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Who defines Morality?

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  • Who defines Morality?

    Hello brothers and sisters in Christ. I haven't been active here. But these days, I'm having questions regarding faith so I wanted to come back and ask.
    My question is , if God defines what good and evil is, then he must be beyond good and evil and if that is so, then what makes God a personal God? My mind thinks if God is morally good, then there should be someone who can define what good and evil is and if God defines good and evil, then is he amoral if not immoral. It's not making sense to me. I hope I'll find some scriptural and credible answers of my questions here.

  • #2
    Originally posted by motirattan View Post
    Hello brothers and sisters in Christ. I haven't been active here. But these days, I'm having questions regarding faith so I wanted to come back and ask.
    My question is , if God defines what good and evil is, then he must be beyond good and evil and if that is so, then what makes God a personal God? My mind thinks if God is morally good, then there should be someone who can define what good and evil is and if God defines good and evil, then is he amoral if not immoral. It's not making sense to me. I hope I'll find some scriptural and credible answers of my questions here.
    Nice to hear from you again Motirattan,

    God is the standard bearer for all that is good. He is not beyond good, but his very existence is the standard of goodness.

    One of the most important approaches to the problem of evil is that set forth originally by Augustine and then later by Aquinas, in which they argued that evil has no independent being. Evil cannot be defined as a thing or as a substance or as some kind of being. Rather, evil is always defined as an action, an action that fails to meet a standard of goodness. In this regard, evil has been defined in terms of its being either a negation (negatio) of the good, or a privation (privatio) of the good. In both cases, the very definition of evil depends upon a prior understanding of the good. In this regard, as Augustine argued, evil is parasitic — that is, it depends upon the good for its very definition. We think of sin as something that is unrighteous, involving disobedience, immorality, and the like. All of these definitions depend upon the positive substance of the good for their very definition. Augustine argues that though Christians face the difficulty of explaining the presence of evil in the universe, the pagan has a problem that is twice as difficult. Before one can even have a problem of evil, one must first have an antecedent existence of the good. Those who complain about the problem of evil now also have the problem of defining the existence of the good. Without God there is no ultimate standard for the good.

    In contemporary days, this problem has been resolved by simply denying both evil and good. Such a problem, however, faces enormous difficulties, particularly when one suffers at the hands of someone who inflicts evil upon them. It is easy for us to deny the existence of evil until we ourselves are victims of someone’s wicked action.

    However, though we end our quest to answer the origin of evil, one thing is certain: since God is both omnipotent and good, we must conclude that in His omnipotence and goodness there must be a place for the existence of evil. We know that God Himself never does that which is evil. Nevertheless, He also ordains whatsoever comes to pass. Though He does not do evil and does not create evil, He does ordain that evil exists. If it does exist, and if God is sovereign, then obviously He must have been able to prevent its existence. If He allowed evil to enter into this universe, it could only be by His sovereign decision. Since His sovereign decisions always follow the perfection of His being, we must conclude that His decision to allow evil to exist is a good decision.

    Again, we must be careful here. We must never say that evil is good, or that good is evil. But that is not the same thing as saying, “It is good that there is evil.” Again, I repeat, it is good that there is evil, else evil could not exist. Even this theodicy does not explain the “how” of the entrance of evil into the world. It only reflects upon the “why” of the reality of evil. One thing we know for sure is that evil does exist. It exists, if nowhere else, in us and in our behavior. We know that the force of evil is extraordinary and brings great pain and suffering into the world. We also know that God is sovereign over it and in His sovereignty will not allow evil to have the last word. Evil always and ever serves the ultimate best interest of God Himself. It is God in His goodness and in His sovereignty who has ordained the final conquest over evil and its riddance from His universe. In this redemption we find our rest and our joy — and until that time, we live in a fallen world. - Source: The Mystery of Iniquity by R.C. Sproul
    Regarding an impersonal God. From the beginning to end, God demonstrates that He is a personal God. In the Garden of Eden after Adam sinned, God asked where art thou? God came down to the level of Adam and Eve. He acted personally. Adam and Eve were a creature made from the dust of the earth that defied a Holy God. Yet God acted personally and with grace. He clothed them in their nakedness. And He provided a way of redemption promising that the seed of the woman shall redeem them.

    On another note, but related, other religions require works. One must by their works obtain nirvana or pull themselves up by their boot straps to heaven. Salvation is dependent on the person in question. In Christianity, we failed to live up to God's Holy Standard. All our works are as filthy rags before our Holy God. And according to Scripture not one of us is righteous. Our God came down from heaven to His people for they failed to live up to the standard of God's holiness and goodness. It cannot get more personal than that. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed to the Father to take this cup from Him. Jesus knew that once He drank from the cup He would become sin for us in our stead and the full wrath of the Father would be poured out upon Christ in our place. Not a drop was spilled, but the full wrath of God was taken from our place and put upon His own beloved Son. How can it not get more personal than this?

