Divine Command Theory

Divine command theory considers the Bible the source of ethics because that is mainly what the bible is for. It believes that what is moral and immoral is commanded by the divine. For instance, the bible contains all of our ethical standards, which we should follow to make the ‘good’ and ‘right’ decisions.

 The divine command theory claims that God created everything, including a divine rule book for human morality.
This is the oldest ethical theory in the world.

divine command theory praying
Christian cross

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The divine command theory, also known as theological voluntarism, is an ethic that we can praise for its simplicity. When one does not know what to do, they can always ask God or find the answer in the bible.

Every ethical system has some foundation, and for the divine command theory, that is God. We should do whatever God commands because God is right. Christians also believe that because of his infinite-good nature, God gives individual beings instructions on living a good life and getting to Heaven after they disappear. 

According to the Christian faith, the Ten Commandments are essential rules from God that tell Christians to exist. Below is a list of the ten commandments that are truly important regarding the divine command theory.

The ten commandments

As we experiment in the world of ethics, there are various answers to the grounding problem to explore. One of the most used and most popular is the divine command theory. But with age comes a long history of questions, too, such as the dilemma presented by Plato known as the Euthyphro Problem, which is explained more in detail in the video further below. The ten commandments are ten beneficial laws given by the Creator God to show us how to live a better life now and please God forever. The first four commandments are about our relationship with the Lord. The other six commandments dispense with our relations with others.

1. You shall have no other gods before me

You cannot worship something or someone else besides the Lord. So not your PlayStation, your TV, or some random golden statue.
Exodus 20:2-7

2. You shall not make idols

The second commandment forbids that you worship man-made things that represent false gods as if they were the Lord.
Exodus 20:4-5

3. You shall not take the name of your God in vain

It is not allowed to misuse the Lord's name. Therefore, most Christians avoid saying his name if it is irrelevant or intended. The Lord dislikes it when you use his name to commit evil.
Exodus 20:7

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy

The sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath. Let that sink in. One can devote that time to worship the Lord.
Exodus 20:8-11

5. Honor your father and your mother

Show that you have high regard for your parents by respecting them. Therefore, we are concerned about their happiness and well-being
Exodus 20:12

6. You shall not murder

Thou shall not kill. This one probably speaks for itself. Killing is taking a life, but murder is a morally unjustifiable taking of life. I believe that is a difference between the old and new testament.
Exodus 20:13

7. You shall not commit adultery

Adultery means cheating. It is forbidden to cheat on your spouse with another person. Therefore, only married couples can have sex
Exodus 20:14

8. You shall not steal

Stealing is taking something that belongs to someone else without having consent. Do not take things that does not belong to you
Exodus 20:15

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor

To speak unjustly against our neighbor, to the prejudice of his reputation. This means that you cannot lie to someone or talk trash about someone.
Exodus 20:16

10. You shall not yearn to possess

Yearning to possess means that you wish, long, or crave something. Yearning is an emotional state generally experienced in events involving loss.
Exodus 20:17

Two Greatest Commandments from Jesus

Divine command theory does not write about the two greatest commandments from Jesus, but I find it essential. I do not see myself as a Christian, but I am raised by two parents who believe in Jesus Christ and our Lord and savior. I have read the bible, and many of the metaphors are genuinely inspiring. That is why I don’t want to leave out the two greatest commandments.

You will love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And you should love and treat your neighbor as yourself. I am an IT-er, and I was blessed with a book I got from a client I helped. It is called ‘return to innocence’ by Paul Ferrini, and it was such an eye-opener. It teaches you to look at the word the same way Jesus did.

The Religion Teacher on The Greatest Commandment

CrashCourse on the Divine Command Theory

Euthyphro dilemma

The Euthyphro problem consists of two so-called ‘horns.’ Ask yourself the following question: is an action wrong or sinful because God forbids it, or does God forbid it because it is wrong and obverse?

If you want to know more about how you can beat your SWS, see this article: ‘The Sine Wave Syndrome.’ above is a summary of all different types of ethics if you want to learn all about it. Knowing all kinds of ethics may help you to understand how ‘good’ choices are being made among their different aspects.

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