Debate:Could God create a rock so heavy that he himself could not lift it?

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Could God create a rock so heavy that he himself could not lift it? Discuss--Sm355 18:08, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Does omnipotence include the power to create an even greater power than itself? That's what that rock is: a greater power than omnipotence. Only agents of limited power can "create" things which are, in some ways, more powerful than them, by the means of contriving complex objects which already exist which are in some ways more powerful than them. Unfortunately, the ultimate complex object which we limited agents can contrive is a conflation of real logic and semantics.PatternOfPersona 21:33, 5 July 2011 (EDT)

The answer is NO He cannot "do" that. Note that there is no limit however to the size of a rock that He can create, and there is no limit to the size of a rock that He can lift. Thus the question - answered in the negative - involves no limitation on God's prerogatives; if answered in the positive however does. The whole thing is a play on words as is explained more or less in various ways below. It's negation does not mean God is not omnipotent - it means that omnipotence is not properly tested as implied by this question. Qwestor 14:54, 28 December 2007 (EDT)

This old one... its supposed to be a paradox showing the omnipotence is impossible: If God can create the rock, He must not be all-powerful because He cannot lift it. If He cant create the rock, then He still isn't all powerful. Either way, no all-powerful being. Personally, I think God just has no reason to create such a rock, so why would He? - BornAgainBrit

Because he wants to disprove his own existence. --Huey gunna getcha 18:17, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

But you can't assume that God is temporally limited like us mere mortals. He can create the rock so heavy he can't lift it one minute, then, the next minute, he lifts it. Just because we can't conceive of it, doesn't mean God can't lift it. -mittromney

He'd get YOU to lift it. --Crackertalk 18:51, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
No! No matter how heavy the rock would be, God would still be able to lift it because he is the Almighty.
"He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved." (Psalm 62:6)
JC 09:44, 23 March 2007 (EDT)

Contents

Traditional Paradox of God

God is omnipotent
Therefore he can
But since he is omnipotent
He can lift the rock he cannot lift
Therefore God is a paradox and cannot exist

Helios loves the creator of this page and will worship him as though he were a paradoxical God.


The part that people miss is assuming that God is picking the rock up with a pair of arms like a human. God isn't a human. God doesn't have a physical body. God can't lift rocks. God makes the rock lift itself.

Doesn't "lifting" assume an "up"? What is an omnipresent being standing on when lifting a rock? I think this question is broken. Totnesmartin 16:55, 16 May 2007

(EDT)

Alright, then can he make a rock so large he cannot make it move? And another thing disproving that he exists; it says in Genesis it took him six days to create the universe. A perfect, all-powerful god would have created it instantly. And some say that maybe he took his time, etc. That doesn't work either, because if he was perfect, everything he did would be as efficient as possible, and that would mean instantly. And, on top of that, he had to rest from the effort. Now, granted, creating a universe in only six days, and only resting for one is still pretty impressive, but that doesn't mean omnipotence.- Bob Sanchez

Did it ever occur to anyone that it might take time to create imperfection from perfection? JM (Meyje)
What "imperfection from perfection"? Philip J. Rayment 22:29, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
As far as the rock is concerned, that has been answered below, I believe. God can do anything that can be done. Creating a rock too big for Him to move is not something that can be done.
You are incorrect in claiming that a "perfect, all-powerful god would have created [the universe] instantly". The correct statement would be that He could create it instantly, not that He would.
By claiming that He would not have taken longer because that would be less efficient is (a) not obviously true (sometimes it is more efficient to take longer), and (b) presumes that efficiency is the prime goal. Rather, it would appear from Exodus 20:11 that God chose to take six days in order to set the pattern for the week.
Similarly, you misunderstand the reference to resting. The Bible doesn't say that God was tired and needed to recuperate. The Hebrew word translated "rest" simply means to take a break, to stop from working. Again, this would have been in order to set the pattern for the week: work six days and take the seventh day off.
In summary, then, you have basically tried picking holes with the account by saying that if God was truly omnipotent, He would have done things the way that you think He would have done them, which overlooks that perhaps there are reasons that He chose to do them the way He did that you hadn't considered.
Philip J. Rayment 03:02, 17 July 2007 (EDT)

