The Omnipotence paradox.

191 posts / 0 new
Last post
Randomhero1982's picture
That all but confirms my

That all but confirms my fears Caitlin, that believers in a god are quite often blindly following their particular diety without using any critical thinking.

Theologians essentially all give their own interpretations of the bible, this is why you have so many different factions or splinter groups that are all different from each other.
This is mostly due to that their particular figure head has extrapolated what he/she wanted and presented their best case from what they've found, with no concern for facts or evidence.

The bible is supposedly written through god and yet the number of paradoxes, logical fallacies and contradictions is mind blowing.

But thank you regardless for taking the time to try to address my question, it's very much appreciated.

curious's picture
I was asked this kind of

I was asked this kind of "paradox" long time ago by an atheist (he claimed to be an ex muslim) in the crowded meal room with loud voice. "Do you believe God can do anything?"
I replied him loudly "There are lots of thing God can not do"

He was so disappointed because his planned tactic became unusable. So instead waiting for him to dance in the front of the eager to know crowd I said: "God can not create another God". Than everyone continue with their business.

If you study Islam for academic purpose this is one of the topic, the nature of God.

xenoview's picture

So your god can't make another god? Why do you place human limitations on your god? If your god was all powerful, then it could make another god.

Randomhero1982's picture
Firstly, thank you for your

Firstly, thank you for your comment sir...

May I be bold then in saying theists/believers must re-address what you mean by omnipotent or all powerful/withholding unlimited power... otherwise you run into a whole host logical fallacies..

But let's address your contention, Professor Sa’d Rustam is quoted as saying...

"The power of Allaah, which is undoubtedly absolute and unlimited, is connected to things that are rationally possible, not things that are rationally impossible."

...And yet the prophet flew on a winged horse???

This is just a basic grab of straws as I'm not fully versed in Islamic doctrine, so I apologise for not going further with my rebuttal... however, to claim he is omnipotent, but cannot do irrational things... and then claim something irrational happens under his watch is fallacious.

Just like the Christian resurrection, this has never happened since and I would happily assert it never will again until the sun swells and engulfs our planet.

curious's picture
The "Omnipotent" would be by

The "Omnipotent" would be by default is God's attribute because the premise of religion is "God has no beginning and no end" while anything else have their beginnings and ends. This is how the omnipotent can only be understood.
I can't comment on the word of Sa'd Rustam above which quoted because I don't know the context of it, but God can only be understood to the human ability who tried to perceive it. Yet with this only tool we have (the brain), we still end up with different understanding.

As for the "winged horse". In Islam there two sources used by the muslims, the Qur'an and the Hadith. I am not the believer of hadith per se because the time it was recorded into books was far too long from the source, while the Qur'an was written started from the Prophet time himself (small part). But with thousand of memorizers available when finally it was compiled into complete book. The "winged horse" came from hadith. But even then I can easily explain it with an example. If you are going to explain to the people in the jungle about an aeroplane you would use bird as an example. Here the prophet wanted to say what he saw, but he did not know what it was, hence the winged horse was used.

Don't be sorry for not knowing Islam considering 99% of muslims most likely have no idea what it is. They do it because it is good custom to follow - and the reward of heaven of course. Mention charity as part of it and see what happen.

xenoview's picture

What proof outside of the qur'an do you have your god has no beginning or no ending? If it wasn't a winged horse that the prophet rode, what was it?

curious's picture
There is no proof for it,

There is no proof for it, this is purely belief. With the age of the universe as we are told over than 13 billion years old and still going therefore we are merely spectators of an infinite movie. The pros and the cons of this spectators with differing view / belief have died, still dying and will always be end up dead before the movie finish. But what is life without getting involve in thinking of it?

Blaise Pascal was personality well known with his "Pascal wager". But in here I will do my own wage, a wage that I have used before I even heard "Pascal wager". I wage for his existence in the unknown, with the small effort that I spent to wage of his promise. IF he is not what we are told I lost the bet, by spending some of my time and money in life for nothing. But IF he is as we are told I will get reward as promise.

