Does God will something because it is good or is something good because God wills it? This question, which comes from Plato’s Euthyphro dialogue, presents a dilemma that posits that if acts are morally good because they are inherently good, then they are independent from God, because it means morality exists apart from God.
At first glance, it appears believable. That’s why many secularists use the Euthyphro dilemma to refute the divine command theory. They claim that with this dilemma, acts would already be good in nature and moral absolutes can exist as separate abstract entities apart from a divine being. Likewise, if something is good because God says so, then goodness is subjective and God could have simply called stealing, adultery, and murder as good acts.
However, the Euthyphro dilemma fails as a dilemma because it fails to account for a third possible option, which is that God is the standard of goodness. God appeals to nothing other than His own character for the standard of what is good, and then reveals what is good to us, his people. There is nothing to compare Him against or judge Him by. He is the objective moral standard—the standard by which morality is measured.
Titus 1:2 says, “It is wrong to lie because God cannot lie.” Thus, lying is sin because God is inherently good, and He is incapable of it. This means that God did not discover that lying was wrong, nor did He declare it to be wrong. This means that God does not declare something to be good or say something is inherently good. Put simply, God is the standard of what is good. And so, for the Christian, the Euthyphro dilemma presents no dilemma at all, because neither of its positions represent Christian theology.
A visit to a church in Detroit will inform you that the Euthyphro dilemma has been addressed a long time ago. So why do secularists keep bringing it up? Unfortunately, bad arguments will always find their way back into fashion. As long as you know how to defeat it, then it can’t be used as a weapon against your faith.
Equip yourself with what you need to strengthen your belief in God by regularly visiting Detroit churches such as Old St. Mary.
EUTHYPHRO’S (FALSE) DILEMMA, FirstThings.com