God is almighty, it'll be dumb if He created a rock to the point where He Himself can not lift it. God created the Heavens and the Earth, God can lift any rock. Now if HE did created such a rock, He do have the powers to make it easier fro Him to lift it. Didn't anyone think of that? I like what Philip J. Rayment said there, it is true, He did make the patterns of the week. That's why every time God created something, the BIBLE said that it was the 1st or 2nd or 3rd day.


if god is perfect, then what reason would he have to bother with existence? Surely he would do anything he would ever need or want to do in an infinitely small time, and then simply pop out of existence. If he was all-knowing, he would know it was all he could ever want to do, and if he was capable of anything, he could stop existing. (Rowan)

That argument presupposes that God exists in time, which He doesn't, as "time" is part of His creation. Philip J. Rayment 20:20, 10 December 2007 (EST)

Absurd

This question is absurd and this revolves around the question of what omnipotence is. If you use the definition of "omnipotence is the ability to do anything" then you hit this problem. If you use the definition of "omnipotence is the ability to do anything that may be done" then the problem does not exist.

Lets take an alternative form of this argument:

  1. If God is omnipotent, then God can create a square circle
  2. God cannot create a square circle
  3. Therefore, God is not omnipotent

This is of the form

  1. p -> q
  2. ~q
  3. therefore ~p

which is a valid argument form known as modus tollens. To attack this argument it is necessary to look at the premises. The second premise is fair so the first must be examined. This can be broken down into:

    1. God is omnipotent
    2. Therefore God can create or do anything
    3. A square circle is a thing
    4. Therefore God can create a square circle

Theistic scholar/philosophers do not claim the omnipotence of God, but rather that God is the maximally powerful being. That God can do anything that can be done. With the modified argument:

    1. God the maximally powerful being
    2. Therefore God can create or do anything
    3. A square circle is a thing
    4. Therefore God can create a square circle

It falls apart and the first premise of the argument fails. Ultimately, this does not limit God's power - He can do anything that can be done and create anything that can exist.

This can then be summed up in:

  • God is the maximally powerful being.
  • That which cannot exist, cannot be created.

There is no paradox here, and any claim otherwise rests on absurdity. --Mtur 18:25, 19 March 2007 (EDT)


Let's apply this argument by logical constraint to a few other Christian doctrines, then, shall we?

Example 1:

    1. For a woman to beome pregnant, she must be inseminated.
    2. Virgins have not been inseminated
    3. Mary was a virgin
    4. Therefore, Mary was not pregnant.


Example 2:

    1. Everything that exists has a cause outside of itself. (Premise)
    2. The universe exists. (Premise)
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause outside of itself.
    4. We call that cause God (cosmological argument).
    5. God exits (Premise)
    6. Therefore, God has a cause outside of itself.




So - God is too weak to create a squared circle. I get that - but what about the rock?



"Any claim otherwise rests on absurdity"? You seem fairly confident that by using a lot of logical jargon and organizing your post in a way that intimates you know what you're talking about, you can circumvent the inherent logical fallacy that you're assuming you can conceptualize what can exist and what can be created. If you claim to know what can and what cannot be created, such as, for example, a rock that God can't lift, shouldn't that be in the entry for hubris? -mittromney

