A Christian Answer to the Euthyphro Dilemma.

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A Christian Answer to Euthyphro's Dilemma

by Pastor Bob Enyart, KGOV.com

In a dialogue of Socrates with Euthyphro, a state's attorney heading to court in Athens to prosecute his own father, the Greek philosopher Plato reports an apparent dilemma for those who believe in God. Atheists argue that Euthyphro's Dilemma (see full text here on TOL) shows that moral absolutes cannot logically flow from a divine being. As presented to the Christian:

1) Is something (like humility) good because God recognizes it as good? Or,
2) Is something good because God commands that it is good (as Socrates put it, because God loves it)?

Socrates’ dialogue with Euthyphro used these questions as the backdrop to show the logical contradictions in the Greek pantheon of gods. Even though Christian theology differs from Greek mythology, the atheist can still start his inquiry with these identical questions posed to the believer. Whether this argument still succeeds depends upon the force of this dilemma against the claims of Christianity. So, is something like kindness or honesty inherently good, and simply recognized by the Trinity as such, or does God make something, like kindness, good by deciding that it will be a good thing (that is, by approving, loving or commanding it)?

If God does not make something good by commanding it, but rather recognizes that which is good, what standard of righteousness does He use to make this judgment? If the standard is external to Himself, then it appears that contrary to Christian teaching, an authority superior to God would exist. If He Himself is the standard of righteousness, if by His will He decides whether some trait will be good, as though He could have decided otherwise, that appears arbitrary; and if His nature itself is claimed to define goodness itself, then how could God Himself even know whether He were good? Christians believe that God commands worship for a reason similar to why He commands a son to honor his father, because it is good for the son. But some non-Christians acknowledging no fear of the Creator assert that if a powerful being like the biblical God actually exists, perhaps he does not even realize it but He commands worship because He is selfish. Is there a valid response to this? Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is God the Son, and thus Christians should recognize that the Euthyphro Dilemma presents a valid question to be addressed, because the Gospel of John quotes Jesus Himself raising this concern. "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true [credible]." The New Testament presents a divine assertion, that God the Son urges others to obtain corroborating evidence to His claims. Thus by the recorded judgment of Jesus Christ Himself, if Euthyphro's dilemma is ultimately unanswerable then Christianity is falsified. Conversely, if Christianity is true then Euthyphro's Dilemma is answerable.

The skeptic, then, presents the Christian with two options: if God decides what kinds of traits will be considered “good,” then goodness itself appears arbitrary; otherwise, if goodness is not arbitrary but objective, then it appears that the “true” standard of righteousness would supersede God’s own authority.

Divine Command View

Regarding Euthyphro's second horn (option), the Divine Command View of morality, if God's command makes something righteous, then as atheists and even some Christian theologians point out, God could have commanded either adultery or faithfulness, and forbade murdering or honoring parents. Atheist Bertrand Russell said, "If the only basis for morality is God's decrees, it follows that they might just as well have been the opposite of what they are…" (1962, p. 48). Half a millennium earlier an influential Christian theologian John Duns Scotus (1266 – 1308) affirmatively taught that God does make something, like honesty or humility, good by deciding that it will be good. If it were true that God invents the distinction between good and evil, then by this atheist's objection, and this Christian's reasoning, God's commands are arbitrary at the deepest level and the "shall nots" of the Ten Commandments could have been the "shalls." Real world effects of this arbitrariness include those who may claim a special dispensation from God to justify simony, the selling of indulgences, and other bad behavior by the Church. Scripture describes "the Lord God [as] abounding in goodness and truth," with "Righteousness and justice [as] the foundation of Your throne." Arbitrariness is not affirmed but rather, "God shows personal favoritism to no man," as also God the Son does "not show personal favoritism, but teach[es] the way of God in truth," and He said, "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," and teaches of "the Spirit of truth," and "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (Ex. 34:6; Ps. 89:14; Gal. 2:6; Lk. 20:21; Jn. 8:32; 14:6).

Atheists use Euthyphro's Dilemma hoping to show that both options are invalid. So while they will approve of this section's conclusion, that Euthyphro's second option is invalid, they will reject much of the reasoning herein; but this material is not included primarily for them but to convince theists, on our own terms, that the atheist is correct in that the Command View of morality is absurd and untenable. So atheist readers, please bear with some of the argument herein. Your job will be to test the final conclusion of this Christian answer to Socrates and Plato, to admit whether or not you can identify any fatal logical flaw.

Moral inconsistency is an absolute determinant for wrong. Truth is non-contradictory and therefore cannot include falsehood. Something cannot be true and false at the same time and in the same way. To the atheist who asserts that absolute truth does not exist, we ask, "Is that absolutely true?" Morality is likewise non-contradictory, and some particular action cannot be both moral and immoral in the same way. Simultaneously embracing opposing sides of a moral issue means to be immoral. Thus as truth cannot include falsehood, morality cannot include immorality. Any view that permits truth or morality to be founded upon arbitrariness fails. While resisting the idea of indeterminacy in the universe and quantum mechanics, Albert Einstein said, "I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice." Theists often exaggerate Einstein's religious beliefs, whereas he himself claimed to believe in Spinoza's god, which is a naturalistic reverence for the physical universe. However Einstein's comment revealed his belief that the laws of physics could not be different than they are, and so his line, paraphrased as, "God does not play dice with the universe" is quoted by the Intelligent Design movement bringing attention to the uncanny, practical, and explicable physical properties of the universe. Laws describe the functioning of reality, whether logical, spiritual or physical, thus the laws of physics, like the laws of logic and spirit, could not be different than they are. Law is not invented, but discovered. God could have created a different kind of physical universe, but this universe required these laws. God created non-moral creatures, like worms, but there is no wiggle room regarding the application of morality to moral creatures. Theists who claim that God could have decreed the laws to be otherwise, whether physical or spiritual, cloud man's understanding of reality, and undermine his acceptance of divine authority. Theists who promote such ambiguity bear some guilt for prompting the atheist to characterize Christian teaching as: "good and evil exist only at the whim [arbitrary command] of the deity, thus anything goes as long as the deity wills it, and Christians will defend any wickedness they perceive as committed in the name of God, making their morality fundamentally meaningless."

The atheist has a point. God is truth, and thus His nature cannot be sufficiently pliable that He could remain good and embrace the contradictions of theft and private property, perjury and truth, adultery and faithfulness. God could not do evil and remain holy. If Jesus Christ gave into temptation by submitting to evil and worshipping Satan, then He would not have remained holy, but rather, the Rebellion would have entered the Godhead, and God would have come undone. It is false that God cannot do anything contrary to the description of His nature. It is true that God cannot do anything contrary to the description of His nature and remain righteous. A believer who promotes the Command View of morality puts an unnecessary stumbling block before the atheist, who then reacts to that misrepresentation of God.

The atheist concludes that Christian morality is infinitely pliable because anything even theoretically done by God (like if Jesus bowed to Satan) would be defended as righteous. But unless Christ's life on earth was a mere show, His fulfilling the law, refusing temptation, and suffering for us are praiseworthy, not because He had no choice, but because He did. The description of God's nature is a definition of righteousness. If God did anything contrary to that description, such an act would be deemed correctly as unrighteous. God is good, not because He cannot do evil, but because He will not do evil. God is free, and love must be freely given; thus the Son loves the Father willingly, not because He has no choice. Christians undermine God's moral authority when they argue that anything God conceivably could do would therefore be moral, just because He did it. Instead, they should explain that they trust that God will remain steadfastly good because of the fierce determination of His will (counsel, Hebrews 6:17-18) to the truth. "A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies [inconsistencies]" (Proverbs 14:5). Christians trust that God is faithful and will only act consistent with the description of His nature. If He willed to embrace evil, as described currently by His nature, then He would no longer be the righteous God. Thus moral inconsistency is an absolute determinant for wrong, both in man and for our Creator. Therefore a Christian addressing Euthyphro's Dilemma should reject that God decides what righteousness will be, and therefore should reject the Divine Command View of morality.

Recognition View

So then if Euthyphro's second option is invalid, and if Socrates did not leave out other plausible solutions, then for Christianity to be true the first horn must be correct. Yet if God does not command that something is good but rather recognizes it as such, what is the standard that He uses in this judgment? If God is not Himself the standard of goodness, but as an Arbiter applies some superior definition of righteousness, then God could not be the ultimate authority as inherently claimed. That is, if God's character is righteous because it adheres to some independent standard of goodness, then humanity could judge evil by that standard, independent of whether God exists or not, demonstrating practically that ethics are not founded upon God. This is another atheist argument with which the Christian can agree: If the standard for righteousness emanates from outside of God, He would not be the ultimate authority, and thus the God we believe in would not exist. Christians reject, however, that an external authority exists above God, as incompatible with the biblical record. The laws of the physical sciences do not employ the moral concepts of right and wrong; the laws of logic are not physical (no mass, polarity, etc.); and man has no ability to attach matter to photons and transport things at the speed of light yet we do transmit data on light sending terabits containing entire encyclopedias worth of information across the ocean in a second, thus while matter can be arranged to represent data, data itself is not material. In 1936 Einstein famously wrote, "the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible," and in 1944, remarking about Russell, he described the ability to get from matter to ideas as a "gulf–logically unbridgeable," which some scientists and linguists refer to as Einstein's Gulf, and in 1950, Einstein wrote that "science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be," necessarily excluding from its domain "value judgments of all kinds." Christians take such observations about ideas, ethics, and the laws of science and logic as consistent with their belief that any moral authority could not be physical but would be non-physical (i.e., spiritual and personal). Thus Christianity rejects an external authority above God as it quotes from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah, "For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth… who formed it to be inhabited: 'I am the LORD, and there is no other.'"

