A Warning Regarding the Study of God

This is short, but it is incredibly important and foundational for the Study of God, often called

Theology Proper. 


The attributes of God cannot be expressed properly if they are completely severed

from all other attributes of God. 


Take for example the Euthyphro Dilemma, which is a (hypothetical) dilemma that exists in

the world of philosophy and some circles of theology, which is best described with the

following question: Does God call something good because it is good, or is it good because

God calls it good? 


This question attempts to set two of God\’s attributes against each other by completely separating

them, and making the claim that morality either exists apart from God, which makes God

unnecessary, or morality is arbitrarily chosen by God. 


The problem here is that the power of God is set against the goodness of God, meaning that

if the Euthyphro Dilemma is flawless and that it frames an absolute conflict in

philosophical theology, then it would follow that God cannot be all powerful and all good. 

Let me draw your attention to where we began, \”The attributes of God cannot be expressed

properly if they are completely severed from all other attributes of God.\”- JT Martin

(a paraphrase of so many thinkers that it would be impossible to cite them all).

So, philosophically, the Euthyphro Dilemma presupposes a limitation of God that the attributes

of God can be completely separated and made to be in conflict with one another. 

But where is the evidence or argument for this presupposed limitation? Without one being given,

the basic presupposition of the Euthyphro Dilemma causes the dilemma itself to be unsound.

In order for any argument to be sound, each of the premises must either be known to be true or

proven to be true in a previous segment of the argument. In the case of the Euthyphro Dilemma

this has not been done.


Moving away from the example, a final note of consideration. 

When we study God, we must take care that we do not isolate his actions or attributes from one

another. This is one of the most dangerous forms of cherry picking because it leads to idolatry

which is the foundation for all sin. 

One thought on “A Warning Regarding the Study of God

  1. This is a very good point and not talked about enough – I am tired of sermons where two aspects of God's character, His love and His justice, are also set at odds. Just like with the Euthyphro Dilemma, it assumes a problem by setting God's characteristics against themselves, not allowing for the possibility that these characteristics are part of the definitions of one another – God's love is just, and His justice is loving. To speak of God's love without His justice is to speak of something that is not God's love. So, just as you say, to speak of God's power divorced of God's goodness is to misunderstand God's power. To speak of God's goodness divorced of God's power is to misunderstand His goodness. Instead we divide God up into unrelated parts as if we could dissect God like a dead salamander in a High School Biology class, not realizing that such dissection can only be performed on a dead creature, but it cannot be performed on the living Creator of all things.

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