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The central argument in Euthyphro implies that the concept of ‘good’ must be independent of the concept of ‘God’ such that “God must love that which is good because it is good.” Grube argues that the implication of this is that God has no choice in the matter. To understand this conclusion, it is first necessary to evaluate how the concepts ‘good’ and ‘God’ can be independent of one another, since they seem to be synonymous in the sense that good is an integral element in the concept of God. This poses the first problem. If accepted, however, one still must confront the problematic argument that God has no choice in the matter. How could this be possible? There must be a set of rules that regulate what is good, independent of God’s opinion, that he has no control over. Although this statement appears to be absurd, it is possible that God has no choice in deciding what is good, but must adhere to rules that govern that which is good.
The assumption that the concept of good is independent of the concept of God seems to be preposterous. If “God is good” is a synthetic statement, then the concept of good helps to characterize the concept of God. Good must be separate from God in order for it to be an attribute of God. If good and God were not independent of one another, the statement “God is good” would simply be saying “God is God,” which does not make sense. Most followers of God have a reason for following what God wants. If one is judging to follow God because he is good, then it appears that good must mean something other than God for the statement to make sense, and for people to follow him. Good must describe more than “what God loves” or else it would not mean anything. If good is independent of God, however, does that imply that God did not create good, and if so, who or what did? Did good create God? Perhaps God is just a manifestation of the qualities of good. Where, then, did humans get their concept of good? Although these questions remain, it would not make sense if God and good were not independent concepts.
The alternative does not make sense, therefore the concept of God and good exist independently. This statement seems to imply that good existed prior to God and that he did not create good. If he has no choice in the matter and he did not create good, then could there be a power superior to God, forcing him to love what is good? Having a standard of good separate from God means that good existed before God. What is the concept of God without the concept of good to define it? He could not have existed before he created good because there would have been no way to understand what God is. It seems impossible to imagine that he created good before he himself existed, though. This seems to indicate that God did not create good.
In order for a word to have meaning, there must be a consistent, unbreakable rule for using the word. One can assume that God loves everything in his world. However, this does not follow a standard, so it cannot be a rule. If he is to love that which is good, though, God must conform to a concept of good. If he did not, how would we know what God is and why would we think he is worthy of our praise and respect. If God had a choice in whether he loved good, he would still have to love by a standard. Therefore, he has independent criteria of good: a set of rules. God must follow these criteria. Since the concept of good exists independent of God, the definition of good is not determined by God. Good may define God, but God does not define good. God must therefore follow criteria that is not at his discretion. He has no choice in the matter. God will not love what is good unless it fits a predetermined standard of good. If it does fit this standard, then he must love it.
God has no choice in the matter because his very essence is goodness and God does not control what goodness is. God is defined by goodness, or loving goodness. If that is what he is, then he cannot defy it and he cannot not love what is good. If he did, then he would no longer be God. This would indicate that God did not love anything that is bad. However, one would imagine that God can love bad things, such as inhumane people. This does not change the meaning of good, though. Just because God loves something, it does not change and become good. However, the statement does not say God cannot love bad, but he must love all things that are good. Therefore, God loves everything that is good, he has no choice, but just because God loves it does not mean it is good.
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