✎✎✎ Divine Command Theory Euthanasia

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Divine Command Theory Euthanasia



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Divine Command Theory

The practice of the virtues is the surest path to happiness. Physical nature can be assuaged through exercise and care; emotional nature through indulgence of instinct and urges; and mental nature through human reason and developed potential. Rational development was considered the most important, as essential to philosophical self-awareness, and as uniquely human.

Moderation was encouraged, with the extremes seen as degraded and immoral. For example, courage is the moderate virtue between the extremes of cowardice and recklessness. Man should not simply live, but live well with conduct governed by virtue. This is regarded as difficult, as virtue denotes doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, for the right reason. While ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato , Aristotle , and their descendants opined that justice cannot be defined and that it was a divine mystery, Valluvar positively suggested that a divine origin is not required to define the concept of justice. In the words of V. Nedunchezhiyan , justice according to Valluvar "dwells in the minds of those who have knowledge of the standard of right and wrong; so too deceit dwells in the minds which breed fraud.

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus posited that the greatest good was contentment and serenity. Peace of mind, or apatheia , was of the highest value ; self-mastery over one's desires and emotions leads to spiritual peace. The "unconquerable will" is central to this philosophy. The individual's will should be independent and inviolate. Allowing a person to disturb the mental equilibrium is, in essence, offering yourself in slavery. If a person is free to anger you at will, you have no control over your internal world, and therefore no freedom. Freedom from material attachments is also necessary.

If a thing breaks, the person should not be upset, but realize it was a thing that could break. Similarly, if someone should die, those close to them should hold to their serenity because the loved one was made of flesh and blood destined to death. Stoic philosophy says to accept things that cannot be changed, resigning oneself to the existence and enduring in a rational fashion. Death is not feared. People do not "lose" their life, but instead "return", for they are returning to God who initially gave what the person is as a person. Epictetus said difficult problems in life should not be avoided, but rather embraced.

They are spiritual exercises needed for the health of the spirit, just as physical exercise is required for the health of the body. He also stated that sex and sexual desire are to be avoided as the greatest threat to the integrity and equilibrium of a man's mind. Abstinence is highly desirable. Epictetus said remaining abstinent in the face of temptation was a victory for which a man could be proud. Modern virtue ethics was popularized during the late 20th century in large part due to a revival of Aristotelianism , and as a response to G.

Anscombe 's " Modern Moral Philosophy ". Anscombe argues that consequentialist and deontological ethics are only feasible as universal theories if the two schools ground themselves in divine law. As a deeply devoted Christian herself, Anscombe proposed that either those who do not give ethical credence to notions of divine law take up virtue ethics, which does not necessitate universal laws as agents themselves are investigated for virtue or vice and held up to "universal standards", or that those who wish to be utilitarian or consequentialist ground their theories in religious conviction.

In Whose Justice, Whose Rationality? Complete Conduct Principles for the 21st Century [24] blended the Eastern virtue ethics and the Western virtue ethics, with some modifications to suit the 21st Century, and formed a part of contemporary virtue ethics. Adler described Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as a "unique book in the Western tradition of moral philosophy, the only ethics that is sound, practical, and undogmatic. One major trend in contemporary virtue ethics is the Modern Stoicism movement. Ethical intuitionism also called moral intuitionism is a family of views in moral epistemology and, on some definitions, metaphysics.

At minimum, ethical intuitionism is the thesis that our intuitive awareness of value, or intuitive knowledge of evaluative facts, forms the foundation of our ethical knowledge. The view is at its core a foundationalism about moral knowledge: it is the view that some moral truths can be known non-inferentially i. Such an epistemological view implies that there are moral beliefs with propositional contents; so it implies cognitivism. As such, ethical intuitionism is to be contrasted with coherentist approaches to moral epistemology, such as those that depend on reflective equilibrium.

