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  1. #1
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    Question The omnipotence paradox?

    There is the odd question about whether or not God could create a stone so heavy that he could not lift it? If the answer is yes, then he is not omnipotent and thus not real. If he cannot create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it, then once again, we have found something he cannot do, and thus the claim of omnipotence is violated.

    We should note that the definition of omnipotence being used in the proof is that of absolute omnipotence, literally, ANYTHING can be done.

    The key here with anything, is literally everything, and that would include being able to violate the rules of logic at will - because THAT is possible in absolute omnipotence.

    So the answer to the questions about the too heavy rock? Yes God could make a rock so heavy that even he could not lift it, and ten turn around and lift it anyway. But, you say, that is not logically possible. Perhaps, but say God created to temporary but completely separate universes in which either the rock was different or God's manifestation of himself were different? At the same time God would literally be able and unable to lift said rock. He could even, as creator of universes, create a universe or arbitrarily changing rules, in which mass is constantly changing, so that rock was various too heavy and not randomly.

    Some of this is stated openly here:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/contradiction/

    Where the more general exploration is here:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/omnipotence/#2

    The real point being that omnipotence (and the other omni's) are not logical falsifiable. Because as soon as you think you have found something that absolute omnipotence cannot do, then the omnipotent being, who by definition can do anything, could then turn around and do it anyway. An omniscient being that you trapped with knowledge he could not possibly know, would turn around and know it anyway. You get the point.

    The real question regarding religion is not the omnipotence trap, its the rules trap. God has placed certain rules upon himself and his conduct that limits HIS powers, so the question is less about whether God CAN and more about whether God WILL. That has lead to such proof's and the Epicurean Problem of Evil in which the nature of God is called into question (and seems to be a favorite of many atheists these days). The problems here then become judgements of morality, and, as Ptolemy rebutted long ago, free will and other theodicies have long made the Problem of Evil largely moot, particularly as this problem in apparently the genesis of the war in heaven in Christian theology - one whose answer presupposed suffering and consequences here on Earth. That is, however, another debate all together ;-)

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/

    The larger point here is that logic most certainly can be used to weigh and evaluate God, but we must make sure that the logic we apply in terms of falsification is logically possible. When we attempt to apply it to unfalsifiable premise like omnipotence, the question is not whether its possible but whether an omnipotent being would restrain himself and follow the rules of logic.

    It is worth exploring, but I am pretty sure God will not violate themeless of logic and undermine the fundamental forces of the universe merely to prove an esoteric philosophical point ;-)
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    I don't think this represents the theological position on omnipotence. WLC's response to this question here, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/logic...nd-omnipotence, is pretty good. Nothing in Christian or Jewish scriptures indicates that God can do absolutely everything, regardless of logical contradictions, only that he has, as WLC calls it, maximal power, that He can do all things that are possible.
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    I think the paradox is only in human conceptualization, not in God's lack of omnipotence.

    So I'll say that God cannot make a stone so heavy that he can't life it. And by saying that I've said that God "cannot" do something. But that does not speak to any actual lack of power and ability on God's part but just me creating a sentence with the word "cannot" that would accurately apply to God.

    That may not be quite as nicely stated as I hoped but hopefully you get the idea.

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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I don't think this represents the theological position on omnipotence. WLC's response to this question here, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/logic...nd-omnipotence, is pretty good. Nothing in Christian or Jewish scriptures indicates that God can do absolutely everything, regardless of logical contradictions, only that he has, as WLC calls it, maximal power, that He can do all things that are possible.
    But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 9:26)

    I realize there is some debate about this, which is why I listed the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

    The key here is how critics of Christianity would view that statement and its claim. As A Christian, I have no problem defending that proposition. All things are possible in God. At least theoretically ;-)
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 9:26)
    And I would argue that a married bachelor isn't a thing, it is a paradox. I think the better tact from a Christian point of view is to point out that the idea that omnipotence includes paradoxes is not a mature philosophic view of omnipotence. Omnipotence is much better understood as "all possible powers" rather than including logically impossible powers, the latter conclusion is incoherent (as the Stanford Encyclopedia points out) and quickly devolves into meaningless statements.
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    And I would argue that a married bachelor isn't a thing, it is a paradox. I think the better tact from a Christian point of view is to point out that the idea that omnipotence includes paradoxes is not a mature philosophic view of omnipotence. Omnipotence is much better understood as "all possible powers" rather than including logically impossible powers, the latter conclusion is incoherent (as the Stanford Encyclopedia points out) and quickly devolves into meaningless statements.
    The problem with that, and the reason I included the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on this subject, is that it is mature philosophy on the subject (as is your opinion by the way).

