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What can a Omnipotence God Do and what he can't ?

can he for example create logically incoherent things ?

Can god Create A being more powerful than he/it is ? Or Can god Prove he doesn't Exist ? if he wants to ? doesn't that defeats the claim that god is known (claimed by most mono-theistic religions) and god is the most powerful being to ever exist ?

closed as too broad by virmaior, Swami Vishwananda, Nick R, L.M. Student, Conifold Apr 30 '18 at 21:24

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Also there's a large number of similar questions on this SE. Please refer to those for an answer or if you don't find any that do answer it, please explain your question in contrast to those. – virmaior Apr 30 '18 at 8:37
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    Which god? According to which text? – JeffUK Apr 30 '18 at 10:04
  • As virmaior said, there are plenty of similar questions on this site and not only(on islam.SE you'll find some) but they are not rational. God is Omnipotent to humans, and every aspect of His Omnipotence it is discussed considering human logic. Is there any logic in this: a being that exists to prove that it doesn't...? Check this in order to understand my idea: eu0.proxysite.com/… – lukuss Apr 30 '18 at 11:08
  • @JeffUK The Christian / Muslim God(s) – Noor Nizar Apr 30 '18 at 11:56
  • This will likely be closed as too broad. I recommend searching the site for "omnipotence" and attempt to answer some of those questions and formulate new questions that are specific to particular philosophers and includes your view of this logical paradox. A question should be able to be answered in a few focused paragraphs. – Frank Hubeny Apr 30 '18 at 14:53
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First of all, the answer to this depends on how you define omnipotence. What you are asking goes in line with the first definition:

A deity is able to do anything that it chooses to do.

In other words, there is nothing an omnipotent god cannot do.

I have struggled with the concept of omnipotence for a while now. I don't think it makes sense to say that there is a being that is omnipotent in its own environment. This would lead to paradoxes, such as:

Can an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that it cannot lift it?

The general problem with absolute omnipotence is that god could change his own environment in ways that restrict his omnipotence.

What if we refine the definition of omnipotence to the following: there is nothing an omnipotent god cannot do within the world he created. This would assume that god has created our universe and has complete control over it. Within his own world, though, he would not be omnipotent, and hence, the paradoxes are resolved.

Think of a programmer who created a simulated world. He can do anything within the world, but he is an ordinary person within his own world.

  • I think this is the closest thing we can describe the power of god to be, without making illogical and irrational or saying we just can't comprehend, sadly it doesn't match what is described in today's Abrahamic religions . – Noor Nizar Apr 30 '18 at 12:48
  • @NoorNizar Well, I am not talking about any specific god. I am talking about the concept of omnipotence. I am an atheist myself, but I thought I could play a god's advocate in this case :) – Dmytro Shevchenko Apr 30 '18 at 13:10
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We cannot know

The human mind is constrained in its ability to conceive of what is "possible" and "impossible" by the fact that our perception is entirely shaped by the laws of physics that we live under, and that even in this perception we are also constrained by the time and size scales that we can perceive, which is quite a small portion of this physical existence. Existence outside of these constraints is presently not possible for us to envision.

But making the simple assumption that there can be a supernatural entity has perception that stretches far outside these ranges, and that can also shape the laws of nature, this entity can do things we cannot even begin to imagine. With that it also becomes possible for that entity to do things that to us seem impossible or inconsistent, because it operates outside of the basic rules that we take for granted and that shapes our perception of what is possible/impossible.

So what are the limits of what supernatural deity can do? The question is unanswerable because we cannot perceive what it is like to operate outside the laws of our universe.

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One way around the problem for theists is to claim that God cannot do logically incoherent things.

Defining "omnipotence" as excluding logically incoherent things defeats this potential defeater for belief in God. This would still make God "the most powerful being to ever exist".

As an example of theists who have restricted omnipotence in this way, see Alvin Plantinga's "Free Will Defense". The wikipedia article states:

...Plantinga pointed out that God, though omnipotent, could not be expected to do literally anything. God could not, for example, create square circles, act contrary to his nature, or, more relevantly, create beings with free will that would never choose evil.

There may be other ways around the problem, but just restricting omnipotence to doing only what is logically coherent is all that is needed.

