– part of an ongoing examination of the question: “Does God Exist?” –
Fancy word for “all-powerful.” That’s one of the characteristics a Supreme Being is traditionally said to have.
Meaning, he can do anything?
The God of Judeo-Christianity is generally thought to be able to perform any action, yes.
So, if there is something God can’t do, that would count as a limitation or a defect in his power?
Like, can he be hit in the face with a snowball?
Nice try! But that would require God to have a physical body and we don’t normally think of a Supreme Being that way.
Well, he is said to have incarnated himself in the form of his son, so we can assume that he could take on bodily form if he chose to. But let me ask this kind of question a slightly different way… [Points to a chair in the corner]… Could God sit in that chair over there?
I suppose so, if he wanted to, for the sake of argument.
Could God sit in that chair at a time when you’re not sitting in that chair?
Well, certainly. I’m not over there now and if God suddenly plopped himself down, he would be there at a time when I’m not there.
And you – you could get up and walk over and sit in that chair, right?
And we agree that God is not sitting in that chair right this minute, so we can say that YOU could sit in that chair at a time – like, right now – when God is NOT sitting there?
But – can God sit in that chair at a time when GOD is not sitting there?
Because, if YOU can sit in that chair when God is not sitting there, but GOD can’t sit in that chair when God is not sitting there – then YOU can do something God cannot do.
And, we could always ask whether God could create a square circle or whether he could ever forget something, or even if he could break a promise that he made. But, here’s a better question… Could God create a stone so heavy that he couldn’t lift it?
That’s a tough one.
Because… If you say yes, then there’s something God CAN’T do, he couldn’t lift it – and if you say no, there’s still something God CAN’T do, he couldn’t create it.
And yet, by comparison, we humans create things all the time that are so heavy that WE can’t lift them.
So, what’s the answer, is God all-powerful or not? Any limitations as to what he can do?
Slightly outrageous, I know… But remember, the purpose of an introductory exercise like this is to…?
… teach us to think clearly and logically.