Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics (MA)


Cky J. Carrigan


Moral Obligations, Abductive, Moral Argument, Deontic, Divine Command, Euthyphro


Arts and Humanities | Philosophy


A theistic ontological foundation and authority for moral obligations is an essential element of theism. And, any replacement of theism must provide an explanation for moral obligations. As such, the core claims of both theism and atheism depend heavily on the research question of this thesis - What is the foundation and authority of moral obligations?

Theism provides a better explanation for the foundation and authority of moral obligations than the atheist worldview, or the utilitarian and robust normative realist ethical systems. Furthermore, it seems that moral obligations are real, objective, universal and human, and as such are best explained by theism.

Four worldviews, or ethical systems, are interrogated since an essential element to them is their explanation of moral obligations. The conclusion reached, was that theism was found to be more consistent in its internal logic and it was also more coherent. Moreover, in explaining the foundation and authority for moral obligations, theism also was more adequate factually in addition to being more viable in an existential sense, or more livable.

One of the objections to moral obligations, explained in a theistic sense, is leveled at Divine Command Theory. This objection is formed in the sense of indicating God’s commands are either arbitrary or God reports on obligations that exist in a Platonic sense. This arbitrariness and Platonic objection, often referred to as the Euthyphro Dilemma, is not a true dilemma. Rather, the answer provided to the dilemma is the Divine commands of the deontic nature from a perfectly good God in alignment with his perfectly good character.

This project concluded that many of the moral facts and informal arguments presented provide support for both an abductive and deductive argumentative form. The project presented both an informal abductive syllogism and an informal deductive syllogism. It concluded that in open discussion or informal argumentation the abductive version and approach is far humbler and welcoming to dialogue and consideration of interlocutors. However, since the moral facts presented also support a deductive version it is worth considering this argument as well.

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