Divine Commands as the Basis for Moral Obligations

  • C. Stephen EvansEmail author
Part of the New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion book series (NASR, volume 5)


This paper explains and defends a divine command account of moral obligations. A divine command account of moral obligations is distinguished from a general theological voluntarism which grounds all moral truth in the divine will. God’s commands ground moral duties, but truths about the good are grounded in the nature of God and God’s creation. Such an account does not see a divine command account as a rival to a natural law view of the good or as a rival to virtue ethics. The three types of account are complementary. A divine command account of moral obligation is attractive for both theological and philosophical reasons, and those strengths are made clear. In conclusion the paper considers and responds to a number of objections often raised against such an account, including the so-called Euthyphro objection—an objection that stems from Cudworth, and an objection that hinges on the way God’s commands are promulgated.


Divine commands Moral obligations Euthyphro objection Cudworth objection Promulgation problem 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBaylor UniversityWacoUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Religion and Critical InquiryAustralian Catholic UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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