The Evangelical Universalist Forum

A Christian argument against DCM

My argument assumes that Jesus is God. DCM = divine command morality.

1 No rational being wants to suffer excruciating pain
2 God is rational
3 If God determines morality/justice then God could sovereignly decide to forgive our sins without suffering excruciating pain
4 God suffered excruciating pain for the stated reason of forgiveness of our sins
C God does not determine morality/justice

If God determines morality/justice, then it seems to me the cross was gratuitous suffering.

This argument has implications for both ethics and the atonement.

What do you think?

OP edited to add the premise that God is rational.

Your argument speaks against the substitutionary model of atonement. Does it speak as well against the moral influence theory of atonement? From that link is this description of that theory.

“The Moral influence theory of the atonement is a doctrine in Christian theology related to the meaning and effect of the death of Jesus Christ. In this view, the purpose and result of Christ’s death was to influence mankind toward moral improvement. This theory denies that Christ died to satisfy any principle of divine justice, but teaches instead that His death was designed to greatly impress mankind with a sense of God’s love, resulting in softening their hearts and leading them to repentance. Thus, the Atonement is not directed towards God with the purpose of maintaining His justice, but towards man with the purpose of persuading him to right action.”

@lancia it also speaks against a common argument for ET, which is that we can’t appeal to reason to appraise the justness of hopeless punishment because God determines justice.

Regarding moral influence theory (MIT), my argument in the OP is compatible with it. However, I’m pretty sure someone could believe in MIT and DCM.

Some more thoughts. Moral realists have difficulty justifying their position. If my argument in the OP is true, and if Christianity is true, then ironically we’d have a theological argument for moral realism that denies that God determines morality! A central piece of proving moral realism could be proving Christianity!

@jasonpratt what do you think?