    Hope this helps, and God bless,
    William
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    • #3
      Thank you William. It helped a lot. Again, I have one more question, do God have free will to choose good or evil as we humans in God's image have the ability to choose evil.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by motirattan View Post
        Thank you William. It helped a lot. Again, I have one more question, do God have free will to choose good or evil as we humans in God's image have the ability to choose evil.
        Lemme refer you here. I think your question can lead to many philosophical implications: Can God Create a Stone Too Heavy for Him to Lift? -Christforums

        Here's a clip: "One is to claim God can bring about any of these states of affairs, but because of God’s essential goodness, God does not do so. On this view, God is still omnipotent in the sense of being able to bring any state of affairs. A second reply is to question an assumption behind the objection. Why think of divine omnipotence exclusively in terms of the bare scope of power? An important classical Christian tradition (Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas) holds that God’s power is also supremely good. Is the ‘power’ to do evil for its own sake a worthy, good power? Arguably, God’s excellent power is the power to do good, not evil. A further exploration of this concept of divine power leads us away from the apparent word game of the stone paradox and focuses the mind on the nature of God’s excellence, the object worthy of worship."

        Hope this helps, and God bless,
        William
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        • #5
          We use logic to define God. So what is logic and how is it different from God or same? Sorry, I know my questions are quite absurd.
          Is God under logic or logic under God. Are things like morals,logic,etc have their origin in God rather than creation by God. Like if God is the standard of goodness, is it just arbitrary that that thing is in God, and something isn't .
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          • #6
            Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God..... created the heavens and the earth." Later in the chapter 1 and 2 -- He created man and then woman and allowed then to have children together.

            John 1:1 "in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word Was God." vs 3 Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made."

            Isn't 'logic' a concept created by people? Intellectualism wants to put "God" on our level. But God is Almighty God. King of Kings, Lord of Lords // "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" Revelation 22: 13.

            God's Word defines good / evil. Whatever we do in word or deed, do to the glory of God. We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of God.
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            • #7
              By logic, I solely mean the Laws of Coherence, Law of Non Contradiction,etc. That's why I wasn't able to arrange how God was subject to it.
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              • #8

                For morals, I wasn't asking the nature of the morals, but the origin of them, is God subject to morals or morals subject to God? How do logic have it's origin in all this.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by motirattan View Post
                  By logic, I solely mean the Laws of Coherence, Law of Non Contradiction,etc. That's why I wasn't able to arrange how God was subject to it.
                  I was just looking that up -- European humanistic philosophy. Humanism is putting people before God. Or not even recognizing God.

                  God isn't subject To the laws of...... He is the Giver / originator Of any laws we have. We are responsible To God -- He is to be our sole authority. Society is Not our authority. "Society" is made up of People. People are Fallable. God is Infallable.

                  For some people "intellectualism" is their 'god'. God has given us a wonderful brain -- he's also given us freedom of choice. He would Like people to use the brains He's given us to bring glory to Him.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by motirattan View Post
                    By logic, I solely mean the Laws of Coherence, Law of Non Contradiction,etc. That's why I wasn't able to arrange how God was subject to it.
                    Here's a nice resource: What Are the Three Laws of Logic? -Christforums

                    God bless,
                    William
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                    • #11
                      Thank you, it helped .
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                      • #12
                        Very interesting questions. I never really understood what the word "good" meant, either. I do know that good is a variation on God. So when we speak of something good it is in the character of God. One source defined good as functional. But I think that is a poor definition. When God finished his creation he proclaimed that it was good. This is before the fall of mankind, so good also relates to perfection, which means needs no other attribute, that is, utterly complete.

                        Common understanding of morality refers to what the majority believe to be right, whereas ethics seems to be related to ethnic which implies the morality of a family line. God is the king of his creation. The English word, "king", comes from "cane" which is a yardstick for measurement. Thus as the king goes so go the people. God's own character is the standard for all goodness, morality and ethics.

                        The Greek word "logos", is the root of the word logic. In John, logos is translated as "word", of which Jesus is called. So logic comes from the character of the second member of the Godhead,known as the Word, or Logos. The logic in creation comes from the logic of the Logos.

                        Despite popular opinion, God can not do anything. He is bound by his own nature and character. For example, He can not lie because He is Truth. He can not die because He is LIfe. He can not change because He is Immutable. He is our standard in all things. We do not create morality, we can only mutilate it with our own desires. We are born perverse, but His blood and life through His Son, straightens us out. Simply put, He saves us from ourselves.
                        Last edited by ADofTX; 08-13-2017, 02:26 PM.
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                        • #13
                          Thanks for helping
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