    I pulled the one out that I encounter most often is discussion. I agree with you opinion in a religious sense and find it eminently logical, but the reality, in a debate forum, is that an atheist or critic of religion will not be persuaded by philosophy tinged with 'religion'. It will be dismissed as confirmation bias. (A more mature understanding of religion might disagree, but I don't think many religious critics have such a mature understanding.)

    They will want and demand absolute omnipotence and everything logical that comes with it! Well, what comes with it is the logical impossibility to be able to falsify it, and you have to falsify it to prove there is no God.

    In short, its a dead end for atheists.

    You are also correct though, it is a dead end for religious people seeking to understand God, and the mature religious person will more than likely see it your way.

    This is about buggering the buggerer who cam up with the idea that God (or any theoretically omnipotent being) could create a rock he could not lift, thus violating his omnipotence. Well, absolute omnipotence means anything is possible - thus you cannot falsify it.
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    I think that the use of the word Omnipotent is kind of a problem here and that changing the language would make the description of God both better and more defensible. One of the supporting points here is that the bible doesn't feature any such word, its simply used to categorize in a word what powers God holds. (and as a guy who writes for RPG games I know all about summing up abilities with pithy titles )

    I agree that you can argue either way, Omnipotent means you can do the "impossible" and Omnipotent means you can do anything possible. Really these are not situations human beings are commonly faced with so we can't truly say from a scientific standpoint since we can't observe any omnipotent powers.

    I submit the superior word is "Supreme" God has supreme power meaning his power exceeds all others. The upper limit of his power is both unknown and unknowable but for god himself. There is nothing that can defy God's will for he has this Supreme power to make it reality.

    I think using this terminology strips away any concerns about if god can make squared circles or un-liftable rocks as irrelevant and preserves the core teaching of the book which is God is supreme and should be respected as such.
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I think that the use of the word Omnipotent is kind of a problem here and that changing the language would make the description of God both better and more defensible. One of the supporting points here is that the bible doesn't feature any such word, its simply used to categorize in a word what powers God holds. (and as a guy who writes for RPG games I know all about summing up abilities with pithy titles )

    I agree that you can argue either way, Omnipotent means you can do the "impossible" and Omnipotent means you can do anything possible. Really these are not situations human beings are commonly faced with so we can't truly say from a scientific standpoint since we can't observe any omnipotent powers.

    I submit the superior word is "Supreme" God has supreme power meaning his power exceeds all others. The upper limit of his power is both unknown and unknowable but for god himself. There is nothing that can defy God's will for he has this Supreme power to make it reality.

    I think using this terminology strips away any concerns about if god can make squared circles or un-liftable rocks as irrelevant and preserves the core teaching of the book which is God is supreme and should be respected as such.
    Te only issue is that to critics of God and religion, "if god can make squared circles or un-liftable rocks," is relevant. It's a way for them to justify their belief vice religion, not for them to sustain our beliefs. Logical paradox is thus a means of argumentation that is commonly advanced within the atheist community.

    An appeal to our beliefs is likely to have little sway over that community, and, worse, is likely to further buttress their beliefs of religious confirmation bias.

    Ergo, the parade of the paradox, if you will, becomes an issue for them. How do you falsify the unfalsifiable? It is a paradox all it own.
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    Logical paradox is thus a means of argumentation that is commonly advanced within the atheist community.
    I think, as it relates to this particular "paradox", this depends on the sort of community you're talking about. You'd be pretty hard pressed to find this sort of "paradox" being forwarded as a legitimate challenge to the concept of God by any philosophically literate person, atheist or no, and certainly not by any regular contributor to ODN. I mean, you can see how it played out in this thread.

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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    The problem with the paradox is a simple misunderstanding and miss application of who God is and how he works.

    For example it asks
    "Can God create a stone so heavy he can't lift it"
    And in so doing it ASSUMES that God uses his muscles to lift things.

