Divine Command Ethics
|So, as has been stated before, I am teaching ethics at UVSC nowadays. As a result, I am teaching, amongst other things, about the relationship between God and morality. Or rather, what we think it ought to be.|
Divine command ethics (the most explicit attempt to link the divine commandments with morality) states simply that the Good is God's will. There you go. So, what God likes is good and what he doesn't like is bad. Many people dislike this solution because, in that case, you could have a arbitrary God, who could tell you to do anything and it would still be good as it would be His/Her will.
I don't like to bring the doctrine of the dominant religion in the valley up too often in class, but it seemed inevitable so I did. It seems to me that all this business in Alma 42 would indicate that the LDS don't go in for Divine Command Ethics. If God could mess up and cease to be God, that seems to indicate that there is some higher standard by which God's actions could be judged. If what is happening here is (to some degree) just a repetition of what has happened before elsewhere, wouldn't this indicate the same?
However, it is hard for my students to buy this line of reasoning because it separates the Good from God. The Good becomes something by which we can judge God's actions, not the power by which God tells us how to act. I am wondering if I have been too quick to dismiss Divine Command Ethics as a means for understanding God's role in determining the Good and the Bad. I don't think I buy into Divine Command Ethics (DCE from here on out), but I am willing to listen. So, what think ye?