I am simply stating the solution to the paradox of omnipotence that was given back as an answer in one of the religious studies classes I took at a Catholic highschool and again in a university class on "Philosophy and Religion." At best, the paradox of omnipotence is a strawman argument. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Thomas Aquinas said it well "Since the principles of certain sciences, such as logic, geometry and arithmetic are taken only from the formal principles of things, on which the essence of the thing depends, it follows that God could not make things contrary to these principles. For example, that a genus was not predicable of the species, or that lines drawn from the center to the circumference were not equal, or that a triangle did not have three angles equal to two right angles." - granted this is founded on euclidean space, but it goes back to the question of can God break the laws of the universe that He created. Alternatively, you can go to Augustine of Hippo and read "For He is called omnipotent on account of His doing what He wills, not on account of His suffering what He wills not; for if that should befall Him, He would by no means be omnipotent. Wherefore, He cannot do some things for the very reason that He is omnipotent." [6] --Mtur 18:54, 19 March 2007 (EDT)


Isn't the fact that your quote from Aquinas included a notion that was later proved to be totally incorrect by Einstein absolutely damning for your argument that humans can adequately perceive and evaluate logical concepts? I guess I'm curious how any of what you say deals properly with the idea that God is totally superior in every way, and therefore to say He can or can't do something is pointless hubris a fortiori? -mittromney

It depends if you take it literally or what he was trying to say. The question is can God do something that is against the rules of logic? If you don't like the triangle example that Aquinas gave, then use four sided triangles or square circles in place of them. Read the first sentence again and you will see that these are perfectly valid substitutions - "Since the principles of certain sciences, such as logic, geometry and arithmetic are taken only from the formal principles of things, on which the essence of the thing depends, it follows that God could not make things contrary to these principles." --Mtur 19:01, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
So you're saying that we should just choose a new facially contradictory idea, and go ahead with that, while my whole point was that we're totally incapable of evaluating what's consistent and what's contradictory? I'm not sure how choosing new examples of things we assume to be not true helps you at all... -mittromney
You are suggesting that Aquinas is proven wrong because he used a definition of a triangle that only worked in euclidean space. This false-paradox is a straw man for an atheistic world view that is based on a particular definition of omnipotence - it is just as bad as creationists giving straw man arguments that are counter evolution (do note, I am not a creationist). If you wish to argue that a logical impossibility is not beyond omnipotence, then you can work from the Cartesian viewpoint of the trickster god or demon that allows 2+2=5, though that is more a question of belief and knowledge than omnipotence. If you wish to argue about omnipotence with a theistic philosopher, then it is necessary to work from that definition of omnipotence. I am presenting that definition and showing how the rest of the question falls to absurdity when this definition is used - which does not limit omnipotence. Simply said, God can do anything that can be done. --Mtur 19:15, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Again, I don't think you properly respond to what I'm saying. I claim the idea of a logical impossibility is a hobgoblin of mediocre minds: We have no idea what's logically possible or impossible. To say we do, and subsequently to claim that somehow human logic limits the omnipotence of god, is foolhardy. What I was suggesting with your Aquinas example is that things which may at one point in time appear to be facially and obviously contradictory can, in the future, be shown to actually be possible, and the original belief was therefore just an incorrect human assumption and not "logic". How that argument is a false-paradox straw man is beyond me: It appears you just throw those terms around to try to demonstrate that you're familiar with logical jargon in the hopes that the other side will assume you know better than they do. When you argue through implicit authority (not to even bring up the Descartes reference), you sound like a liberal who belongs at wiki... -mittromney

I would urge you to ask your priest or minister the question of the rock so heavy. You will likely get a similar answer to mine (and that of Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo). Omnipotence is a human definition with words that are constrained by our language. Head to the seminary and you will find half a dozen different definitions of omnipotence and various theologians arguing for and against each one being the correct interpretation of the word. You will even find Judaism (which also asserts the omnipotent God) claims that God works through persuasion rather than action - the creation of possibility rather than miracles or violations of natural law - that His omnipotence is shown through that means. Other branches of Christianity use "God cannot make you sin" as part of its philosophy, that if God was to make you sin then you would not have free will and thus would not be sinning. The only reason to pose the paradox of omnipotence is to try to assert that God does not have such power. My take on it (and I agree with those sources I have linked above) is that the proper definition of omnipotence is "to have any power that can be had" or to be the maximally powerful being and as such the question of the rock or a square circle or a four sided triangle becomes a silly question - that which cannot exist cannot be created. If you wish to assert a different definition and solution to this question, then by all means do so. However, I have not seen any reasonable argument against this position from you yet. --Mtur 20:41, 19 March 2007 (EDT)