    That is really a projection of ourselves. Of course one easy answer is to say "of course he can, he did so in Jesus who's muscles were unable to lift many objects, and who was fully God".
    Yet, because the power of God is in his WORD, his actual omnipotence is not effected.

    Because his power is in his word, and his word is a reflection of his will the accurate wording of the so called paradox would be something like this.

    "Can God create a stone which he doesn't want to moved"?
    Properly worded there is simply no paradox.
    Some may prefer
    "Can God want to move he created for the purpose of not being moved?"

    That then assumes and appeals to a kind of double mindedness in God. But the answer of "no" doesn't really cause a challenge to God's omnipotence, because it is inherently limited to things he wants to do.
    God can't be forced to do that which he doesn't want to do or to go against his own will. Through the law of identity We know that God can't not want to do what he wants to do. not as an external limitation on him, but because the question is nonsense.
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  12. #11
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by MT
    The problem with the paradox is a simple misunderstanding and miss application of who God is and how he works…
    Respectfully, I think this is very close to correct, but it’s far more complicated than it needs to be. You DID get the part right that said it’s a semantics problem, but I think there’s a much plainer and simpler way to say it. But first, let me qualify my criticisms a bit.

    I say it’s “close to correct” because there are parts that are plainly incorrect. For example, the question “Can God create a stone so heavy he can't lift it" may or may not assume anything about physical strength, and frankly I’ve NEVER understood it to be a rhetorical question about God’s muscles. Even as I child I understood it to be a rhetorical question about God’s metaphysical abilities.

    God can lift rocks by any means that he chooses, and I think no one but the most incredibly stupid hillbilly atheist would think Christians believe in a God that is omni-muscular and that his omni-biceps and divine beard-power aided him in the act of creation. So, in my view, the question doesn’t necessarily assume anything about the physical abilities that come with muscles.

    I say that it’s ”overly complicated” because your other examples get into rocks that he may or may not want to move, whether certain rocks have a given purpose, whether God can interfere with that purpose, etc. But whether God wants to do a thing - or whether there is purpose behind the thing -this has nothing do with whether the thing itself can be done.

    To simplify the conversation, we have to assume two things:

    1. That there is a real and important distinction between possible things and impossible things
    2. That we have good reasons for saying a thing is possible or impossible

    To number #1, impossible things cannot be done by definition. If it can be done by ANY means, then is it not impossible. This is a brute fact of what it means to be “impossible”.

    To #2, we’ve already taken a stab at showing how silly it is by appealing to impossible things, such as married bachelors and square circles.

    So, because we know we can use plain logic to appeal to silly things like married bachelors or square circles or impossibly heavy rocks, the question essentially becomes “Can God do impossible things?” And the answer, of course, is no, because - by definition - impossible things cannot be done.

    NO ONE can do impossible things, or else the thing wouldn’t be IMPOSSIBLE. So it’s not a problem with God; it’s a problem with the question. It’s silly semantics.

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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    Respectfully, I think this is very close to correct, but it’s far more complicated than it needs to be
    Thanks for that input. Below is my thinking not a rebuttal to what you have said.

    ---- The questions ability to question God's metaphysical abilities.
    One point that I was trying to bring out was a categorical error in the question. Rocks are physical, God is spiritual. Certainly the question is intended to question God's metaphysical abilities, but the mode in which it does so is flawed. If God's metaphysical abilities were color, this would be asking how it smells. Like saying "can God create a blue so smelly it is green."

    When I appealed to his muscles, that is because the question includes the rocks weight(or size)as relevant to ability. Hence I say it assumes muscles because it assumes that weight is relevant, and muscles are the first thing I think of when weight is relevant to it. However, weight(or size) is irrelevant to God's abilities to move objects. So that would be a categorical error in the question yes?

    That was the reason I brought up God's desire and purpose for rocks. A rock that God said "I will never move that rock" would be a rock that God can't move, not because it is a logical impossibility, but because it would be outside of God's nature to go against himself in that manner. That of course is an attempt on my part to rephrase the discussion into terms that are relevant to God's ability to move objects.
    That is why I often say "yes" to the question without feeling that there is any conflict or problem for the idea of God.