Pursuing Euthyphro's first option further, that God recognizes good, while rejecting a standard superior to God, is it possible to answer the objection affirmed by Jesus Christ Himself, that, "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true [credible]" (John 5:31)? The Greek word for true used here, ἀληθὴς (alēthēs), means not only true, but also dependable. Christ later claims that His testimony is in fact true. So with this admission, evidently, Jesus does not mean that His testimony is untrue. Rather, and this surprises the Christian reader of the Gospels and affirms Socrates' insight, Christ states that His own claim is not sufficiently credible to persuade the thinking man apart from other testimony. If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not credible. Why? Because people lie. And they contradict themselves. A respect for the truth will challenge extraordinary claims for corroboration. Socrates barely touched upon the two questions he raised with Euthyphro. Instead the philosopher satisfied himself by demonstrating that this man, who claimed "exact knowledge" of religion and piety, was thoroughly confused about such matters. Euthyphro, who was a symbol of the masses devoted to Zeus, et al., could hardly understand, let alone address, the dilemma. Socrates destroyed Euthyphro's claim that the pantheon of Greek gods defined absolute morality by observing that, "the gods were admitted to have enmities and hatreds and differences," opposing and contradicting one another, thus refuting any claim that those "quarreling" gods could present a cohesive moral absolute. Christianity agrees with Socrates' logical refutation of Greek paganism. For Scripture does not assert that all religion is true, but the contrary, that Jesus is "the truth" and claimed, "No one comes to the Father except through Me." By the testimony of our Lord and the corroborating evidence that He claimed, we Christians thus reject Allah. Socrates' insight helps in that rejection, because if Islam's deity is himself the standard of goodness, how could he know that he is correct? If the jihadist claim that he exists were true, perhaps he commands his "martyrs" to intentionally target their fellow citizens and even other Muslims, not because he is righteous, but because he is evil. Unlike the Gospel writer, Mohammad did not report a similar courageous sentiment that, "If Allah testifies concerning himself, his testimony is not credible." For a theme of the Christian scriptures is that, "two or three witnesses establish a matter" and a unitarian deity like Allah inherently lacks the ability to offer, and even to consider for himself, the requisite eternal corroborating testimony, such as the three Persons of the Trinity can provide.

So, can the plurality of the Trinity withstand the accusation, effective against a unitarian deity, that if God presents Himself as the standard of righteousness, He would have no perspective from which to know whether His own claim were justified? The unitarian deity who is consistently cruel and unjust could command willing servants to commit murder and rape as in harmony with his character. But give a unitarian deity his due. If such a one existed, he could in fact evaluate his own consistency on matters that he identified as moral. Inconsistency in non-moral matters can be positively creative, such as putting one Moon around the Earth, none around Venus, and two around Mars. Inconsistency on moral matters, however, indicates immorality. Thus even a theoretical unitarian deity could know that he were inconsistent morally, and then condemn himself. However, could he know that he were righteous? If he claims that all his inconsistency occurs only in amoral circumstances, that characterization may be right or wrong, and without eternally corroborating testimony, the unitarian deity cannot make his case. If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not credible. So, if Allah existed and had been eternally consistent on everything, he could not satisfactorily prove to himself that he was not consistently evil.

Enter the Godhead. Literally. If Christian theology had invented the plurality of God in order to refute Socrates, the temptation would be strong to dismiss the claim as a convenient secondary assumption. Big Bang proponents realized they have a starlight and time problem more severe than biblical creationists in that the entire cosmic microwave background radiation (MBR) of the universe is at a virtual equilibrium of 2.7 degrees Kelvin and by orders of magnitude even a twenty billion year old universe would not have enough time for the temperature to even out; so a secondary assumption was invented to put the explosion of the universe into instantaneous hyper-speed and to then almost instantly pull it out of hyper-speed, without any describable mechanisms of acceleration and deceleration, leaving the virtually magical inflationary period gradually losing support among astrophysicists. Unlike the inflationary period, designed to rescue the Big Bang, the plurality of Persons in the one Christian God is not a secondary assumption or an afterthought. The evidence for this divine plurality not only permeates the New, but also appears through the Old Testament. "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" appears in the first chapter of Genesis, and the very first verse of the Hebrew Scriptures uses a plural subject with a singular verb. In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth. The im suffix on Elohim indicates plural, as with cherub and cherubim, and seraph and seraphim. El and Elah are both singular words for God (although Elah could be dual in number), as compared to Elohim which Scripture uses thousands of times, tenfold more often than singular references. Billions of copies of Scripture have been published in hundreds of languages and it is hard to maintain that the first sentence of the original contains an unintentional grammatical error. The plural subject with a singular verb, "the Gods He created," is intentional usage by the author of the books of Moses who used Elohim 32 times in the first chapter of Genesis alone. Skeptics have argued that the musings of Jewish prophets were just the idiosyncratic beliefs of a minor tribe among thousands of such tribes; but four thousand years later the billions of monotheists among the world's major religions trace their belief back to a single human being, back to the God of Abraham. The Hebrew Shema, from Deuteronomy, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!" also uses the plural Elohim and the Hebrew word translated 'one' is not the expected term yachid, or even bad, terms meaning a singularity, but the word is echad, one in plurality. The Hebrew Scriptures never once use the primary term for a singularity, yachid, to refer to God. This is the central passage to all theology based upon the God of Abraham, and it uses echad, which is used at times to mean simply "one," but also commonly refers to a one in plurality, as used by God before the Tower of Babel, "the people are one," and by Joseph "the dreams of Pharaoh are one," and by Moses, "the people answered with one voice," and back again to the beginning of Genesis at the institution of marriage, "and they shall become one flesh."

A triune theme flows throughout our perception of the universe. Space exists in three dimensions, height, width, and length, as does time in past, present and future. We experience matter in three states, solid, liquid, and gas, and the electro-magnetic force operates in positive, negative, and neutral. The three primary colors in pigment are red, blue, and yellow; in light waves the three primary colors are red, green, and blue which combine to create the full rainbow of virtually infinite hues. Mathematical values are negative, zero, and positive, and the triangle is the strongest shape in construction, sturdier even than the arch, with collapse typically requiring failure of all three sides simultaneously. Nobel prizewinning physicist, Richard Feynman categorizes everything in the physical universe as operating in three different phenomena: electromagnetism, gravitational, and nuclear phenomena. In his classic QED (quantum electrodynamics), Feynman wrote:
Most of the phenomena you are familiar with involve the interaction of light and electrons—all of chemistry and biology, for example. The only phenomena that are not covered by this theory are phenomena of gravitation and nuclear phenomena; everything else is contained in this theory. Is there a limited number of bits and pieces that can be compounded to form all the phenomena that involve light and electrons? Is there a limited number of "letters" in this language of quantum electrodynamics that can be combined to form "words" and "phrases" that describe nearly every phenomenon of Nature? The answer is yes; the number is three.​
The Bible teaches of Elohim, that He created our world, and said, "Let Us make man in Our image," and so He imprinted both with His triune nature, and made man as body, soul, and spirit, in the likeness of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Esther could have fasted for two days or four to save God's people. Jonah could have remained in that fish for one day or a week, but three days and three nights prefigured God's plan for Christ's time in the grave. And Jesus arose on the third day, according to the Scriptures. Atheists reject all this of course. But by their own claim, they have the burden to show how Euthyphro's dilemma might disprove Christian theology. As Einstein explained relativity, astronauts in two approaching ships may have difficulty determining which is nearing the other, but as a second and third frame of reference is added, more of reality becomes apparent. The Sun does not orbit the Earth, and neither does the Earth orbit the moon, and multiple reference frames from two or three witnesses can establish the matter. Einstein's idea of various frames of reference is an insight into the nature of physical reality, and Socrates was groping toward the same truth in the realm of ideas, and this fundamental issue arises also while discussing the plurality of persons in the Trinity.

After acknowledging that His own testimony should be judged insufficiently credible, three chapters later Jesus Christ added, "yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me." Christ attributed the writing of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, to Moses as inspired by God. Thus the observation, "by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established" (Deut. 19:15) stands in Christian theology as more than just a fallible opinion. As Christ then added, "It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true [more credible than one]. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me." In making weighty determinations, as when a judge renders a verdict, Moses wrote, "one witness is not sufficient" (Num. 35:30) but corroboration by "the testimony of two or three witnesses" can be sufficient (Deut. 17:6). Solomon wrote that "the first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him" (Proverbs 18:17) and that one can be easily defeated but "two can withstand… and a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Eccl. 4:12). The New Testament too references this standard, not only by Christ, but also in the Epistle to the Hebrews: "the testimony of two or three witnesses" (Heb. 10:28; [2:3-4]), and by Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles: "two or three witnesses" (1 Timothy 5:19). So Christianity asserts that there is one God, with two possibilities, that He is true or false (as any of His creatures or their actions likewise may be good or evil), and thirdly, that the three-fold witnesses of the Persons of the Trinity convincingly testify that God is not evil, but good.

