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Divine Command Theory

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Divine command theory is an ethical theory related to the philosophy of religion. It states that all the actions and patterns of human behavior are considered to be good if they are commanded by God (or any form of divinity). Divine command theory has its advantages and disadvantages but it is one of the most approbative theories due to the positive philosophy of its main ideas.

Divine command theory is the only ethic theory in Christianity. God is proclaimed to be the creator of the world and every object in it as well as the creator of humans' moral obligations. All the things, actions and choices the person makes are morally good or bad, obligatory, prohibited or permissible because of God’s commands or will. Immanuel Kant developed this theory stating that the requirements of morality and ethics are too high for humans to bear. That is why the existence of God as a higher power is incontestable ("Immanuel Kant: Metaphysics," n.d.). The belief in afterlife is one more argument to support the theory. Being moral does not guarantee happiness in this life, but the person can be sure to receive happiness in afterlife as a reward for being morally righteous. Divine command theory is often denied by a statement known as the Euthyphro dilemma. The main question of it is: Are good actions willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God ("Divine Command Theory," n.d.)?

In spite of the dilemma, divine command theory is considered to be an approbative ethical theory because it regulates the actions and directs people to morally good behavior. At the same time the theory prohibits the actions such as telling a lie, robbery or murder, which are regulated by law in modern communities on the state level.

As one of the ethical theories, divine command theory, has the right to exist and to have support in religious and social communities. Some of the theory's basic statements are identical to the principles of legislative regulations. However, there are still points to be resolved due to the contradictions occurring in the theory.

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