    Of course we agree that the question is broken (I believe). I only add the categorical aspect as part of it's flaw. Mostly for my own amusement because everyone takes the impossible things approach.
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    Te only issue is that to critics of God and religion, "if god can make squared circles or un-liftable rocks," is relevant. It's a way for them to justify their belief vice religion, not for them to sustain our beliefs. Logical paradox is thus a means of argumentation that is commonly advanced within the atheist community.
    I don't find it very common among atheists I know as a serious argument, though it is well familiar to most. Its more sort of a mental puzzle people talk on as it makes an interesting discussion to try and think rationally about an extreme set of properties. Kind of like, "Who would win in a fight, Superman or The Incredible Hulk? Its not really a pertinent question but it gives you something to wrestle with. That and something that folks new to the ground of debate for religion might try on for size.

    But for experienced apologists and critics its a little league argument.

    An appeal to our beliefs is likely to have little sway over that community, and, worse, is likely to further buttress their beliefs of religious confirmation bias.
    I'm of the opinion that for the most part debates between theists and atheists are not going to make anyone change their mind. Deeply held beliefs that are in essence a persons core identity are not going to go away under assault. If they do change they will change from within and due to personal experience and revelation. People get a notion of what they need in life, and both religion and a lack there of can provide it. When that comes upon a person they will seek out others who can help them understand that world view which is where the persuasion tends to come into play, but that is with willing seekers, not hardened debaters.

    Personally I view it as good mental exercise and an opportunity to better understand the world view of others and even yourself. You often come up with new insights when being challenged and issuing challenges.
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post

    1. That there is a real and important distinction between possible things and impossible things
    2. That we have good reasons for saying a thing is possible or impossible

    To number #1, impossible things cannot be done by definition. If it can be done by ANY means, then is it not impossible. This is a brute fact of what it means to be “impossible”.

    To #2, we’ve already taken a stab at showing how silly it is by appealing to impossible things, such as married bachelors and square circles.

    So, because we know we can use plain logic to appeal to silly things like married bachelors or square circles or impossibly heavy rocks, the question essentially becomes “Can God do impossible things?” And the answer, of course, is no, because - by definition - impossible things cannot be done.

    NO ONE can do impossible things, or else the thing wouldn’t be IMPOSSIBLE. So it’s not a problem with God; it’s a problem with the question. It’s silly semantics.
    Your analysis if sound save one thing: absolute omnipotence.

    In such a state - NOTHING is impossible, so defining something as not possible immediately assumes that absolute omnipotence does not exist. Putting aside theological interpretation, the fact of the issue is that the test put forth by criticism of religion and God is that God claims absolute omnipotence: therefore nothing is impossible.

    In a practical sense, you are undoubtedly correct, in a philosophical sense, not necessarily so, and that is what many atheists would, and indeed do claim.

    The issue with atheists is that if absolute omnipotence is as real as our God, that that by definition mans anything at all is possible. That would include violating the rules of logic, the fundamental forces of the universe (he did create them after all), etc. etc. etc.

    The claim here is that the omnipotence paradox does not, indeed cannot, falsify God.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comm...e_cannot_lift/
    https://books.google.it/books?id=4aI...20rock&f=false

    In fact, the second link there is 'atheism for beginners' - a 'proof' of atheism is this paradox. It's quite common in irreligious circles, it simply cannot do what they wish, because absolute omnipotence mans ANYTHING is possible. So the more one screams, "But that is not possible!," the more absolute omnipotence remind them that it is indeed possible, because absolute omnipotence means, "anything is possible."

    Edit: omnipotence for the religious is practical, as 'in God all things are possible' is precisely about the possibilities in this life. Omnipotence for the irreligious is not practical, its philosophical - it is a logical and theoretical concept whereas it is practical and tangible concept for those who accept and know God.
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    Your analysis if sound save one thing: absolute omnipotence.

    In such a state - NOTHING is impossible, so defining something as not possible immediately assumes that absolute omnipotence does not exist.
    NOTE: I've omitted some of your post because 1) this is an old argument and 2) I'm not a "beginner" atheist. I've seen and heard all of this before.

    First, we'll set aside that there's absolutely nothing problematic with saying that a being that possesses "absolute omnipotence" can do anything that can be done. Logically, scientifically, philosophically, practically there is NOTHING incorrect or problematic with such a statement.

    Second, if one wants to assume that having "absolute omnipotence" makes it so that things like the term "impossible" have no meaning (i.e. the rules of logical can be violated), then it's for them to provide a good reason why anyone else should think so. That is, if they want to argue that an 'absolutely omnipotent' God can create square circles (for example), it's for them to show how that's possible. It's not sufficient to simply assert that it's a lovely byproduct of "absolute omnipotence".