God the Son testifies of His Father, that as they fellowshipped through eternity past that the Father has never cheated the Son; He has never wronged Him. The Spirit testifies likewise of the Son, that the Son has never been selfish and has never threatened the Holy Spirit. And the Father testifies of the Spirit, of His eternal love and service, and thus "by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established." Socrates pointed to the quarreling of the gods which behavior was conceded even by mythology's adherents. And so by logical force (which is nonphysical but very real) the whole structure of the pantheon came crashing down under the weight of its internal inconsistency. Thus Euthyphro's claim that his gods and goddesses displayed knowledge of absolute morality was falsified by the contradictions within the mythical pantheon. Socrates should have seen these contradictions only as a logical proof specifically that Greek mythology did not qualify as the source of righteousness, but then he should have tested the logical properties of his argument on a Deity that was not self-contradictory. Atheists attempt to use Socrates' argument against the Christian God who has no such internal discord, and they cannot find any claimed record, nor any concession by believers, that any such contradiction exists within the Trinity. The Christian God does not fight within Himself about what is right and wrong; but if He ever did, then He would no longer remain the holy God. And there is nothing remotely circular about this. We look for inconsistencies in courtroom testimony because inconsistencies reveal lies and deceptions. Thus consistency is a necessary property of righteousness, and thus of being right. So the Bible claims that the steadfast love of the Lord never changes in that He is faithful, that is, He is consistent. The ancients would have passed down the early knowledge of the plurality within the Godhead ("Let Us make man in Our image"), and pagan exaggeration of that plurality, and projection of their own sin upon their deities, resulted in the pantheon. These are the errors that Socrates exploited. Whereas the non-corrupted view of the plurality within the Trinity answers the deeper philosophical objections presented by Euthyphro's Dilemma.

The Trinity is a mystery, yes; but so is light, gravity, time, space, movement, the universe, life, consciousness, a woman's heart, infinity, and nearly everything we set our eyes upon. How can three Persons exist in one God? There should be no surprise that God is in many ways inscrutable. But as triune, with three Persons in one God, He has an eternal track record of interaction between the Persons of the Godhead. These Persons provide multiple frames of reference, that is, different perspectives from which God can describe Himself. God describes Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His interaction with them, and with all who reject or trust in the God of Abraham, is also part of His eternal record. If the Son willingly submits to the Father, because He implicitly trusts the Father by whom He has never been harmed, and the Spirit brings glory to the Son from whom He has never been threatened, and the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, never having been jeopardized by either, then "by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established." The Persons of the Trinity have no accusations against each other. Thus even though it is the only standard He has ever known, God the Father can determine that His own standard is righteous because He has never violated it, and because the independent persons of the Son and the Spirit testify that the Father has never violated their own self-interests. For as Jesus pointed out, you are not trustworthy, "if you have not been faithful in what is another man's..." (Luke 16:12).

Russell gave a talk that he titled, Why I Am Not a Christian. Based on the following excerpt, he should have titled it, Why I Am Not a Muslim, or Why I Don't Worship Zeus. But as regards Christianity, it should now jump out at the reader that Russell forgot to test his use of Euthyphro's Dilemma against the Christian God:
If you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are in this situation: Is that difference due to God's fiat [arbitrary decree] or is it not? If it is due to God's fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God's fiat, because God's fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God.​
Socrates and Russell had a prejudice against God which blurred their insight such that they did not explore how far consistency and inconsistency could take them regarding a divine moral standard. And while Plato recorded this dialogue four centuries before Christ, Russell lived two millennia into the Christian era but he never dealt with the trinitarian answer to this dilemma even though Jesus Christ Himself broached the issue of corroborating evidence and divine authority. As a result many atheists today wrongly think that they are on well-tested ground when objecting to God's nature as the standard, and so they claim that the saying, "God is good" is an empty tautology meaning only "God is God." But to say that God is good, or God is love, meaning that His nature exudes commitment to others, or to say that Michael Jordan is the basketball standard, does not require us to reduce either to God is God or Michael is Michael, as though nothing real is being communicated. The Persons of the triune God know, and they have described, the divine nature. And so, right and wrong are not determined by God's arbitrary decrees, nor by some external authority, nor by an inconsistent nature, but these are defined by His eternal commitment to others. If God changed over time, that would not require a modification to His righteous character, which the Scriptures assert changes not. Through the Incarnation, the eternal God the Son became flesh. And in the Crucifixion, God the Father for the first and only time poured out His wrath upon the Son, who had, for the sake of man, "become sin" and "become a curse," not because of His own transgression of the law of righteousness but to pay for man's sin. Then in the Resurrection, God the Son is justified by the Holy Spirit (1 Tim. 3:16) and restored to fellowship with His Father. These fundamental changes in the Godhead do not rewrite the description of God's holy nature. And that nature describes a standard which God's actions could theoretically violate, but He remains holy because of the unchanging determination of His will. Thus, the system of morality based upon God is not logically unsound as claimed by atheists.

Socrates' questions do not encompass all aspects of religious belief, but addresses the logically foundational question of whether or not the standard of righteousness can proceed from God. Those who have applied this Christian answer to Euthyphro's Dilemma over the years have observed a tendency by atheists to obfuscate by introducing other issues. A Christian apologist should be willing to entertain the various challenges to his faith, but at the same time, he should recognize when a skeptic is trying to sidestep this answer by changing the topic. For example, Euthyphro's Dilemma asks whether and how a divine standard of righteousness could possibly exist. It does not address how God would then reveal that standard to mankind, nor the particulars of that standard. These are valid questions but they do not precede, but rather, they follow, any proposed answer to the dilemma. Thus if a Christian notices an atheist moving beyond Euthyphro's Dilemma in a supposed maneuver to disprove this answer, he should call him on it and request that he first stick to the scope of the challenge, until the atheist either:
● agrees that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity can answer the dilemma; or,
● demonstrates how it has not been answered; or,
● asks to change the topic; or,
● says, as Euthyphro himself ended his dialogue, "I am in a hurry, and must go now."

And so we have come full circle. If the atheist concedes, not converts, but merely concedes this answer, and wants to proceed to the question of how God might reveal His moral standard to men, the special revelation of the Christian Scriptures and the general revelation of man's conscience, do address such issues. Like God, humans are social beings, and like His, our morality magnifies itself in our actions toward others. Because of our society, even actions committed against ourselves hurt others. When a mom seeks to escape the pain of her husband's unfaithfulness by committing suicide, as thousands have done, and even when we threaten to harm ourselves in order to manipulate others, like Gandhi did, we often hurt those most who love us most. Thus because morality is social, a social God who interacts with multiple created persons has an additional context in which to objectively demonstrate His morality. When God created and began interacting with other beings He multiplied the corroborating testimony that existed within the Trinity. He must behave toward these creatures in their own best interest or else He violates His own standard. For love is commitment to the good of someone. Undoubtedly, the teaching of hell jumps to mind as a check of that commitment, but God does not force anyone to love or want to fellowship with Him and with other believers, and if He allowed the Rebellion to enter heaven, it would turn heaven into hell. Vivid descriptions and warnings notwithstanding, hell is primarily the name of the place where those who hate God ultimately live as they wish, as though He did not exist. The purpose of this answer to Socrates, however, is not to analyze all of Christian theology, but to see if Christianity can successfully respond to the questions of Euthyphro's Dilemma. So, love is commitment to the good of someone, and once God creates moral beings, He must judge and restrain those who hurt others and refuse to repent, or else He violates His own standard of justice. And if God's intention was not for the welfare but for the harm of created eternal beings, then He would violate His own declared standard. Thus while moral inconsistency indicates wickedness, eternal consistency proves either continuous good or continuous evil; and multiple perspectives from independent persons provide information regarding whether God acts on behalf of, or against, their best interests. Of course, an atheist will accuse the Bible's God, as they say "if He existed," of endless evils. But atheists typically deny the existence of absolute morality, so since they reject absolute morality for a system of opposing preferences, for their argument against God to succeed, they would have to show from the Christian doctrine of God a violation of His own standard of righteousness, within for example, the biblical record.

Before concluding, consider a final thought on the secondary matters often brought up by atheists, who do reason correctly given their presupposition that God does not exist, when they declare, as so many like Russell do, that absolute right and wrong do not exist. For there is no other conceivable authority apart from an eternal, living, personal, relational, good, and loving God that could establish absolute right and wrong. Scripture teaches that men have "the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness" (Rom 2:15). Observation also leads Christians to assert that each man and woman, for example, reading this, can attest to the inner voice of conscience that grows quieter or louder based on our reaction to it. And also, consider consciousness, which like ideas and the laws of logic, is not physical. And by our non-material consciousness, we process this law of God, which presents not physical but non-material judgments, and is written not merely on tablets of stone, but in our minds. So ask your conscience to consider this bleak proposition: if Russell and atheists are correct, and God does not exist, then therefore absolute right and wrong does not exist, boiling all moral disagreements (loving versus molesting children) down to mere opposing preferences. So in that bleak and purposeless understanding, it would not be absolutely wrong to violently rape a woman for entertainment, or to lynch a black man, or to torture a child. For these would simply be more or less popular preferences of some and not of others. If such deeds are not absolutely wrong, then there is no God. If such actions are truly wrong, then a personal, loving, and just God does exist and you should ask Him for forgiveness for the hurt that you have inflicted upon yourself and others.

Conclusion

Is something good because God commands it so (i.e., because He decides that a certain trait, like honesty, will be good rather than bad)? No. Scripture reinforces the judgment of the conscience that God put within man, both of which indicate that morality, like truth, is non-contradictory and could not survive even the potential of embracing immorality.

Is something good because God recognizes it as good? Yes. Then to clarify:
● Is the standard He judges by anterior or superior to Himself? No.
● Is He Himself the standard that He judges by? Yes. Righteousness is the description of God's own nature.
● If the standard is Himself, how could God know it is valid? By the eternal concurring witnesses of the Trinity.

● How does God reveal His standard to men? This and so many other questions go beyond Euthyphro's Dilemma. But see Battle Royale VII, Does God Exist?, Bob Enyart vs. Zakath for more information, available for free online at TheologyOnline.com's Coliseum or in print at KGOV.com.

Thus the Christian answers the skeptic with a logically consistent explanation of how morality can flow from God Himself without requiring that God arbitrarily decide what kinds of traits will be considered “good,” by showing how the triune God can objectively know righteousness.

