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Logic Paradox and Existence

  1. Nov 17, 2005 #1
    A common argument:

    Suppose God is all-powerful.
    Now, let God create a rock so heavy that God cannot lift it.

    Common conclusions:

    1) But if God cannot lift it, then God is not all-powerful.
    2) The rock cannot exist since it creates a contradiction. Thus, God is not all-powerful since God cannot create a rock that cannot be lifted.

    I know that arguments such as these are not considered sound. In philosophy, we defined "all-powerful" as able to do all that is logically possible. In that case, the whole discussion is moot since it isn't a question that our logic system can handle. However, suppose one does not subscribe to that definition of "all-powerful". Then, do we say that the question is not well-posed?

    Can someone pick at this very common argument more formally? If possible, I'd like a more concrete example that shows the fallacies involved in such an argument.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2005 #2
    I used to have these questions too... then i stopped believing in God and they all dissapeared :)
  4. Nov 18, 2005 #3
    Well, so long as you admit your decision was not based on sound logic but on emotion, I'm okay with that.

    The next time I hear a discussion on QM, I'll simply state that I no longer believe in QM. Then, I won't have to worry about those discussions. ;-)
  5. Nov 18, 2005 #4
    haha... deal... I'd give a shot at this... but I see it as pointless to argue a paradox. Unless you wanna see me write a 2 page essay about running around in circles :P
  6. Nov 28, 2005 #5
    I believe God doesn't "exist", because God is Infinite. So, that also implies (for me) that Infinite doesn't "exist" either, but that's a different argument! Classically, the Infinite cannot be resolved by Finite measures(as you brought up). So in other words, the parsimonious fallacy I believe to understand in this paradox is "mixing" Infinite/God with something measurable/Finite as a rock. Now, if God is not all-powerful in the classical sense, then God would have to be Finite like one of us. And I can certainly create something that I can't pick up, hence, not being all-powerful! I guess my question to you is: Your non-classical definition of "all-powerful" ?
  7. Nov 28, 2005 #6
    oh blind beauty, blinded by math...

    back to the question: who is this God that would lift up a rock? where is He, to do so? Better question: what is God? since you talk about what God can or can't do, perhaps you would like to informs us about what God is. i mean, unless you are talking about the abilities of some unknown "thing", whereby this "paradox" is empty of any point.

    [insert classic definition here] Omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, yadda-yadda-yadda.

    what kind of entity possesses all-power? all-knowledge? all-goodness? with not clear conception of this, how can you begin to talk about the abilities of such a One.

    note: omnipotence is defined, by wikipedia, as: all power.

    interesting. no? all power.

    where could this rock be? i mean, planets are "distanced" from each other with seeming ease. isn't that what lifting means? what kind of surface would support this rock?

    no, i'm sorry, but your paradox is not so much a paradox as it is a grand display of ignorance and assumption. until you know what God is, you cannot talk in such a way, about abilities, or the like. this "paradox" has more holes than a fishing net.
  8. Nov 29, 2005 #7
    This is the philosophy room, not mathematics (I didn't want to argue this). Transfinite arithmetic is not an ontological argument for infinities. To rely on transfinite arithmetic in support of the possibility of an actual infinity is to miss the point my answer, and ultimately, the question asked.
  9. Nov 29, 2005 #8


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    So BlindBeauty, your argument seems to be: "Acually existing infinity is incoherent", "God defined in terms of all-power would be an actually existing infinity", Therefore "An all-powerful (or all-anything) God is incoherent."
  10. Nov 29, 2005 #9
    I have a simple solution to this problem.
    And while I do agree with sameandnot on all his points, I felt like I should say this.
    Imagine if you seperate between a god, and a creator.
    If the Creator is outside of the system, that is hes not inside or influenced by time and space, he can literally do anything because we have no idea what kind of controls he has "hard coded" into this "matrix" like universe.

    He would be omniscient and omnipotent simply because of this.
    A God however, can be defined as the highest possible being INSIDE the system of time and space.
    It has come to my understanding that no such god inside the system can be omniscient, omnipotent etc, because you can never fully understand a system that you are in.
    Also since this god would be guided b the laws of physics, he would be bound by them as well.

    So theo nly solution is to create 2 gods, the creator, and the highest, mosti ntelligent, most powerful being in the universe itself.
    However such a god is unmeasurable logically, because ants can be very strong for their size compared to a human and a humans size.
    So figuring out who is the "god" is almost impossible.
    Unless you are the creator.

    This is my hypothesis anyway.
  11. Nov 29, 2005 #10
    is it not true, blindedbeauty, that whenever you generate a finite number set, you have generated those particular, finite numbers, from the infinite set of possibilities, from which the particulars were extracted? i say you are blinded by math, because you negate the existence of something, just because there is no finite expression of it your perception. that is to say, that due to the inherent formlessness of an infinite substance you have negated its existence because it does not comply with all the other formal perceptions that you are used to.

    math is the attempt to symbolize the reality, in finite, individual parts, but we must remember that the symbol is never actually the thing that it symbolizes, and further that the actuality is always greater than the symbol imposed.

    the finite depends on the infinite, but you cannot see the infinite in any particular region (formal reality) so you cannot see it anywhere and even worse, you claim that it is non-existent.

    where would the finite number set that you generate have its reality from/in, if there was not an infinite from which they were extracted?
  12. Dec 6, 2005 #11
    The God / heavy rock issue.

    'God' can temporarily alter his/her nature. So at one time God can lift the rock and another time (by choice) the rock is too heavy.
    God can even divide into two beings; one of whom can lift the rock and the other divine being cannot.

    Assigning 'limitation' can enhance the sport of being alive!
  13. Dec 6, 2005 #12
    But, in both of these cases, God "wills" not to be "all-powerful", thus, at the exact moment of time (t=0) of the willing process God is in fact not all powerful. If God finds it impossible to will to be all powerful at all moments of time, and in all aspects of being, then an all powerful God does not exist.
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