    Moreover, if we must accept that "absolute omnipotence" makes it so that self-contradictory states of affairs like 'square circles' can exist, then we must assume that other self-contradictory states of affairs can exist as well, such as God being evil, or "good" having no meaning. We must assume (for example) that God could torture, rape, murder and eat children and it would not be evil for him to do so. Or, we must assume that God can be omni-powerful and omni-powerless at the same time. We must assume that God is physical and non-physical at the same time; that he is man and woman at the same time; that he is alive and dead at the same time, that he is a bowl of soup; that he is both smart and stupid; that he is both a cat and a dog; that he both exists and does NOT exist, etc. It's meaningless nonsense. There's really no other way to say it.

    So if one wants to argue that "absolute omnipotence" makes everything meaningless, that's fine, but it's not very persuasive in arguing for the integrity of God's righteousness and goodness, or for ANYTHING that has a definition, really.

    EDIT: I'd like to add that you seem sort of fixated on atheists that DO find this sort of pseudo-paradox persuasive. While I understand that you've seen this sort of argumentation before (as I have), I want to re-state that it's unlikely in the extreme that you'll see much of it here, and almost certainty not from 1) any regular contributor to this site or 2) any philosophically literate person. So, while I appreciate what sort of atheist you're talking about, I don't see much point in belaboring the topic since literally NO atheist or theist in this thread is contesting that such people exist. They do. But so what? You can't fix stupid, you know?

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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    That was the reason I brought up God's desire and purpose for rocks. A rock that God said "I will never move that rock" would be a rock that God can't move, not because it is a logical impossibility, but because it would be outside of God's nature to go against himself in that manner. That of course is an attempt on my part to rephrase the discussion into terms that are relevant to God's ability to move objects.
    That is why I often say "yes" to the question without feeling that there is any conflict or problem for the idea of God.
    But MT, that's both a bad answer to the question itself and a bad reason for the answer. I know you said you weren't rebutting anything, but I simply can't let this go because it's severely flawed reasoning.

    When you change the context of the question by factoring in "purpose", you change the very nature of the question itself. Yes, I agree that God can create a rule for himself that his perfect nature will not allow him to violate, but we're not talking about that sort of thing. We're not talking about compulsory rules that moral agents can and do set for themselves, because those question don't deal with ability (I can choose to violate my own rules, for example).

    And yes, I appreciate that God's perfect nature will not allow him to break his own moral tenets, but we're not talking about God's nature here. We're talking about the nature of the universe.

    The question is limited EXCLUSIVELY to things that, by virtue of the nature of the universe itself, either can or cannot be done. This has absolutely nothing to do with purpose, and purpose has absolutely nothing to do with whether a thing is naturally possible. Keep that in view for a moment.

    You and I both accept that God's omnipotence means that he can do anything that can be done. Conversely, I'm also assuming (since we agree that square circles and other such nonsense are self-contradictory) that we agree that God CANNOT do things that CANNOT be done.

    So the act of "God creating a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it" is effectively "God doing a thing that cannot be done". So clearly the answer to the question is "no" because impossible things, by definition, cannot be done. It really is that simple.

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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Second, if one wants to assume that having "absolute omnipotence" makes it so that things like the term "impossible" have no meaning (i.e. the rules of logical can be violated), then it's for them to provide a good reason why anyone else should think so. That is, if they want to argue that an 'absolutely omnipotent' God can create square circles (for example), it's for them to show how that's possible. It's not sufficient to simply assert that it's a lovely byproduct of "absolute omnipotence".
    That is not quite right.

    the claim by atheists is that a logical paradox is NOT possible, and therefor it refutes absolute omnipotence because a paradox of a circle square is not possible. Therefor eh being claiming 'omnipotence' who cannot make a circle square is falsified.

    The burden of proof then actually switches to our side to demonstrate how paradox IS possible.

    Step 1: Prove that paradox are possible, and often solvable.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Mathematical_paradoxes

    Achilles and the tortoise paradox is one that appears sound, but we know that a running man will, even with a head start, eventually over take a tortoise for example. So if we acknowledge our BOP, then we begin with 'possible paradox' and move forward.

