Can God create a rock so big he can't lift it?

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  • linate
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    Can an Omnipotent God create a rock he cannot lift? it is said that If one answers yes to the question, then God is therefore not omnipotent because he cannot lift the rock, but if one answers no to the question, God is no longer omnipotent because he cannot create the rock.my position is that he can do one or the other, at different times, but he can't do both at the same time. and, that he can't do both at the same time doesn't disprove God as omnipotent.

    to answer this, we need to ask another question. what happens when an immovable rock meets the unstoppable force of God?the issue-- the paradox arises because it rests on two premises- that there exist such things as immovable rocks and unstoppable forces - which cannot both be true at once. If there exists an unstoppable force, it follows logically that there cannot be any such thing as an immovable rock, and vice versa.so the key then is "at once". to ask if God can create both scenarios at once is a logical impossibility. God cannot do the logically impossible.if God creates the immovable rock, he cannot be an unstoppable force. and if God acts as the unstoppable force, he cannot create an immovable rock. he must choose which scenario exists at any given time. and, in fact, the fact that he would be able to choose the scenario, highlights the underlying omnipotence of God to begin with.to highlight the time element. if God made a rock that could not be lifted for a week, then for a week he could not lift it. when we merely say God can make the rock, but then he can lift it, we are assuming that the time has elapsed such that God is able to then 'switch gears' and lift it. when we add a time element such as "a week" it highlights that there are in fact restrictions if God makes that rock.we have to suppose that God knows what he's doing when he makes decisions like that to prevent lifting it for a week. and, this is a matter of consistency.... it is like dropping a ball or not. i can say i won't drop a ball, and if i am consistent as i would imagine God is, then i won't drop the ball. if he creates the rock, whether or not he can lift it, he probably won't lift it for as long as he says he won't. not that he couldn't.

    i think at the end of the day you can say God can both make the rock and lift it, if your premise is right that God can be illogical. but that's another debate. i'm assuming God must be logical. 

    it's sort of like asking. "can the unlimited limit itself? if you answer yes, then it's not truly unlimited, though if you answer no it's still not unlimited". i call that the 'unlimited paradox'
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @linate
    If he can't do both at once then there is something he cannot do (make both scenarios happen at once) and he is still not omnipotent.
  • linate
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    --> @secularmerlin
    you assume that any omnipotent God must be able to be illogical. if we hold God to be logical, and assume he could still be omnipotent being logical.... then he can't do both. if we assume God can be illogical then anything can be inferred at all. 
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @linate
    Then you assume that god is not truly omnipotent but only maximally powerful. 
  • vagabond
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    If god can't be illogical then he can't do all things and is not omnipotent.
  • linate
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    so to conclude, i'd say the rock paradox doesn't disprove God as omnipotent. because, if God is logical, he would have to follow my criteria in the opening post, and this would assume logical and omnipotence can go together. if God can be illogical, then how can a person use logic to disprove him? i dont think they could, so God as omnipotent would still exist here too. 
  • linate
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    i think if a person wanted to 'disprove' God, it would be a stronger argument to argue my 'unlimited paradox' that i mentioned in the philosophy forum, and briefly here. "if god is unlimited can he limit himself?" i dont know how you can get out of that paradox. as was said, you might have to say "God is maximally powerful". 
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @linate
    There is no conclusive proof for or against the idea that some god(s) exist. The default position is skepticism .
  • vagabond
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    --> @linate
    Can your god be illogical?
    Can your god be a murderer?
  • ravensjt
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    Any Christian should have no problem saying that God cant do anything that would disprove his omnipotence.


    In other words, any rock created, God can lift...... or said another way....

    There is no rock able to be created that God couldn't lift
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @ravensjt
    The problem with this line of reasoning is that if god is unable to make such a rock he is (by virtue of being unable to do something) not omnipotent.
  • ravensjt
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    --> @secularmerlin
    OR.....The logic could be used that God is not capable of proving his omnipotence..... If I were Christian..... I would be cool with that lol
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @ravensjt
    Unlimited power is logically impossible. It creates paradoxes. I cannot conceive of or accept the existence of such a being. The best you could hope for is maximally powerful.
  • ravensjt
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I cant conceive it either, but that doesn't mean that I reject it.

