Omnipotence Paradox Resolved

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Omnipotence Paradox Resolved

Postby bijane » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:21 pm

I'm still not really a believer, but this forum needs life...
And in any case, it's still a point. There's one thing used to state the impossibility of omnipotence, which is essentially:

Can God create a rock so heavy that God cannot lift it?
If so, then there is something God cannot do: lift the stone.
If no, then there is something God cannot do; create the stone.


This is essentially a false dilemma. As it argues against omnipotence, then the God mentioned is able to do more than lift or create rocks all the time.
God would be able to create this super-rock, so heavy that God cannot lift it. So, God cannot lift the stone: but when challenged to lift the stone, God still has several options. Aside from the possibility of reducing the stone, God can do something else: as omnipotence is capability to do anything, God can increase his own power, to the point where he can lift the stone.
Then the paradox happens again: can God create a stone this increased-God cannot lift? Once more, yes. And when challenged to lift the stone, God can again increase his own power.
It is possible for God to increase his own power, as even though God has infinite power by the properties of 'omnipotent', there are magnitudes of infinity: infinity plus one is still infinity.
The rock created is itself infinite if it exceeds God's capabilities to lift: it's more infinite than the magnitude of infinity God's powers bear, if that makes sense. The difference is, God can increase his own infinity: the rock cannot.
The process can essentially be summed up in the repetition of the following list:

God creates an un-lift-able stone.
God fails to lift the stone.
God's powers increase.
God lifts the stone.


In a way, yes I am advocating an infinite regress as a resolution to a paradox. But really, the paradox itself deals with the infinite, how else could it be solved?
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resolve that which cannot be resolved

Postby dobbie » Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:14 am

Can God create a rock so heavy that God cannot lift it?
If so, then there is something God cannot do: lift the stone.
If no, then there is something God cannot do; create the stone
.

I approach the question by asking the question with a question.

How heavy is the rock supposed to get? If the answer is “I don’t knowâ€
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Re: resolve that which can be resolved

Postby bijane » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:18 am

[quote="dobbie"]
How heavy is the rock supposed to get? If the answer is “I don’t knowâ€
Disproving the Bible in a signature:
Revelations 22:18 ...If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book
Revelations 23:1 And God said 'hi'.
(I'm still fine)
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stuff nobody really knows

Postby dobbie » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:57 am

The rock would presumably reach infinite weight/mass

Well, nobody really knows how heavy that is. The word "infinite" is conceptual. It doesn’t refer to an actual number or a weight /mass.

Omnipotence: infinite power. In essence, called the 'power to do anything' but again: that's just infinite power.

And what form does that take? Infinite power is unknowable to us. Therefore the question is really entertaining the unknowable; and that’s why I look at the question as impractical.


As for the latter half of your statement, something doesn't have to be seen to be known

That is true. And so it would be more complete for me to ask somebody to tell me about something omnipotent in nature, and something equivalent to the big heavy rock in nature. That is, I ask somebody to tell me something they know about it from their observation. And I don’t refer to just their intellectualism.

Meanwhile I look at the question as impractical since I wait for those questions (namely, what’s infinite; what’s omnipotent; who has observe them in nature?) to be answered.


omnipotence wouldn't prove a paradox, so a God would on this basis still be possible.

I agree. Furthermore, if a god could make a rock so heavy that the god couldn’t lift it and simultaneously have the strength to lift it, nobody could test it.

And what is more (topic shift), if the God wasn’t omnipotent, it still wouldn’t change anything about religion today. For example, the Bible God doesn’t need to be omnipotent, just stronger than what any natural force is. I understand that the word “omnipotentâ€
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Re: stuff nobody really knows

Postby bijane » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:23 pm

dobbie wrote:
Well, nobody really knows how heavy that is. The word "infinite" is conceptual. It doesn’t refer to an actual number or a weight /mass.

