Divine Command Theory

Fundamental principle: What makes an act right is the fact that God commands it.


Note that you can believe in the existence of God, and believe we should do what God commands us to do, but still reject Divine Command as a justification for fundamental moral principles. Believing that we ought to do what God commands does not commit you to believing that this command is what makes right actions right.

Natural Law

There are laws of nature, which animals and inanimate objects are forced to obey, and we should regard them as supreme and the basis for our laws. Everything has a proper function in nature's order, and the proper (right) way for people to live is according to that order. Example: male dominance is good because we find it everywhere in nature.

Sometimes "natural law" is a form of divine command theory. The universe is created by a supreme being, and we should obey its will. But because its will is not transparent (we can't just read commands out of the Bible), we have to study nature and its laws to determine how we should live.


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