“Could God create a rock so heavy that He couldn’t lift it, and knowing He couldn’t lift it, would He know to bend His knees while trying?”
Nope. I know that’s a joke, but a rock too heavy for an omnipotent god to lift is logically impossible, so he gets a pass on that one.
Say god knows, through omniscience, that he is going to catch a falling sparrow next Sunday. Now, can he decide not to catch the sparrow. If he can, then his knowledge that he will catch the sparrow is incorrect, and he is no longer omniscient. If he cannot, he is no longer omnipotent.
I believe one standard refutation is that god choose not to exercise these powers in a contradictory way. That does not remove the logical inconsistency, however. That I choose not to run a mile in three minutes doesn’t mean I can.
Either of these characteristics is not logically impossible by themselves (or at least I don’t think so) - the combination is.
This is an old chestnut indeed in philopsophy, and you don’t even need for it to be about God – the clasic question is “what happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object?” This bothered the ancient Greeks so much that there’s a semi-myth about it. Laelaps the hound could catch anything it ran after. One day it chased a hare who could not be caught. What was the result? The answer: Zeus turned them both to stone, which avoided answering the question altogether. (I suspect the story arose to explain the existence of a dog-shaped rock and a nearby rabbit-shaped rock. Like those local myths about rock formations you see at Bryce Canyon in Utah or Polar Caves in New Hampshire, or wherever)
The real answer (as observed above) is that the two descriptions are logically inconsistent with one another, and the problem as stated is impossible. Ambrose Bierce, in his “Devil’s Dictionary” says the word “incompossible” was created to describe such situations. But Bierce’s book is the only place I’ve ever seen it used. (As he points out, it makes a nifty insult: “Sir, you and I are incompossible!”)
Oh, that was early on in the discussion. I asked what made his form of religion (and the “magic” performed by Jesus in the bible) and his god any more valid than any other–Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or, for that matter, witchcraft. His response was that these interpretations of the evidence at hand were insane. It’s insane to imagine that humans can ever be raised by the dead, unless God imparts the power as was the case in the bible, and that’s perfectly logical and possible because the All Powerful God made it so.
By the way, and on a side-note, in Anselm’s formulation, I’ve always thought that the “need for existence” or put differently “existence is a perfect attribute” was a bit glib and not necessarily true.
The “catch” on this one is that it presumes foreknowledge on the part of God – i.e., He knows today that He will catch the aforementioned sparrow in the future. Which logically is incompossible (yes, it does get used) with His ability to choose whether or not to catch said sparrow.
The way around it in theology is to presume that God knows all things in Eternity, i.e., as a single Gestalt covering all space and time. He does not have foreknowledge of what He will do (and could avoid doing) but rather eternal knowledge of what He does (and of course what He refrains from doing). This also evades the determinism/free will question quite nicely as well.
Ran into a similar idiocy in a different topic. Was discussing roleplaying games, of all things. One fellow presented his opinion as gospel truth, delivered straight from the heavens, and called something “antithetical to the idea of an RPG.” I teased him lightly on the misuse of antithetical and the way he was presenting his opinion, and he just would not grasp the argument.
He kept thinking I was saying his opinion was wrong, when all I was objecting to was that he wasn’t leaving room for someone else’s opinion.
So round and round we went. I kept trying to redirect to my thesis : ‘You’re confusing fact and opinion.’ He insisted he knew the difference.
Ultimately, it led to this gem, from him : “This is fact, in my opinion.”
I just went … “Thank you, goodnight, you’ve been a wonderful audience.” and left the discussion, howling with laughter.
See this? I’m getting dumber every time I read one of his posts.
That should, of course, have been: It’s insane to imagine that humans can ever raise the dead, unless you have been given that power by The One True God (see also: bible cites of various people being resurrected).
Seeing how this is in a World of Warcraft guild, what if you have a handy scroll or rod of resurrection (or whatever they’re called in this game)?
It’s some kind of floating half-assed angel or spirit that hangs over the corpse. The corpse then gets up and runs to the place where it fell, through darkness.
Does that mean a pineapple is proof that God is an asshole?
The coconut proves the existence of Satan ;).
Most of the “great questions” can be answered with tropical fruits!
And coconuts - they are a real pain to get into.
You are correct the problem assumes foreknowledge. I think that’s a fair assumption, at least for Western religions which include prophecy. If God is logically incapable of knowing the future, then the Messiah prophecies ain’t worth much. if foreknowledge is not logically impossible, then a god without foreknowledge would not be omniscient.
I’m not sure the Gestalt theory helps. Since God is eternal, one would assume that the Gestalt is eternal also; that is he has knowledge of everything that will happen always. If this is true, when does God decide to do anything? If he decides something at time t, he would know what he has decided at time t - epsilon, and thus has not decided at all. Since God basically cannot make any decisions, he is not omnipotent, and in fact I don’t understand why this is not any utterly deterministic universe - so deterministic that even God’s actions are forever determined.
Feynman often wrote that one knows that a theory has problems when it produces infinities. I think it is fair to say that the God theory produces something similar.
Oh, and sorry for being so serious in the Pit.
Huh. I’m not certain but I think he’s making less and less sense as the discussion continues. I asked if he was familiar with Anselm’s “proof” as summarised by Huerta99, here’s his response (note the truly astounding bolded bit:
Maybe it’s just you, or maybe I have a poor sense of humor. I find it less “emtertaining” every day. I’m one of those who i sick and tired of being proselytized and/or preached at by various self righteous, ignorant hypocrites. We have one at work, and he just will. not. fucking. shut. up. This self proclaimed “christian” however has no problem saying this group or that person or whatever should be killed. Literally. I’m drifting slowly but inexorably into the “fuck religion” camp. I know, I’ve defended religion at times, but I’m getting tired of the whole damn deal.
The formula also fails to define either the words “great” or “perfect” which pretty much renders it incoherent.
We can’t spell either. Fuck.
My husband found a line from The Simpsons to be quite useful in a similar situation: “Take it outside, God Boy.” Everyone laughed, and the guy stopped. For about two days.
Finally, Hubby told him that it was against workplace policy for him to harp on religion all the time and he’d hate to have to report him. God Boy didn’t stay at that workplace for very long.
If this were happening IRL instead of in online, I’d suggest dressing up like a pirate, and preaching the word of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to him.
As it is, kindly tell this poor misbegotten soul that I said he doesn’t know the first thing about the true nature of the Divine One. How do I know this? The Holy One Himself told me so. QED.
(No, the Supreme King of Kings didn’t really talk to me about this; right now we’re discussing my personal development.)