    In terms of God, with absolute omnipotence, the challenge then become perceptual.

    Let me back up for a second to set the conditions properly. What appears paradoxical to us (or impossible), with limited knowledge and scope, may not necessarily be so. One example is that we used to believe oxygen was required for all life (an inductive claim that seemed quite correct), but then we discovered anaerobic life and it blew our minds - it should not be possible! There it is. Same thing with geo-thermal vents at the bottom of the Ocean with no sun to feed organisms energy, life found a way.

    So when we encounter an 'impossible paradox', very often, the limitation is ourselves an not the 'possible solution'.

    So, circle square and an omnipotent being that is apparently capable of creating entire universe and the waiting 14 billion years to see life pop up (that is a long wait the old maternity ward), and he is given that challenge. "No problem," he says, he simply creates two dimensions with a circle in one and square in another and then creates a point where the two dimensions intersect and induces the ability to interact with that point in our universe - you stick your hands in and feel ... a circle and a square at the same time. It's POSSIBLE, and the BOP shifts back ...

    The point is that the omnipotence paradox is not falsifiable. With a being capable of violating or indeed creating realities as it sees fit, then the real limitation is not 'impossibility' it is our failure to grasp what is possible in a completely unconstrained environment.

    As an aside, it not that YOU are a beginner atheist (or even an atheist), its that this particular paradox is being taught by atheists as an example of how religion is wrong.

    Edit: I'd like to add that you seem sort of fixated on atheists that DO find this sort of pseudo-paradox persuasive.
    That is kind of what the OP is meant to rebut. I'm not sure acknowledging what is being said is 'fixation'? It's more:

    Atheists often claim X, and here is why X is wrong.

    That religious people view X differently than atheists? Not really the point of the claim I am making.
    Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.

    Albert Einstein

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  23. #18
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    When you change the context of the question by factoring in "purpose", you change the very nature of the question itself
    I definitely recognize that I'm changing the question with my answer. I don't think it is necessarily a "bad" reasoning.

    For example
    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    The question is limited EXCLUSIVELY to things that, by virtue of the nature of the universe itself, either can or cannot be done.
    As my answer is changing the question, it is also rejecting some of the premises, including that one. The nature of our universe is a function of God's will.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    So the act of "God creating a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it" is effectively "God doing a thing that cannot be done". So clearly the answer to the question is "no" because impossible things, by definition, cannot be done. It really is that simple.
    Certainly I agree with all that.
    One of the points of giving the answer that I do, is to prompt people to think a bit.
    That atheist that posses the original question, is generally playing a "Got Ya" game. By saying "no" I think it steps into the Gotcha with a logical line they haven't generally considered.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    This has absolutely nothing to do with purpose, and purpose has absolutely nothing to do with whether a thing is naturally possible. Keep that in view for a moment.
    Well, lets talk about the factors that are relevant to God doing something. ( I already pointed out that I don't think the original question fails to bring up a relevant factor in God's ability)
    The first is logical coherence. God can do anything, but a "married bachelor" isn't a thing. This not a "limit" to God's power.
    The Second is his own will. Because his omnipotence is in essence his ability to bring about his will.

    So when we talk about things that can't be done FOR God, we must be referencing factors that are relevant.

    --Physical universe limitations--
    Now in regards to anything physical, again I'm not sure if you agree with me on the Categorical error point.

    Suppose that within the universe there is not enough energy to accomplish X task. Like supposing there isn't enough energy to bring the average heat of the universe to X degrees.
    That would be as much by definition impossible in our universe as possible (without being a logical contradiction).
    But I can't conceive of an objection to say that God can't decree the average temp of the universe. After all, that is exactly what he did to begin with.
    To serve man.

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  25. #19
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    That is not quite right.

    the claim by atheists is that a logical paradox is NOT possible, and therefor it refutes absolute omnipotence because a paradox of a circle square is not possible. Therefor eh being claiming 'omnipotence' who cannot make a circle square is falsified.

    The burden of proof then actually switches to our side to demonstrate how paradox IS possible.
    Not at all. Again, (and I've read all those things about mathematical paradoxes, etc) if a person wants to claim that actual paradoxes (rather than physically non-existent, abstract ones) are possible, it's for them to show how it's possible. And, since mathematics isn't sufficient to declare that a thing is in fact possible (as any skeptic of String Theory will tell you), they'll need to show you an ACTUAL paradox, and if they do that, then it's not an actual paradox since the things does in fact exist. Saddling you with proving a case you're not making is shifting the burden of proof.

