Theological Question #2.1

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Theological Question #2.1

Unread postby Wolfbelly » Thu Oct 23, 2003 4:06 am

<FONT FACE="Verdana,Arial" SIZE=2>"Can God create a rock he cannot lift?" This simple question, one of the earliest of its kind I'm sure, sums up the entirety of the problem of omnipotence. Omnipotence is the power to do anything. But Omnipotence by definition contradicts itself in a curious way. Can an omnipotent being limit himself? If the answer is yes, then the omnipotent being is proven to not be omnipotent because he is shown to have limitations (even though they were of his making, they are still limitations). If the answer is no, then the omnipotent being is again proven to be limited, thus nullifying his omnipotence.

So, the question of this poll is "Can this paradox which is innate to the attribute of omnipotence be resolved?" You don't necessarily need to explain your response (although it would be helpful if you did). You don't even need to vote. Just consider the problem with an open mind and be intrigued by the answer.

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">And please, refrain from religion and/or God bashing. While omnipotence is a trait commonly found within a God of all perfections, I refrained from including 'God' in this question simply because Omnipotence can be discussed without reference to God ... although it doesn't have to be.</span></FONT><FORM method=post action=""><table border=0 cellpadding=3 cellspacing=0 width="55%"><tbody><tr><td><input type="radio" name="choice" value="1"><FONT FACE="Verdana,Arial" SIZE=2>Yes</FONT></td></tr><tr><td><input type="radio" name="choice" value="2"><FONT FACE="Verdana,Arial" SIZE=2>No</FONT></td></tr></tbody></table><P><input type=submit value="Vote"></form>Show results</FONT>


Re: Theological Question #2.1

Unread postby PopoSujo » Thu Oct 23, 2003 8:10 am

I would have to say no. People are going to fight over this question forever.

My personal opinion on the whole rock thing is that it contradicts itself. Even if an omnipotent being could create a rock it couldn't lift, why would it? <p>

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Unread postby Banjooie » Thu Oct 23, 2003 10:32 am

Black and White.

Put two large rocks together.

Use Megablast or something like that to set one on fire.
Then try to put it out. The fire will spread to the other rock before you can rain it out.

Thus: Yes.

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Re: .

Unread postby pd Rydia » Thu Oct 23, 2003 5:48 pm

I'm willing to accept this is possible by virtue of there being things that can exist outside of human comprehension and logic. <p>
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Re: .

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Fri Oct 24, 2003 11:49 am

Yes, it can be resolved. You may be able to accurately represent ANY figure with a computer program. But can you represent a square that has five sides? No, because such a thing cannot, by definition, exist. This is a basic rule of geometry, and is not a reflection on the capacity of the program or you.

Same with God and the Rock. Can he make a rock so big that He himself cannot lift it? No, because such a thing cannot, by definition, exist. As such, it detracts no value from the nature of omnipotence. <p><span style="font-size:xx-small;">"It's in the air, in the headlines in the newspapers, in the blurry images on television. It is a secret you have yet to grasp, although the first syllable has been spoken in a dream you cannot quite recall." --Unknown Armies</span></p>


Re: .

Unread postby Wolfbelly » Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:12 pm

Good answer! That's following the logic of St. Thomas Aquinas, if any of you were curious. However, what would you say to a statement by someone like Descartes who believed that the trait of omnipotence allows beings such as God to break the logical laws and create square circles, or 5 sided triangles? To clean that up a bit, something which can go beyond logic is more powerful than something that cannot, therefore can't omnipotence defy logic?

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Unread postby Banjooie » Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:22 pm

God also limited himself by creating free will.

Does that mean him doing so is no longer omnipotence?

No. No it does not. :D

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Re: .

Unread postby Animala » Sat Oct 25, 2003 12:45 am

The way I see it, the paradox resolves one of two ways, depending upon how we define what is possible.

If we consider logically impossible actions to be complete nonsense, then we can conclude that God is omnipotent, but he cannot create a rock that he cannot lift, because that is asking for a contradiction in terms, and you are therefore talking nonsense.

The other way assumes that omnipotence implies the idea to do the logically impossible. Therefore God CAN create a rock which he cannot lift, and he can also lift that rock.

This has an interesting side effect: since we've freed omnipotence from the bounds of logic, ANY statement which begins "God can..." is automatically correct. If I say "God can checkmate Kasparov in four moves," it is true. If I say "God can have his cake and eat it, too," I am certain of being correct. If I say "God can warflegarble the gold-plated sninglebop," then I can have no fear of error, because God can do completely meaningless things.

In my opinion, either resolution of the paradox should be acceptable. The second resolution is clearly omnipotence, and the first is omnipotence if you discard all logical impossibilities.

I really can't think of any time I've thought to myself, "Damn, what a fix I'm in! If only I had something which was both a rubber chicken and NOT a rubber chicken, everything would be so much easier!" so I'm not going to find myself disappointed by God.

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Behold! Sig figs!</p>

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Unread postby Lord Hatsuma » Sat Oct 25, 2003 10:20 am

Yes, it resolves perfectly:

option 1) logic is constant: Rock which can't be lifted with omnipotence is illogical. Therefore it doesn't exist regardless of power.

option 2) logic is incositent: Rock can be made which can't be lifted. Definition of omnipotence changes to mean "can do everything except lift that rock."

Also note that even if we assume #2, we have not taken away the ability to make the rock liftable at a later date, so omnipotence still holds.



Re: .

Unread postby Archmage144 » Sat Oct 25, 2003 10:59 am

...Mike gives better explanations of God than I ever will be capable of doing. For that, he completely and totally kicks my ass. <p>
<div style="text-align:center">Image</div>



Re: .

Unread postby Wolfbelly » Sat Oct 25, 2003 2:43 pm

*sniff* It's beautiful. You guys totally rocked that question. Thanks for playing.


Re: .

Unread postby SuperRube » Sat Oct 25, 2003 10:25 pm

Mike needs to exist on every forum on the internet in order to help prevent the stupidity that usually arises when people ask questions like this. <p>
THE BROTHERHOOD OF ELITIST BASTARDS We're better then you. See if you can prove us otherwise.</p>

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