Divine Command Theory – Potentiality and Limits


  • Tibor Máhrik Evangelical Theological Seminary, Stoliňská 2417/41a, 193 00 Praha 9, Czech Republic
  • Roman Kralik Department of Russian Language Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Miklukho-Maklaya 6, 117198 Moscow, Russian Federation & Theological Institute in Spišské Podhradie, Catholic University in Ružomberok, Spišská Kapitula 12, 034 01 Ružomberok, Slovakia




Divine Command Theory, metaphysics, metaethics, god, theology, moral realism, non-naturalism


Thesis. Divine Command Theory (hereafter DCT) is a metaethical theory belonging to the category of moral realism of the non-cognitive type, whose popularity is growing. In this thesis, we show some of the reasons that have triggered the need to address the normativity of ethical concepts, because of which DCT receives its justification.

Concept. Our argument begins with an analysis of a critical moment in contemporary ethical discourse, the question of normativity, relating Hume's law to the contemporary problem of solipsism, philosophical pluralism, and epistemic reductionism in moral philosophy. We show the strengths of the moral reasoning offered by Divine Command Theory and point out its weaknesses, which have to do with the fact that God is not a perfect system of moral axioms, but a being who acts morally and perfectly.

Results and conclusion. Divine Command Theory is an important metaethical approach that offers a solid space for the establishment of different ethical frameworks with normativity weights, but on the other hand harbours question marks that should not be overlooked. These are questions of justice and love in terms of God's model of reasoning, since both aspects are paradoxical from a theological point of view and, moreover, run the risk of a self-referential fallacy on the part of the interpreter of God's commandments. The problematic aspects of this theory that we point out do not in any way undermine its validity, but rather anticipate an even deeper level of reflection on ethical realism.


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Author Biographies

  • Tibor Máhrik, Evangelical Theological Seminary, Stoliňská 2417/41a, 193 00 Praha 9, Czech Republic

    He is a philosopher, theologian and university teacher. With his education (MSc. in microelectronics at the Slovak University of Technology; PhDr. and PhD in nanoethics and philosophy at Constantine Philosopher University in Nitra; DipTh. in theology at Belfast Bible College) he bridges several fields of knowledge and seeks interdisciplinary interpretations of the phenomena under investigation. His research areas include epistemology, metaethics, theology and metaphysics, while the place of man in society in a teleological sense remains at the epicenter of his research and publication interest. He considers Kierkegaard's concept of the individual and the paradoxical nature of the world to be a proper and relevant starting point for understanding the current challenges of society and the family.

  • Roman Kralik, Department of Russian Language Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Miklukho-Maklaya 6, 117198 Moscow, Russian Federation & Theological Institute in Spišské Podhradie, Catholic University in Ružomberok, Spišská Kapitula 12, 034 01 Ružomberok, Slovakia

    Currently works as the director of the Kierkegaarod Society in Slovakia and Professor, . His main interest is the Danish thinker Soren Kierkegaard. He also deals with culture studies and the problem of education. He is the editor-in-chief of the Acta KIerkegaardiana (University of Toronto) series.


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How to Cite

Máhrik, T., & Kralik, R. (2024). Divine Command Theory – Potentiality and Limits. Journal of Education Culture and Society, 15(1), 19-28. https://doi.org/10.15503/jecs2024.1.19.28

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