, just as it is necessary to reach one first efficient cause, so it is necessary to arrive at one first obligatory law, because the principle is entirely the same in both cases. Therefore, etc.


The second proposition is that no created law is absolutely first.


Proof: Just as no created thing has of itself the power of creating, so no created law has of itself the power of binding; for as the Apostle states in Romans 13, “There is no power except from God,” etc. Therefore, just as no created thing is the first efficient cause, so no created law is the first obligatory law; for just as “first cause” is a sign that it is God who is involved in the causal activity, so “first law” is an indication that it is God who is imposing the obligation. Therefore, etc.


The third proposition is that the divine will is the law which is absolutely first.


Proof: Evidently by the two preceding propositions.


Just as it is ascribed to the divine will to be the first efficient cause, so it must be ascribed to the same thing to be the first obligatory law; for just as the former belongs to perfection, so does the latter. Therefore, etc.


Furthermore, this proposition is demonstrated by Augustine in Against Faustus 22, where he states that the eternal law is the divine intellect or will commanding that the natural order be maintained and forbidding that it be disturbed. Now the eternal law is a law absolutely first; similarly, nothing is prior to the divine will. Therefore, etc.


And thus the second part of the conclusion is evident.


This line of argument is presented by Peter of Ailly in his introductory commentary on the first book of the Sentences.


Ailly’s contemporaries did not let this argument pass without criticism, and Ailly defended it against a variety of objections: (1) that there is a first obligatory law only in the sense of priority of time of institution, and concomitantly, that a created law could be first in this sense; (2) that it is in effect a category mistake to connect the fact of being an obligatory law with the concept of perfection; (3) that the divine will is not, strictly speaking, the eternal law, but rather, is the eternal maker of law; (4) that the divine will is not absolutely the first law or rule because negative laws (such as “Do not steal”) are not derived from it; and (5) that the status of a law or rule is inappropriately assigned to the divine faculty of will.  It is Ailly’s response to this last objection which is the most interesting philosophically, in articulating a version of the divine command theory based on the concept of the divine simplicity, and hence on the identity of will and intellect in God.


Peter of Ailly also makes mention of the analogy between the divine will as first efficient cause and as first obligatory law in his treatise Is the Church of Peter Regulated by Law? A possible precursor of Ailly’s argument is to be found in a line of argument recorded in Thomas Bradwardine’s The Cause of God. Although lacking an explicit analogy with a cosmological form of argument for God’s existence, the argument reported by Bradwardine is like Ailly’s argument in contending that there cannot be an infinite regress in the rules of justice, that the rule which is the highest of all and the origin of the other rules cannot be in some creature, and that this highest law is the divine will.




Surely, one of the purposes of studying the history of philosophy is to gain insight into problems we are still grappling with today....


An ethics of divine commands has not infrequently been perceived as a theory which reduces ethics to a matter of power. As we have already noted, the seventeenth-century British philosopher Ralph Cudworth asserts that “this doctrine hath been since chiefly promoted and advanced by such as think nothing so essential to the Deity, as uncontrollable power and arbitrary will, and therefore that God could not be God if there should be any thing evil in its own nature which he could not do....” Another historical critic of divine command ethics, Thomas Chubb, saw proponents of the theory as reduced to adopting the unpalatable position of Hobbes, that is, of grounding God’s authority in his absolute power. In the contemporary literature, D. Goldstick has claimed that a theist is in the position of affirming, with respect to any divinely willed code of behavior, that “its moral rightness follows necessarily from its being willed by somebody omnipotent.” Or again, Philip Quinn has described varieties of divine command theory which “have it that God’s commands are to be obeyed just because he is supremely powerful.”

神聖命令倫理經常被簡化而成為一項關乎權力理論正如上面所說,十七世紀英國哲學家加德夫認為這教義已經被提倡和推廣為神性的基本特徵,就是祂的不可限制的權力和自主的意志因此,如果神的本性中有任何邪惡,是祂不能做的,祂就不是神另一個歷史中批評神聖命令倫理的是崔Thomas Chubb),簡化神聖命令倫理的提倡者,說他們為採用霍布斯Hobbes可憎厭的說法,以神的權威基於祂絕對的權力。現代的高斯狄D. Goldstick認為一個有神論者肯定神聖意志決定行為準則,就是主張「準則的道德正確性一定一個者的決再者奎恩Philip Quinn形容不同種類的神聖命令理論,說它們主張服從神的命令只是因為祂有最高的權力。

Tying the divine command theory to the divine omnipotence has occasioned severe criticism of it. As representative of this critique, we quote Antony Flew:

神聖命令理論連結於神的全帶來了很多嚴厲的批評。這種批評可以用弗盧Antony Flew代表

But a price has to be paid for thus making God’s will your standard .... you simultaneously lay yourself wide open to the charge that your religion is a gigantic exercise in eternity-serving, a worship of Infinite power as such, a glorification of Omnipotent Will quite regardless of the content of that will. It takes a very clear head—and a very strong stomach—to maintain such a position openly, consistently, and without any attempt to burk[e] its harsh consequences.


While it cannot be denied that the divine omnipotence has entered into the articulation and defense of an ethics of divine commands, study of the historical literature does serve to indicate that the notions of God’s omnipotence and of his power over us have not constituted the only considerations offered in support of the divine command theory, nor have they dominated the discussion. The theory has also been related to other divine attributes, such as God’s impeccability. It has been related to the religious insight of the absolute centrality of God, expressed as the view that there cannot be anything which is independent of God. There have been attempts to use human legislative activity as a model for the divine. And attempts have been made to defend divine command ethics through notions taken from the realm of metaphysics, specifically, by invoking God’s status as first and uncaused cause, by drawing an analogy between “being” and “goodness,” and by constructing an ethical analogue of the cosmological argument for God’s existence. Thus someone inclined to adopt an ethics of divine commands need not fear being automatically committed to a doctrine of “Might makes right.”






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SOURCE: Janine Marie Idziak (1994): “In Search of Good Positive Reasons for an Ethics of Divine Commands: a Catalogue of Arguments,” in Readings in Christian ethics, volume 1: Theory and Method, ed. David K. Clark and Robert V. Rakestraw (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 50-61.

From Janine Marie Idziak, “In Search of ‘Good Positive Reasons’ for an Ethics of Divine Commands: A Catalogue of Arguments,” Faith and Philosophy 6, 1 (January 1989): 47-64.




Arguments from the Divine Nature. 3

A)從神本性論証... 3

Arguments from God’s Unique Status. 9

B從神獨特地位論証... 9

Analogical Arguments. 10

C)類比的論証... 10

Implications. 17

D)含意... 17