Monday, September 28, 2009

The Rahab problem

Also known as the Euthyphro problem. The story goes that Euthyphro was asking Plato about the definition of holiness and finally described it as an action of the gods, but Plato asked what if the gods did something 'unholy'? With Rahab, her lies saved the Jewish spies (Joshua 2:1-14), an action considered virtuous (James 2:25). How do we resolve this apparent contradiction? How do we take the 'Rahab problem' into account when we build our moral basis for Christian Ethics?

  1. With an external standard of goodness we judge God, Rahab and ourselves.
  2. We simply accept that although God provides absolute standards, they'll clash occasionally because His will to do and define how He pleases is His most important attribute.
  3. Humankind is made in God's image and so share common assumptions about what is good. This means God's character is His most important attribute.
  4. Graded Absolutism: God's commands are ranked in importance.