Throughout the philosophical literature, the term "ethical intuitionism" is frequently used with significant variation in its sense. This article's focus on foundationalism reflects the core commitments of contemporary self-identified ethical intuitionists. Sufficiently broadly defined, ethical intuitionism can be taken to encompass cognitivist forms of moral sense theory. Ethical intuitionism was first clearly shown in use by the philosopher Francis Hutcheson. Later ethical intuitionists of influence and note include Henry Sidgwick , G. Moore , Harold Arthur Prichard , C. Lewis and, most influentially, Robert Audi. Objections to ethical intuitionism include whether or not there are objective moral values- an assumption which the ethical system is based upon- the question of why many disagree over ethics if they are absolute, and whether Occam's razor cancels such a theory out entirely.

Hedonism posits that the principal ethic is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. There are several schools of Hedonist thought ranging from those advocating the indulgence of even momentary desires to those teaching a pursuit of spiritual bliss. In their consideration of consequences, they range from those advocating self-gratification regardless of the pain and expense to others, to those stating that the most ethical pursuit maximizes pleasure and happiness for the most people.

Founded by Aristippus of Cyrene, Cyrenaics supported immediate gratification or pleasure. There was little to no concern with the future, the present dominating in the pursuit of immediate pleasure. Cyrenaic hedonism encouraged the pursuit of enjoyment and indulgence without hesitation, believing pleasure to be the only good. Epicurean ethics is a hedonist form of virtue ethics. Epicurus " Epicureans observed that indiscriminate indulgence sometimes resulted in negative consequences. Some experiences were therefore rejected out of hand, and some unpleasant experiences endured in the present to ensure a better life in the future.

To Epicurus, the summum bonum , or greatest good, was prudence, exercised through moderation and caution. Excessive indulgence can be destructive to pleasure and can even lead to pain. For example, eating one food too often makes a person lose a taste for it. Eating too much food at once leads to discomfort and ill-health. Pain and fear were to be avoided. Living was essentially good, barring pain and illness. Death was not to be feared. Fear was considered the source of most unhappiness. Conquering the fear of death would naturally lead to a happier life. Epicurus reasoned if there were an afterlife and immortality, the fear of death was irrational.

If there was no life after death, then the person would not be alive to suffer, fear, or worry; he would be non-existent in death. It is irrational to fret over circumstances that do not exist, such as one's state of death in the absence of an afterlife. State consequentialism, also known as Mohist consequentialism, [30] is an ethical theory that evaluates the moral worth of an action based on how much it contributes to the basic goods of a state. The "material wealth" of Mohist consequentialism refers to basic needs like shelter and clothing, and the "order" of Mohist consequentialism refers to Mozi's stance against warfare and violence, which he viewed as pointless and a threat to social stability. Stanford sinologist David Shepherd Nivison , in The Cambridge History of Ancient China , writes that the moral goods of Mohism "are interrelated: more basic wealth, then more reproduction; more people, then more production and wealth In contrast to Bentham's views, state consequentialism is not utilitarian because it is not hedonistic or individualistic.

The importance of outcomes that are good for the community outweighs the importance of individual pleasure and pain. Consequentialism refers to moral theories that hold the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action or create a structure for judgment, see rule consequentialism. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence. This view is often expressed as the aphorism "The ends justify the means". The term "consequentialism" was coined by G. Anscombe in her essay " Modern Moral Philosophy " in , to describe what she saw as the central error of certain moral theories, such as those propounded by Mill and Sidgwick.

The defining feature of consequentialist moral theories is the weight given to the consequences in evaluating the rightness and wrongness of actions. Apart from this basic outline, there is little else that can be unequivocally said about consequentialism as such. However, there are some questions that many consequentialist theories address:. One way to divide various consequentialisms is by the many types of consequences that are taken to matter most, that is, which consequences count as good states of affairs.

According to utilitarianism , a good action is one that results in an increase and positive effect, and the best action is one that results in that effect for the greatest number. Closely related is eudaimonic consequentialism, according to which a full, flourishing life, which may or may not be the same as enjoying a great deal of pleasure, is the ultimate aim. Similarly, one might adopt an aesthetic consequentialism, in which the ultimate aim is to produce beauty. However, one might fix on non-psychological goods as the relevant effect. Thus, one might pursue an increase in material equality or political liberty instead of something like the more ephemeral "pleasure".

