23 Aug 2022


Divine Command Theory

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Academic level: College

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Divine command theory posits that an action is good if it followed a direct command from God. The divine command theory argues that to determine whether an action is good or bad, one has to assess if God had an influence on it. The theory also posits that the person who has been commanded to perform a certain act would be perceived to be immoral if he/she fails to do it. The main proponents of the Divine command theory include Saint Augustine, Duns Scotus, and Thomas Aquinas. They argued that it morally right for people to obey the voice of God. However, the divine command theory has been criticized for interfering with the moral autonomy. The argument is that people should be able to determine what is right and what is wrong, and make the right choices. 

In Genesis Chapter 22:2, God commanded Abraham to take his son Isaac, go to land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering. Abraham obeyed, but God was only testing his him. It is apparent that Abraham’s decision to sacrifice his son was out of a direct command from God. As such, the act was morally right, according to the command theory perspective. Abraham would have been perceived to be immoral if he had not obeyed God’s command. 

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From my perspective, I believe that the divine command theory can be a good ethical guide. I believe that God is omnibenevolent and is full of love. I do not believe that he can command people to harm others. He is good and expects his people to extend the same to others. To that extent, I believe that obeying God’s command will enhance social justice within the community. In the case of Abraham, God indicated clearly that he does not approve human sacrifice and harm towards humanity. I believe whatever God commands is good. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Divine Command Theory.


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