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Analyze the following argument:

  1. God is All Powerful, omnipotent and omniscient.

  2. If God can do anything, can He create something that even He can't affect (e.g. a stone so heavy that He can't lift it)?

  3. God can do anything that is Possible.

  4. Even God can't do something that is not possible to be done.

Question: Can God create a stone so heavy that even He can not lift it?

We said that God can do anything, that's why God can create a stone so heavy that even He can not lift it.

But according to rule 4 we can say God cannot create such a stone. Please explain the solution in a way that answers the above question.

marked as duplicate by stoicfury Mar 28 '13 at 6:03

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  • P1 seems to be a contradiction. If he can do anything then he could move any stone. If there was s tone he couldn't move then he can't do everything, – Wayne In Yak Mar 26 '13 at 16:46
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    P1 is not a premise, because it is a question. Try to rephrase the question with statements as premises and a statement as conclusion. – Eric '3ToedSloth' Mar 26 '13 at 17:24
  • This is probably a place to start en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnipotence_paradox#Proposed_answers – Dzmitry Tsapkou Mar 26 '13 at 21:21
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    Can God create a burrito so hot, he can't eat it.-Homer Simpson – Baby Dragon Mar 27 '13 at 18:28
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    Sorry, but this question is a duplicate, nor is it constructive. If it truly interests you, then you can find information on Wikipedia about it and other places. But given the question, we already know it will not generate the kind of answers we are looking for on this site. – stoicfury Mar 28 '13 at 6:03
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You are operating within the laws of classical logic. If God is all-powerful he'll can possibly change the laws of logic itself to allow what you suggested is for him impossible. I say possibly as this is to a large extent speculation on my part. However note that there are paraconsistent logics in the Western philosophical tradition within which allow inconsistencies and intuitionistic logic which drops the excluded middle; the Eastern philosophical tradition has the catuskoti one of which allows the possibilities of contradiction.

Of course this itself a little anthropomorphic - for him to change the laws of logic. One could say alternatively that there are no laws of logic for him - since he is the ground of all laws. Though I'm not sure quite this means in practise.

  • God would change the laws of logic to make possible what was previous impossible to him? I think that this is not a claim you can simply make, and I am sure I could find tons of literature that claims the opposite, i.e. that even God submits to the rules of logic. Could you elaborate on that? – iphigenie Mar 27 '13 at 12:24
  • How does one "change the rules of logic"? Perhaps only by changing the rules of language. After all, if one does something, this proves that one is able to; and by the meaning of the word "unable", that it is not the case that one is unable. Perhaps an all powerful god might just confuse our language and our cognitive ability so that we can no longer contemplate his inability to fulfil a contradiction; this would be easier than performing an action which he is (in any meaningful sense) unable to do. – Niel de Beaudrap Mar 27 '13 at 14:18
  • @iphengenie: I thought I did - I mentioned paraconsistent logic & the catuskoti? Do you not consider these as logic? Do you want me to go into more detail? To say that God submits to the rules of logic - isn't this just a paraphrasing of 'Man created God in his own Image'? – Mozibur Ullah Mar 27 '13 at 15:30
  • @deBeaudrap: Seeing, that for us our ground for discussion is always language - then in this sense you are right (Changing logic by changing language). – Mozibur Ullah Mar 27 '13 at 15:34
  • @Iphigenie: I've added the word possibly if that helps :). I do have something in mind but I don't think that this is the right place to elaborate it - I'll drop it in a question. – Mozibur Ullah Mar 28 '13 at 3:48
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  • God is All Powerful, omnipotent and omniscient.
  • If God can do anything, can He create something that even He can't affect (e.g. a stone so heavy that He can't lift it)?
  • God can do anything that is Possible.
  • Even God can't do something that is not possible to be done.

Question: Can God create a stone so heavy that even He can not lift it?

1: All-powerful and omnipotent are synonyms; omniscient has nothing to do with this argument.

3: Unnecessary due to #1 (although that's what I'll be arguing omnipotent means; I agree with 3 and 4).

I propose the following argument:

  • God is omnipotent.
  • If God is omnipotent, then He can create an object He cannot affect.
  • If God is omnipotent, then He can affect any object He creates.
  • 2 and 3 are logical contradictions.
  • Therefore, God cannot be omnipotent.

I think both 2 and 3 are false; They inaccurately define "omnipotent."

Can He make a stone too heavy to lift? We say "no" because He can lift anything. But that means there is something He cannot do -- make a stone too heavy to lift. It seems to me this is a logical impossibility. If it's logically impossible, then I would argue it isn't a thing at all (and if it isn't a thing, then there is still no thing that He cannot do).

Omnipotence doesn't mean God can do absolutely anything and everything without restriction; He can do anything and everything within His nature. According to Aquinas, "God is called omnipotent because He can do all things that are possible absolutely" (Summa Theologica).

He is good, therefore He cannot lie. Given that He's created the world, He is no longer able to refrain from creating at all. He cannot make 1+1=3. He cannot make a square circle. These things just don't make any sense, and therefore have nothing to do with whether God is omnipotent.

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1• God is All Powerful, omnipotent and omniscient.

2• If God can do anything, can He create something that even He cant affect? (ie: A stone so heavy that He cant lift it)

3• God can do anything that is Possible.

4• Even God cant do something that is not possible to be done

Point two is not consistent with what Christianity claims omnipotence to be. You have builded yourself a neat little straw man their.

Omnipotence as defined by Christianity does not entail everything. Omnipotence generally has not included that which is logically incoherent. It does make the distinction of being the act in question actually being logically possible.

Let me explain further.

Can God create a stone so heavy that even he cannot lift.

Now this is a a logically incoherent statement. Now as religious people we can either assert that yes God can do the logically incoherent. So he can indeed make a rock so big that even he cannot lift it and then lift it. You may say but this is logically incoherent and then I would say to yes but he can do it.

OR.

We can go it questions about what does logically incoherent statements mean. Some have claimed that logically incoherent statements like "A room full of emptiness" or "Looking left and right at the same time" has no objective meaning and that making these statements is like a baby jabber. Sounds you can make with your mouth that have no objective meaning.

Either way it does not call into question God's Omnipotence.

Hope that helps.

  • Do all these statements about God of the Christian belief apply to any Deity of the other major religions? Can Krishna create a stone that is too heavy to lift? What about Budha ? – user128932 May 1 '14 at 5:17

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