Other theories adopt a package of several goods, all to be promoted equally. Whether a particular consequentialist theory focuses on a single good or many, conflicts and tensions between different good states of affairs are to be expected and must be adjudicated. Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that argues the proper course of action is one that maximizes a positive effect, such as "happiness", "welfare", or the ability to live according to personal preferences. In A Fragment on Government Bentham says 'it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong' and describes this as a fundamental axiom. In An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation he talks of 'the principle of utility' but later prefers "the greatest happiness principle".

Utilitarianism is the paradigmatic example of a consequentialist moral theory. This form of utilitarianism holds that the morally correct action is the one that produces the best outcome for all people affected by the action. John Stuart Mill , in his exposition of utilitarianism, proposed a hierarchy of pleasures, meaning that the pursuit of certain kinds of pleasure is more highly valued than the pursuit of other pleasures. The major division within utilitarianism is between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism. In act utilitarianism, the principle of utility applies directly to each alternative act in a situation of choice.

The right act is the one that brings about the best results or the least amount of bad results. In rule utilitarianism, the principle of utility determines the validity of rules of conduct moral principles. A rule like promise-keeping is established by looking at the consequences of a world in which people break promises at will and a world in which promises are binding.

Right and wrong are the following or breaking of rules that are sanctioned by their utilitarian value. Under deontology, an act may be considered right even if it produces a bad consequence, [43] if it follows the rule or moral law. According to the deontological view, people have a duty to act in ways that are deemed inherently good "truth-telling" for example , or follow an objectively obligatory rule as in rule utilitarianism. Immanuel Kant 's theory of ethics is considered deontological for several different reasons. Kant's argument that to act in the morally right way one must act purely from duty begins with an argument that the highest good must be both good in itself and good without qualification.

Kant then argues that those things that are usually thought to be good, such as intelligence , perseverance and pleasure , fail to be either intrinsically good or good without qualification. Pleasure, for example, appears not to be good without qualification, because when people take pleasure in watching someone suffer, this seems to make the situation ethically worse. He concludes that there is only one thing that is truly good:. Nothing in the world—indeed nothing even beyond the world—can possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a good will. Kant then argues that the consequences of an act of willing cannot be used to determine that the person has a good will; good consequences could arise by accident from an action that was motivated by a desire to cause harm to an innocent person, and bad consequences could arise from an action that was well-motivated.

Instead, he claims, a person has goodwill when he 'acts out of respect for the moral law'. So, the only thing that is truly good in itself is goodwill, and goodwill is only good when the willer chooses to do something because it is that person's duty, i. He defines respect as "the concept of a worth which thwarts my self-love". Kant's three significant formulations of the categorical imperative are:. Kant argued that the only absolutely good thing is a good will, and so the single determining factor of whether an action is morally right is the will, or motive of the person doing it.

If they are acting on a bad maxim, e. For a lie always harms another; if not some human being, then it nevertheless does harm to humanity in general, inasmuch as it vitiates the very source of right [ Rechtsquelle ] All practical principles of right must contain rigorous truth This is because such exceptions would destroy the universality on account of which alone they bear the name of principles. Although not all deontologists are religious, some belief in the 'divine command theory', which is actually a cluster of related theories which essentially state that an action is right if God has decreed that it is right.

If God commands people not to work on Sabbath , then people act rightly if they do not work on Sabbath because God has commanded that they do not do so. If they do not work on Sabbath because they are lazy, then their action is not truly speaking "right", even though the actual physical action performed is the same. If God commands not to covet a neighbour's goods, this theory holds that it would be immoral to do so, even if coveting provides the beneficial outcome of a drive to succeed or do well. One thing that clearly distinguishes Kantian deontologism from divine command deontology is that Kantianism maintains that man, as a rational being, makes the moral law universal, whereas divine command maintains that God makes the moral law universal.

Rejecting any form of coercion or manipulation, Habermas believes that agreement between the parties is crucial for a moral decision to be reached. It also formulates a rule by which ethical actions can be determined and proposes that ethical actions should be universalisable, in a similar way to Kant's ethics. Habermas argues that his ethical theory is an improvement on Kant's ethics. Kant distinguished between the phenomena world, which can be sensed and experienced by humans, and the noumena , or spiritual world, which is inaccessible to humans.

