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poisonedantidote's avatar

Is omnipotence in and of it's self a logically impossible paradox?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21638points) September 28th, 2010

Many people have argued that an omnipotent god can not exist as omnipotence is a paradox. The most famous argument in favour of this idea is probably the paradox of the stone, “can god create a stone so heavy that not even he can lift it?” however, this argument does not hold water as the question is fundamentally flawed, and actually a little deceptive.

The question is flawed because of what it does. What it does, is it takes omnipotence and disguises it as a task, in this case, creating a heavy rock. It then takes the very same omnipotence, and disguises it as a different task, namely lifting the rock. So the question is basically asking, can god be so omnipotent that not even he can be more omnipotent. No matter how much he tries to lift the rock he already has all of his power working against him. Its like asking can a chef cook a meal that is so tasty that it tastes better than his tastiest dish, its a nonsense question.

You can create some paradox, but you need to bring omniscience and/or omnipresence to the table in order to do so. (at least how I see it) for example, “can god leave a place? If he can he is not omnipresent and if he cant he is not omnipotent” or “can god solve a mystery? If he can he is not omniscient and if he cant he is not omnipotent” there are hundreds of such examples, but none that I can find that show a paradox utilizing just omnipotence.

So, is omnipotence in and of its self a paradox?

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11 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

It is a paradox from the perspective of anything other than the omnipotent.

Pandora's avatar

Paradox’s exist in life but doesn’t make them any less true.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

He is said to be omnipotent within the confines of what is logically possible. For example, the question “can God sin?” does not work, because sin is defined as anything contrary to God’s nature. Since he can never be anything but himself, he cannot sin – but that does not preclude him from being omnipotent.

anartist's avatar

we are having fun, aren’t we??? hehe

Amberlicious's avatar

Yes. Yes it is. End.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Omnipotence is the power to do anything.

The problem you have come across is therefore a problem with your understanding of the argument. The whole point of such arguments is to underscore the logical problems inherent in the concept of an omniscient, omnipotent God, not quibble over the properties of God.

AstroChuck's avatar

I would like to remind everyone that nowhere in the Bible does it say God is omnipotent.

downtide's avatar

Things that you’re liable to read in the bible ain’t necessarily so…

The bible does define God as “almighty” and I took this definition from a Catholic website:
“Def. of almighty: God has the power to execute all that He may wish, that is all that is real and possible.”

I don’t think “almighty” is the same as “omnipotent” and by adding the clause “all that is real and possible” it makes the paradox of the stone useless, because the concept of a stone so heavy that God can’t lift it is itself a paradox and therefore neither real nor possible.

mattbrowne's avatar

Some scientists suggest an omnipotent multiverse creation mechanism.

roundsquare's avatar

@poisonedantidote Why is that a flaw in the argument? Are you defining god as something that doesn’t have any desire?

@Pandora No they don’t. Things might be strange or weird, but logical paradoxes, i.e. things that completely contradict each other, don’t exist.

ThePoint's avatar

There once was a hunter who was out to prove that a certain large carnivore did not exist. He was very clever——the hunter was, I mean. He so clever that, just in case the animal really did exist, he——the hunter——would wear things on his feet which would make huge tracks like what he thought the animal would make. This would prevent the animal from detecting him by his own boot tracks, allowing him to get up real close without being detected himself, so that the animal had no chance of disappearing before being spotted.
So, off went the hunter, looking for signs of the animal. Soon, he saw his own tracks, but mistook them for those of the animal. Finally, when he found that the tracks led to ‘nowhere but round and round’, he concluded that the animal did not exist. Yet, he continued to believe that the tracks that he found had been made by the animal. He was thus all the more convinced that he knew what sort of tracks the animal made. In fact, he was so proud of having disproved the existence of the animal that he went and brought other hunters out to see the tracks for themselves. He told them that these were, indeed, the tracks to look for since they did, in fact, lead to nowhere. Some of these hunters believed him. Others did not, who insisted that the animal was invisible, so that, of course, it could not be found. But, they all knew that it was a carnivore.

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