Well, this does have to be a little conceptual, it is about God. If it helps, view 'infinity' as a measurement, as we are using variable magnitudes. God is at 1 infinity initially, and makes a rock also of 1 infinity: as the 'infinity' is the 'limit' if you will of the power. I'm making this sound stupidly sci-fi-y complex. Then God can add 1 infinity onto his own powers: 2 infinity, which is greater than the 1 infinity of the rock.
This isn't as stupid as it sounds, I know it sounds bizarre, those were my thoughts as I wrote it: but omnipotence is essentially infinite power, so starts off at 1 infinity, and can do anything which that 1 infinity allows: and as the universe is infinite, it is covered by that 1 infinity, so God can do anything with/to the universe, as well as anything less or equal to that one infinity.

And so it would be more complete for me to ask somebody to tell me about something omnipotent in nature, and something equivalent to the big heavy rock in nature. That is, I ask somebody to tell me something they know about it from their observation. And I don’t refer to just their intellectualism.

Well, we can't see anything infinite in nature for obvious reasons; we're not infinite, and we'd need to be so in order to actually observe.
However, it's possible to run basic experiments on what's equivalent: as we're dealing with magnitudes of infinity, then we can use a basic analogy of a kilogram weight, with a kilogram being equal to infinity.
This first weight, called God, would be capable of creating any other 1kg weights (or any weights less than that, though those have little relevance), because this is God after all. It creates another (one unable to create) called the Rock. Now, if we build a basic balance, the Rock on one, and God on the other, God would not have the 'strength', symbolized by weight, to lift it. But God can create another weight: this time on God's side of the scale, thus increasing power and proving 'strong' enough to lift the Rock.
Highly simplified of course, with weight symbolizing all power, but it's essentially the resolution I'm proposing.

[quote]
And what is more (topic shift), if the God wasn’t omnipotent, it still wouldn’t change anything about religion today. For example, the Bible God doesn’t need to be omnipotent, just stronger than what any natural force is. I understand that the word “omnipotentâ€
Disproving the Bible in a signature:
Revelations 22:18 ...If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book
Revelations 23:1 And God said 'hi'.
(I'm still fine)
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Re: stuff nobody really knows

Postby DukeTwicep » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:51 pm

bijane wrote:
dobbie wrote:
Well, nobody really knows how heavy that is. The word "infinite" is conceptual. It doesn’t refer to an actual number or a weight /mass.

Well, this does have to be a little conceptual, it is about God. If it helps, view 'infinity' as a measurement, as we are using variable magnitudes. God is at 1 infinity initially, and makes a rock also of 1 infinity: as the 'infinity' is the 'limit' if you will of the power. I'm making this sound stupidly sci-fi-y complex. Then God can add 1 infinity onto his own powers: 2 infinity, which is greater than the 1 infinity of the rock.
This isn't as stupid as it sounds, I know it sounds bizarre, those were my thoughts as I wrote it: but omnipotence is essentially infinite power, so starts off at 1 infinity, and can do anything which that 1 infinity allows: and as the universe is infinite, it is covered by that 1 infinity, so God can do anything with/to the universe, as well as anything less or equal to that one infinity.

If God is omnipotenhent and wants to create a rock that is so heavy he can't lift it, this creates an infinite regress. You could view it as this: God has strength 1, creates a rock that has weight 2, God adds 1 to his strength and can now lift it. He then creates a rock with weight 3 and then adds 1 to his strength. He will keep this up for ever and ever. It is essentially what infinity is: always being able to add one to the number you propose.

bijane wrote:
And so it would be more complete for me to ask somebody to tell me about something omnipotent in nature, and something equivalent to the big heavy rock in nature. That is, I ask somebody to tell me something they know about it from their observation. And I don’t refer to just their intellectualism.

