This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Is Virtuous Character Different For God Than Humans?

It seems we take for granted that character traits such as courage, temperance, perseverance and others are virtuous for humans. In other words, it is morally good to possess these, and people who possess these are more virtuous in character than those who do not have these traits.

But is it possible for God to possess such traits? What does it mean for God to be courageous? Did He have any fear to overcome in the first place? Or was He truly threatened in some way such that He had to act a certain way despite those threats? Or regarding temperance, what appetites or desires is God curtailing in Himself?

The particular examples aren't the point. i think others could be presented. The point is it seems there are ways in which man can be virtuous that God cannot because certain virtues seem to presuppose circumstances or conditions specific to humanity. If we were to assign any of these virtues to God, it would suggest that He faces a circumstance or condition that it seems we would be hesitant if not altogether unwilling to say that God would ever face.

So does this mean that morality works differently for God than for man? Does it mean we have mis-defined those virtues? Can a person be virtuous and moral and good in a way that God can't? It seems particularly strange to concede this because Christians typically tend to think (and rightfully so, i believe) that God is the measure of all morality, that goodness and virtue is metaphysically grounded in the character and person of God. If that is so, it seems strange to think of certain points of virtue being disanalogous between God and man.

No comments:

Unique Users