This dichotomy was necessary for Kant because it could explain the autonomy of a human agent: although a human is bound in the phenomenal world, their actions are free in the intelligible world. For Habermas, morality arises from discourse, which is made necessary by their rationality and needs, rather than their freedom. Associated with the pragmatists , Charles Sanders Peirce , William James , and especially John Dewey , pragmatic ethics holds that moral correctness evolves similarly to scientific knowledge: socially over the course of many lifetimes.

Thus, we should prioritize social reform over attempts to account for consequences, individual virtue or duty although these may be worthwhile attempts, if social reform is provided for. Care ethics contrasts with more well-known ethical models, such as consequentialist theories e. These values include the importance of empathetic relationships and compassion. Care-focused feminism is a branch of feminist thought, informed primarily by ethics of care as developed by Carol Gilligan [57] and Nel Noddings. They write, "Care-focused feminists regard women's capacity for care as a human strength," that should be taught to and expected of men as well as women.

Noddings proposes that ethical caring has the potential to be a more concrete evaluative model of moral dilemma than an ethic of justice. Role ethics is an ethical theory based on family roles. Morality is derived from a person's relationship with their community. Ames and Henry Rosemont, "Confucian normativity is defined by living one's family roles to maximum effect. Confucian roles are not rational , and originate through the xin , or human emotions. Anarchist ethics is an ethical theory based on the studies of anarchist thinkers.

The biggest contributor to the anarchist ethics is the Russian zoologist, geographer, economist, and political activist Peter Kropotkin. Starting from the premise that the goal of ethical philosophy should be to help humans adapt and thrive in evolutionary terms, Kropotkin's ethical framework uses biology and anthropology as a basis — in order to scientifically establish what will best enable a given social order to thrive biologically and socially — and advocates certain behavioural practices to enhance humanity's capacity for freedom and well-being, namely practices which emphasise solidarity, equality, and justice. Kropotkin argues that ethics itself is evolutionary, and is inherited as a sort of a social instinct through cultural history, and by so, he rejects any religious and transcendental explanation of morality.

The origin of ethical feeling in both animals and humans can be found, he claims, in the natural fact of "sociality" mutualistic symbiosis , which humans can then combine with the instinct for justice i. This principle of treating others as one wishes to be treated oneself, what is it but the very same principle as equality, the fundamental principle of anarchism? And how can any one manage to believe himself an anarchist unless he practices it? We do not wish to be ruled. And by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves wish to rule nobody? We do not wish to be deceived, we wish always to be told nothing but the truth. And by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves do not wish to deceive anybody, that we promise to always tell the truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth?

We do not wish to have the fruits of our labor stolen from us. And by that very fact, do we not declare that we respect the fruits of others' labor? By what right indeed can we demand that we should be treated in one fashion, reserving it to ourselves to treat others in a fashion entirely different? Our sense of equality revolts at such an idea. The 20th century saw a remarkable expansion and evolution of critical theory, following on earlier Marxist Theory efforts to locate individuals within larger structural frameworks of ideology and action.

Antihumanists such as Louis Althusser , Michel Foucault and structuralists such as Roland Barthes challenged the possibilities of individual agency and the coherence of the notion of the 'individual' itself. This was on the basis that personal identity was, in the most part, a social construction. As critical theory developed in the later 20th century, post-structuralism sought to problematize human relationships to knowledge and 'objective' reality.

Post-structuralism and postmodernism argue that ethics must study the complex and relational conditions of actions. A simple alignment of ideas of right and particular acts is not possible. There will always be an ethical remainder that cannot be taken into account or often even recognized. Such theorists find narrative or, following Nietzsche and Foucault, genealogy to be a helpful tool for understanding ethics because narrative is always about particular lived experiences in all their complexity rather than the assignment of an idea or norm to separate and individual actions.

