Could God have made morality different?

From a friend of mine on Facebook:

could God have made morality different? If the answer is yes, then it shows morality is subjective because it could have been different. If no, then why not?

The best way to answer this question is to define morality properly. This is a variation on the question “is something good because God declares it to be good or is something good because it is good in itself.”

This is a question that cuts to the ontology (being) of good but I would argue that if we accept the premise that good is something independent of God then we don’t run into any issues down the line.

I would argue that goodness, like logic, finds its ultimate root in God’s character. That is, the way we know goodness is by understanding God’s being.

So the question of whether God could have made morality different could be rephrased like this: Could God exist in any other way than He currently exists?

If we understand God to be a necessary being who is unchangeable and whom exists in all possible words (the definition of a necessary object/being) then the answer is no.

This question is also logically related to the question of whether God can create a rock so big He couldn’t move it. The answer of “no” is not because of some limitation in God but because of the necessity of God and what flows from His being. In the case of the rock that would be logic. Its a logical category fallacy to assert that God could create a rock that retains its physical dimensions so as to be considered a rock while equaling a metaphysical being.

The same can be said for morality. It cannot be any other way than it is because it finds its definition and meaning in the being/character of God. And as a necessary being, God could not exist in any other form than His current one.

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8 responses to “Could God have made morality different?

  1. "the premise that good is something independent of God then we don’t run into any issues down the line."

    So, then, God's actions can be judged based on this standard of goodness.

    "The same can be said for morality. It cannot be any other way than it is because it finds its definition and meaning in the being/character of God. And as a necessary being, God could not exist in any other form than His current one."

    Perfectly cicrcular argument. Kudos on the excellent question begging.

    • It's hardly question begging if you believe that certain necessary things exist. Things like mathematics, logic, and all other metaphysical truths we readily accept and enjoy. My contention here is that morality, in the theistic worldview, is in the same category so that just like logic couldn't exist in any other form than it currently exists (ie. true is true across all possible universes, just like 1+1=2 is true across all possible universes), neither could morality.

      • There are a lot of assumptions in your explanation. And historical experience shows changes in morality over time in this universe whereas logic and mathematics haven't changed. I would say it;s tenuous at best to put morality in the same bucket as those.

        • To say that morality has changed over time you must presuppose that morality is not objective and therefore shifts with the culture\’s understanding/expression of it.

          However as I argue above, morality is objectively based in the character of God Himself and as such is necessary in the same sense that God is a necessary being.

          What I would like to know is why you seem to have such strong opinions on the matter. It seems to me that if morality is not objective then where do we get the curious notion that others should care about our personal preferences? We would think it is odd if someone were as passionate as you seem to be regarding a subjective preference for ice cream; Why is preference of morality any different?

          • "curious notion that others should care about our personal preferences?"

            This is an odd statement. Should we all stay at home in our bubbles and not interact which each other and share our experiences and knowledge.

          • In addition, you have a strange way of defining "passion" based on my posts in this thread. Probably because it fits your script for moving onto the next talking point when you have to ignore historical evidnece of shifting moral standards and instead blindly assert that I "presuppose" it. I don't think that word means what you think it means.

          • You keep invoking the whole "shifting moral standards" and yet, in the words of the immortal Inigo Montoya, I do not think that means what you think it means. In other words, to say they are shifting you must 1. define a standard whose vantage point you can measure the shift by (a "fixed point" to borrow Blaise Pascal's phrase) and 2. show how that standard has changed. However, since the act of showing #2 would invalidate #1 we can clearly see that the whole statement of "shifting moral standards" is, itself self-refuting. So you need to revise your terms in order for your thought to make sense. By "moral standards" do you really mean "moral preferences" held by either the individual or the culture?

          • The murder definitely interacts with his victim, they both share an experience and they both gain knowledge.

            However the mere fact that they interact does not presuppose that they will or ought to interact in a manor where each one takes into account the preferences of the other. It also does not settle the question of which one's preferences should win out in the end.

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