Well, we can't see anything infinite in nature for obvious reasons; we're not infinite, and we'd need to be so in order to actually observe.
However, it's possible to run basic experiments on what's equivalent: as we're dealing with magnitudes of infinity, then we can use a basic analogy of a kilogram weight, with a kilogram being equal to infinity.
This first weight, called God, would be capable of creating any other 1kg weights (or any weights less than that, though those have little relevance), because this is God after all. It creates another (one unable to create) called the Rock. Now, if we build a basic balance, the Rock on one, and God on the other, God would not have the 'strength', symbolized by weight, to lift it. But God can create another weight: this time on God's side of the scale, thus increasing power and proving 'strong' enough to lift the Rock.
Highly simplified of course, with weight symbolizing all power, but it's essentially the resolution I'm proposing.

There are several things in nature that are infinite. But it's mostly in mathematics we can "see" it. There are also several forms of infinities, I don't know what the differences are, but that's what I've read.
The easiest infinite to imagine are real numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. you can always add one more to the number you have. That's basically one infinity. It's theoretical of course, infinity is unreachable, I doubt it should be used at all outside mathematics. It's possibly a semantic misunderstanding, we think we can use it just because it's a word.

Omnipotence itself is illogical by definition as nothing real (there is nothing unreal, what is not real is simply not there, unreal is as valid as illogic) can reach infinity as far as I know. Omnipotence is another semantic error in that it's basically a useless word, it's not a real property of anything, and it can't be applied to anything. The only thing useful about it is talking about how useless it is, if one could call that useful.

The people that suggest that there could be a god and he could be omnipotence, they presume that god is not subject to the laws of logic, and thus he can be anything (and yet nothing at the same time, something that doesn't abide by the laws of logic will be absurdity itself, I doubt it could even have a property, if it would, then it would probably have anti-properties as well, and yet not...)
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answering a paradox with a paradox

Postby dobbie » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:59 pm

byDukeTwicep:
The easiest infinite to imagine are real numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. you can always add one more to the number you have.

Well, not math infinity. Rather, I asked what actual material thing in the natural world is infinite. But your comment a little later shows you actually understood my question on there being no material item in the natural world to compare with infinity, anyway, so I’ll shut up.


byDukeTwicep:
If God is omnipotenhent and wants to create a rock that is so heavy he can't lift it, this creates an infinite regress. You could view it as this: God has strength 1, creates a rock that has weight 2, God adds 1 to his strength and can now lift it. He then creates a rock with weight 3 and then adds 1 to his strength. He will keep this up for ever and ever. It is essentially what infinity is: always being able to add one to the number you propose.

That explanation sums up the paradox perfectly. Thus the god creates a rock so heavy that the god cannot lift it. And then makes itself stronger so that it can lift it. And in that way it satisfies the brain teaser.

But, for anybody who wants both things to happen at once, it can be proposed that the god can make the rock too heavy and simultaneously make itself stronger to lift it. Thus the rock is always too heavy but the god is always strong enough, all at the same time. If that possibility is beyond human understanding (and it’s beyond mine), well, it might at least be a good cop-out to answer the original question.
Last edited by dobbie on Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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1 plus 1 = 4?

Postby dobbie » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:01 pm

Hmm, a similar paradoxical question might be: If God is omnipotent, can God make one and one equal four?
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Re: 1 plus 1 = 4?

Postby bijane » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:14 pm

dobbie wrote:Hmm, a similar paradoxical question might be: If God is omnipotent, can God make one and one equal four?


I've never liked mathematical questions like that: they're purely conceptual. One and one what? Apples? If so, the answer could be in the billions: are they measured by atom? Or is it to do with their mass, in which case the answer would almost certainly be 2 point something? If it's to do with each separate body referred to as an apple, take a bite out of one and would there be three?
They work well in theory, but otherwise...

If it's purely mathematical, the conceptual one plus conceptual one (if the numbers were in practical terms, then they could easily make 4, it just depends on unit), then it would presumably be possible as God's supposedly a Creator-figure, and so would have created the concepts of one and four and thus could make 1+1 equal 4.
Disproving the Bible in a signature:
Revelations 22:18 ...If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book
Revelations 23:1 And God said 'hi'.
(I'm still fine)
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Re: answering a paradox with a paradox

Postby DukeTwicep » Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:49 pm

Well, not math infinity. Rather, I asked what actual material thing in the natural world is infinite. But your comment a little later shows you actually understood my question on there not being a material item in the natural world to compare with infinity, anyway, so I’ll shut up.