Zygmunt Bauman says postmodernity is best described as modernity without illusion, the illusion being the belief that humanity can be repaired by some ethic principle. Postmodernity can be seen in this light as accepting the messy nature of humanity as unchangeable. In this postmodern world, the means to act collectively and globally to solve large-scale problems have been all but discredited, dismantled or lost.

Problems can be handled only locally and each on its own. All problem-handling means building a mini-order at the expense of order elsewhere, and at the cost of rising global disorder as well as depleting the shrinking supplies of resources which make ordering possible. He considers Emmanuel Levinas 's ethics as postmodern. Unlike the modern ethical philosophy which leaves the Other on the outside of the self as an ambivalent presence, Levinas's philosophy readmits her as a neighbor and as a crucial character in the process through which the moral self comes into its own.

David Couzens Hoy states that Emmanuel Levinas 's writings on the face of the Other and Derrida 's meditations on the relevance of death to ethics are signs of the "ethical turn" in Continental philosophy that occurred in the s and s. Hoy describes post-critique ethics as the "obligations that present themselves as necessarily to be fulfilled but are neither forced on one or are enforceable". Hoy's post-critique model uses the term ethical resistance. Examples of this would be an individual's resistance to consumerism in a retreat to a simpler but perhaps harder lifestyle, or an individual's resistance to a terminal illness. Hoy describes Levinas's account as "not the attempt to use power against itself, or to mobilize sectors of the population to exert their political power; the ethical resistance is instead the resistance of the powerless".

The ethical resistance of the powerless others to our capacity to exert power over them is therefore what imposes unenforceable obligations on us. The obligations are unenforceable precisely because of the other's lack of power. That actions are at once obligatory and at the same time unenforceable is what put them in the category of the ethical. Obligations that were enforced would, by the virtue of the force behind them, not be freely undertaken and would not be in the realm of the ethical. Applied ethics is a discipline of philosophy that attempts to apply ethical theory to real-life situations. The discipline has many specialized fields, such as engineering ethics , bioethics , geoethics , public service ethics and business ethics.

Applied ethics is used in some aspects of determining public policy , as well as by individuals facing difficult decisions. The sort of questions addressed by applied ethics include: "Is getting an abortion immoral? But not all questions studied in applied ethics concern public policy. For example, making ethical judgments regarding questions such as, "Is lying always wrong? People, in general, are more comfortable with dichotomies two opposites.

However, in ethics, the issues are most often multifaceted and the best-proposed actions address many different areas concurrently. In ethical decisions, the answer is almost never a "yes or no" or a "right or wrong" statement. Many buttons are pushed so that the overall condition is improved and not to the benefit of any particular faction. And it has not only been shown that people consider the character of the moral agent i. Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences , biotechnology , medicine , politics , law , and philosophy. It also includes the study of the more commonplace questions of values "the ethics of the ordinary" that arise in primary care and other branches of medicine.

Bioethics also needs to address emerging biotechnologies that affect basic biology and future humans. These developments include cloning , gene therapy , human genetic engineering , astroethics and life in space, [72] and manipulation of basic biology through altered DNA, RNA and proteins, e. Business ethics also corporate ethics is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment, including fields like medical ethics.

Business ethics represents the practices that any individual or group exhibits within an organization that can negatively or positively affect the businesses core values. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations. Business ethics has both normative and descriptive dimensions. As a corporate practice and a career specialization, the field is primarily normative. Academics attempting to understand business behavior employ descriptive methods.

The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflect the interaction of profit-maximizing behavior with non-economic concerns. Interest in business ethics accelerated dramatically during the s and s, both within major corporations and within academia. For example, today most major corporations promote their commitment to non-economic values under headings such as ethics codes and social responsibility charters.

Adam Smith said, "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. Ethics implicitly regulates areas and details of behavior that lie beyond governmental control. In the case of Citi , they call this the Ethics Hotline, [82] though it is unclear whether firms such as Citi take offences reported to these hotlines seriously or not. In Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong , Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen conclude that issues in machine ethics will likely drive advancement in understanding of human ethics by forcing us to address gaps in modern normative theory and by providing a platform for experimental investigation.