  • Prove to me that God could tan a wolfudgbandish. No? God must not exist. – elliot svensson Apr 30 '18 at 17:10
  • @elliotsvensson Maybe the word "incoherent" should be "contradictory"? I can see the wolfudgbandish is incoherent, but perhaps not contradictory. – Frank Hubeny Apr 30 '18 at 20:24
  • Hmmm, either way I guess. If it's contradictory, I think that makes it incoherent, but in a specific way. – elliot svensson Apr 30 '18 at 21:27
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Layered realities

I have seen many come up with similar arguments. You propose a law or logical principle which is then broken, because if you can do anything, you can break the very rules one has set.

But here we have a problem. Anything can only happen when there is a thing upon which the thing or action happens. In defining this thing or object, one embeds limitations by its very existence.

It appears to us an infinite being could not make themselves finite in the same realm as the infinite, but could make themselves finite in another reality. Or can one make an immovable rock and then move it. You would have to ask, immovable to who or what? As soon as one talks about this, one has to assume boundaries and limitations that apply to creation and God Himself which is not possible for us to do.

So our language is bounded by our experience of our reality and perceptions. From our perspective the creator is all knowing, all powerful.

So you could argue omnipotence is only relative to the created world and our experience of it.

A for instance, if you created a rock that could not be lifted, by definition for it not to be at the centre of mass, it is being lifted or held up by something. If one extends this further, any force attracting the object which is being resisted qualifies as lifting the object away from the centre of attraction. So the question is not meaningful or possible to fulfil in the first place unless you start applying the approximations that exist in the real world. An unliftable rock would only exist in a universe where it alone existed. But then there would be nothing else to lift it.

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I think the confusion derives from the language(-game?) embedded in the question itself: can something that is limitless be bound by limit? You don't even need to ask the ancillary questions if you can't answer that one.

It seems our use of language is already defining-down or hemming in the idea of 'growth without bound' by yoking it to 'somethinghood,' the ontological status of an object, which necessarily has limits.

An omnipotent god both can and cannot do all of those things you said since saying a thing 'cannot not' do something is, in fact, imposing a restriction upon omnipotence. "All" is necessarily the union of can and cannot. In fact, I think we probably need to invoke tetralemma here, since infinite can surely bust any law of excluded middle, n'est pas?

To talk about the truth of infinite power, we must say that: can, cannot, both can and cannot, neither can or cannot.

Mahayana helps.

  • This attempt to solve the problem is very weird. instead of trying to give meaning or identification of What god's power can do , you suggest that god's power its self is incoherent ? i guess ?. but i don't think that "ALL" (power) is a union of can and can't since we are talking about power. which is what a bein is able todo . then we cant say his power includes not bein able todo something . if his power in its self includes not bein able todo something then its omnipotence . unless you mean "he can do it if he wills " and he cant do it if he wants not to be able to. – Noor Nizar Apr 30 '18 at 13:05
  • What I'm saying is that the problem arises as soon as we try to talk about infinite as 'a being' or 'some thing' emphasis on the article. If we are trying to describe 'all' then we have to describe everything that is both possible and impossible. I'm suggesting that the only way we can speak coherently about infinite is by including the excluded middle, else, you're limiting that which is supposed to be limitless. – simpatico Apr 30 '18 at 14:23
  • Consider, if omnipotence means power to "do every-thing" then we are excluding the power to "do no-thing," thereby imposing a limit on limitlessness. You have to say the power to do everything; the power to do nothing; neither the power to do everything nor the power to do nothing; and the power to do everything and the power to do nothing. – simpatico Apr 30 '18 at 14:34
  • I up-voted your comment. It offers an alternate way around the logical issue. However, the "Mahayana" reference puzzles me. Do you have a link that gives your understanding of this term. Otherwise I will assume what is in Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana – Frank Hubeny Apr 30 '18 at 14:46
  • Sorry, yes, I should've been more specific. I was referring to Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way and the use of tetralemma to address logically inscrutable philosophical problems, more generally: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catu%E1%B9%A3ko%E1%B9%ADi – simpatico Apr 30 '18 at 14:53

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