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I have already asked a similar question about omniscience of God implying determinism. I was corrected by people that this is actually fatalism and that there are different forms of omniscience. Here I want to ask the question, whether the premise of an omnipotent God implies non-existence of fundamental physical laws. I think there are ways to reconcile these two notions with probabilistic laws. This would mean that there are laws but there is enough room for a being to enforce its omnipotence. Is there any literature on this?

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  • To the contrary, being omnipotent, God can establish fundamental physical laws if he so pleases. This was the idea behind the clockwork universe.
    – Conifold
    Mar 19, 2023 at 10:38

4 Answers 4

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No, the premise of an omnipotent god does not rule-out absolute physical laws, because you can interpret absolute physical laws as meaning laws imposed by god, who, presumably, retains the power to change or overrule them.

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    Ok but if the laws can be changed then they're not fundamental anymore.
    – eeqesri
    Mar 19, 2023 at 12:25
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    No, my point was that you can define fundamental as meaning laid down by god. It is all an empty argument about the meaning of words. Mar 19, 2023 at 12:34
  • @eeqesri If an omnipotent thingme changes the laws of physics, then that thingme will make sure that you don't complain about it. Your mouth will be shut forever. (You didn't think an omnipotent thingme would be nice, did you? )
    – gnasher729
    Mar 20, 2023 at 19:30
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In addition to @MarcoOcram's answer (+1) omnipotence may mean that there are physical laws, but that God is not subject to them in the same way. If I write a computer simulation of a world (c.f. The Matrix) then I can write physical laws into that simulation that apply universally to all entities in the simulation, but I can still write a "backdoor" that means they don't apply to my avatar. Essentially then the absolute physical law (c.f. the code of the simulation) applies to God as well, just in a different way in which they apply to us (giving more freedom).

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Giving god an inexhaustible supply of aces up his sleeve in the form of his being able to break the fundamental laws of nature any time he requires a miracle is a convenient but witless way to explain miracles and/or god's supposed omnipotence.

This sort of unreasoning might bolster belief in Nielsen's First Law of Statistics (anything can be proven with a small enough sample size) but if you turn the "argument" around and search for miracles as proof of the existence of god, you run into trouble rather quickly, because miracles do not exist except in ancient texts written by people who believed you could cure disease by burning a piece of meat on a mountaintop.

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Laws in physics are not unbreakable. See this discussion: https://www.pnas.org/action/oidcCallback?idpCode=connect&error=login_required&error_description=Login+required&state=ywFvQQYneg-BzlJMigPaE1BUoozBVbZq647eHy_L_QE That science laws are not unbreakable, but instead are regularities, is true of all of the rest of science as well. therefore the conflict you presuppose: "unbreakable physics vs. omnipotent God" is no contest, as there is no "unbreakable physics".

Also relevant is the postulate of God as creator. A creator God SETS the laws of physics (however breakable they might be)! So once more there is no contest.

More interesting is -- can such a God be judged good or bad? How? Would morality pre-exist creation, such that an absolute morality constrains God (IE God not omnipotent vs. morality)? Or is morality created by God, in which case "moral" becomes meaningless relative to God? This is called the Euthyphro Dilemma in Greek philosophy.

Even more interesting is "coherent". Did God create logic? If so, God can violate logic too, and logic cannot be used to evaluate a God.

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