Euthyphro's Dilemma is not the Christian's dilemma. Socrates' questions do not undermine the integrity of Christianity but rather provide the opportunity to show the strength of the triune God, for a three-fold cord is not easily broken and by the testimony of the Trinity's three witnesses the matter can be established. An atheist reading A Christian Answer to Euthyphro's Dilemma does not have to convert to agree that the dilemma has been answered, yet he cannot honestly use this dilemma again against Christianity unless he demonstrated a fatal flaw in this answer. So the triune Christian God, the mystery of the Trinity, Three Persons in One God, is the one God whose testimony we can trust because He recognizes something as good when it is consistent with His own nature. And He can affirmatively know that His divine nature is and always has been good by the three eternal concurring witnesses within the Godhead. Jesus continued (John 5:31-32, 36-37) in that Gospel passage: "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true [credible]. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true [and] the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me."

by Pastor Bob Enyart
Denver Bible Church & KGOV.com

Also by Bob Enyart:
God and the Death Penalty: New Testament Support for Capital Punishment
A Defense of Judging: Judge Rightly is Not Some Guy’s Name
A Winning Pro-life Strategy: Focus on the Strategy II
An Overview of the Bible: The Plot
 
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chatmaggot

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Thank you Bob for posting this. I recall listening to the Bahnsen-Stein debate some years ago and Stein presented this dilemma to Bahnsen. Bahnsen briefly answered it but then the conversation got off topic.

Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts.
 

fool

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Three people can't be wrong about something?
Gimme a break.

Also, the Hindus thank you for this fine piece of rhetoric, they have a three headed God thingy as well.
 

Toast

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Three people can't be wrong about something?
Gimme a break.

Yea but, eternity is a long time to be wrong about something, and still trust one another. Consider the whole picture of his argument. If God was morally wrong about something one time, he would no longer be perfect, and as Bob pointed out, rebellion would have entered the Godhead.
 

fool

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Yea but, eternity is a long time to be wrong about something, and still trust one another.
That is a long time

Consider the whole picture of his argument.
Bob's argument boils down to "There's Three of Them!"
If you think three people can't talk themselves into some stupid then pick up the paper.

If God was morally wrong about something one time, he would no longer be perfect, and as Bob pointed out, rebellion would have entered the Godhead.
I would hope that when Yaweh decided to destroy mankind save for Noah and Co. that there was at least a heated debate at the top.
Who made what arguments?
 

Stripe

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Bob's argument boils down to "There's Three of Them!"
Bob's argument boils down to the three persons having no contradiction between them. If you want to show God to be imperfect then you have to show how one of the three persons contradicts one or two of the others.

Sure other religions might have three of something also, but the standard for righteousness does not rely on there being three. Just on there being no internal or inherent conflict.

Fool. Are you trying to argue in this thread that God does not exist?
 

fool

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Bob's argument boils down to the three persons having no contradiction between them. If you want to show God to be imperfect then you have to show how one of the three persons contradicts one or two of the others.

Sure other religions might have three of something also, but the standard for righteousness does not rely on there being three. Just on there being no internal or inherent conflict.

Fool. Are you trying to argue in this thread that God does not exist?

I'm arguing that the triune nature dosen't get you off the other horn of the dilema.
Now you got three things on the horn.
Still on the horn.
 

Stripe

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I'm asking what level of dicourse took place. Did anyone throw that idea out there? Where was JC on the deal? Did he offer to make his sacrafice then? And is there really a level playing field in this debate? The Father is the Father, so how hard can the son push his point before he's "rebeling"? Bob's point is that there's three of them, so they can be relied upon because they have a committee.
Are the Father, Son, and Spirit all equal? Or does one of them hang back in the discussion till he sees which way the others are leaning?
I don't think we have all that much information on that level of discourse. I believe all such matters would have been civil and just. Do you believe otherwise?

The Hindus really do have a better system, with a Creator, a Preserver, and a Destroyer.
At least you know up front who's coming to do what.
Would you rather be a Hindu? Do you believe that a society reflects the constructs of its religion?
 

XenBobForo

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Fool, I think you misunderstand the argument...

Fool, I think you misunderstand the argument...

Three people can't be wrong about something?
Gimme a break.

Of course three people can be wrong about something. But they would know if they have disagreed with each other and if they have accusations against each other. Fool, unfortunately, you're not trying to think through the issue. I assert that you are just obfuscating.

An atheist can bring up a hundred other questions that deserve a hundred other answers. But I believe that we have answered Euthyphro's Dilemma here on TOL. If you disagree, please substantively demonstrate how so.

The two-fold challenge to Euthyphro is a dilemma, two apparently equally unanswerable (or uncomfortable) options.

The threefold eternal witness of the Persons of the Trinity testifies that neither has an accusation against, or has ever been threatened by, another, and thus They
testify that neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Spirit, for all of eternity, has
ever been selfish toward the other. This eternal commitment to one another is
their definition of righteousness (i.e., it describes their nature). Thus, They can know by their eternal three-fold witness the truth of the assertion that They have no accusation against each other.

Once goodness is defined (i.e., for us), then love is the outworking of that goodness. For the last 30 years I've agreed with those who define love as commitment, specifically: commitment to the good of someone.

Fool, you don't have to convert to concede. If you think I haven't answered Euthyphro's dilemma, then repost:
* the two questions of the dilemma
* my very brief summary at the end

and then please attempt to demonstrate how I haven't answered the questions.
 
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PlastikBuddha

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Bob Enyart;1686387 [i said:
Is something good because God recognizes it as good?[/i] Yes. Then to clarify:
- Is the standard He judges by anterior or superior to Himself? No.
- Is He Himself the standard that He judges by? Yes. Righteousness is the description of God's own nature.
If it is merely self-recognition then it is just as arbitrary as if righteousness were decided by fiat.
- If the standard is Himself, how could God know it is valid? By the eternal concurring witnesses of the Trinity.
Which are also one, right? Does it make any real difference whether it is One or Three? After all, isn't "righteousness" just as much a part of their nature? It seems to me that Christian solution is just a semantic bit of prestidigitation, swapping the pea of righteousness between members of the Trinity as though that eliminated the ultimate problem of whether something is pious because it pleases God or if it pleases God because it is pious. Saying that God is inherently pleasing to God doesn't really help, imho.
 

Stripe

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If it is merely self-recognition then it is just as arbitrary as if righteousness were decided by fiat.
:doh: The whole point of Bob's article was that the challenge of "self recognised" righteousness is answered by the trinity.

When one person claims something there is no chance that he is going to disagree with himself, and even if he did he would be under no obligation to admit error.

When three people claim the same thing consistently then there is no way to accuse them of inconsistency.

Saying that God is inherently pleasing to God doesn't really help, imho.
Then you don't really understand the challenge.
 

fool

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Of course three people can be wrong about something. But they would know if they have disagreed with each other and have accusations against each other. Fool. Unfortunately, you're not trying to think through the issue, you're just obfuscating. I have answered Euthyphro's dilemma. An atheist can bring up a hundred other questions that deserve a hundred other answers, but I have answered this one.

The two-fold challenge to Euthyphro is a dilemma, two apparently equally unanswerable (or uncomfortable) options.

The threefold eternal witness of the Persons of the Trinity testifies that neither has an accusation against, or has ever been threatened by, another, and thus They
testify that neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Spirit, for all of eternity, has
ever been selfish toward the other. This eternal commitment to one another is
their definition of righteousness. Thus, They can know by their eternal three-fold witness the truth of the assertion that They have no accusation against each other.

Once goodness is defined, then love is the outworking of that goodness. Thus, for the last 30 years, I've agreed with those who define love as commitment, specifically: commitment to the good of someone.

Fool, you don't have to convert to concede. If you think I haven't answered Euthyphro's dilemma, then repost:
* the two questions of the dilemma
* my very brief summary at the end

and then demonstrate how I haven't answered the questions.

Bob, you've put more horns on the Bull.
You've still got the two options, adding more people just puts more people on the Horns.
You could call this one "Enyart's Dilema".
Although I assume most people would prefer the traditional two horned bull to mess with but if some would rather have a six horned bull than to each his own.
 

XenBobForo

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PB: you missed the whole argument...

PB: you missed the whole argument...

Allegedly replying to my Christian Answer to Euthyphro's Dilemma, PB wrote:
If it is merely self-recognition then it is just as arbitrary as if righteousness were decided by fiat.
[and regarding the three-fold testimony of the Trinity, PB wrote...]
Which are also one, right? Does it make any real difference whether it is One or Three? After all, isn't "righteousness" just as much a part of their nature? It seems to me that Christian solution is just a semantic bit of prestidigitation, swapping the pea of righteousness between members of the Trinity as though that eliminated the ultimate problem of whether something is pious because it pleases God or if it pleases God because it is pious. Saying that God is inherently pleasing to God doesn't really help, imho.

PlasticBuddha, I took Euthyphro's dilemma seriously, and addressed Socrates' questions. I assert that you completely ignored my answer. In my next post replying to Fool, I'll show explicitly what I believe that you also have not responded to. I assert that you are guilty of what you accused me of... of providing "a semantic bit of prestidigitation," and then of pretending that you've rebutted. Please try harder.

-Bob Enyart
 
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XenBobForo

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fool, I understand if you don't want to think...

fool, I understand if you don't want to think...

Bob, you've put more horns on the Bull.
You've still got the two options, adding more people just puts more people on the Horns.
You could call this one "Enyart's Dilema".
Although I assume most people would prefer the traditional two horned bull to mess with but if some would rather have a six horned bull than to each his own.