"Maximally powerful" doesn't mean "all-powerful". Your arguement implies that the Bible was incorrect in naming God as omnipotent, which completely destroys the foundation for faith in Christianity: The belief that the Bible is without error. - Bob Sanchez

Where does the Bible say that God is omnipotent? That word appears once in the KJV, and once in the NKJV, and nowhere else. When it appears, it describes the shouts of a crowd, and so may not be accurate. The Bible clearly gives the impression that God is more powerful than all the other beings in the universe combined, but nowhere says he is omnipotent, insofar as omnipotent is defined as "able to do anything, regardless of whether it is logically possible or not." As far as Mary is concerned, it is not logically impossible for God to create a baby inside her womb, but it would be logically impossible for God to create a baby that was not a baby. See the difference? God must conform to first-order logic, but he is not limited beyond that.Lordofthemarsh 00:42, 30 May 2008 (EDT)


Can God predict the future? kchittur


How heavy do you think the rock that god can't lift would be? --Huey gunna getcha 18:48, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Maybe 1*10^abs(1/0) kg.--Sm355 18:49, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Shhhhh, you supposed to use lbs.! --Crackertalk 19:06, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

Guys, you are debating the wrong question which is really only a red herring. The real question that each must answer is this: "Will a man become so filled with pride and enamored with thoughts of his own intellectual superiority as to use a silly logical argument as an excuse to close his mind and his heart to the truth of the Gospel and thus reject his only hope of salvation?" --HSDad 10:34, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

Or perhaps the real question is, "Why do so many people blindly follow religious stories and texts with nothing to go on but faith with out any facts?". But that's another question for another debate. Lets just stick to the original question.--Sm355 12:38, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

Aaaaagh you just disprooved godRebiu 15:37, 30 March 2007 (EDT)

God can make the rock, but every time He tries to lift it the planet he's standing on crumbles under His feet. Teresita 00:22, 11 April 2007 (EDT)


Well then, that is basically saying that god can't create a strong enough planet to stand on. or just some infinite unbreakable plain with really strong gravity that exists solely for him to stand on so he can try to lift this unliftable rock.Revengeancer 17:34, 29 October 2008 (EDT)



If we assume that God does exist, I'm gonna have to go with Thomas Aquinas on this one. In his Summa Theologica, he wrote:

Therefore, everything that does not imply a contradiction in terms, is numbered amongst those possible things, in respect of which God is called omnipotent: whereas whatever implies contradiction does not come within the scope of divine omnipotence, because it cannot have the aspect of possibility. Hence it is better to say that such things cannot be done, than that God cannot do them.

That is, if God exists, he can do all that is logically possible, and nothing that is not. So, because there is a contradiction whether God can or cannot create the rock, it cannot be done. Masterbratac 19:43, 23 September 2007 (EDT)

God is powerful, I like that square circle example. He can creat anything he want to created. Now why would God creat such a rock that even Himself can't lift. If the rock was heavy than God can just use His powers to make it easier to lift duhh. God is too strong to creat a rock too heavy for Him to lift. Amphibious 02:14, 27 October 2007 (EDT)

[added~]

haha. its kind of funny arguing about this kind of thing...because personally, i dont believe in higher beings like god. its only a figment of your mind; god holds only as much power as you give him. there is the concept of god for those who want a pillar of support around and them and i realize that there are those who truly would like to believe. and im fine with that. however, for someone like me who believes it is impractical, impossible, and downright strange to have an "omnipotent" being watching over us in such a way, i say heck sure he could. if he existed. but if we're going to put this in the context of fiction, anything is possible. but to me, if the root of this argumnet, god, does not exist, then i consider the possiblity of him creating a rock that he cant lift as invalid. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by KuR0K4R4 (talk)

