Divine command theory

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Divine command Theory (also known as Theological voluntarism)[1][2] is a meta-ethical Theory which proposes that an action's status as morally good is equivalent to wheTher it is commanded by God. the Theory asserts that what is moral is determined by God's commands and that for a person to be moral he is to follow God's commands. Followers of both monoTheistic and polyTheistic religions in ancient and modern times have often accepted the importance of God's commands in establishing morality.


Numerous variants of the Theory have been presented: historically, figures including Saint Augustine, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham and Søren Kierkegaard have presented various versions of divine command Theory; more recently, Robert Merrihew Adamshas proposed a "modified divine command Theory" based on The omnibenevolence of God in which morality is linked to human conceptions of right and wrong. Paul Copan has argued in favour of the Theory from a Christian viewpoint, and Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski's divine motivation Theory proposes that God's motivations, raTher than commands, are the source of morality.


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Baggett, David; Walls, Jerry (2011). Good God:The Theistic Foundations of Morality. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199751808.

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Cross, Richard (1999). Duns Scotus. ISBN 978-0195125535.

Evans, C. Stephen (2004). Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love: Divine Commands and Moral Obligations. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-927217-4.

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Kowalski, Dean (2011). Moral Theory at the Movies: An Introduction to Ethics. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-44221-455-2.

Phillips, D. Z.; Tessin, Timothy (2000). Kant and Kierkegaard on Religion. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-31223-234-4.

Rae, Scott (2009). Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-31032-323-5.

Shermer, Michael (2005). Why People Believe Weird Things. Henry Hold & Company. ISBN 0-8050-7769-3.

Morris, Thomas (1988). Divine & Human Action. Cornell University Press. Being and goodness. ISBN 0-8014-9517-2.

Pojman, Louis; Rea, Michael (2008). Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-0-495-09504-0.

Quinn, Philip (2000). The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory. Blackwell Publishers. Divine command Theory.

Swinburne, Richard (1977). The Coherence of Theism. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-824410-X.

Wainwright, William J. (2005). Religion and morality. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-1632-0.

Williams, Thomas (2013). "John Duns Scotus". in Edward N. Zalta. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 ed.).

Williams, Thomas, ed (2002). The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. ISBN 978-0521635639.


  1. Theological Voluntarism — Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  2. Not to be confused with medieval Theological voluntarism and Theological voluntarism as an approach to natural philosophy.