I’ll continue on the ”Omniscient” and ”Omnipotent” scenarios my
opponent poses as “proof” that Omnscient/Omnipotence are impossible (“Does an
Omniscient being know there are things it doesn’t know?” and “Can an Omnipotent
being create a stone so heavy it can’t lift?”). While on the surface, these may look like “Gotcha!” questions that
“prove” both concepts are impossible, they are actually nonsense (illogical
Humans have a great capacity for
letters, words, and language. We can
combine letters/words in such a way that they make perfect sense. Likewise we can combine them in such a way
that they are completely illogical and nonsensical and/or incoherent. Just because we can combine words in certain
ways doesn’t necessarily prove a point—if the way the words are combined are
done so in an illogical way, nonsensical or incoherent way, it proves nothing—it’s
nonsensical / illogical statement.
Take this grouping of words: “Dune buggies silver can dry-roasted Tim
Duncan and John Petrucci”
If I were to say those words, I’m sure my
opponent and others would say “That
makes absolutely no sense.” Now what if
I were to pose it as a question: “Ok,
Bobby, if you are so smart, then answer this question: Dune buggies silver can dry-roasted Tim
Duncan and John Petrucci?” If Bobby
can’t answer the question, does that prove Bobby is not smart? Of course not. You may counter “Well, that is not even
question!”. I would then challenge you,
“Why not? Because it’s illogical? Incoherent? Because it’s Nonsense?”
Now, what if we were to follow
grammatical rules and thus rephrase it so that it conforms to the rules of grammar
(i.e. subject, verb, object), does that now automatically make it a logical,
coherent, and sensible question? No of
The sentence “The number 3 weighs
blue centimeters” is just as incoherent and illogical. Why? Because the sense/meaning of the words renders the statement illogical
We may be able to string along words
in any way we want, but the statement or question has got to be meaningful, and
if it is a self-contradictory statement or question, it loses all meaning and
The question “Is an Omniscient Being
aware of things it doesn’t know?” or “Can an all-powerful being do something that
implies it’s not all-powerful?” makes as much as sense as “Are 3-wheeled
unicycles easier or harder to ride then 4 wheeled vehicles?” or “Can you tell
me the name of the bachelor’s wife?” or “Is that 2 angled circle heavy or
To paraphrase CS Lewis, nonsense is nonsense, it matters not if you re talking about musicians, cars, animals, vehicles, concepts, fairies, Jeep Wranglers, sea turtles, etc- substituting the word "God" and "all-powerful" doesn't automatically make it sensible or logical.
In order for my question to be self-contradictory, it would have to say that omniscience is possible, which it does not. Rather, my question points out that omniscience is impossible. My question points out how the Bible's claim that God knows everything would contradict itself, and yet my opponent twists that into saying that my own question contradicts itself
your question does not point out that it’s impossible. Your question is a nonsensical question. I don’t need to twist what your saying—your
own definition and words contradict themselves. Your question does not point out that the Bible contradicts itself, but
rather that YOU contradict yourself. Your question is a contradiction in terms, pure and simple:
1. You define Omniscient as “all-knowing”…this definition rules out
“things that are not known” (if there are thigns not known, then by defintion, it is not "all-knowing"). By
definition “all-knowing” means knowing all things, and this rules out things
that are “not known”.
2. You then ask the question is “If X is “all-knowing” (meaning knowing
all things) is X aware there are things X does not know”. That question makes no sense in light of your
definition. Your question makes a
fundamental mistake—it assumes that there are things an all-knowing being
doesn’t know. The question makes no sense
in light of your definitions. If there are things it doesn’t know, then you
cannot say it is all-knowing in the first place. You couldn’t say that the Being is
all-knowing. This doesn’t prove that
“All-knowing” is impossible, it proves that whatever being you are talking
about is not all-knowing because there are things it doesn’t know. That might be your point, but that doesn’t
prove “omniscient” is impossible…..your question does highlight/underscore an important
point—violating the law of non-contradiction is not a sound argument. What the Law of Non-Contradiction says about
your “omniscient” question is this: it
is impossible for an All-Knowing being to “not know things”, the contradiction
being “knowing all things” and “not knowing all things”. It doesn’t prove that being “all knowing” is
impossible, but being “all-knowing and not knowing things” is impossible.
A: Spotted leopards without spots exist.
B: If spotted leopards without spots exist, how can they be both with and without spots at the same time?
A: Your question assumes that spotted leopards without spots exist and that is impossible, so you're wrong.
Your analogy is off-base--- that is NOT what I’m saying. What I’m saying is you can’t use as proof a statement
that is a contradiction in terms. It’s illogical. Here is the a better
Person A (you): I define a
“spotted leopard as a leopard that has spots” (relating it to our debate, "You define ‘omniscient’ as all-knowing, i.e.
knowing all things”)
Person A (you): Can a spotted
leopard that is spotless do _____________________?” (relating it to our debate,
“Is an All-Knowing being aware that it doesn’t know all things?”)
Person B (me): Hold on. That “thing” you are referring to is not
really a “thing” at all. a spotted
leopard that is spotless (an all-knowing being that doesn’t know things), is
not even a “thing” according to your definition. In light of that, your question makes no
sense. Everything that follows from that point on is built on nonsense.
Notice how person B is not saying that
spotted leopards without spots exist, he is pointing out that they cannot
Exactly. In exactly the same way a spotted leopard
without spots can’t exist, nor can “an All-Knowing being that lacks knowledge”
exist. A spotted leopard, by definition,
has spots, and therefore cannot be “lacking in spots”. Likewise, an all-knowing (omniscient) being,
by definition, knows all things, and therefore “can’t be lacking in
knowledge”. Any subsequent question/scenario
involving a contradicting in terms is senseless, thus any subsequent
scenario/question related to spotted leopards without spots, or an All-Knowing
being lacking knowledge, is nonsense.