So what reason do you provide for God's non-existence? None! You don't believe He does—but that doesn't mean He doesn't—yet you provide absolutely no reason whatsoever for your subjective opinion. Many people have provided very good arguments supporting the view that God does exist, but you are obviously unaware of them or simply choose to ignore them, because you've made no attempt whatsoever to answer them. Instead, you simply type some throwaway lines about your personal views and expect that to count as some sort of argument (this is a debate page). Philip J. Rayment 20:50, 4 December 2007 (EST)

"Everything that exists has a cause outside of itself."

Not sure who, they didn't sign their post properly, but they made this statement. There is a problem here... that is not the premise that Christians make. The statement should go like this...

Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  • Notice that I added "begins to". For example, when a baby is born, it has a beginning, therefore it has a cause. God is the exception to the rule. Since He is the highest/most supreme Being in existence, out of necessity He always exists.
    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    2. God does not have a beginning.
    3. Therefore God does not have a cause.
  • How do we know God doesn't have a beginning or ending? Psalm 90:2 "...Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." (NASB)
  • A side note... "outside of itself" is not necessary in the statement. It's obvious that something cannot be the cause of itself, if it does not exist. That would be illogical. So it can be safely assumed in the statement without saying it. At least I am assuming it.

--Ymmotrojam 21:33, 4 December 2007 (EST)

Oh, I don't know. When you've got people believing that the universe formed out of nothing for no reason, perhaps some of these obvious things need to be spelt out. Philip J. Rayment 00:37, 5 December 2007 (EST)
I don't think Big Bang cosmology implies that the universe formed out of nothing for no reason. The theory states that we can trace the expansion of space back to a singularity, that is to say a point beyond which we cannot probe. The theory doesn't state that nothing existed prior to the singularity (indeed the singularity itself must have existed for an indeterminate time prior to its expansion into the universe we know and love). SSchultz 20:27, 10 December 2007 (EST)
Discover magazine in 2002 described the views of Alan Guth, one of the originators of the inflation theory of the Big Bang thus:
The universe burst into something from absolutely nothing—zero, nada. And as it got bigger, it became filled with even more stuff that came from absolutely nowhere.[7]
I think that supports what I said quite nicely. Philip J. Rayment 21:08, 10 December 2007 (EST)
Then he created a terrible strawman for the Big Bang theory, it has since been refined by Hawking among others. Whilst paradoxes remain as they always will, they seem as equally paradoxical as God; although the implications of such a being in turn create yet more paradoxes. -Barnes
I assume that you are referring to Alan Guth creating a strawman. A strawman argument is an argument that claims that someone else proposes something, which you then proceed to demolish. But Guth was not claiming that someone else proposed this: he is one of the Big Bang experts, and he was proposing this. So no, it's not a strawman argument at all. Further, this dates from six years ago; I'm not sure that you are correct that Hawking has "since" refined it. And what paradoxes are implied by the existence of God? Philip J. Rayment 02:20, 6 April 2008 (EDT)
Perhaps not a strawman, but regardless of his standing this explanation of the Big Bang is laughable. General relativity shows time not to be a passive background to events but a dynamic entity which is warped my matter and energy inside it. At a point of infinite energy density time does not progress, and thus whilst we are left with the paradox of why there was a bang we do not need to answer where the energy came from.
The paradox of God is his realm of his existence, and his interaction in the world. It also begs the question of why he waited an infinite time before he created the universe (if this is even possible). Then of course there is the good old problem of evil, though of course his attributes are subjective interpretations derived from 'experience'. -Barnes
I see lots of pins and dancing angels. Jinxmchue 18:39, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
"this explanation of the Big Bang is laughable": True, but then the whole idea of the Big Bang is laughable. Regardless of Guth's particular description, the Big Bang is basically "nothing exploded and became everything".
Why don't we need to answer where the energy came from? I don't follow your explanation of that.
"The paradox of God is his realm of his existence, and his interaction in the world.": Sorry, but that's not explaining the alleged paradox.
"It also begs the question of why he waited an infinite time before he created the universe...": No, your argument is a loaded one, presuming something that is not claimed, and not true. Part of God's creation (the space/time/matter universe) is time. That means that God created time. That means that God does not exist IN time. Therefore, it is not true to argue that God "waited an infinite time", because "time" didn't exist.
"... (if this is even possible).": Why would it not be possible for an all-powerful Creator to create the universe?
"Then of course there is the good old problem of evil...": The "good old problem of evil" is the good old bibliosceptic argument that's been long answered over and over. It's old, but it's not good.
Philip J. Rayment 00:11, 8 April 2008 (EDT)


