“Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who delights greatly in His commandments” (Psalm 112:1, NKJV). **** “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3, NKJV).
We will hear, on occasion, what some call “ethical behavior,” and how some person failed to measure up to the standard expected. We also hear some make judgments concerning what they consider to be “morally wrong.” With the use of both these terms some of us are left in the dark concerning what standard is used to make such an evaluation.
When one gives thought to ethics it is implied there is a standard by which one can measure both good and bad actions. A long time ago there was a problem posed to a great thinker that has since become a problem for some to handle. It goes like this: do the gods demand what is right because something is right already, or are the commands that come from the gods rights because they said so. This problem is known as the Euthyphro Dilemma. The significance of this issue is in relation to God’s existence and objective moral wrong. Is God really needed in order for one to know there is an objective moral right and wrong?
For some it has been a difficult riddle to solve. Here is why it is thought to be a problem: if something is right already, then God is not needed to determine anything that is moral. Thus, if stealing is wrong already, then why is there a need for God who merely affirms what is already wrong? On the other hand, if God merely declares something right (by fiat), then He is really no better than man doing the same. In other words, it is arbitrary, similar to Stalin or Hitler doing the same because of a position of authority.
For Christians this is not as much a hurdle as one might initially think. The very essence of what is good (or right) comes from the nature of God—it does not come from man’s judgment of such. Man lies continually, but the nature of God is such that He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). To compare, then, man’s arbitrary judgment with God is to not compare comparable beings. Man is limited in the space in which he lives and he is limited in that which his mind can think. God is unlimited and infinite. More than that, though, man is selfish, conniving, and does not know where he is going. God is loving, giving, and has “already arrived.” The very standard of right can’t be known without God. All man can do is simply think that he knows. All thoughts and actions contrary to God’s standard are bad, wrong, and also evil. RT