November 4, 2013
Philosophy of Religion
Kretzmann discusses the relationship between God and morality. He explains and defends the idea that God is the basis of morality. While doing this, he also sides against an old objection raised by Plato in “Euthyphro”. Kretzmann also supports the idea that God is a perfect being who is absolutely simple in order to back up his original claim that God is in fact the basis of morality, which again, relies on the assumption that God is absolutely simple. He uses two simple views of the relationship between God and morality to accurately and descriptively demonstrate his view more carefully. He also explains how bold simplicity is fitting with religious morality. I disagree with Kretzmann when he discusses how bold simplicity works with God’s attributes because of the flaws that follow.
Kretzmann explains that either God says an action is wrong simply because it is wrong and says that an action is right simply because it is right, or that an action is wrong because God says that it is wrong and an action is right simply because he says it is right. It is with these examples that Kretzmann explains that God is either the moral creator or the moral messenger. If God is the messenger, then He has no connection with morality and He simply has told us what is right and what is wrong. This is similar to the story of Moses delivering the Ten Commandments that came from God. Moses did not himself create the Ten Commandments; he was simply the messenger from God to his people. If God is the creator of rightness and goodness, then He has absolutely everything to do with our morals. Kretzmann believes that perfect goodness has to be an attribute of an absolutely perfect being. In the idea of simplicity, God is considered an absolutely perfect being of perfect goodness itself. Because of this, if there is goodness itself and there is an absolutely perfect being, then it must be the only standard of being morally right and wrong. He explains that bold simplicity forces us to say that where there is goodness there is power. Which does not make sense because it would be a false claim to say wherever there is power there is goodness. Instead, Kretzmann adds the word ‘perfect’ to make the statement ‘perfect goodness is identical with perfect power’.
Kretzmann has numerous accurate arguments but is only somewhat persuasive. When he leaves his argument, he mentions that it is still not entirely paradox free. He helps break apart bold simplicity and makes it much more simple but it he does not completely solidify his argument. However, by simply adding ‘perfect’ to the claim “where there is perfect power there is perfect goodness”, you now have as more convincing argument. So, it appears as though we should say that an absolutely perfect being is only as perfect as it is possible for anything to be. Kretzmann’s argument works because at the least he is helping to make the previous argument stronger even though it is not perfect in terms of being paradox free.
Kretzmann mentions an attribute that is difficult to understand. This attribute, simplicity, lets us say that an absolutely perfect being is absolutely simple. If God is absolutely simple then we should say that God ordinarily does not have any parts or that God cannot be distinguishable from any of his attributes. So, God is equal to all of his parts. But, does it make sense to say that God is equal to all of his attributes? We now have a subject, being God, and a quality, or attribute, equaling each other. Let us assume there is a red