The Big Bang does not say anything about nothing. That is a misconception not because of what carefully selected scientists have to say about the theory but because you are taking a Newtonian approach to time. 'Nothing' never existed, as i explained before because time is not merely a background to events but it is shaped by the density of matter and energy inside of it. If you have a point of infinite density then time will not progress, it will stay still. So whilst you can leave God to fill the paradox of what caused the expansion itself and therefore the progression of time, it would be wrong to think of something appearing out of nothing. Therefore, if the energy had always existed then it need not have come from anywhere.

The realm of God's existence is of course paradoxical, because the word supernatural is an oxymoron. Here is a little paste from an article about this paradox:

"Now that we have the definition of Nature and Supernatural we see a very conflicting view: One is the entirety of all the laws which govern existence as we know it, and the other is a term for those activities that can happen outside the laws of nature. That is an impossibility. If Nature is Everything, then Something cannot exist outside of Everything unless Everything is only a Something; in which case Nature therefore is incorrect in it's definition and cannot be called the laws which govern all of life, only a portion of laws that govern life. So either Nature is incorrect, or Supernatural is incorrect, they cannot be existing together logically."

Time is a paradox for God because it is only through time that anything progresses. If time were stationary for God then nothing would progress for him or us; it is through chronological progression that causality can exist. If God is infinite in time, then how could he not have been waiting around for an infinite amount of time before the Big Bang? And if He is finite in time, then how was he created? If He is neither finite nor infinite, then He is exempt from time and therefore causality itself.

As for the problem of evil, it is only problematic if you assume the attribute of benevolence and the degree to which you hold him responsible for our situation and therefore the situation of others. I deny free will both on empirical, metaphysical and even divine grounds, therefore we cannot be held responsible for our actions or the suffering of others. -Barnes

Which article? I would like to read the whole thing at some point. o_0 Fuzzy|AFD 19:00, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

http://forum.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=messageboard.viewThread&groupID=100096596&page=0&EntryID=30321825

That nothing existed before the Big Bang is not just based on a quote from one Big Bang expert. Paul Davies, for example, said "According to modern physics, the big bang represented the origin of space and time, as well as of matter and energy."
If your scenario is correct, and time stood still because of infinite density, and assuming God didn't trigger the Big Bang, then why isn't time still standing still? What caused the Big Bang? Any change that triggered the Big Bang would require something to be happening in time.
The quote from the article only works because it switches meanings. From the section (in your link) just before your quote, "Nature" is defined as referring the "the material world" and "the physical world", yet the writer then bases his argument on "nature" meaning "everything". No, according to the definitions he himself supplied, it does not mean "everything". And without that, the argument collapses: there is no paradox.
You say that time is a paradox for God because it is only through time that anything progresses, but this is something that you cannot know. What would be more accurate to say is that it is only through time that anything natural progresses, but as God is supernatural, that doesn’t necessarily hold (and doesn't hold if God is the creator of time)
If you have no free will, then even your thoughts are the unavoidable outcomes of chemical processes in your brain, which means that everything you said above you were in effect forced to say, rather than it having any basis in evidence, logic, or reason. So if you have no free will, I'm free (assuming I do have free will) to ignore everything you say. Of course, to be consistent, I have no free will either, which means that my cranial mental processes are nothing more than chemical reactions, which means that my unavoidable chemical reactions are arguing for something different than your unavoidable chemical reactions, which means that those chemical reactions do not produce consistent results, which means they are not to be trusted. Which again means that I've got no reason to take any notice of you or your arguments.
Philip J. Rayment 23:18, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