Fool, here's the summary of my argument, and then I'll demonstrate how you are just ignoring this Christian Answer to Euthyphro's Dilemma:

Bob Enyart said:
Is something good because God commands it so (i.e., because He decides that a certain trait, like honesty, will be good rather than bad)? No. Scripture reinforces the judgment of the conscience that God put within man, both of which indicate that morality, like truth, is non-contradictory and could not survive even the potential of embracing immorality.

Is something good because God recognizes it as good? Yes. Then to clarify:
● Is the standard He judges by anterior or superior to Himself? No.
● Is He Himself the standard that He judges by? Yes. Righteousness is the description of God's own nature.
● If the standard is Himself, how could God know it is valid? By the eternal concurring witnesses of the Trinity.

Thus the Christian answers the skeptic with a logically consistent explanation of how morality can flow from God Himself without requiring that God arbitrarily decide what kinds of traits will be considered “good,” by showing how the triune God can objectively know righteousness.

Fool and PB, this answers the accusation that no definition of goodness could possibly eminate from God unless it were arbitrarily decided by Him. The testimony of three eternal witnesses that not one of them has ever been threatened by another is not arbitrary. And for them to therefore assert that they are good to each other and not evil, by the testimony of each toward the other, is not arbitrary. And for them therefore to recognize as "good" traits which are consistent with their nature is not arbitrary.

-Pastor Bob Enyart
KGOV.com and Denver Bible Church
 
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Punisher1984

New member
[
Is something good because God recognizes it as good? Yes. Then to clarify:
- Is the standard He judges by anterior or superior to Himself? No.
- Is He Himself the standard that He judges by? Yes. Righteousness is the description of God's own nature.
- If the standard is Himself, how could God know it is valid? By the eternal concurring witnesses of the Trinity.

In other words, this "god" is it's own standard because all three parts of it agree on what is "good?" Sorry, but this doesn't solve Euthiphro's dillema at all: in fact, it just makes the dillema circular ("god" is "good" because all the part's of its own nature say that it's "good").
 

Jefferson

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To post in this thread:
* Be substantive: thumbs up, thumbs down, etc., will be deleted.
* Be responsive: stay on topic and refer to the Opening Post arguments.
* TOL is often a rough and tumble forum but in this thread, be on your best behavior.

TOLers have created over 100,000 threads to discuss a myriad of topics. If a random (or even tangential) thought pops into your head while reading this thread, please post such a comment in a relevant thread elsewhere or in the Euthyphro Companion Thread so that it will not be deleted.
 

XenBobForo

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Euthyphro's Dilemma Annotated by Bob Enyart

Euthyphro's Dilemma Annotated by Bob Enyart

The TOL moderators agreed that it would be convenient to include in this Christian Answer to Euthyphro's Dilemma thread the full text of Euthyphro's Dialogue, specially highlighted to mark the core statements relevant to our discussion:

Euthyphro

By Plato
[Annotations in square brackets by the author of the Opening Post, Bob Enyart. This translation of Socrate's dialogue is from MIT’s Internet Classics Archive. Also all underlining, italics, and bold emphasis was added and you can read just the emphasized text to get a quick refresher on the most relevant (and interesting) material.]
Note the BE section titles below regarding arguments against good and evil being divinely defined:
* The gods Quarrel;
* Do the gods Merely Recognize, or do they Decide that some Trait will be Good or Bad;
* Early Thoughts on the Greek Concept of Immutability.]

Euthyphro

By Plato

Written 380 B.C.
Translated by Benjamin Jowett (1817 – 1893 A.D.)​

Persons of the Dialogue
SOCRATES
EUTHYPHRO

Scene
The Porch of the King Archon.
________________________________________

Euthyphro. Why have you left the Lyceum, Socrates? and what are you doing in the Porch of the King Archon? Surely you cannot be concerned in a suit before the King, like myself?

Socrates. Not in a suit, Euthyphro; impeachment is the word which the Athenians use.

Euth. What! I suppose that some one has been prosecuting you, for I cannot believe that you are the prosecutor of another.

Soc. Certainly not.

Euth. Then some one else has been prosecuting you?

Soc. Yes.

Euth. And who is he?

Soc. A young man who is little known, Euthyphro; and I hardly know him: his name is Meletus [Miletus like in the NT?], and he is of the deme [district] of Pitthis [near Athens]. Perhaps you may remember his appearance; he has a beak, and long straight hair, and a beard which is ill grown.

Euth. No, I do not remember him, Socrates. But what is the charge which he brings against you?

Soc. What is the charge? Well, a very serious charge, which shows a good deal of character in the young man, and for which he is certainly not to be despised. He says he knows how the youth are corrupted and who are their corruptors. I fancy that he must be a wise man, and seeing that I am the reverse of a wise man, he has found me out, and is going to accuse me of corrupting his young friends. And of this our mother the state is to be the judge. Of all our political men he is the only one who seems to me to begin in the right way, with the cultivation of virtue in youth; like a good husbandman, he makes the young shoots his first care, and clears away us who are the destroyers of them. This is only the first step; he will afterwards attend to the elder branches; and if he goes on as he has begun, he will be a very great public benefactor.

Euth. I hope that he may; but I rather fear, Socrates, that the opposite will turn out to be the truth. My opinion is that in attacking you he is simply aiming a blow at the foundation of the state. But in what way does he say that you corrupt the young?

Soc. He brings a wonderful accusation against me, which at first hearing excites surprise: he says that I am a poet or maker of gods, and that I invent new gods and deny the existence of old ones; this is the ground of his indictment.

Euth. I understand, Socrates; he means to attack you about the familiar sign which occasionally, as you say, comes to you. He thinks that you are a neologian [someone who brings new interpretations to theology, particularly of a rationalistic sort], and he is going to have you up before the court for this. He knows that such a charge is readily received by the world, as I myself know too well; for when I speak in the assembly about divine things, and foretell the future to them, they laugh at me and think me a madman. Yet every word that I say is true. But they are jealous of us all; and we must be brave and go at them.

Soc. Their laughter, friend Euthyphro, is not a matter of much consequence. For a man may be thought wise; but the Athenians, I suspect, do not much trouble themselves about him until he begins to impart his wisdom to others, and then for some reason or other, perhaps, as you say, from jealousy, they are angry.

Euth. I am never likely to try their temper in this way.

Soc. I dare say not, for you are reserved in your behaviour, and seldom impart your wisdom. But I have a benevolent habit of pouring out myself to everybody, and would even pay for a listener, and I am afraid that the Athenians may think me too talkative. Now if, as I was saying, they would only laugh at me, as you say that they laugh at you, the time might pass gaily enough in the court; but perhaps they may be in earnest, and then what the end will be you soothsayers only can predict.

Euth. I dare say that the affair will end in nothing, Socrates, and that you will win your cause; and I think that I shall win my own.

Soc. And what is your suit, Euthyphro? are you the pursuer or the defendant?

Euth. I am the pursuer.

Soc. Of whom?

Euth. You will think me mad when I tell you.

Soc. Why, has the fugitive wings?

Euth. Nay, he is not very volatile at his time of life.

Soc. Who is he?

Euth. My father.

Soc. Your father! my good man?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. And of what is he accused?

Euth. Of murder, Socrates.

Soc. By the powers, Euthyphro! how little does the common herd know of the nature of right and truth. A man must be an extraordinary man, and have made great strides in wisdom, before he could have seen his way to bring such an action.

Euth. Indeed, Socrates, he must.

Soc. I suppose that the man whom your father murdered was one of your relatives-clearly he was; for if he had been a stranger you would never have thought of prosecuting him.

Euth. I am amused, Socrates, at your making a distinction between one who is a relation and one who is not a relation; for surely the pollution is the same in either case, if you knowingly associate with the murderer when you ought to clear yourself and him by proceeding against him. The real question is whether the murdered man has been justly slain. If justly, then your duty is to let the matter alone; but if unjustly, then even if the murderer lives under the same roof with you and eats at the same table, proceed against him. Now the man who is dead was a poor dependent of mine who worked for us as a field labourer on our farm in Naxos, and one day in a fit of drunken passion he got into a quarrel with one of our domestic servants and slew him. My father bound him hand and foot and threw him into a ditch, and then sent to Athens to ask of a diviner what he should do with him. Meanwhile he never attended to him and took no care about him, for he regarded him as a murderer; and thought that no great harm would be done even if he did die. Now this was just what happened. For such was the effect of cold and hunger and chains upon him, that before the messenger returned from the diviner, he was dead. And my father and family are angry with me for taking the part of the murderer and prosecuting my father. They say that he did not kill him, and that if he did, dead man was but a murderer, and I ought not to take any notice, for that a son is impious who prosecutes a father. Which shows, Socrates, how little they know what the gods think about piety and impiety.

Soc. Good heavens, Euthyphro! and is your knowledge of religion and of things pious and impious so very exact, that, supposing the circumstances to be as you state them, you are not afraid lest you too may be doing an impious thing in bringing an action against your father?

Euth. The best of Euthyphro, and that which distinguishes him, Socrates, from other men, is his exact knowledge of all such matters. What should I be good for without it?

Soc. Rare friend! I think that I cannot do better than be your disciple. Then before the trial with Meletus comes on I shall challenge him, and say that I have always had a great interest in religious questions, and now, as he charges me with rash imaginations and innovations in religion, I have become your disciple. You, Meletus, as I shall say to him, acknowledge Euthyphro to be a great theologian, and sound in his opinions; and if you approve of him you ought to approve of me, and not have me into court; but if you disapprove, you should begin by indicting him who is my teacher, and who will be the ruin, not of the young, but of the old; that is to say, of myself whom he instructs, and of his old father whom he admonishes and chastises. And if Meletus refuses to listen to me, but will go on, and will not shift the indictment from me to you, I cannot do better than repeat this challenge in the court.

