Replies To Contradictions With Omnipotence

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Replies To Contradictions With Omnipotence

Postby Omen » Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:36 pm

*I'm trying to relate a response I've recieved on various topics reguarding attributes associated with a god.

I've had acouple theists attempt to say omnipotence is a misunderstood definition. They proceed to define it as all powerful, within logical possibilities. Then every question of what the invisible sky daddy has done compared to what could have been done, become well thats because its within his character and is a logical impossibility.

God is omnipotent, god can do anything that is not a logical impossibility for god.

My reply: A toaster is omnipotent, a toaster can do anything that is not a logical impossibility for a toaster.

I cannot help but point out that nothing can do anything outside of its logical possibilities. We return to trying to define omnipotence itself, and avoiding whatever topic of interest that lead to this conclusion. ( Usually arguing whether god is really good or not all powerful etc. )

So thoughts? Am I right to reply in this manner to such an argument?
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Postby spblat » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:05 pm

Are you referring to the "can God create a stone so large that He cannot lift it" argument?

I'm willing to define omnipotence in terms that do not require God to be able to do this, or to make a square a circle, as these ideas strike me as navel-gazing. Then again, should we expect an omnipotent being to be able to change the electric charge of an electron, or contain a supernova? Or swim through a black hole? Perhaps. And if so, do we accept the literal truth of miracles, and therefore deny all science?

I prefer to focus on the contradictions raised when the magic trio of omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence are asserted. I'm willing to accept the logical possibility (however faint) of a being with two of those attributes, but not three. The difficulty in your case and in mine has to do with agreeing on the meanings of these things.

All roads lead to semantics and then logic. We don't agree with the theists on the meaning of the terms we're using, and even when we do reach agreement on meaning, we disagree on the value of logic to evaluate the possibilities. Hopeless?
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Postby Omen » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:30 pm

spblat wrote:Are you referring to the "can God create a stone so large that He cannot lift it" argument?


Not this particular argument, but inevitably I feel that most will go down this road. Such as when you essentially ask about the problem of evil, and god is defined as an omnibenevolent/potent/scient being. So he either is not omnipotent or he isn't benevolent. ( or exists for that matter :P )

Usually the response I get from theists is that "god has a greater purpose". I usually reply that this answer in itself is a large non-answer. It ignores that god is omnipotent, and can do anything he so chooses. As god is defined as this "absolute" being then he has ultimately an infinite # of choices to use in making creation. The response from the theist in question ( christian ) was that god cannot do what is logically impossible. Which is ridiculous, this person is willing to accept that his evil sky daddy created the universe in a transitional state as described in genesis where man will inevitably "fall". Then denies that the god could not have created any other situation save this one. I usually ask why not simply create the "greater purpose" instantly, without anything in between? Which gets the same response, god cannot do what is logically impossible.
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Re: Replies To Contradictions With Omnipotence

Postby DallasHeathen » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:05 pm

Omen wrote:God is omnipotent, god can do anything that is not a logical impossibility for god.
I don't really have your answer, but this answer contradicts another popular apologetic argument, that the laws of logic themselves are proof of God. I've heard Christian apologists use that one in debates - they say that since there are laws of logic that exist independently of man, those laws must have been created by God.

I've always thought that the laws of mathematics are closely related to the laws of logic, so they could use that argument just as easily.

However, if God is limited by the laws of logic himself, I guess he didn't create them.
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Postby Erik » Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:16 pm

I usually ask why not simply create the "greater purpose" instantly, without anything in between?


I haven't heard any response to this other than we can't understand God. The only reason I can think of is so that God can create people to suffer. What's the point to someone who suffers and then goes to hell? Say someone who never has the option to accept Jesus and lives a life of misery, but generally strives to be good. I imagine there are millions of people like this. What is the point of their existence if God exists? To suffer forever?

Some apologists will say that they will get a chance after their death, but then their entire life was pointless.
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Re: Replies To Contradictions With Omnipotence

Postby Kazim » Sat Apr 21, 2007 1:04 pm

Omen wrote:*I'm trying to relate a response I've recieved on various topics reguarding attributes associated with a god.

I've had acouple theists attempt to say omnipotence is a misunderstood definition. They proceed to define it as all powerful, within logical possibilities. Then every question of what the invisible sky daddy has done compared to what could have been done, become well thats because its within his character and is a logical impossibility.

God is omnipotent, god can do anything that is not a logical impossibility for god.

My reply: A toaster is omnipotent, a toaster can do anything that is not a logical impossibility for a toaster.

I cannot help but point out that nothing can do anything outside of its logical possibilities. We return to trying to define omnipotence itself, and avoiding whatever topic of interest that lead to this conclusion. ( Usually arguing whether god is really good or not all powerful etc. )

So thoughts? Am I right to reply in this manner to such an argument?


Here are some relevant Iron Chariots articles:
Omnipotence paradox
Problem of evil

If there's something lacking in these articles, please edit them. :)
If you did not like the writing style in this message, then you will certainly not enjoy my blog, which is at:
http://kazimskorner.blogspot.com/
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