The Omnipotence Paradox of God

The omnipotence paradox poses the question, “Can God create a stone so heavy, he would not be able to lift it?” The question underlines a part of the fundamental breakdown in our logic. In the question itself lies the real paradox, and once we begin to examine those who pose the question, we can come to an answer.

The question isn’t whether or not God can create a stone he cannot lift, or some other supposed contradiction of his omnipotence. Of course he can. God’s power extends into the realm of His being able to contradict His own power. He can do anything; He is God. However, being able to commit an act does not mean that it must happen. The real problem with the omnipotence paradox is that it is not a paradox at all. The paradox comes from those who seek to answer the question from the perspective of trying to “disprove” God’s existence.

If this question were asked by someone truly looking for the answer, it would be answered. The “paradoxical” nature of the question is the inherent fallacy in its logic. God being able to create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it does not mean that He would ever do it; that would undermine His divine power and He would cease to be omnipotent. However, He still retains the ability to do so, and chooses not to.

The question of whether or not he can accomplish this task, in the minds of those who pose it philosophically, implies that His being able to do so makes him no longer omnipotent. The logic here is that because there is a potentiality for God being inable to accomplish some task (i.e. lifting an unliftable stone) that He must not be omnipotent. The implication itself is a fallacy. The only way for God to remain omnipotent is for Him to have the ability to create the unliftable stone. Otherwise, He would indeed be no longer omnipotent. However, because he retains that ability, though He chooses not to exercise it, He retains His omnipotence. The potentiality exists only because His omnipotence allows Him to make it so.

Whether or not He would be able to lift the unliftable stone is immaterial, because it does not exist. Because it does not exist, there is no stone that God cannot lift, and to expand on the metaphor, no act God cannot accomplish. Were he to create such a stone, God would cease to be an omnipotent being, but he has not, and still retains omnipotence through the ability to do all things, even if they may undermine His power. Without the potential ability to undermine His own power, God would not be able to be omnipotent. For to be called omnipotent, the reach of God’s power must be unlimited, and, therefore, He must be able to remove from Himself the almighty power which He commands.

In short, the question only becomes a paradox when those who pose it are not seeking to find an answer to a fundamental question of life, but only to disprove the beliefs of others based on inherently flawed “logic” that is viewed from inside Plato’s cave. To a true philosopher the question is no more a paradox than, “Where are my car keys?”

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