Euth. Yes, indeed, Socrates; and if he attempts to indict me I am mistaken if I do not find a flaw in him; the court shall have a great deal more to say to him than to me.

Soc. And I, my dear friend, knowing this, am desirous of becoming your disciple. For I observe that no one appears to notice you- not even this Meletus; but his sharp eyes have found me out at once, and he has indicted me for impiety. And therefore, I adjure you to tell me the nature of piety and impiety, which you said that you knew so well, and of murder, and of other offences against the gods. What are they? Is not piety in every action always the same? and impiety, again- is it not always the opposite of piety, and also the same with itself, having, as impiety, one notion which includes whatever is impious?

Euth. To be sure, Socrates.

Soc. And what is piety, and what is impiety? [BE's Answer: That which is consistent with the nature of the triune God is good. That which is inconsistent with the nature of God is bad.]

Euth. Piety is doing as I am doing; that is to say, prosecuting any one who is guilty of murder, sacrilege, or of any similar crime-whether he be your father or mother, or whoever he may be-that makes no difference; and not to prosecute them is impiety. And please to consider, Socrates, what a notable proof I will give you of the truth of my words, a proof which I have already given to others:-of the principle, I mean, that the impious, whoever he may be, ought not to go unpunished. For do not men regard Zeus as the best and most righteous of the gods?-and yet they admit that he bound his father (Cronos) because he wickedly devoured his sons, and that he too had punished his own father (Uranus) for a similar reason, in a nameless manner. And yet when I proceed against my father, they are angry with me. So inconsistent are they in their way of talking when the gods are concerned, and when I am concerned.

Soc. May not this be the reason, Euthyphro, why I am charged with impiety-that I cannot away with these stories about the gods? and therefore I suppose that people think me wrong. But, as you who are well informed about them approve of them, I cannot do better than assent to your superior wisdom. What else can I say, confessing as I do, that I know nothing about them? Tell me, for the love of Zeus, whether you really believe that they are true.

Euth. Yes, Socrates; and things more wonderful still, of which the world is in ignorance.

Soc. And do you really believe that the gods, fought with one another, and had dire quarrels, battles, and the like, as the poets say, and as you may see represented in the works of great artists? The temples are full of them; and notably the robe of Athene, which is carried up to the Acropolis [hill atop Athens] at the great Panathenaea [frieze around the Parthenon], is embroidered with them. Are all these tales of the gods true, Euthyphro?

Euth. Yes, Socrates; and, as I was saying, I can tell you, if you would like to hear them, many other things about the gods which would quite amaze you.

Soc. I dare say; and you shall tell me them at some other time when I have leisure. But just at present I would rather hear from you a more precise answer, which you have not as yet given, my friend, to the question, What is "piety"? When asked, you only replied, Doing as you do, charging your father with murder.

Euth. And what I said was true, Socrates.

Soc. No doubt, Euthyphro; but you would admit that there are many other pious acts?

Euth. There are.

Soc. Remember that I did not ask you to give me two or three examples of piety, but to explain the general idea which makes all pious things to be pious. Do you not recollect that there was one idea which made the impious impious, and the pious pious?

Euth. I remember.

Soc. Tell me what is the nature of this idea, and then I shall have a standard to which I may look, and by which I may measure actions, whether yours or those of any one else, and then I shall be able to say that such and such an action is pious, such another impious.

Euth. I will tell you, if you like.

Soc. I should very much like.

Euth. Piety, then, is that which is dear to the gods, and impiety is that which is not dear to them. [BE: very similar to the Christian answer as I indicated above, but Euthyphro has no knowledge of the Trinity, and will not be able to defend his answer.]

Soc. Very good, Euthyphro; you have now given me the sort of answer which I wanted. But whether what you say is true or not I cannot as yet tell, although I make no doubt that you will prove the truth of your words.

Euth. Of course.

Soc. Come, then, and let us examine what we are saying. That thing or person which is dear to the gods is pious, and that thing or person which is hateful to the gods is impious, these two being the extreme opposites of one another. Was not that said?

Euth. It was.

Soc. And well said?

Euth. Yes, Socrates, I thought so; it was certainly said.

Soc. And further, Euthyphro, the gods were admitted to have enmities and hatreds and differences?

Euth. Yes, that was also said.

Soc. And what sort of difference creates enmity and anger? [BE: Socrates answers that it is not matters of fact that create hatred, but matters of justice and moral judgment; of course, men will kill each other over disagreements about facts, the amounts of monies owed, etc., but these are often more a matter of justice than of arithmetic. It is true that moral disagreement leads to much conflict.] Suppose for example that you and I, my good friend, differ about a number; do differences of this sort make us enemies and set us at variance with one another? Do we not go at once to arithmetic, and put an end to them by a sum?

Euth. True.

Soc. Or suppose that we differ about magnitudes, do we not quickly end the differences by measuring?

Euth. Very true.

Soc. And we end a controversy about heavy and light by resorting to a weighing machine?

Euth. To be sure.

Soc. But what differences are there which cannot be thus decided, and which therefore make us angry and set us at enmity with one another? I dare say the answer does not occur to you at the moment, and therefore I will suggest that these enmities arise when the matters of difference are the just and unjust, good and evil, honourable and dishonourable. Are not these the points about which men differ, and about which when we are unable satisfactorily to decide our differences, you and I and all of us quarrel, when we do quarrel?

Euth. Yes, Socrates, the nature of the differences about which we quarrel is such as you describe.

[BE Section Title: The gods Quarrel]

Soc. And the quarrels of the gods, noble Euthyphro, when they occur, are of a like nature?

Euth. Certainly they are.

Soc. They have differences of opinion, as you say, about good and evil, just and unjust, honourable and dishonourable: there would have been no quarrels among them, if there had been no such differences-would there now?

Euth. You are quite right.

Soc. Does not every man love that which he deems noble and just and good, and hate the opposite of them?

Euth. Very true.

Soc. But, as you say, people regard the same things, some as just and others as unjust,-about these they dispute; and so there arise wars and fightings among them.

Euth. Very true.

Soc. Then the same things are hated by the gods and loved by the gods, and are both hateful and dear to them?

Euth. True.

Soc. And upon this view the same things, Euthyphro, will be pious and also impious?

Euth. So I should suppose.

Soc. Then, my friend, I remark with surprise that you have not answered the question which I asked. For I certainly did not ask you to tell me what action is both pious and impious: but now it would seem that what is loved by the gods is also hated by them. And therefore, Euthyphro, in thus chastising your father you may very likely be doing what is agreeable to Zeus but disagreeable to Cronos or Uranus, and what is acceptable to Hephaestus but unacceptable to Here, and there may be other gods who have similar differences of opinion.

Euth. But I believe, Socrates, that all the gods would be agreed as to the propriety of punishing a murderer: there would be no difference of opinion about that.

Soc. Well, but speaking of men, Euthyphro, did you ever hear any one arguing that a murderer or any sort of evil-doer ought to be let off? [BE: Socrates never met the ACLU. Morality has sunk so low in modern history, that he could proceed to make his next point, but he’d have to change his argument, because plenty of modern liberals believe that murderers, in fact, every evil-doer, should not be punished, as they oppose punishment itself. We reported on this on our BEL talk show back in the 1990s, that today's liberals will even claim, as Michigan's state director of mental health declared, that a belief in punishment is itself a form of mental illness.]

Euth. I should rather say that these are the questions which they are always arguing, especially in courts of law: they commit all sorts of crimes, and there is nothing which they will not do or say in their own defence.

Soc. But do they admit their guilt, Euthyphro, and yet say that they ought not to be punished?

Euth. No; they do not.

Soc. Then there are some things which they do not venture to say and do: for they do not venture to argue that the guilty are to be unpunished, but they deny their guilt, do they not?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. Then they do not argue that the evil-doer should not be punished, but they argue about the fact of who the evil-doer is, and what he did and when?

Euth. True.

Soc. And the gods are in the same case, if as you assert they quarrel about just and unjust, and some of them say while others deny that injustice is done among them. For surely neither God nor man will ever venture to say that the doer of injustice is not to be punished? [BE: with the exception of many modern liberals.]

Euth. That is true, Socrates, in the main.

Soc. But they join issue about the particulars-gods and men alike; and, if they dispute at all, they dispute about some act which is called in question, and which by some is affirmed to be just, by others to be unjust. Is not that true?

Euth. Quite true.

Soc. Well then, my dear friend Euthyphro, do tell me, for my better instruction and information, what proof have you that in the opinion of all the gods a servant who is guilty of murder, and is put in chains by the master of the dead man, and dies because he is put in chains before he who bound him can learn from the interpreters of the gods what he ought to do with him, dies unjustly; and that on behalf of such an one a son ought to proceed against his father and accuse him of murder. How would you show that all the gods absolutely agree in approving of his act? Prove to me that they do, and I will applaud your wisdom as long as I live.

Euth. It will be a difficult task; but I could make the matter very dear [typo? clear] indeed to you.

Soc. I understand; you mean to say that I am not so quick of apprehension as the judges: for to them you will be sure to prove that the act is unjust, and hateful to the gods.

Euth. Yes indeed, Socrates; at least if they will listen to me.

