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Keywords:

  • Thomas Aquinas;
  • Christian ethics;
  • divine command theory;
  • metaethics;
  • natural law

A brief historical overview shows the main Christian claims aboutmorality and proper conduct, looking at questions about both prescriptions (‘normative ethics’) and foundations (‘metaethics’). Jesus did not leave a fully articulated ethical system, and hence it fell to his followers to tease out such a system from hism sayings and actions. Particularly important for Catholic thinking has been the natural law theory of St. Thomas Aquinas. Particularly important for Protestant thinking have been the directives of the Gospel stories, although different branches of Protestantism emphasize different parts of Christ's teachings. Foundationally important for all Christians is God's will or desire, and it is necessary to show that this does not commit the believer to potentially capricious divine directives.