The god of abrahamic religions is typically said to be omnipotent an omniscient. However, how could such a god rule out solipsism, simulation theory and things like that? Consider the following scenario: there exists a being, which we will call "super-god", which is really powerful. This being then creates God, and tricks him into believing that he is eternal, omnipotent and omniscient. Super-god is also powerful enough to hide itself from God. It seems to me that, to God, this scenario would be, by definition, indistinguishable from the scenario where God is actually omnipotent and omniscient. But, this means an omniscient being wouldn't be able to know that he is actually omniscient... which means that omniscience is logically impossible. This also proves that an omnipotent being lacks the power of being able to know that he is omnipotent (and omniscient). And it also means that, if a god claims to be omnipotent and omniscient, then he is either being dishonest or hasn't realized this objection that I just made.

You could say "well God is supernatural, you can't really know details about him, surely there's a way in which he can know that he's omnipotent and omniscient, you just don't know that way". But, if you accept that, then I can just as easily say "well, super-god is also supernatural, and surely it could trick God into believing that he's omnipotent and omniscient in such a way that it is completely indistinguishable from God actually being omnipotent and omniscient, even if I don't know that way". In other words, appealing to mystery doesn't solve the problem.

Is there a flaw in this whole reasoning? I feel like there has to be, because otherwise this is kind of a dealbreaker for the traditional notion of god as omnipotent and omniscient, and I can't believe I'm the first to think about this.

  • God is not a deceiver, so creating a being and tricking them into believing they are God is not something he would do. Hence any trickster can not be omnipotent, and if he is not his trickery is detectable. Of course, he could still trick someone else into believing they are God, but omnipotent and omniscient God would instead know it, and know the difference.
    – Conifold
    Dec 11 '20 at 17:43
  • I don't think this helps. Super-god is not omnipotent, but it can be powerful enough to create a being and make this being believe that they (the being) are omnipotent and omniscient. From the prespective of this being, this situation is indistinguishable from actual omnipotence and omniscience. You claim that this trickery would be detectable as long as super-god isn't omnipotent, but that's essentially claiming that you can disprove solipsism or simulation theory! Dec 11 '20 at 20:18
  • For God, being and knowing are one, so no error or delusion can nestle between the two. You see, in order doubt, question, incorrectness to exist, there must exist non-being; there is no non-being in God. God cannot believe because believing (or assertion) implies negation of mistake, overcoming it. "It is so and not the other way around" gives away non-being. But God's knowledge is simple, calm positive and exact. God calls himself Being, not a being.
    – ttnphns
    Dec 11 '20 at 22:38
  • For that being it may be indistinguishable, but it is for omniscient God by definition. And he can thereby disprove any simulation theory, not that he needs to prove or disprove anything. "Appeal to mystery", as you put it, is just appeal to the definition of omniscience, actually omniscient being can not be tricked and knows it. We only find it "mysterious" because we are not omniscient, and think of knowing on the model of verifying and disproving, which then suggests the possibility of tricking.
    – Conifold
    Dec 11 '20 at 23:04

To abstract the question, super-god creates god and keeps god in a permanent state of delusion. If, in principle, super-god does this effectively then god will never know, whatever the actual delusions are. So this is a possible scenario unless there’s something about omniscience and omnipotence that can’t be simulated convincingly. So that turns the question around; is there anything about those qualities that couldn’t be simulated? If not then the OP stands.


But, this means an omniscient being wouldn't be able to know that he is actually omniscient... which means that omniscience is logically impossible.

I would challenge that this means maybe the definition of omniscience and/or omnipotence used is flawed.

An omnipotent being still can't create a turing machine that solves the halting problem. An omniscient being can't resolve paradoxes, that's the nature of paradoxes.

This doesn't mean omniscience or omnipotence don't exist, they are still useful concepts to use. Omniscience would be like having a super-oracle. Asking the super-oracle whether it is truthful obviously leads to a non-answer because the answer is always yes, regardless of whether that's true or is a lie. It doesn't mean the super-oracle doesn't exist, just that you can't tell whether you have one (because in any case the answer is yes).

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