But for the opponent of this belief that would be the opposite outcome. He has won by spending a bit of time and money for something else instead of wasting it in belief of the unseen. But IF what is rejected is actually true than price to pay for the rejection is immensely unimaginable - which is what we call eternal.

Talking about the "winged horse" there is something in the Qur'an that is connect to it:
"Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the FAR DISTANT PLACE of worship, whose precincts We did bless, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer."

The "FAR DISTANT PLACE" above always understood as Jerusalem where the Dome of the rock is located. I have my doubt about that place but that would be irrelevant. There are also opinions that say the journey maybe not a physical journey, but spiritual. Whatever it was surely from Muhammad point of view he was in some kind of transport vehicle. I would not mind either opinion considering everything came from ONE VERSE. But it is much more to it once we dig into it.

xenoview's picture
What proof outside of the qur

What proof outside of the qur'an do you have your god is creator of the universe? It could be another god that you don't believe in. There are hundreds of creation stories, each with there own gods that created the universe. So you wager that your god is real without knowing god is real? What if your god is the wrong true god? What if Pangu created the universe and the earth?

Peripatetic's picture
Muslims prove the following

Muslims prove the following by arguments:
1- the universe has a cause
2- that cause has some attributes
3- that cause must be one & Simple
3- that cause has sent prophets
4- Muhammad is one of them

xenoview's picture

Is god the cause? If god is the cause, what proof do you have god is real?

Peripatetic's picture


"Is god the cause? If god is the cause, what proof do you have god is real?"

like i told you we prove that the universe must have a cause since it's contingent. and we prove that this cause has certain attributes and we call this being god.

how do we apply these attributes to that cause ..
we say that this cause either it causes/affects by nature/necessity/obligation OR by choice.
the former is FALSE for otherwise then the universe would be eternal OR the necessary being would start to exist at some point and these two are FALSE.

so that being must be affecting by choice.
Since it can choose whether to do or not to do, so that being has a will and is powerful.
Since we see the perfection and the fine-tuning in its effect, so it is knowing and wise.

and we call that being a god

curious's picture
@xenoview: "What proof

@xenoview: "What proof outside of the qur'an do you have your god is creator of the universe? It could be another god that you don't believe in."

There is no proof when dealing such scale. For an example if the astronomer announce that they found methane on such and such planet in different galaxy we don't demand proof, we don't go there to verify it. When the geologist explain how the earth formed we don't say "Prove it", that is sound silly.

@xenoview: "It could be another god that you don't believe in. There are hundreds of creation stories, each with there own gods that created the universe"

I am not talking a personality here, this is about the primal origin of the universe not individual LORDS. But if you don't like the word "God" change it to "X" or something else as long as it represents the cause of creation. There must be lofty word or lowly word available to replace the word "God" that may suit you.

xenoview's picture

If there is no proof of a god, then why do you say one created the universe? Your religion claims a god created the universe without evidence. If an Astronomer claimed that methane was on a distant planet in another galaxy, I would tell him that he was full of crap and to prove it. Do you think it's possible that another god created the universe? You would demand proof if I stated that Pangu created the universe and the earth. I would tell you that I have no proof that Pangu created anything, just as you have no proof that your god created anything.

LogicFTW's picture
Pascal and your wager only

Pascal and your wager only works if: there is only two options: your god, or no god.

Unfortunately for you, there millions of gods that had or has at least a few followers, especially when you consider all the slight variations of the major religions Just about any church can find disagreement with even a very similar church down the street. near infinite amount of gods really, because it is all confined within human thought. There is no evidence for any of these gods. W/O evidence to counter simple made up thought, an unlimited amount of thought's can be created. I just thought of an (10^999)with another 999 factorial thrown in of different gods. It is not infinite but that is a lot of gods, w/o evidence to narrow down this list, you now have a 1 in (10^999)with another 999 factorial thrown in odds of picking the right god. You have effectively zero chance to pick the right god within a trillion life times, even if you spend every second of every day considering yet another possibility of a god.

