God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
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24-02-2013, 02:47 PM
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(24-02-2013 02:37 PM)Vosur Wrote:  
(24-02-2013 02:28 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  There are ways and thought experiments to show that even omnipotence has limits. But showing omnipotence has limitations is not the same as showing a being cannot have omnipotence.
It actually is. An omnipotent being is defined as a being whose power has no limits. By showing that the concept of unlimited power is logically incoherent, you can prove that no entity can ever be omnipotent.
Depends on who you ask. Just like there are multiple definitions of atheism(some outright claim there is no God, some just claim they have no belief in God, etc), there are multiple defintions of omnipotence. Some theists wrongly(in my opinion) believe that God can do all things including the logically impossible. I am not one of those theists. God cannot make 2+2=5 nor can God make a burrito so hot that even He Himself cannot eat it. Omnipotence is limited to sensical logically possible actions.
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24-02-2013, 02:53 PM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2013 02:59 PM by Vosur.)
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(24-02-2013 02:47 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  Depends on who you ask. Just like there are multiple definitions of atheism(some outright claim there is no God, some just claim they have no belief in God, etc), there are multiple defintions of omnipotence. Some theists wrongly(in my opinion) believe that God can do all things including the logically impossible. I am not one of those theists. God cannot make 2+2=5 nor can God make a burrito so hot that even He Himself cannot eat it. Omnipotence is limited to sensical logically possible actions.
As far as I know, the heavy rock paradox isn't supposed to be an argument against your definition of omnipotence. It is supposed to show that unlimited power cannot logically exist. Suffice to say that the vast minority of theists I've been arguing with have been using your definition.

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24-02-2013, 02:58 PM
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(24-02-2013 03:04 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  Hi all, First time poster in this forum. I am a theist and I wish to comment on the the question, "Can God create a rock so heavy that he himself can't move it". Perhaps someone else made the point I am about to make and if they did I apologize for the duplication.

The question itself is non-sensical. It doesn't appear that way on its face but it is. Let me explain by answering it. Suppose God did create a stone so heavy He could not move it. Could God then move the stone? Sure because motion is the change in position relative to everything else. So while God might not move the heavy stone He just created, He could simply move everything else that He created which isn't too heavy for Him to move....and thus for all intents and purposes, the immovable heavy stone would be moved.

You see if you think about it, in order to create an unmovable stone, you must create a reality in which motion does not exist. So really the question is equivalent to, "Can God create a reality in which motion is possible but it is impossible for anything to be moved". You should be able to see quite clearly that such a question is a contradiction.


First, welcome the the hornets nest.


As for your second paragraph: As Scot already said, that is the illusion of motion, the rock has not actually move, just everything around it, all the motion is relative to the rock, which in your case, acts as the central point to which all things have moved, whereas the rock has not actually been moved. This paradox is usually expressed as "Can God create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it" as it was expressed here. It calls for god to physically move the object which cannot, by definition, be moved by It, as such, your solution to the problem seems to be more a practice in mental acrobatics, than a working solution.

(A) If god can create a rock so heavy that he (B) cannot lift it, (C) he is not omnipotent, because he cannot lift the rock (A/B).

Simplified:
If god can A, It cannot B, therefore C, because of B.

If god cannot A, it can B, therefore C, because of A.

To paragraph 3: The question is supposed to be contradicting. The paradox was built to question the contradictory state of omnipotence, all power, your rephrasing of the question is still in fact a valid paradox in question to the purpose of this one: Can an all powerful being do things which are impossible: a rock It cannot lift, a universe where nothing can be moved, but motion is still an applicable concept, can said being kill itself and still remain alive, can god make two objects occupy the exactly the same space at the same time?

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24-02-2013, 06:46 PM (This post was last modified: 24-02-2013 06:50 PM by FSM_scot.)
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(24-02-2013 02:28 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  If the action fulfills the definition of motion, then the action is motion. I understand why the answer to question is unsatisfying to you . You wanted an answer to an unintelligible nonsensical question. Well the only way to answer an unintelligible nonsensical question is to change the question itself so that it makes sense. To do that I had to change the question from "Can God create an unmovable-movable stone?" to "Can God create a movable stone?" However, just like to original question was designed to disguise its nonsensicalness, I was able to disguise my answer so that it appeared I answered the original nonsensical question, when I really answered a different, intelligent question.

Put it this way if you some how managed to stop moving completely the universe would move around you, but you would not have moved at all. It would be the universe that does the moving in the case of the rock but not the rock itself as its immovable.

