08 January 2015

What Is Biblical Ethics?

This is a topic of a bigger work that I am laboring on.


What is Biblical Ethics


A1 Ethics is

B1 the study of moral values and rules.

B2 the study of right and wrong


A2 The philosophical study of ethics refers to people coming up with a rational (scientific) arguments for a code of right and wrong.

B1 Three broad views

C1 Virtue ethics has to do with the character of the person, not the act or deed.

C2 Deontology refers to strict adherence to rules, not necessarily character or deed.

C3 Consequentialism deals with rightness or wrongness from the outcome/result of the act or deed.

B2 Examples

C1 Virtue ethics would say it depends on whether the lie helps or hurts one's character or the group's character.

C2 Deontology would hold that lying is always wrong.

C3 Consequentialism would believe that lying is wrong if it hurts someone.

B3 Source of the rules

C1 Virtue ethics would rely on what would make the being of a person the best.

C2 Deontology has a number of theories one being the divine law and moral absolutes from these laws.

C3 Consequentialism bases its rules on what the outcome would be thus would be flexible or changing depending on the circumstances.

B4 What is desirable

C1 Virtue ethics would hold to desirable virtues or characteristics of one's being, however, how they derive their list of what is virtue is debated among them.

C2 Deontology would point to meeting a standard, an absolute standard. Murder is always wrong.

C3 Consequentialism often bases what is desirable on the principle of the greatest happiness. Murder would be wrong it the outcome is not for the happiness of a person, a group, a family, or society.

B5 Famous examples

C1 Virtue ethics--Aristotle taught that the greatest happiness comes from practicing virtues. Probably in the sense of having good, virtuous habits based on reason. Some of these would be reason, wisdom, justice, temperance, etc. The most common example is to meet a mean between two extremes, thus courage is the mean between cowardice and rashness.

C2 Deontology

D1 Augustine taught that humans are to seek the highest good for personal and societal happiness. This is done by loving God. If one loves God then he/she will do what God commands. God always does things according to love. Moral truth exists only in dependence of what God says, so his commands are mortality (right and wrong).

D2 Robert Adams teaches

E1 Two theorems

F1 It is wrong to do X.

F2 it is against God's laws to do X.

E2 God's laws do not explain what is moral (right or wrong) but the laws themselves show and teach what is right or wrong, thus why God made those laws.

E3 Laws and actions would have to be in agreement with God's character especially His characteristic of love.

F1 An action is wrong if and only if it defies God's character of love.

F2 God cannot command cruelty for instance because it is against His character of love. Cruelty is not loving. God is loving, thus cruelty is against God's character and is wrong.

D3 The Euthyphro dilemma

E1 Offered by Plato as, "Is X good because God commands it, or does God command it because it is good?"

E2 The first would imply that everything that God commands is good.

E3 The second would imply that God is subject to a law, a standard, greater than Himself.

C3 Consequentialism

D1 Basically is the end justifies the means

D2 Forms

E1 What is best for the state (government) is what is morally good. (State Consequentialism).

E2 What is best for maximum pleasure is morally good, and what is painful is morally bad. (Utilitarianism, Hedonism)

E3 What is best for me is morally good; everything else is morally bad. (Ethical egoism)

E4 What is best for others is morally good; what is best for me that might hurt others is morally bad. (Ethical altruism)

E5 What is best may be mistaken, but if the motive was good then it is morally good. (Motive Consequentialism)

E6 What is most loving (as defined by the individual) is morally good, and what is not loving is morally bad. It all depends on any given situation. (Situational Ethics)

E7 And many others.

D3 Many different adherents from Milton Friedman to Sam Harris, Peter Singer, and others.


A3 Biblical ethics is the study of what the Bible teaches on what is right and wrong.

B1 Philosophically Biblical Christians would be considered to be believers in some form of deontology.

B2 My view

C1 The Bible is God's revealed words.

C2 God is accurately portrayed in the Bible.

C3 God is good.

C4 God created all things good.

C5 Creation needed laws and regulations for everything to operate smoothly.

C6 Therefore, God's rules are good. (because the results are good according to the operator's manual).



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