I realized that later on in the post, and that's why it came later. I don't think I ever have a complete picture of what I'm going to say when I write, it comes to me as I write or think it.
Still, no harm in pointing out errors as you did - one always needs to improve on one's knowledge.


That explanation sums up the paradox perfectly. Thus the god creates a rock so heavy that the god cannot lift it. And then makes itself stronger so that it can lift it. And in that way it satisfies the brain teaser.

Thank you, I think I borrowed some of it from a lawrence krauss lecture video though. Infinity is quite an interesting subject, but impossible to fully understand, but then, it's perhaps just a concept made up by humans to understand very large finites. Although perhaps the world that contains the universe (and perhaps other universes as well) is infinite, for how could it be finite?

But, for anybody who wants both things to happen at once, it can be proposed that the god can make the rock too heavy and simultaneously make itself stronger to lift it. Thus the rock is always too heavy but the god is always strong enough, all at the same time. If that possibility is beyond human understanding (and it’s beyond mine), well, it might at least be a good cop-out to answer the original question.

I wonder if this is the same dilemma as with eg. maturity and time. You're never really a child one day, and the next an adult, it's not a specific time where you definitely turned into an adult.
And time. When is time ever 12:00? It's often "almost 12" or "past 12", but there's not really any time you can say that "Now it's 12", because it's probably some hundredths of seconds past 12 by then. Somewhere between 1x10^-(infinity) before 12 and 1x10^-(infinity) past 12 the time is 12. What is the smallest fraction of time? Or perhaps it is just as non-existent as infinity. And then perhaps we would come to the conclusion that no extremes can exist, therefore -infinity, +infinity and zero cannot exist in reality. There is no nothing, there is always something. Although, if there is no nothing, and there always is something, then that something must be infinite... OK well this is just crazy. I don't know if such thinking leads anywhere.

But basically what I wanted to say was, can two things Really happen at the same time? In that case we would have to define "the same time" to the infinite fraction, and that would put us in infinite regress as we would always find a smaller fraction. Two things simply Cannot happen at the same time. Not in a logical space that is.

Hmm, a similar paradoxical question might be: If God is omnipotent, can God make one and one equal four?

I think I found the perfect label for such questions. Illogical questions.
Yes they are completely OK in an illogical universe where anything and nothing is possible (and yet, not, and at the same time, yes, ad infinitum). But as Dawkins says in the god delusion. Just because a sentence is stated in a grammatically correct way doesn't mean it's a meaningful one. (Something like that)
He then posits some examples (I don't remember them so I'll make some similar), like, what is the colour of emotion, or, at what time today will I be able to ride a unicorn. Such questions are merely meant to stupefy I'd say. Or perhaps they come from an insane mind in which neurons fire in a way that makes the person believe that 1+1 equals 145, because: bla bla bla. It's logical that the person have these beliefs (because of his condition), but the beliefs themselves aren't, I guess I'd have to say, externally logical. I don't know if it makes any sense.
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can God do what can't make sense any at all?

Postby dobbie » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:30 pm

byDukeTwicep:
What is the smallest fraction of time? Or perhaps it is just as non-existent as infinity.

At risk of missing the mark of your question, according to General Relativity Theory today, the smallest fraction of time would be the Planck unit, which is about 10 to the power minus 43.

Image

Beyond that teeny fraction of time, there is no distinct answer for shorter time in modern science. And in fact, physicists are reluctant to refer to anything shorter as “time.â€
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Re: can God do what can't make sense any at all?