For example, machines, unlike humans, can support a wide selection of learning algorithms , and controversy has arisen over the relative ethical merits of these options. This may reopen classic debates of normative ethics framed in new highly technical terms. Military ethics are concerned with questions regarding the application of force and the ethos of the soldier and are often understood as applied professional ethics. However individual countries and traditions have different fields of attention.

Political ethics also known as political morality or public ethics is the practice of making moral judgements about political action and political agents. Public sector ethics is a set of principles that guide public officials in their service to their constituents, including their decision-making on behalf of their constituents. Fundamental to the concept of public sector ethics is the notion that decisions and actions are based on what best serves the public's interests, as opposed to the official's personal interests including financial interests or self-serving political interests. Publication ethics is the set of principles that guide the writing and publishing process for all professional publications.

To follow these principles, authors must verify that the publication does not contain plagiarism or publication bias. Plagiarism is the failure to give credit to another author's work or ideas, when it is used in the publication. Publication bias occurs when the publication is one-sided or " prejudiced against results". If an author is prejudiced against certain results, than it can "lead to erroneous conclusions being drawn". Misconduct in research can occur when an experimenter falsifies results. When conducting medical research, it is important to honor the healthcare rights of a patient by protecting their anonymity in the publication. This means that individuals should have control of their lives. Justice is the principle that decision-makers must focus on actions that are fair to those affected.

Ethical decisions need to be consistent with the ethical theory. There are cases where the management has made decisions that seem to be unfair to the employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders Solomon, , pp Such decisions are unethical. Relational ethics are related to an ethics of care. Researchers who employ relational ethics value and respect the connection between themselves and the people they study, and " Ethics of nanotechnology is the study of the ethical issues emerging from advances in nanotechnology. Ethics of quantification is the study of the ethical issues associated to different forms of visible or invisible forms of quantification.

Animal ethics is a term used in academia to describe human-animal relationships and how animals ought to be treated. The subject matter includes animal rights , animal welfare , animal law , speciesism , animal cognition , wildlife conservation , the moral status of nonhuman animals, the concept of nonhuman personhood , human exceptionalism , the history of animal use, and theories of justice. Ethics of technology is a sub-field of ethics addressing the ethical questions specific to the Technology Age.

Some prominent works of philosopher Hans Jonas are devoted to ethics of technology. The subject has also been explored, following the work of Mario Bunge , under the term technoethics. Moral psychology is a field of study that began as an issue in philosophy and that is now properly considered part of the discipline of psychology. Some use the term "moral psychology" relatively narrowly to refer to the study of moral development. Some of the main topics of the field are moral responsibility , moral development, moral character especially as related to virtue ethics , altruism , psychological egoism , moral luck , and moral disagreement.

Evolutionary ethics concerns approaches to ethics morality based on the role of evolution in shaping human psychology and behavior. Such approaches may be based in scientific fields such as evolutionary psychology or sociobiology , with a focus on understanding and explaining observed ethical preferences and choices. Descriptive ethics is on the less philosophical end of the spectrum since it seeks to gather particular information about how people live and draw general conclusions based on observed patterns. Abstract and theoretical questions that are more clearly philosophical—such as, "Is ethical knowledge possible?

Descriptive ethics offers a value-free approach to ethics, which defines it as a social science rather than a humanity. Its examination of ethics does not start with a preconceived theory but rather investigates observations of actual choices made by moral agents in practice. Some philosophers rely on descriptive ethics and choices made and unchallenged by a society or culture to derive categories, which typically vary by context. This can lead to situational ethics and situated ethics. These philosophers often view aesthetics , etiquette , and arbitration as more fundamental, percolating "bottom up" to imply the existence of, rather than explicitly prescribe, theories of value or of conduct.

The study of descriptive ethics may include examinations of the following:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The good news is that Jesus gathers disciples to proclaim an era or time of repentance and forgiveness; he engages in exorcism , heals multiple maladies including leprosy and paralysis. He subordinates ritual observations to healing, repudiates any alliance between himself and demonic power, and recognizes a familial tie between those who follow his teaching. Despite such abundant proclamations, the feeding of thousands from what seems to be an impossibly small food source loaves and fish and healing, Jesus is not accepted by the religious leaders of his day. Peter recognizes Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus foretells his death and resurrection.