    This isn't nearly as complicated as it's being made to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by gree0232 View Post
    As an aside, it not that YOU are a beginner atheist (or even an atheist), its that this particular paradox is being taught by atheists as an example of how religion is wrong.

    That is kind of what the OP is meant to rebut. I'm not sure acknowledging what is being said is 'fixation'? It's more:

    Atheists often claim X, and here is why X is wrong.

    That religious people view X differently than atheists? Not really the point of the claim I am making.
    Well, that's fine I suppose. I guess it comes off as a strange clarification to make to this particular audience, but you can't have known what the typical ODN participant is like. I can appreciate where you're coming from, especially if you're running into people who make dumb arguments.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I definitely recognize that I'm changing the question with my answer. I don't think it is necessarily a "bad" reasoning.
    No, it's not your reasoning itself that's bad (I stated that very poorly; my apologies). Your reasoning for the question YOU asked is great. But since the reasoning you provided speaks to the question YOU asked rather than the question at hand, it is poor reasoning RELATIVE to the question at hand.

    The point is this: The most correct answer to the question in, in fact, "no", and there's not a damn reason in the world you should have to defend or apologize for that answer. The reasons you have for saying 'no' to such an asinine question are sufficient and do not warrant any sort of "got ya", and entertaining the idea that it does is just pandering to stupidity.

    Again, it's simple: Impossible things cannot be done by definition. If a thing can be done by ANYONE, then it NOT impossible; it is POSSIBLE.

    So if someone asks if ANYONE - INCLUDING GOD - can do a thing that is IMPOSSIBLE by definition, the answer is always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always NO.

    Always.

    There's nothing more to it than that. That's it. Full stop. End of story. Your stupid atheist has "gotten" NO ONE and NO-THING.


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  27. #20
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    Re: The omnipotence paradox?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Not at all. Again, (and I've read all those things about mathematical paradoxes, etc) if a person wants to claim that actual paradoxes (rather than physically non-existent, abstract ones) are possible, it's for them to show how it's possible. And, since mathematics isn't sufficient to declare that a thing is in fact possible (as any skeptic of String Theory will tell you), they'll need to show you an ACTUAL paradox, and if they do that, then it's not an actual paradox since the things does in fact exist. Saddling you with proving a case you're not making is shifting the burden of proof.

    This isn't nearly as complicated as it's being made to be.

    Well, that's fine I suppose. I guess it comes off as a strange clarification to make to this particular audience, but you can't have known what the typical ODN participant is like. I can appreciate where you're coming from, especially if you're running into people who make dumb arguments.

    No, it's not your reasoning itself that's bad (I stated that very poorly; my apologies). Your reasoning for the question YOU asked is great. But since the reasoning you provided speaks to the question YOU asked rather than the question at hand, it is poor reasoning RELATIVE to the question at hand.

    The point is this: The most correct answer to the question in, in fact, "no", and there's not a damn reason in the world you should have to defend or apologize for that answer. The reasons you have for saying 'no' to such an asinine question are sufficient and do not warrant any sort of "got ya", and entertaining the idea that it does is just pandering to stupidity.

    Again, it's simple: Impossible things cannot be done by definition. If a thing can be done by ANYONE, then it NOT impossible; it is POSSIBLE.

    So if someone asks if ANYONE - INCLUDING GOD - can do a thing that is IMPOSSIBLE by definition, the answer is always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always always NO.

    Always.

    There's nothing more to it than that. That's it. Full stop. End of story. Your stupid atheist has "gotten" NO ONE and NO-THING.

    There is only one problem here, very heavy rocks quite clearly exist and whether someone can lift them or not also exists ;-) No need for circle-squares.

    The paradox in that case is whether God cannot lift something (thereby invalidating his omnipotence), or whether he can (thereby not being able to create a rock too heavy to lift and violating his omnipotence).

    The solution? He can literally do both at the same time, or as mind trap said (I have never seen this answer and found it impressive), can can simply say, "I will never lift that rock," and the weight of the rock is irrelevant to the to ability of God to lift it. Paradox solved.
    Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.

    Albert Einstein

 

 
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