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25-02-2013, 01:09 AM (This post was last modified: 25-02-2013 01:29 AM by Heywood Jahblome.)
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(24-02-2013 02:53 PM)Vosur Wrote:  
(24-02-2013 02:47 PM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  Depends on who you ask. Just like there are multiple definitions of atheism(some outright claim there is no God, some just claim they have no belief in God, etc), there are multiple defintions of omnipotence. Some theists wrongly(in my opinion) believe that God can do all things including the logically impossible. I am not one of those theists. God cannot make 2+2=5 nor can God make a burrito so hot that even He Himself cannot eat it. Omnipotence is limited to sensical logically possible actions.
As far as I know, the heavy rock paradox isn't supposed to be an argument against your definition of omnipotence. It is supposed to show that unlimited power cannot logically exist. Suffice to say that the vast minority of theists I've been arguing with have been using your definition.
I hope you understand that if you employ the "argument"(I put it in quotes because it is indeed a bad argument) against a thiest who uses a definition of omnipotence close to mine, you are making a straw man argument.
According to this catholic encyclopedia omnipotence is defined as "the power of God to effect whatever is not intrinsically impossible". There are over a billion catholics so I think I am safe ground in saying my defintion of omnipotence is one commonly used by theist world wide.
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25-02-2013, 01:28 AM
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(24-02-2013 02:58 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(24-02-2013 03:04 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  Hi all, First time poster in this forum. I am a theist and I wish to comment on the the question, "Can God create a rock so heavy that he himself can't move it". Perhaps someone else made the point I am about to make and if they did I apologize for the duplication.

The question itself is non-sensical. It doesn't appear that way on its face but it is. Let me explain by answering it. Suppose God did create a stone so heavy He could not move it. Could God then move the stone? Sure because motion is the change in position relative to everything else. So while God might not move the heavy stone He just created, He could simply move everything else that He created which isn't too heavy for Him to move....and thus for all intents and purposes, the immovable heavy stone would be moved.

You see if you think about it, in order to create an unmovable stone, you must create a reality in which motion does not exist. So really the question is equivalent to, "Can God create a reality in which motion is possible but it is impossible for anything to be moved". You should be able to see quite clearly that such a question is a contradiction.


First, welcome the the hornets nest.


As for your second paragraph: As Scot already said, that is the illusion of motion, the rock has not actually move, just everything around it, all the motion is relative to the rock, which in your case, acts as the central point to which all things have moved, whereas the rock has not actually been moved. This paradox is usually expressed as "Can God create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it" as it was expressed here. It calls for god to physically move the object which cannot, by definition, be moved by It, as such, your solution to the problem seems to be more a practice in mental acrobatics, than a working solution.

(A) If god can create a rock so heavy that he (B) cannot lift it, (C) he is not omnipotent, because he cannot lift the rock (A/B).

Simplified:
If god can A, It cannot B, therefore C, because of B.

If god cannot A, it can B, therefore C, because of A.

To paragraph 3: The question is supposed to be contradicting. The paradox was built to question the contradictory state of omnipotence, all power, your rephrasing of the question is still in fact a valid paradox in question to the purpose of this one: Can an all powerful being do things which are impossible: a rock It cannot lift, a universe where nothing can be moved, but motion is still an applicable concept, can said being kill itself and still remain alive, can god make two objects occupy the exactly the same space at the same time?
The concept of a movable-unmovable rock is still nonsense. It remains nonsense even if you put the words "God can" in front of it.
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25-02-2013, 01:32 AM
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(25-02-2013 01:09 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(24-02-2013 02:53 PM)Vosur Wrote:  As far as I know, the heavy rock paradox isn't supposed to be an argument against your definition of omnipotence. It is supposed to show that unlimited power cannot logically exist. Suffice to say that the vast minority of theists I've been arguing with have been using your definition.
I hope you understand that if you employ the "argument"(I put it in quotes because it is indeed a bad argument) against a thiest who uses a definition of omnipotence close to mine, you are making a straw man argument.
According to this catholic encyclopedia omnipotence is defined as "the power of God to effect whatever is not intrinsically impossible". There are over a billion catholics so I think I am safe ground in saying my defintion of omnipotence is one commonly used by theist world wide.

So now, you are admitting that your God is limited only to what is possible (i.e. he is subservient to logic). Any other limits you'd like to put on your 'all-powerful' God?

Just a suggestion, but if he isn't 'all-powerful', you should really use another word other than omnipotent.

omni - all
potent - powerful

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25-02-2013, 01:47 AM
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(25-02-2013 01:32 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(25-02-2013 01:09 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  I hope you understand that if you employ the "argument"(I put it in quotes because it is indeed a bad argument) against a thiest who uses a definition of omnipotence close to mine, you are making a straw man argument.
According to this catholic encyclopedia omnipotence is defined as "the power of God to effect whatever is not intrinsically impossible". There are over a billion catholics so I think I am safe ground in saying my defintion of omnipotence is one commonly used by theist world wide.