Soc. But they will be sure to listen if they find that you are a good speaker. [BE: Hence, a fundamental problem with a legal system based upon presentations of lawyers; a man is not more or less guilty based upon the eloquence of an attorney, providing evidence that the western legal system is fundamentally flawed.] There was a notion that came into my mind while you were speaking; I said to myself: "Well, and what if Euthyphro does prove to me that all the gods regarded the death of the serf as unjust, how do I know anything more of the nature of piety and impiety? for granting that this action may be hateful to the gods, still piety and impiety are not adequately defined by these distinctions, for that which is hateful to the gods has been shown to be also pleasing and dear to them." And therefore, Euthyphro, I do not ask you to prove this; I will suppose, if you like, that all the gods condemn and abominate such an action. But I will amend the definition so far as to say that what all the gods hate is impious, and what they love pious or holy; and what some of them love and others hate is both or neither. Shall this be our definition of piety and impiety?

Euth. Why not, Socrates?

Soc. Why not! certainly, as far as I am concerned, Euthyphro, there is no reason why not. But whether this admission will greatly assist you in the task of instructing me as you promised, is a matter for you to consider.

Euth. Yes, I should say that what all the gods love is pious and holy, and the opposite which they all hate, impious. [BE: This is similar to my argument of agreement within the Godhead, but the Christian response lacks the contradiction and infighting present within the pantheon.]

Soc. Ought we to enquire into the truth of this, Euthyphro, or simply to accept the mere statement on our own authority and that of others? What do you say?

Euth. We should enquire; and I believe that the statement will stand the test of enquiry.

[BE Section Title: Do the Gods Merely Recognize, or do they Decide that some Trait will be Good or Bad]

Soc. We shall know better, my good friend, in a little while. The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy [RECOGNIZED AS GOOD], or holy because it is beloved of the gods [MADE GOOD].

Euth. I do not understand your meaning, Socrates.

Soc. I will endeavour to explain: we, speak of carrying and we speak of being carried, of leading and being led, seeing and being seen. You know that in all such cases there is a difference, and you know also in what the difference lies?

Euth. I think that I understand.

Soc. And is not that which is beloved distinct from that which loves?

Euth. Certainly.

Soc. Well; and now tell me, is that which is carried in this state of carrying because it is carried, or for some other reason?

Euth. No; that is the reason.

Soc. And the same is true of what is led and of what is seen?

Euth. True.

Soc. And a thing is not seen because it is visible, but conversely, visible because it is seen; nor is a thing led because it is in the state of being led, or carried because it is in the state of being carried, but the converse of this. And now I think, Euthyphro, that my meaning will be intelligible; and my meaning is, that any state of action or passion implies previous action or passion. It does not become because it is becoming, but it is in a state of becoming because it becomes; neither does it suffer because it is in a state of suffering, but it is in a state of suffering because it suffers. Do you not agree?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. Is not that which is loved in some state either of becoming or suffering?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. And the same holds as in the previous instances; the state of being loved follows the act of being loved, and not the act the state.

Euth. Certainly.

Soc. And what do you say of piety, Euthyphro: is not piety, according to your definition, loved by all the gods?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. Because it is pious or holy [RECONGIZED AS GOOD], or for some other reason [MADE GOOD]?

Euth. No, that is the reason. [RECOGNIZED]

Soc. It is loved because it is holy, not holy because it is loved?

Euth. Yes.

[BE: i.e., Euthyphro is saying that the gods recognize what is good, not that they decide what is good.]

Soc. And that which is dear to the gods is loved by them, and is in a state to be loved of them because it is loved of them?

Euth. Certainly.

Soc. Then that which is dear to the gods, Euthyphro, is not holy, nor is that which is holy loved of God, as you affirm; but they are two different things.

Euth. How do you mean, Socrates?

Soc. I mean to say that the holy has been acknowledge[d] by us to be loved of God because it is holy [RECOGNIZED AS GOOD], not to be holy because it is loved [MADE GOOD].

Euth. Yes.

Soc. But that which is dear to the gods is dear to them because it is loved by them, not loved by them because it is dear to them.

Euth. True.

Soc. But, friend Euthyphro, if that which is holy is the same with that which is dear to God, and is loved because it is holy, then that which is dear to God would have been loved as being dear to God; but if that which dear to God is dear to him because loved by him, then that which is holy would have been holy because loved by him. But now you see that the reverse is the case, and that they are quite different from one another. For one (theophiles) is of a kind to be loved [be]cause it is loved, and the other (osion) is loved because it is of a kind to be loved. Thus you appear to me, Euthyphro, when I ask you what is the essence of holiness, to offer an attribute only, and not the essence-the attribute of being loved by all the gods. But you still refuse to explain to me the nature of holiness. And therefore, if you please, I will ask you not to hide your treasure, but to tell me once more what holiness or piety really is, whether dear to the gods or not (for that is a matter about which we will not quarrel) and what is impiety?

Euth. I really do not know, Socrates, how to express what I mean. For somehow or other our arguments, on whatever ground we rest them, seem to turn round and walk away from us.

Soc. Your words, Euthyphro, are like the handiwork of my ancestor Daedalus; and if I were the sayer or propounder of them, you might say that my arguments walk away and will not remain fixed where they are placed because I am a descendant of his. But now, since these notions are your own, you must find some other gibe, for they certainly, as you yourself allow, show an inclination to be on the move.

Euth. Nay, Socrates, I shall still say that you are the Daedalus who sets arguments in motion; not I, certainly, but you make them move or go round, for they would never have stirred, as far as I am concerned.

Soc. Then I must be a greater than Daedalus: for whereas he only made his own inventions to move, I move those of other people as well. And the beauty of it is, that I would rather not. For I would give the wisdom of Daedalus, and the wealth of Tantalus, to be able to detain them and keep them fixed. But enough of this. As I perceive that you are lazy, I will myself endeavor to show you how you might instruct me in the nature of piety; and I hope that you will not grudge your labour. Tell me, then-Is not that which is pious necessarily just?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. And is, then, all which is just pious? [BE: No.] or, is that which is pious all just, but that which is just, only in part and not all, pious? [BE: A better presentation: Are the words good and justice exactly equal? No. Goodness can exist and operate on its own and requires no comparison to evil. Justice involves an equation of right vs. wrong. Giving a glass of water to a thirsty child is not an act of justice, but of goodness. Punishing a mother who negligently withheld water from her child is an act of justice. Requiring restitution from a thief to his victim is both just and also good. Goodness includes all of justice, but extends to other virtues including charity (in the old and modern senses), therefore, Justice does not include all of Goodness.]

Euth. I do not understand you, Socrates.

Soc. And yet I know that you are as much wiser than I am, as you are younger. But, as I was saying, revered friend, the abundance of your wisdom makes you lazy. Please to exert yourself, for there is no real difficulty in understanding me. What I mean I may explain by an illustration of what I do not mean. The poet (Stasinus) sings-

Of Zeus, the author and creator of all these things,
You will not tell: for where there is fear there is also
reverence. Now I disagree with this poet. Shall I tell you in what respect?

Euth. By all means.

Soc. I should not say that where there is fear there is also reverence [translation?]; for I am sure that many persons fear poverty and disease, and the like evils, but I do not perceive that they reverence the objects of their fear.

Euth. Very true.

Soc. But where reverence is, there is fear; for he who has a feeling of reverence[?] and shame about the commission of any action, fears and is afraid of an ill reputation.

Euth. No doubt.

Soc. Then we are wrong in saying that where there is fear there is also reverence; and we should say, where there is reverence there is also fear. But there is not always reverence where there is fear; for fear is a more extended notion, and reverence is a part of fear, just as the odd is a part of number, and number is a more extended notion than the odd. I suppose that you follow me now?

Euth. Quite well.

Soc. That was the sort of question which I meant to raise when I asked whether the just is always the pious, or the pious always the just; and whether there may not be justice where there is not piety; for justice is the more extended notion of which piety is only a part. Do you dissent? [BE: Socrates misunderstands this because he is not acquainted with our good God and is therefore left with his inflated view of the state, with its principle concern for justice.]

Euth. No, I think that you are quite right. [BE: Wrong, but Euthyphro is a lawyer, so wrong, but not unexpectedly so. Please proceed :) Soc.]

Soc. Then, if piety is a part of justice, I suppose that we should enquire what part? If you had pursued the enquiry in the previous cases; for instance, if you had asked me what is an even number, and what part of number the even is, I should have had no difficulty in replying, a number which represents a figure having two equal sides. Do you not agree?

Euth. Yes, I quite agree.

Soc. In like manner, I want you to tell me what part of justice is piety or holiness, that I may be able to tell Meletus not to do me injustice, or indict me for impiety, as I am now adequately instructed by you in the nature of piety or holiness, and their opposites.

Euth. Piety or holiness, Socrates, appears to me to be that part of justice which attends to the gods, as there is the other part of justice which attends to men. [BE: as Paul said to the Athenians on the acropolis, the nations, including the Greek philosophers he was speaking to, “grope” in the dark for God. Socrates and Euthyphro here are groping in the right general direction, but in the dark.]

[BE Section Title: Early Thoughts on the Greek Concept of Immutability. Page down for more…]

Soc. That is good, Euthyphro; yet still there is a little point about which I should like to have further information, What is the meaning of "attention"? For attention can hardly be used in the same sense when applied to the gods as when applied to other things. [BE: I think Socrates here begins to move in the direction of immutability by asking whether humans can possibly benefit the gods. Of course Plato and the neo-platonists develop this concept and Augustine explicitly argues for an absolute immutability and writes of his commitment to Greek philosophy.] For instance, horses are said to require attention, and not every person is able to attend to them, but only a person skilled in horsemanship. Is it not so?

Euth. Certainly.

Soc. I should suppose that the art of horsemanship is the art of attending to horses?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. Nor is every one qualified to attend to dogs, but only the huntsman?

Euth. True.

Soc. And I should also conceive that the art of the huntsman is the art of attending to dogs?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. As the art of the ox herd is the art of attending to oxen?

Euth. Very true.