Postby DukeTwicep » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:00 pm

[quote="dobbie"]
At risk of missing the mark of your question, according to General Relativity Theory today, the smallest fraction of time would be the Planck unit, which is about 10 to the power minus 43.

Image

Beyond that teeny fraction of time, there is no distinct answer for shorter time in modern science. And in fact, physicists are reluctant to refer to anything shorter as “time.â€
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Postby DjVortex » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:22 am

I have never liked the argument "Can God create a rock so heavy that God cannot lift it?"

I don't mean that I don't understand what the argument is trying to say. I mean I don't like that precise choice of concepts.

The scenario raises too many questions, such as "lift it from where?" There can be no "ground" to "lift" that rock from. (A rock that "heavy" would collapse into a black hole, and hence it cannot just sit somewhere on an imaginary planet for it you be "lifted". The planet would just be plunged towards the center of the black hole and probably be devoured completely.) And even if it were theoretically possible to have such a heavy rock sitting on the "ground" somewhere, that planet would logically have to be even heavier than the rock itself.

So the answer to the literal question is: No, because no such rock can exist. It would collapse into a black hole, and it cannot "sit" anywhere to be "lifted" from.

In other words, the question is flawed. I know what it's trying to say, but the choice of concepts is just bad.
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Postby DukeTwicep » Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:25 am

Well, as God would be a god I assume he could "fine-tune" the laws of physics to disallow any black holes to be formed. You could also say that such a stone would either be infinitely large or it would be infinitely dense, or both. But since it's impossible to create something infinitely dense it would have to be very large (but then, God could create a universe where the particles are infinitely small). So God would have to create an infinitely large space to put the stone.
But I'd say it's just a waste of time to think much about such questions as they don't lead anywhere. Maybe if you have a lot of time and absolutely nothing better to do.
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Re: Omnipotence Paradox Resolved

Postby Fyrebrand » Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:56 am

bijane wrote:omnipotence is capability to do anything, God can increase his own power, to the point where he can lift the stone.


How do you increase your power past infinity? If you can conceive of a level of power above your own, you are not omnipotent.

What you are suggesting is that God is not as powerful as he could be. Therefore, it is possible for someone to be more powerful than God.


bijane wrote:It is possible for God to increase his own power, as even though God has infinite power by the properties of 'omnipotent', there are magnitudes of infinity: infinity plus one is still infinity.


Look at what you just wrote! Do you really think that there is some level of strength out there which reaches infinity, and yet is possible to increase? Imagine an arm-wrestling contest between "Infinity Strength" God and "Infinity Strength +1" God. Who would win? If there is an answer, then guess what -- one of them is not omnipotent.

Omnipotent means "all-powerful." I assume you know what "all" means. If there is some act which is outside your range of powers, then you are not all-powerful. You're just powerful.

bijane wrote:In a way, yes I am advocating an infinite regress as a resolution to a paradox. But really, the paradox itself deals with the infinite, how else could it be solved?


Well, at least you admitted that this is still an infinite regress.

I don't know why you ask "how else could it be solved?" though. It doesn't have to be solved, because there doesn't have to be any god who is infinitely powerful.

If someone believes in a deity, and a paradox is pointed out which invalidates that deity, the correct response isn't to say that there must be something wrong with the paradox, and that there must be some ridiculous, logic-bending answer.


In any case, just to play devil's (or rather, god's) advocate -- I never understood why it's always agreed-upon that a god would have to be ALL-powerful, or ALL-knowing, or ALL-good. Isn't it far less troublesome to believe in a god who is simply EXTREMELY powerful, EXTREMELY knowing, and EXTREMELY good, without it being infinite? It dodges all the logical contradictions, and I don't see how it sacrifices much in terms of godly "qualifications." A being doesn't have to be infinite to be forever beyond our understanding.

I can see a problem with the "EXTREMELY good" part, I guess. Any god that is less than totally good is, by definition, partly bad, and can be wrong about things. In that case, following that god's moral laws would merely be playing the odds that he got it all right.

Thoughts?
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