Talk:Can God create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it?
WRT the last paragraph: is this really a cop-out? It only limits God to that which is logically possible, not just that which is physically possible. That is, defining God to be unable to have an apple and to not have any apples simultaneously does not necessarily limit his ability to travel faster than light, or go backward in time, or create planets out of nowhere. --Arensb 17:50, 17 July 2006 (MST)
- Perhaps cop-out isn't quite the right term. First, I wish to highlight the fact that "all-powerful" is a weird term to use once you start putting qualifiers on what "all" means. And they don't really stop at the logically impossible; they also say that God can't do things that are against his nature, whatever that means. It seems to me that when you start specifying the limitations on what God can do, it's sort of a "gateway drug" to deciding that you can add all kinds of restrictions and still say that he's omnipotent.
- If you can word that better, feel free to fix it. --Kazim 07:24, 18 July 2006 (MST)
- I think you're making a sorites argument: "a god who can do everything, even the logically-impossible, is omnipotent"; "a god who can do everything except the logically-impossible is still omnipotent"; and so on, until we get to "a god who can usually raise his hand if no one's standing on it is still omnipotent".
- I'll accept that "God can do anything he can do" is a useless tautology. But in this case, ISTM that it's up to the theist to define "omnipotence" in some reasonable way. The fact that there can be different degrees of omnipotence does not mean that they're all reasonable. --Arensb 08:52, 18 July 2006 (MST)
- Then fix it! :) --Kazim 10:56, 18 July 2006 (MST)
- This may be completely unrelated, and, if somebody doesn't like it, you can delete this, but not even God can go faster than light. I'd also like to not that I don't like this argument, because, as Arensb pointed out, God can do anything logically possible. Not even God can defy logic, because then I can be God. God cannot create something that can't exist. Before I change the article, however, I'd like to make sure that most people here agree. --atheistthoughts
- An argument against that idea is that if the god "invented" the universe (and everything in it) then by definition logic is a construct that simply reflects that universe - if the universe changed (which is supposedly within the power of an omnipotent deity) then it's possible (although I obviously can't comprehend it) that the rules of logic, the universal constants, etc. could be changed as well. If the god cannot change the universe, then it is not omnipotent (again). Blu Matt 05:02, 1 August 2006 (MST)
- Defending the idea of God is harder than I thought. I feel sorry for those Chrstian apologists. I don't think logic reflects the universe, but the universe reflects logic. You can't throw out logic and keep the universe, but you can throw out the universe and keep logic. Logic is, in a way, God. Even God has to obey logic. God didn't create logic, logic coexists with God. --atheistthoughts 11:30, 1 August 2006 (MST)
- Re: "not even God can go faster than light":
- Consider the case where the universe is a simulation being run on God's computer (à la The Matrix). In this case, the laws of physics don't apply to God. In fact, the normal axes of space and time can't even be mapped to God's axes.
- God may not be able to travel faster than light, any more than the author of Super Mario Brothers can jump higher than 300 pixels, but he may be able to pause the simulation, reach in with a debugger (which ignores the laws of the simulated universe), create an avatar (a burning bush, an angel, a cluster of galaxies 600 Mpc wide in the shape of a mouth, etc.), and unpause the simulation.
- Such a god might be able to create an FTL object or avatar. I'm not at all sure that he'd be able to create an electron with well-defined position and momentum, because I'm not sure that such a thing makes sense; or if it does, then it's probably not really an electron. But even this god can't make 0+1 be anything other than 1.
- Does this help any?
- --Arensb 13:07, 1 August 2006 (MST)
- RE: "Does this help any?":
- Not really. Mainly because I have no idea what you're trying to prove. If you're trying to say that God can break the speed of light with a particle, I disagree. If this particle was material, then, to go faster than the speed of light, it would go back in time. This, obviously, doesn't make any sense. --atheistthoughts 7:13, 1 August 2006 (MST)
- I think so. I guess these two articles ought to be merged (I vote to keep omnipotence paradox argument). But there's good stuff in both, so it's not as simple as just deleting one and redirecting the other.
- I agree. Blu Matt 04:52, 1 August 2006 (MST)
- I'm not so sure about this. I think that "Can God make a rock so heavy..." is a recognizable claim in its own right which ought to show up in the index. At the same time, I'm also inclined to be very cautious about any duplication going on. I notice that this page also duplicates some work on the omnipotent page.
- I'd like to tentatively propose the following changes:
- Keep this page.
- Change the omnipotence paradox argument page to just omnipotence paradox. I don't think the modifier "argument" adds anything useful.
- On the OP page, remove detailed reference to "Can God create..." question; instead link this page from there.
- On the omnipotent page, remove discussion of the paradox and replace it with a link to the OP page.
- Also while I'm on the subject, omnipotent should probably redirect to omnipotence, omniscient to omniscience, etc.
- I'd like to tentatively propose the following changes:
Objection: not being able to lift something is not a power
I was once going through this argument with a guy in a chatroom, and he brought up the interesting (and to me new) idea that "not being able to lift a rock" is not a power, it's a lack of power, and thus doesn't apply to God. Another example might be impotence (can God have the power of impotence - no impotence is the lack of power, not a power to have or exercise).
This counter argument feels wrong, but I'm unsure how to articulate what I think is wrong with it. I think it's to do with the fact that the "power" is defeating his own power.
Maybe another way to phrase the argument would be "Can God destroy himself?". I guess this guy would argue that destroying things is not a power, or something. Libraryjuice 15:46, 11 August 2006 (MST)
- I'm really not certain what you mean. Omnipotence can be defined a number of ways, but the dogmatic Christian ideal is that there's nothing that God can't do - though modern apologists add the stipulation that this excludes logical contradictions. That stipulation makes this argument useless for anything more than pointing out that believers need to be a bit more precise when describing God. Pure omnipotence, in the strictest sense, is self-contradictory and this argument is useful for prompting better definitions of what they're actually claiming.
- As far as the specific counter argument you encountered, "not being able to lift a rock" isn't a power...but "capable of lifting a rock" is. The argument points out that if God is truly all powerful then he should have the power to lift any rock and should have the power to create a rock bigger than he can lift. It's a reductio ad absurdum.Sans Deity 21:38, 11 August 2006 (MST)