Soc. In like manner holiness or piety is the art of attending to the gods?-that would be your meaning, Euthyphro?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. And is not attention always designed for the good or benefit of that to which the attention is given? As in the case of horses, you may observe that when attended to by the horseman's art they are benefited and improved, are they not?

Euth. True.

Soc. As the dogs are benefited by the huntsman's art, and the oxen by the art of the ox herd, and all other things are tended or attended for their good and not for their hurt?

Euth. Certainly, not for their hurt.

Soc. But for their good?

Euth. Of course.

Soc. And does piety or holiness, which has been defined to be the art of attending to the gods, benefit or improve them? Would you say that when you do a holy act you make any of the gods better? [BE: An early foundation for the Greek religious/philosophical concept of immutability which Socrates opportunistically exploits, rather than rigorously explores, simply to win his argument with Euthyphro.]

Euth. No, no; that was certainly not what I meant. [BE: this pagan Greek philosopher does not conceive of a personal God who could be blessed and edified interacting with His creatures.]

Soc. And I, Euthyphro, never supposed that you did. I asked you the question about the nature of the attention, because I thought that you did not.

Euth. You do me justice, Socrates; that is not the sort of attention which I mean.

Soc. Good: but I must still ask what is this attention to the gods which is called piety?

Euth. It is such, Socrates, as servants show to their masters.

Soc. I understand-a sort of ministration to the gods. [BE: related words: ministry, administration, dispensation, dispense, administer; economy]

Euth. Exactly.

Soc. Medicine is also a sort of ministration or service, having in view the attainment of some object-would you not say of health?

Euth. I should.

Soc. Again, there is an art which ministers to the ship-builder with a view to the attainment of some result?

Euth. Yes, Socrates, with a view to the building of a ship.

Soc. As there is an art which ministers to the housebuilder with a view to the building of a house?

Euth. Yes.

Soc. And now tell me, my good friend, about the art which ministers to the gods: what work does that help to accomplish? For you must surely know if, as you say, you are of all men living the one who is best instructed in religion.

Euth. And I speak the truth, Socrates.

Soc. Tell me then, oh tell me-what is that fair work which the gods do by the help of our ministrations?

Euth. Many and fair, Socrates, are the works which they do.

Soc. Why, my friend, and so are those of a general. But the chief of them is easily told. Would you not say that victory in war is the chief of them?

Euth. Certainly.

Soc. Many and fair, too, are the works of the husbandman, if I am not mistaken; but his chief work is the production of food from the earth?

Euth. Exactly.

Soc. And of the many and fair things done by the gods, which is the chief or principal one?

Euth. I have told you already, Socrates, that to learn all these things accurately will be very tiresome. Let me simply say that piety or holiness is learning, how to please the gods in word and deed, by prayers and sacrifices. Such piety, is the salvation of families and states, just as the impious, which is unpleasing to the gods, is their ruin and destruction.

Soc. I think that you could have answered in much fewer words the chief question which I asked, Euthyphro, if you had chosen. But I see plainly that you are not disposed to instruct me-dearly [typo: clearly] not: else why, when we reached the point, did you turn, aside? Had you only answered me I should have truly learned of you by this time the-nature of piety. Now, as the asker of a question is necessarily dependent on the answerer, whither he leads-I must follow; and can only ask again, what is the pious, and what is piety? Do you mean that they are a, sort of science of praying and sacrificing?

Euth. Yes, I do.

Soc. And sacrificing is giving to the gods, and prayer is asking of the gods?

Euth. Yes, Socrates.

Soc. Upon this view, then piety is a science of asking and giving?

Euth. You understand me capitally, Socrates.

Soc. Yes, my friend; the reason is that I am a votary of your science, and give my mind to it, and therefore nothing which you say will be thrown away upon me. Please then to tell me, what is the nature of this service to the gods? Do you mean that we prefer requests and give gifts to them?

Euth. Yes, I do.

Soc. Is not the right way of asking to ask of them what we want?

Euth. Certainly.

Soc. And the right way of giving is to give to them in return what they want of us. There would be no [benefit], in an art which gives to any one that which he does not want.

Euth. Very true, Socrates.

Soc. Then piety, Euthyphro, is an art which gods and men have of doing business with one another?

Euth. That is an expression which you may use, if you like.

Soc. But I have no particular liking for anything but the truth. I wish, however, that you would tell me what benefit accrues to the gods from our gifts. There is no doubt about what they give to us; for there is no good thing which they do not give; but how we can give any good thing to them in return is far from being equally clear. If they give everything and we give nothing, that must be an affair of business in which we have very greatly the advantage of them.

Euth. And do you imagine, Socrates, that any benefit accrues to the gods from our gifts? [BE: this part of the conversation strongly implies the developing Greek concept of absolute immutability. Socrates began developing this doctrine in the very act of attempting to utterly discredit any reasonable faith in God.]

Soc. But if not, Euthyphro, what is the meaning of gifts which are conferred by us upon the gods?

Euth. What else, but tributes of honour; and, as I was just now saying, what pleases them?

Soc. Piety, then, is pleasing to the gods, but not beneficial or dear to them? [BE: Socrates manipulates his readers by opportunistically using this argument to win his debate without first attempting to demonstrate whether this point has a rational justification.]

Euth. I should say that nothing could be dearer [clearer]. [BE: I find no evidence here that Socrates believed this line of reasoning. His argument that Zeus and Uranus argued did not imply that he believed either existed, or that they argued, but rather, that the Greek religious system was inherently contradictory and therefore not credible. Likewise here, Socrates is playing with Euthyphro, and gives no evidence that he accepts this philosophical notion of absolute immutability, but rather, finds it a convenient argument to throw at an opponent.]

Soc. Then once more the assertion is repeated that piety is dear to the gods?

Euth. Certainly.

Soc. And when you say this, can you wonder at your words not standing firm, but walking away? Will you accuse me of being the Daedalus who makes them walk away, not perceiving that there is another and far greater artist than Daedalus who makes them go round in a circle, and he is yourself; for the argument, as you will perceive, comes round to the same point. Were we not saying that the holy or pious [RECOGNIZED AS GOOD] was not the same with that which is loved of the gods [MADE GOOD]? Have you forgotten?

Euth. I quite remember.

Soc. And are you not [NOW] saying that what is loved of the gods is holy [MADE GOOD]; and is not this the same as what is dear to them [RECOGNIZED]-do you see?

Euth. True. [BE: Euthyphro was confused and manipulated by Socrates (whose dialogue of course put any desired words whatsoever into Euthyphro's mouth). The preceding discussion had simply established Euthyphro’s belief, right or wrong, that piety to the gods bestowed no benefit upon them. Socrates has not established how this nascent immutability concept would imply that, therefore, the gods make something holy (i.e., that they decide some trait will be good or bad) by commanding or approving or benefiting from it.]

Soc. Then either we were wrong in former assertion; or, if we were right then, we are wrong now. [BE: The latter assertion was just that, an assertion that appeared out of nowhere.]

Euth. One of the two must be true.

Soc. Then we must begin again and ask, What is piety? That is an enquiry which I shall never be weary of pursuing as far as in me lies; and I entreat you not to scorn me, but to apply your mind to the utmost, and tell me the truth. For, if any man knows, you are he; and therefore I must detain you, like Proteus, until you tell. If you had not certainly known the nature of piety and impiety, I am confident that you would never, on behalf of a serf, have charged your aged father with murder. You would not have run such a risk of doing wrong in the sight of the gods, and you would have had too much respect for the opinions of men. I am sure, therefore, that you know the nature of piety and impiety. Speak out then, my dear Euthyphro, and do not hide your knowledge.

Euth. Another time, Socrates; for I am in a hurry, and must go now.

Soc. Alas! my companion, and will you leave me in despair? I was hoping that you would instruct me in the nature of piety and impiety; and then I might have cleared myself of Meletus and his indictment. I would have told him that I had been enlightened by Euthyphro, and had given up rash innovations and speculations, in which I indulged only through ignorance, and that now I am about to lead a better life.

-END-

The opening post of this TheologyOnline thread is titled Christian Answer to Euthyphro's Dilemma.
 
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GodsfreeWill

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A sheep in fool's clothing

A sheep in fool's clothing

Bob, I understand why you felt it neccesary to revisit this topic.
But please don't accuse me of not thinking just because I don't agree with you.

fool,

His accusation is based upon your posts. You have provided no evidence of any attempt to "think" about this, a Christian answer to Euthyphro's dilemma. Bob gave you the benefit of the doubt here, that you misunderstood the argument and reformulated a shorter version for you. Since that post to you, you have replied with the following:

"Bob, you've put more horns on the Bull.
You've still got the two options, adding more people just puts more people on the Horns.
You could call this one "Enyart's Dilema".
Although I assume most people would prefer the traditional two horned bull to mess with but if some would rather have a six horned bull than to each his own."

and

"Bob, I understand why you felt it neccesary to revisit this topic.
But please don't accuse me of not thinking just because I don't agree with you."

Logically fool, Bob is not accusing you of not thinking because you disagree with him, but because you gave him, and us for that matter, no reason to think otherwise. Bob's answer to Euthyphro's dilemma set out to answer just that, Euthyphro's dilemma. And from what I've read, it does just what it set out to do.

In a nutshell, how did God decide what was right and what was wrong? Was it arbitrary? (Could rape and murder have been righteous if God merely spoke them as such?) Was there a higher standard that God submitted to? (Do right and wrong flow from a being higher than God, making God not God?) Or is there another reason?

God's relationship and fellowship with the trinity are persons that can bear witness and in this instance do bear witness to the fact that they've never been wronged by each other, bringing credibility to a standard of goodness that's not arbitrary nor has come from a higher standard than the triune God himself.
 
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