#5 Post of 2015 – Is God Subject to Justice?

Skeptics of Christianity sometimes claim that either God is subject to an external standard of justice and morality, or else whatever God arbitrarily says or does is the standard of justice and morality. Both of these choices are a problem, however, for the Christian.

If there is an external standard of justice, then God is not the ultimate being. There is a moral law that is greater than him. The Bible, however, rules that out.

If God can arbitrarily decide what is right and what is wrong, then justice and morality become meaningless because even though it is wrong to kill an innocent person today, tomorrow it could become OK, if God willed it to be. This idea, however, seems ludicrous as well.

The Christian answer to this dilemma is that God’s very nature is the Good and the Just. In other words, the moral law is built into God, and because God will always act according to his nature, the moral law will never change, and is thus not arbitrary. God is not subject to an external standard, because the standard is God himself.

  • Andrew_EC

    So, is God’s nature just because it comports with some external standard, or is it just by fiat?

  • Neither. Think of it this way. The Christian description of God is inclusive of the ultimate standard of justice. Just is who God is. It is impossible for God, under the Christian view, to be anything but ultimately just.

  • Andrew_EC

    So, fiat.

  • Gabriel

    It is easy to be just when you define what justice means.

  • God doesn’t define justice. He just is justice.

  • Gabriel

    He just is justice
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    What do you mean ?That his nature define justice?That an action is wrong because it goes against his nature?And why his nature and not my nature as standard of justice?

  • Yes, an action is wrong if it goes against God’s nature. Exactly.

    As to why His nature, and not yours, it’s simple. He is the Perfect Moral Being, the Ground of Goodness and Justice. You are not. If you can make an argument that we should all regard you as the Perfect Moral Being, make your case.

  • Gabriel

    He is the Perfect Moral Being
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    According to whom?To you ?To him?If he is morally perfect according to his standard of perfection ,then his moral perfection is arbitrary.I could say that I am morally perfect by my own standard of moral perfection.If he is morally perfect by an external standard of moral perfection(let s say an impersonal platonic form of perfection),then he does not have the right to hold us accountable ,because he himself is accountable to that standard of moral perfection.He would lose his autority over people.

  • Gabriel

    If you can make an argument that we should all regard you as the Perfect Moral Being, make your case
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    I can not make a such argument ,because objective perfection does not exist .it is illogical.Perfection is an abstract concept which only exists in the mind of a subject ,so it is by definition subjective.Any justification of perfection would require itself another justification ad infinitum.The truth is that perfect is an adjective ,a value subjectively assigned by the mind of a subject ,it does not exist in external world ,so no one is objectively perfect.

  • Gabriel

    He is the Perfect Moral Being,
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    Now you could say that God is by definition the greatest conceivable being and the greatest conceivable being would be a perfect moral being ,but who made that definition?It is not the theist that made this definition?And even if this definition were true ,you can not pass from the greatest conceivable being would be perfect to God is perfect without firstly defining perfection.You could say that God and perfection are the same as advocates of divine simplicity do.But this would be a tautology ,it would be the same thing as saying that God is God,no relevant information.