There is a transfiguration scene in which Jesus is glorified with Moses and Elijah. In some ancient manuscripts, Mark ends with a resurrection appearance. Of the four gospels, Mark is not as obvious as the next three in revealing a Jesus that is clearly aware of himself as both human and divine, though Jesus is called Lord, Adonai, the traditional term for God in lieu of tetragrammation, or the name of God, often depicted in English as YHWH, which, for reasons of piety, is not to be pronounced , Jesus forgives the sins of others often thought to be a prerogative of God alone , and he seems to understand that his death and resurrection has a role in bringing about the kingdom of God in apocalyptic terms Mark In the interest of space, many details in Mark are omitted, and the same is true in this combined, telescoped portrait of Matthew and Luke.

From a literary point of view, there is a fierce urgency to Mark, whereas Matthew and Luke seem less hurried. As far as evil is concerned, both Gospels see Jesus as perpetuating and fulfilling the promise of God to deliver the people of God from evil. Matthew and Luke see Jesus as fulfilling older prophecies as Messiah and Savior, crucified and raised from the dead. Jesus combats the evil of others by calling them to repentance and sharing with them the values to live by e. Jesus condemns the evil of not just behavior adultery , but of sinful desire lust Matt The hoarding of wealth is not commended Matt ; , but instead generous living is blessed Matt ; Luke This appears to place Jesus theologically in line with the Covenant of Noah in which God promises not to bring all wrongdoers to punishment in this life as well as the Book of Job in which an innocent person suffers.

In Matthew and Luke, Jesus triumphs over evil by suffering, death, and resurrection. It must be noted that in all four gospels, there is a theme of judgment e. Luke In John, the conflict between good and evil is cast between life and death, lightness and darkness. In John, Jesus as the Lord and giver of life confronts the darkness of this world, providing a way of salvation through his life, teaching, death, and resurrection.

Jesus is a person who is said to be at one with the Father and is worshipped. The Holy Spirit also seems personal, if not a person e. Luke ; ; John ; ; Acts ; Romans ; 1 Thes. So it appears at least hints that evil is opposed to a Triune God — a thesis that will be clarified in the creedal era. But it should be noted that however much if at all the divinity of Jesus is recognized in the gospels, they nowhere claim Jesus is the entire divine. This is the difference that was later expressed by claiming that Christ is totus dues or wholly God but not totum dei the whole of God. Whose Monotheism? As the New Testament unfolds there is the suggestion that while Jesus triumphed over death and evil, the full defeat of evil will not occur until Jesus returns I Thes ; Revelations The Apocrypha, for example, is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as divinely inspired, while Protestant denominations tend only to recognize it as worthy of study concerning the divine, but not as authoritative as the rest of scripture.

For many Christians scripture itself will function as a guide to what is evil and good. Even if Satan himself can cite scripture Matt 4 , scripture itself has been seen by Christians as holy and an instrument for doing good Col ; Heb , 2 Tim Christians have, however, differed as to whether they see scripture itself as the revelation of God or containing the revelation of God. On the former model, scripture would be as disclosive and revelatory of God, as an honest letter would be written by someone perfectly trustworthy. On the latter, scripture is the means by which God and the ways of God may be revealed to persons.

In this model, scripture can serve as a portal or perhaps even a doorway; under some conditions perhaps under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit one may come to encounter the divine through it. So, on the first view, scripture is revelation, and on the second scripture is a means for persons and communities to come to divine revelation. In the first two to three centuries of the church, great energy was directed on clarifying the role and the nature of Jesus Christ in overcoming evil. The New Testament contains abundant claims and implications calling for systematic reflection. Even so, in this first section we may see that early Christians fully recognized the reality of evil and the central role of Jesus in overcoming evil, offering a life of abundance, and love of God and neighbor.