Im not arguing that the Big Bang theory is not prone to paradoxes, for the progression of time is undoubtedly a paradox. Though whether such a theory requires the untestable and highly complex hypothesis of a God to cause it who is himself paradoxical, im not so sure. Transcending time is a logical impossibility, or rather a copout. If something is beyond our realm of comprehension to the extent that it isnt even a speculative concept, then it is a dissatisfying 'cause' to the universe. It is just as paradoxical as the progression of time, although infinitely more complex and therefore not preferable.

The definitions lead me to believe that nature is everything we see around us. "The forces and processes that produce and control all the phenomena of the material world: the laws of nature". Thus if God does interact with the world, it is only through the laws of nature that he could, and being only a something external to the empirical universe he would be not be everything but merely a something and thus limited. -Barnes

Most of your post was argument by incredulity and personal opinion. God is supposed to be all-knowing, all-powerful, etc. but one characteristic not used of him is "everything". So He is not "everything", but that doesn't mean that He is therefore limited. Philip J. Rayment 22:59, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Logical fallacy

It is illogical to apply physical attributes to a non-physical being. Also, it is illogical to question whether something can be created to be mightier than He who is Almighty. That God cannot create something more powerful than Himself does not mean God is not all-powerful. The definition of all-powerful is that there is nothing more powerful! Furthermore, this is pitting God against Himself; His abilities against His own abilities. That makes no sense! Look at it this way: can you defeat yourself at wrestling? Of course not.

Additionally, God cannot create square circles because squares are squares and circles are circles. It's like asking God to make 1 equal 0 or to make bthe color blue the color red. Of course, I suppose God could do some M.C. Escher thing and make square circles.

Anyway, the only thing questions like these prove is how intellectually bankrupt neo-atheists are. They so want God to not exist that they will ignore their own illogic. Jinxmchue 20:56, 10 December 2007 (EST)

A good response to this type of question has just been posted on the Creation Ministries International website[8]. It is consistent with other comments above, including Jinxmchue's comment (complete with an M. C. Escher picture!), but is explained very clearly, in my opinion.
There are actually several answers:
  • 'A rock too heavy for a being who can lift anything' is a self-contradictory statement, and a self-contradictory statement is a nothing, so "Can God create a rock too heavy for Him to lift?" really amounts to "Can God create a nothing?", which is clearly absurd.
  • Can God create a square circle? An all-powerful being can do anything that takes power to do. How much power does it take to create a square circle? It's not power that is required (again, because it's an illogical impossibility), so that's no argument against God's omnipotence either.
  • Yes, God can create a rock too heavy for God to lift! That is, God (the Father) can create a rock too heavy for God (the Son) to lift—because God the Son (Jesus) voluntarily gave up some of His divine powers!
The article also relates C. S. Lewis' thoughts on the matter.
Philip J. Rayment 08:32, 12 January 2008 (EST)
"God (the Father) can create a rock too heavy for God (the Son) to lift" lol! I like that one. I'll have to remember to use it next time I see this argument presented by someone who thinks they're the first person to ever present it. Jinxmchue 09:40, 26 January 2008 (EST)

In addition, the Bible states that God is by nature good; as He cannot do anything contrary to His nature and because creating such an object would render logic illogic, one is inclined to conclude that this argument has no bearing on His undeniable existence. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by VoteGOP21 (talk)

I'VE SOLVED IT!