Person A is the one who is saying those
leopards exist. Can't you see that the person who is wrong is person A and not
Exactly. Why is person A in your analogy wrong? It is because they are using a contradiction in terms (spotted leopards without spots) as their starting point.
Spotted Leopards without spots don't exist because it's a contradiction. This doesn't prove spotted leopards aren't possible
Red Apples that are not red don't exist because it's a contradiction. This doesn't prove red apples aren't possible
All-Knowing Beings lacking knowledge isn't possible, because it's a contradiction. This doesn't prove omniscient beings aren't possible
All-powerful Beings that are not all-powerful isn't possible, because it's contradiction. This doesn't prove all-powerful beings aren't possible.
By questioning someone's illogical
statement, you do not have to believe that that statement is true, but my
opponent doesn't seem to understand that.
Yes, but if a statement or position is illogical, then it should be discarded. If you accept "nonsense" or "illogical statements", then you are basically throwing logic out the window and are allowing any reason to be used.
He is instead arguing against his own
religion's position: that God knows absolutely everything.
Nope, that is not what I'm arguing. What I"m arguing is your using nonsense (illogical and contradictory statements) as the basis of your arguement
thing as with my "God is omniscient" question. In order for this
question to be self-contradicting, it would have to assume that omnipotence is
possible, which it does not. Rather, it's my opponent who says that omnipotence
is possible, and he is wrong.
Nope. You haven’t shown “omnipotence” is
impossible—you simply say it is and use as your “proof” a scenario built on a
contradiction of terms, an all-powerful being that is not all-powerful (just
like the Omniscient).
definition, Omnipotent means “all-powerful”. An Omnipotent Being
therefore, by definition of its all-powerfulness, could make any stone it
wanted and likewise an Omnipotent Being, by definition of its all-powerfulness,
could lift any stone it wanted."
would be impossible to make an unliftable stone and then lift it, and that's
why omnipotence cannot exist. Something that is impossible cannot exist by
definition, and since omnipotence is impossible, it cannot exist.
Why, exactly, is it impossible to
make an unliftable and then lift it? You
haven’t explained why. I would challenge you to explain why it is impossible make an unliftable stone and then lift it. My guess is your reasoning would rely heavily on logic. The idea of lifting an unliftable object is a contradiction in terms. Because it makes
no sense, right? It’s illogical,
right? It is because it’s a
contradiction in terms, right? An
unliftable stone that can be lifted? It
violates the law of non-contradiction, which states that two contradicting
positions can’t exist at the same time in the same sense. If a stone can be lifted, then it’s not
unliftable. An “unliftable stone that can be lifted” is not even a “thing”
because it’s a contradiction in terms, just like a Triangle with only 2 angles,
a Unicycle with 2 wheels, a Married Bachelor, a true lie are not "things"-- they are simply words put together.
All-powerful beings that are not all-powerful are not possible because it's a contradiction, but this not proving that all-powerful beings are not possible. Your Stone Paradox scenario uses a senseless illogical use of words to try and prove a point.
because the “omnipotent” scenario my opponent has used is based on a contradiction in terms, it is
not a sound argument and thus should be discarded.
Would my opponent agree that God
irrelevant question. We are not debating
if God creating everything or not. I
would say God creates things, yes . But also humans participate/cooperate with
God in his creation (refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 372). Man
has been given Freewill (see Sirach 15:14). God allows man to make his own choices and decisions. When man chooses to do “the bad”, he is
creating evil, not God. Think about
it….in order for God to create a world without evil (sin), He would have had to
remove our Free Will. Evil only has meaning in light of "Good", it is the absence of "Good".
God loves us and does not want us to suffer, and he is omnipotent, why does he
let us suffer?
It's impossible for a being to not want its
creation to suffer, to have the ability to stop its creation from suffering,
and yet still to allow its creation to continue suffering.
This is an irrelevant question. This question is a “nice to know” question—it
would be nice to know the answer to it. But because he or I do not know, does not mean there is not a valid
reason. Again, my opponent is leaving
out one critical aspect—there could very well be a valid reason to allow or
enable the suffering. My opponent knows
this. There could very well be a good reason. My opponent in his limited knowledge does not know the reason behind everything under the sun. Likewise, me in my limited knowledge do not know the reason behind everything that happens. There could very well be a good reason to allow suffering and pain. We allow suffering and pain all the time to enable a greater good, so that is not a foreign concept. While my opponent likes to couch this topic as a “Problem of Evil”,
he is neglecting the possibility that there could be a “Solution To Evil”, which is indeed God’s Omnipotence
and His ability to bring about Good out of Evil. The greater good. If there is indeed a "greater good", then that could very well justify any temporal (temporary) pain, suffering, etc.
Again, it's usually around this time that folks like to offer up the most heinous or traumatic instances (i.e. rape, murder, etc) and ask "What could possibly justify that??"
But as I said in prior rounds, there may very well be a reason any particular evil or bad thing may be allowed to happen. My opponent must be honest and admit that he may not know what this reason is, and just because he doesn't know it or is able to comprehend it, doesn't mean a reason doesn’t exist. To claim that “no valid reason could possibly exist” is to elevate one’s knowledge to that of “knowing everything”
In conclusion, the Omnscient/Omnipotent arguments used by my opponent are based nonsensical, illogical reasoning and should be discarded. The Omnibenevolent and "the Problem of Evil" arguments simply highlight the fact that there could very well be good reasons to allow something (bad) to happen-- the greater good.