According to tradition, two of the greatest followers of Jesus, Peter and Paul, were martyred in Rome. The extent of the early persecution of the church is much debated, but there is little doubt of the prevalence of martyrdom in the early stages of Christianity. But the religion of Christianity was at last recognized as permissible to practice in with the Edict of Milan and it became the official religion of the Roman Empire in Let us consider four vital matters leading up to Christianity becoming a religion of the empire: reflection on the role of Jesus in overcoming evil; the initial stages of distinguishing orthodoxy literally, right belief and rightful authority from heresy; the relationship between Jews and Gentiles; and the difficulties of evolving from a prosecuted minority faith to its official state sponsorship.

Each of these have a bearing on early Christian thought on evil. Who was Jesus and what did he do? Disputes ranged in the early years about whether and how of even if Jesus was human and divine. This appears to be the key teaching of the earliest recorded sermons Acts 2; Acts 7. While some early professing Christians stressed the humanity of Jesus over his divinity some held a view termed adoptionism , according to which Jesus, as a man, was adopted by God the Father to bring about salvation , others stressed the divinity of Jesus over his humanity docetism. Eventually a balance is achieved as we shall see in the next section , but without settling the matter here, note several of the early ways in which Jesus was thought of overcoming sin, Satan, and death: by paying a ransom; by satisfying a divine demand for justice; and by showing us an awesome, nearly irresistible love, and it is through this self-giving love that the followers of Jesus are reborn or regenerated as new persons in Christ.

In what has become known as the Ransom Theory or the Christus Victor tradition, when persons sinned they came under the dominion of sin, death, and Satan. In order for us to be freed, a ransom had to be paid. In a simple version of this account, Satan is the holder of the hostages and he agrees to release sinners if Jesus takes our place. Jesus agrees to this and is killed. This position has always been a minority position in Christian thought, but it can be defended against some of the common historical objections. Consider three historically significant objections and replies in rapid succession. Why would God pay Satan a ransom and not just break sinners out of prison?

Objection: surely this theory gives too much prominence to Satan. Reply: true, but even if Satan does not exist, might the Ransom Theory still house something intuitively plausible? Practicing wickedness can very much seem like being under the power of some stronger power. Objection: alright, let Satan be a metaphor. Why pay a metaphor a ransom? Reply: if you carry the metaphor through, sinners are the ones who are paid the ransom.

How might Jesus overcome death through a satisfaction of some kind for divine justice? One of the main ideas here will take centuries to refine, but the root theme is that Jesus died in our place. By his dying, he frees us from death. In a related strand in this view of redemption, Jesus frees us from sin through love and regeneration. Ignatius writes:. Who is equal to the telling of the greatness of His beauty? The height to which love lifts us in unutterable. Love unites us to God. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love endures all things, is long-suffering in everything.

There is nothing vulgar in love, nothing haughty. Love makes no schism; love does not quarrel; love does everything in unity. In love we are the elect of God perfected; without love nothing is pleasing to God. In love did the Master take hold of us. For the sake of the love which he had for us did Jesus Christ our Lord, by the will of God, give His blood for us, His flesh for our flesh, and His life for our lives. Ignatius On this view, Jesus in some sense transforms the single life of his followers through forgiveness leading to a kind of regeneration and adoption:. It has been said that history is written by the victors, and if there is truth to that, we should be cautious in accepting an official history that makes the transition from the post-Apostolic age to the Creedal era as too smooth.

Some early Christians described the Apostolic age as one of purity, with errors and disagreements only emerging later. Tertullian argued in a clever analogy that it made no sense for a forgery to exist prior to that which is authentic. But many scholars Christian and non-Christian opt for a different image than forgery and authenticity, and refer instead to a kind of trajectory, or a movement from a diverse beginning with many sources in dispute and moving not to some perfect unity, but to distinctive Christian alternatives see Dunn for an excellent overview.

Still, while controversial today, what emerged as a Christian consensus was its distinction from forms of Gnosticism, even those forms of Gnosticism which were in Christian terms affirming Jesus as savior delivering us from evil. On this view, the material world is itself base, perhaps even evil, and we are trapped in our material bodies, requiring liberation. For Gnostics with a Christian orientation, Jesus was sent by the God beyond the god of this world, to give us the sacred knowledge or gnosis that will lead us to enlightenment and out of the entrapment of this world.

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