Response to “Euthyphro”

Socrates and Euthyphro spend much of this dialogue debating the nature of piety and its relationship with the gods. They do not reach a conclusion on either. They might have had more success if they had reconsidered the nature of the gods. Since the gods had both divine power and human form, the Greeks could worship them and relate to them. Unfortunately, the gods also had human weakness; thus, they often committed abominable and merciless deeds including murder, deceit, adultery, and wanton destruction. Because the gods were not good, goodness could not proceed from them. Therefore, the Greeks could not explain the origin, existence, or justification for piety.

Fortunately, the religion of another culture addressed this difficulty. The Jews, alone among the people of the earth, believed in an all-loving, all-merciful God who is the source of all goodness and whose relationship with His people is as intimate as that of a husband and a wife. Christianity, which proceeded from Judaism, teaches that this Word was made Flesh through Jesus Christ. Like the Greek gods, Jesus had both human form and divine power, but unlike them, he resisted all temptations towards evil and provided a perfect example for how men should live. Therefore, Christian philosophers like St. Thomas Aquinas can proceed into a realm of understanding which Socrates and Euthyphro could not reach. Because there is one God, there can be no disagreements between divine beings over what is right and wrong. Piety is the will of God; it is so inextricably linked with Him that it is a part of Him. Furthermore, the actions of Jesus established a model for all men to follow. Christianity fulfilled the yearnings of the pagan philosophers.

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