Answer to CARM Response of the Euthyphro Dilemma

by Matt Slick

I received an email that sought to refute CARM's answer to the Euthyphro dilemma. I have reproduced the email here with answers. The original email material is in brown, and my responses are in green.

  1. Premise 1: The definition of Good or goodness is God’s nature. God’s nature is the source of all morality and all that is good. (This must be true for a Christian because it is the only way out of the Euthyphro dilemma)
    1. Whether or not it is the only way out of the dilemma does not negate the sufficiency of the answer.
  2. Premise 2: God’s nature is fixed. It cannot be any other way. (This also must be true for a Christian to avoid the Euthyphro dilemma)
    1. Logically, God is what he is and is not what he is not. Saying God’s nature is fixed isn’t a necessary presupposition designed to get out of an argument. It is simply a fact and works quite well in answering the argument.
  3. Premise 3: Following from p.2, God cannot choose between right and wrong. He must always do what is right since always doing what is right is part of God’s nature.
    1. This is incorrect because the statement is saying that because God can only choose one thing between two options that he is also not able to choose between those same two options. That is contradictory.
  4. Premise 4: Following from p.3, the ability to choose between right and wrong is not in God’s nature. He does not have this ability.
    1. This is fallacious for reasons stated in 3A.
    2. Also, God always chooses between right and wrong and always chooses what is right. Just because he is good, and always chooses the right thing, does not mean he doesn’t make choices. After all, he is not coerced into making a choice. He freely chooses according to his own will.
  5. Premise 5: Following p. 1 and p. 4, the ability to choose between right and wrong is NOT good, since it is not in God’s nature.
    1. That is not valid. Choosing the good between two options is always good.
  6. Premise 6: Because God’s nature is good, he cannot will something that is not good.
    1. This is an unvalidated assumption.
    2. Furthermore, by the statements made above, anything that God wills is automatically good including those things which might not appear good to us. So, how would an individual determine that God had or had not willed to do something that was not good since his own standard would be subjective, lack infinite knowledge, and would not be able to rationally judge God?
    3. In addition, God could have reasons for doing things that are beyond our knowledge, and we would not know how to respond to what might appear bad when in reality he is doing right.
  7. Premise 7: God willed upon humans the ability to choose between right and wrong.
    1. If God willed humans to be able to choose between right and wrong and also accomplish that which is wrong, then ultimately that would be a good thing since by necessity God only does that which is good.
    2. Furthermore, humans are different than God in nature and ability. They are not holy as God is, and they are susceptible to things God is not susceptible to. Without taking this into account the argument continues to fall apart.
  8. Conclusion: From p.5, p.6, and p.7, God willed something upon humans which is not good, since it is not in God’s nature. But God’s nature is, by definition good, so he has contradicted himself.
    1. The conclusion isn’t valid for the reasons listed above.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.