    And I'm sure a Theist would be ok with God not being able to prove he wasn't omnipotent
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @ravensjt
    Perhaps logically impossible paradoxes are possible but I have no idea how to discuss that possibility logically. I am skeptical of the idea in any case.

  • vagabond
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    --> @ravensjt
    Which would be proof that he is not omnipotent. This is why it's a paradox, every argument you provide actually proves that the god is not omnipotent.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @vagabond
    Which would be proof that he is not omnipotent. This is why it's a paradox, every argument you provide actually proves that the god is not omnipotent.

    But does an entity need to be actually omnipotent to be a god?   Even if He is not actually omnipotent, YHWH allegedly created a universe in 6 days, made man from mud, destroyed worlds, cities and peoples with ease and can grant eternal happiness or torture to departed souls.   Even if HIs powers fall short of literal 'omnipotence' I'd classify God as a god.

    English (and, I suppose, Hebrew and Greek) don't have a single word that means 'can do anything that is not inherently paradoxical'.    If such a word existed perhaps the Bible writers would, or should, have used it.   But the bible was written primarily with believers in mind, not for nit-picking pedants so its not surprising that the scribes didn't bother to add any caveats about the paradoxes raised.

    I suspect God cannot create a stone He cannot lift because that is paradoxical.   But as He can - allegedy - turn people into stones (and worse) it may not be wise to draw attention to that fact.





  • ravensjt
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    --> @vagabond
    I agree.... And if the best thing a non-theist could say is :

    "God is not omnipotent because he cant contradict himself..."

    I imagine a theist would be cool with that
  • vagabond
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    --> @ravensjt
    It's really just one response to one fairy tale, only godists think it important.
  • ravensjt
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    --> @vagabond
    Yet Atheists always ask the question..... Why is that?
  • drafterman
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    --> @ravensjt
    Because if an omnipotent being is a logically impossible being, then that would seem to rule out there being a god.
  • ethang5
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    The heavy rock question makes no sense because for it to make sense, the heaviness of the rock must be logically linked with the ability of God to lift it. It isn't.

    The question, "Can God make a rock so yellow that He can't lift it?" Is just as stupid. What does the color of a rock have to do with God's ability to lift it? Nothing. The question is stupidity.

    What does the weight of a rock have have to do with God's ability to lift it? Nothing. This question too is stupidity.

    It just never fails to amaze me that people claiming to have functioning brains cannot see the inherent stupidity in the question.


  • Stronn
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    --> @ethang5
    Whether weight is linked to God's ability to lift something isn't the issue. The issue is that God cannot be limitless without apparent contradiction.

    One can easily leave weight out of it. Can God create a rock that can never be moved, even by Himself? If so, can He then later move the rock? If the answer to either question is no, then God has limits. But one cannot answer yes to both questions without a contradiction.
  • Outplayz
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    --> @Stronn
    Not really. If god is all powerful he can make himself into a man and "not" be able to lift the rock and revert back into god and pick the rock up easy. So yeah... he can make a rock he can't lift and lift. I don't see the contradiction. 
  • Outplayz
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    --> @linate
    i think if a person wanted to 'disprove' God, it would be a stronger argument to argue my 'unlimited paradox' that i mentioned in the philosophy forum, and briefly here. "if god is unlimited can he limit himself?" i dont know how you can get out of that paradox. as was said, you might have to say "God is maximally powerful". 

    I don't see the paradox. If god can do anything... all he has to do is turn into a "human" and be limited, i.e. not be able to lift a heavy rock, and revert back into "god" his ultimate form and be able to lift the rock. If one can do anything in this manner... they can just do it. It is the observer lifting the rock. His state of observation could be through a human vessel that is limited or his god form and do anything. So the answer to the OP is yes... god can limit and be unlimited if he is omni. I just don't understand where the paradox is.