Even with much smaller numbers of gods (say all various versions/definitions of gods that had at least 20 followers), it is betting your entire world view, all the time, money, effort, you put towards god, but in a frame of: that you will win a million dollars from the lottery, after buying just 1 lottery ticket.

Nyarlathotep's picture
zwalja - But in here I will

zwalja - But in here I will do my own wage, a wage that I have used before I even heard "Pascal wager".

To determine which wager is better you need to calculate:

(probability of payout) * (payout) - (cost) for each wager and compare those results.

It seems you omitted the (probability of payout) part in your hand-waving example, but I like where you are trying to go with this. I'm interested in what values you would plug in.

Randomhero1982's picture
Also may i add.. where is the

Also may i add.. where is the evidence that a god cannot create another god?

Is it truly irrational?

We simple primates can create other similar forms of ourselves, and each generation tends to be smarter and more intelligent... hence our progress from antiquity to our current era.

But a god cannot?

LogicFTW's picture
We humans may even create an

We humans may even create an AI with greater intelligence and power than our own, (possibly to our doom.) Perhaps far greater.

We are also getting closer and closer to a form of immortality.

We humans are getting more and more powerful, we have the power to destroy and make nearly sterile, the entire earth via nuclear armageddon.

We humans have been to the moon, and may soon travel to mars.

We already live mostly as gods to people that lived 2000 years ago.

xenoview's picture
The human race will become a

The human race will become a race of cyborgs. We already have organ implants, limb replacement, and hearing aids. Humanity is research ways to over come blindness, and deafness. We are learning to grow organs from stem cells. Nanotech and robotics will lead to changing the human body as we know it.

LogicFTW's picture
Yep, and there is plenty of

Yep, and there is plenty of other human enhancements we have, we just are so normalized to them we do not see it that way.

Clothes to shelter us from the elements. Sunscreen when we do not want to wear clothes. Cosmetic surgery when we want to change our appearance. Glasses to correct our vision.

Even the mighty smart phone is an enhancement, it fits in our pocket and gives us almost unlimited information in mere seconds almost anywhere. Can record high definition video and audio with precise playback. A mere 20 years ago if you told someone nearly 50 percent of the world population and 80 percent of the US population will have a high speed internet/voice wireless connected device, that can record many hours of super high resolution video, that comfortably fits in our pocket, with batteries that last all day under moderate use, and would be more ubiquitous then the car. The people of 20 years ago would of thought you were insane pie in the sky, no way nearly 50% of the world could afford have access to that.

Obviously most of the time when people talk future enhancement they more mean cyborg like enhancements that are in, or grafted to the body somehow. Obviously people are going to be much more comfortable with enhancements that are not like that, and can be easily removed. So much of the innovation is going to continue that way.

My prediction is we will eventually reach the technology of glasses as comfortable and stylish as large sunglasses giving us an augmented view of the world. Something like Google glasses, but when the technology catches up to the point where it is: much more comfortable, smaller and higher resolution and much more robust in terms of usability. Kind of like how there were phones similar to the original iPhone many years before the iPhone came out, but apple managed to release the first complete product that crossed the barriers of cost and robust usability that allowed it to reach critical mass which required the right timing of using available technologies.

Once that happens we will see a revolution similar to that of what the iPhone for many intents really started. (A large touchscreen phone with robust internet and app ecosystem that includes a decent, [at the time,] camera.)
Even the "very successful" original iPhone only sold 3.5 million units in its first 6 months. It took apple 9 years to reach 1 billion total sales.

Randomhero1982's picture
Zwalja - Thank you again for

Zwalja - Thank you again for taking the time to reply!

However, by definition alone 'omnipotence' means to have unlimited power, and this is a claim that most religions make about their gods.
So there is credence behind my argument that religions need to make clear their use of god being omnipotent... otherwise it doesn't stand up under scrutiny.