So now, you are admitting that your God is limited only to what is possible (i.e. he is subservient to logic). Any other limits you'd like to put on your 'all-powerful' God?

Just a suggestion, but if he isn't 'all-powerful', you should really use another word other than omnipotent.

omni - all
potent - powerful
Omnipotent is a perfectly acceptible word to describe the power to do all logically possible things. I'm sorry if you don't like my(and many many many other thiests) use of the word. I only ask that you don't use some other definition to construct a straw man argument. Such behavior should be beneath a thinking atheist.
My recollection might be wrong but I believe when the word was first used it referred to powerful political leaders like dictators and such.
Further, unless you believe there is a limit on the number of logically possible things that could be done, God's power to do logically possible things is limitless.
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25-02-2013, 02:02 AM
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(25-02-2013 01:28 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(24-02-2013 02:58 PM)Free Thought Wrote:  First, welcome the the hornets nest.


As for your second paragraph: As Scot already said, that is the illusion of motion, the rock has not actually move, just everything around it, all the motion is relative to the rock, which in your case, acts as the central point to which all things have moved, whereas the rock has not actually been moved. This paradox is usually expressed as "Can God create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it" as it was expressed here. It calls for god to physically move the object which cannot, by definition, be moved by It, as such, your solution to the problem seems to be more a practice in mental acrobatics, than a working solution.

(A) If god can create a rock so heavy that he (B) cannot lift it, (C) he is not omnipotent, because he cannot lift the rock (A/B).

Simplified:
If god can A, It cannot B, therefore C, because of B.

If god cannot A, it can B, therefore C, because of A.

To paragraph 3: The question is supposed to be contradicting. The paradox was built to question the contradictory state of omnipotence, all power, your rephrasing of the question is still in fact a valid paradox in question to the purpose of this one: Can an all powerful being do things which are impossible: a rock It cannot lift, a universe where nothing can be moved, but motion is still an applicable concept, can said being kill itself and still remain alive, can god make two objects occupy the exactly the same space at the same time?
The concept of a movable-unmovable rock is still nonsense. It remains nonsense even if you put the words "God can" in front of it.


You addressed a point I did not make. I never made the statement or claim saying it wasn't nonsense, in fact, I said quite the opposite; I called the paradox contradicting, in the context of my original response, I pretty much called it self-contradicting by design, and that is what the paradox is.

It was made as a response to what is inherently flawed and nonsensical: Omnipotence.

It is not supposed to be an evidence backed argument, or a philosophical treatise, it is simply nonsense to show nonsense. It takes the premise of an all powerful being, and reduces the nonsense concept to such a degree of absurdity as to show that the concept of omnipotence easily follows into contradictions.

If something is all powerful, it can do anything. So can it make something, it cannot do? If it succeeds in making something it cannot do, it is not all powerful, if it fails the initial task, it still is not all powerful because it could not do it.

You see, it is by nature nonsense to counter that which is by nature, nonsense.

*Besides, if you had read a post from myself several pages back, you would have likely discovered that I don't actually care for this kind of paradox, to me it is simply a whimsical mind bender of sorts.

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25-02-2013, 02:25 AM
RE: God's Omnipotence - The heavy rock paradox
(25-02-2013 02:02 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(25-02-2013 01:28 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  The concept of a movable-unmovable rock is still nonsense. It remains nonsense even if you put the words "God can" in front of it.


You addressed a point I did not make. I never made the statement or claim saying it wasn't nonsense, in fact, I said quite the opposite; I called the paradox contradicting, in the context of my original response, I pretty much called it self-contradicting by design, and that is what the paradox is.

It was made as a response to what is inherently flawed and nonsensical: Omnipotence.

It is not supposed to be an evidence backed argument, or a philosophical treatise, it is simply nonsense to show nonsense. It takes the premise of an all powerful being, and reduces the nonsense concept to such a degree of absurdity as to show that the concept of omnipotence easily follows into contradictions.

If something is all powerful, it can do anything. So can it make something, it cannot do? If it succeeds in making something it cannot do, it is not all powerful, if it fails the initial task, it still is not all powerful because it could not do it.

You see, it is by nature nonsense to counter that which is by nature, nonsense.

*Besides, if you had read a post from myself several pages back, you would have likely discovered that I don't actually care for this kind of paradox, to me it is simply a whimsical mind bender of sorts.
A thinking atheist should not focus on one definition of omnipotence that some theists use and apply it to the spectrum of theistic beliefs. I agree with you that some notions of omnipotence used by theists are absurd. To think, as some atheist do, that this argument shows all definitions of omnipotence is absurd is itself absurd.
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