Thomas Aquinas on Euthyphro’s Dilemma

Cruciform Theology

Here’s a question that I increasingly find to be foundational to a person’s overall theology:

Does God command a thing because it is good,
or is it good because God commands it?

[From Plato’s Euthyphro]

The question forces one to prioritize what comes first in God’s nature – his freedom (pure will and power) or his goodness (cruciform [self-sacrifical] love)?

The question becomes practical when it turns to questions of some of the “alleged” genocides commanded or committed by God in the Old Testament. Are we forced to say those mass killings were somehow “good and right” – even though it goes against our deepest moral instincts and seemingly the morality of the God revealed through Jesus Christ? If not – then how do we account for their presence in our inspired Scriptures?

In the Medieval Theological Period, the stance that continues to remain popular today was firmly established by…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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