The context of the quote from the professor was in regards to the paradox in question, unfortunately he falls foul like any thirst will. Because the only argument that can be used to get out of the paradox is that a god can only deal in what is rational... but that is easily rebutted as I asserted with the far fetched stories and apparent 'miracles'.

Peripatetic's picture
the ability/power to lift

the ability/power to lift something is related to muscular ability/power. Since god is not a body, we can not say he can not lift it.
Why would he not be able to lift it? is it heavier than him? we can not say that since god has no body. so we can not use words like heavy

if you mean by "lift" that god can move it upward, then yeah god can do that, he can make anything goes upward. but he would not need a muscular power to get the mission done. so we can not say he would not be able to lift it.

we say that god has power over everything. but, a rock that can not be lifted by god isn't a thing at all.

xenoview's picture

You say that god has no body. In the torah and the bible, god created Adam and Eve in his image. Do islamist believe in the torah(old testament)? So if god made them in his image, then god has a body?

Peripatetic's picture
In the Islamic world, Muslims

In the Islamic world, Muslims believe that torah and bible are from god, but they believe that they were distorted and that's why god sent Muhammad

as for the Adam and Eve thing, Muslims also have a hadith that says the same thing. Some schools interpret it figuratively and some other schools such as the salafists, interpret it literally

xenoview's picture
So your saying that Adam and

So your saying that Adam and Eve were figuratively made in gods image? What do you mean by the torah and bible being distorted?

Peripatetic's picture
the hadith says "God created

the hadith says "God created Adam in his image" Some interpretations says that it means god created humans in a perfect way or in a perfect image, some interpretations say that the word "his" refers to Adam not god.

by being distorted i meant that the current version of these books that we have now is not the same as the Original ones ( that the god revelated to his prophets) they've been tampered with.

xenoview's picture

You said that the word his referred to Adam, and not god. Please explain how you can make something(Adam) it's image before it was created? Who decided that the torah and bible were distorted?

Peripatetic's picture
the rest of the hadith

the rest of the hadith describes what Adam looked like, such as his height. So the interpretations that say that the word "his" refers to Adam meant that god created Adam in this way, i.e. this height. meaning that he was never been a kid then became a man. But god created him in that image/form that was described in the hadith.

there is another hadith says "One must not hit another on his face because god created Adam in HIS image" some says the word "HIS" refers to the one that being hit, as if the hadith wants to say Do not hit anyone because Adam were created in our images, so it would be an offense to Adam too or something like that.

as for the distortion, Muslims believe that the torah and the bible are from god because the Qur'an states that. However, there are some differences between Qur'an and the holy book .. for example, the Qur'an states that Abraham was going to kill his son Ismael but in the bible it says Abraham was going to kill Isaac. The Qur'an also states that the prophecy of Muhammad is mentioned in the bible although there is none. and there are some Versus in the Qur'an could be understood in that way (that the torah and bible were being tampered with) so that's why Muslims believe that these books are not authentic

RedleT's picture
I have only skimmed the

I have only skimmed the responses, but as to the OP, I don't think you have a very in depth knowledge of what omnipotence of God means or how it is derived at least from a philosophical perspective.

This reminds me of the old paradox of what happens when an immovable object meets and unstoppable force. Answer? Nothing because it is possible to exist at the same time.

So no, God cannot create something which he cannot move. The reason for this is that he is being itself. Another poster alluded to this I am who am from the Bible and all that good stuff. To create something he could not move would be to limit himself ontologically which is impossible given his nature. Now he may not choose to move something but that's another story.

xenoview's picture
Dumb Ox

Dumb Ox
Do you believe that god is all powerful? If god is all powerful, then it could create a rock to big to lift. If it can't create a rock to big to lift, then it is not all powerful.

RedleT's picture


But if God can't lift it then by your same logic he would not be all powerful. God can't do things which are logically impossible, like creating something he can't move while at the same time being all powerful.


Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.