Metaethics

A Trinitarian Moral Argument

Why Christianity’s Trinitarian God is a Better Explanation for Objective Morality than Islam’s Non-Trinitarian God

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Both Christians and Muslims affirm the following argument:

There are objective moral truths.God is the best explanation for objective moral truths.Therefore, God exists.

However, which understanding of God, the Christian’s or the Muslim’s, is a better explanation for objective morality? In this paper I argue that Christianity’s trinitarian God is a better explanation for objective morality than Islam’s God. As part of this argument, I propose a Trinitarian Metaethical Theory (TMT) which maintains that the ultimate ground of morality is God’s trinitarian nature.


Why God’s Triune Nature Is the Foundation of Morality

In this interview by Crash Course Apologetics, Adam defends his model of morality which holds that God’s existence as a Trinity, His triune nature, is the foundation of all morality. Specifically, the loving relationships between the members of the Trinity are the basis for all moral values and duties for human beings since humans are called to imitate that love and reflect it to others. As Jesus explained in Matthew 22:37-40, love of God and love of neighbor are the foundations of all morality, and this love flows from the loving relationships within the Trinity, which is why Adam proposes that God’s triune nature is a superior explanation for the existence of morality than atheistic models.


Critiquing Erik Wielenberg’s Metaethical Model

Atheist Erik Wielenberg has proposed a theory of morality (also known as a “metaethical model”) which claims that objective moral values and obligations can exist without God. In this interview with Crash Course Apologetics, Adam critiques Wielenberg’s theory of morality by explaining how Wielenberg’s model is susceptible to what is called the “Lucky Coincidence Objection,” the idea that, without God, it is just a lucky coincidence that humans are able to know what is objectively morally right. (This interview is based on a paper Adam published in Philosophia Christi, which you can find here.)


God and Morality Debate: Craig vs. Wielenberg

In 2018, William Lane Craig and Erik J. Wielenberg participated in a debate moderated by Adam Lloyd Johnson at North Carolina State University, addressing the question: “God and Morality: What is the Best Account of Objective Moral Values and Duties?” Craig argued that theism provides a sound foundation for objective morality whereas atheism does not. Wielenberg countered that morality can be objective even if there is no God. The transcript of this debate was subsequently made into a book called A Debate on God and Morality which was edited by Adam Lloyd Johnson. The book provides crucial resources for better understanding moral realism and its dependence on, or independence from, theistic foundations.


Defusing the Euthyphro Dilemma

How a Concretist Position on Properties Salvages Divine Simplicity

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Why salvage divine simplicity? Consider the Euthyphro Dilemma, often presented as a rebuttal to the moral argument for God’s existence. In Plato’s Euthyphro, Socrates asked “Is that which is holy loved by the gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is loved by the gods?”1 The dilemma can be restated in monotheistic terms as follows: Either 1. Morality is based on God’s commands; thus, He could have arbitrarily commanded any heinous act and it would be morally right, or 2. Morality is based on necessary truths that even God cannot change; thus morality is independent of God and out of His control.2

In order to avoid both horns of the dilemma, theists have proposed that morality is dependent upon God’s nature in such a way that He could not command something that violates His moral nature.3 Robert M.


Sweeping Contingency Under the Rug

How Erik Wielenberg’s Third Factor Model Fails to Rebut the Lucky Coincidence Objection

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Erik Wielenberg describes his view as “godless robust normative realism,” a combination of holding that “robust normative realism is true and there is no God.”1 Enoch describes robust normative realism as the view that “there are response-independent, non-natural, irreducibly normative truths… objective ones, that when successful in our normative inquiries we discover rather than create or construct.”2 Adding ‘godless’ to this, Wielenberg’s position then is that objective moral values and obligations exist, even though God does not.

In his non-theistic model Wielenberg claims that moral facts and properties are objectively real and that we as human beings can have accurate moral knowledge of these facts and properties.


Objective Morality and the Moral Argument

In this interview with Ratio Christi’s Truth Matters, Adam discusses the objectivity of morality and the moral argument for God. He gives an overview of Robert M. Adams’ metaethical model which posits that God is the best explanation for morality. What are some common objections to this model? Could evolution have produced morality? What is natural law and how does it relate to objective morality? Does morality come from God’s commands? Did morality change from the Old Testament to the New Testament? Why do some of God’s commandments in the Old Testament seem so odd? Watch the interview to discover the answers to these questions and more.


Natural Law and Christian Apologetics

The 2014 movie Interstellar brought to the forefront the conflict between a modern way of thinking and a postmodern way of thinking. The modern way of thinking emphasizes science and the idea that the physical universe is all that exists, whereas a postmodern way of thinking focuses on trusting our feelings. Interstellar argues that love is more than physical, that it transcends the universe and should guide our decisions. Adam agrees that love is more than physical, but if so, we need an explanation for why love exists. Christians argue that we can know that goodness and love exist, and this is best explained by the fact that God exists. Love is good for human beings, and we can learn what’s good for humans by looking at human flourishing. We can learn moral principles from God’s creation. This is sometimes called “Natural Law,” the idea that God built objective moral principles into his created order that we can discover by considering creation. Adam discussed these topics on the “Theology Matters” podcast with Devin Pellew.