Yes, God can make a rock so big that He can't lift it. But He can also shrink it again to a size small enough that he can lift it too again. Crisis averted, argument over. --Cranky Joe 20:35, 7 January 2008 (EST)

That's not an aversion, that's ignoring the problem. If you simply add "and cannot be changed by him", the "crisis" remains, because it's a contradiction to his existence (with the quality of omnipotence).
<grin> Philip J. Rayment 04:34, 8 January 2008 (EST)
The heaviest thing in the universe may only be one cubic millimetre. Jallen 08:35, 12 January 2008 (EST)
Hooray for incredibly dense objects. Barikada 19:52, 24 January 2008 (EST)
Your mom's an incredibly dense object. :D Seriously though, this is a linguistic paradox more than a philosophical one. Underscoreb 19:43, 11 February 2008 (EST)

learn english, the key word is "heavy" not "big."

Oh my

God creates a rock he can't lift himself, but then the rock becomes liftable if he so wishes. He is so powerful he gets to chose his limitations. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Reallyforeign (talk)

Yes

of course he could, if he is able to create the known universe then he would be able to make a rock to heavy to lift even by himselfGreenmeanie 15:39, 19 May 2008 (EDT)

Here's why the question is wrong

Weight isn't a factor in whether God can lift the rock or not - it's just as easy for Him to lift a small rock as a big one (like, er, Yoda). This question is like asking 'Could He make a rock so blue He couldn't lift it?' - it's a nonsense.

No

  • For the purpose of this argument, assume God exists and is omnipotent (subject to the restrictions of logic).
  • If God is omnipotent, surely he can lift any rock.
  • A rock which God cannot lift, therefore, cannot possibly exist. Its existence would contradict God's omnipotence.
  • Because, in this argument, God is constrained by logic, God cannot create something that cannot exist.
  • Because a rock God cannot create cannot exist, God cannot create one.
Note that, by "subject to the restrictions of logic," I mean that God would be unable to do anything that is logically impossible.
For example, a square circle cannot logically exist; a square has four sides, while a circle has only one, and clearly
nothing can have four sides and one side. Therefore, a God subject to the restrictions of logic would be unable to create one.
-CSGuy 17:54, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Wrong assumptions give the question its curious attraction.

Omnipotence does not mean infinite irrational, magical, meaningless, purposeless, nonsensical ability. Gravity, one of the most powerful forces in the universe, exists precisely because of the self-limiting nature of the power itself. You can say that the effect of gravity is infinite, but its powers and properties are actually determined by natural laws. Gravity obeys its own laws. God obeys his own laws. According to multi-verse theory, the answer would have to be "Yes, there must be a universe somewhere in which something as irrational as this actually happens." But in this universe, the answer must be that the Creator is not expected to contradict himself, and that this does not limit him in any meaningful way. The juxtaposition of an immovable object with an irrestible force is a hypothetical abstraction with no meaningful resolution and makes no contribution to knowledge in any context. What we should be looking for is a useful concept of omnipotence. That would be a much more interesting discussion. If you have to have a definition of omnipotence that includes infinity, then the multi-verse is for you. But in a fine-tuned, well designed universe, with clearly defined laws, properties and purpose, all of the power that exists would be that of the Creator. "Omnipotence", to me at least, means "all of the power that is" not all of the power I can imagine. It did not take infinite power to make this universe. And yet who can conceive of the difference between the abstract concept of infinite power and the forces that appear to exist? In this case Plato is wrong. You cannot determine all truth from abstractions. But science cannot save us either, because the original question is non-falsifiable, and therefore cannot tell us anything about God. For those who think the existence of such a question is evidence against God, the ability of mankind to ask such a question is a miracle in itself. RCW

No

God cannot limit His own power. However, He could create a rock of whatever size He wanted. He could even create a rock of infinite size if He liked, but He would still be capable of lifting it. Just because God canot limit His own power does not mean He is not all powerful. Dford 14:45, 29 May 2010 (EDT)

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