Fred K. from the United States writes:
I read with interest your response to the Euthyphro dilemma. I was a Christian for 30 years, and am now a Pantheist. If I could attribute any one cause of my “slide” into Pantheism, I would say that it would be this dilemma. Of course, you must realize that the answer you give to the dilemma is Aquinas’ classic answer. But I’m not sure you realize the full implications of it. If goodness is attributed to God’s “nature,” then goodness can no longer be an act of God’s will. It is as though God is divided into two parts, a “willing” part that makes decisions and acts, and a “nature” which He cannot control. In a sense you are still on one horn of the dilemma. God’s personhood which wills and acts is now subject to, and therefore “lower” than God’s nature, which is immutable. Aquinas got around this by saying God’s nature is the exact same thing as God. But if God is a natural thing, why not say that God IS the universe? This is the position I eventually came around to. I believe goodness is woven into the fabric of the universe (much as you believe that goodness is woven into God’s nature) in the same way mathematics is.
CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds:
Dear Mr K.
Thank you for writing. I presume you are referring to What is ‘good’? (Answering the Euthyphro Dilemma) I honestly can’t see how pantheism solves any problem, since this basically denies a distinction between good and evil.
A nature of a thing is the set of propositions that describe that thing, or the set of its attributes. I fail to see why it’s a problem that God’s actions are the result of His attributes such as perfect goodness, and that His commandments flow out of this.
It seems that you have equivocated on the meaning of “nature”, to go from what God’s “nature” means, correctly defined as above, to God is a “natural” thing, which means nothing supernatural….
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