Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Can God Make a Rock to Big for Him to Lift?

So many people ask "Can God make a rock so big that He can't lift it?" Now, there is the long answer and the short answer.

The Short Answer is: No. God can't make a rock too big for Him to lift.

But before I give the long answer, I want to point out that many people who ask this question are not really asking it out of a sincere desire to know the answer of the question, rather many people ask it out of a deep sense of pain, and the pre-rendered understanding that God cannot be all powerful, truly unlimited in power. And that position often has more to do with a time or even many times where the person feels that God has failed him or her, and that if He was all powerful, He would have used Him power to protect them from some loss, pain, or violation. Other times it is asked because there is something present in the person's life that God would obviously be responsible for in some way, but the person doesn't see God doing anything about it. This makes the person come to the conclusion that God can't do anything about it. And other times people are trying to come up with some clever intellectual argument to disprove the idea of an all powerful God. So, before I explain the more intellectual response, I want those of you who are hurting and reading this to know that I understand and God Himself understands, and wants you to have an honest conversation with Him about what you have suffered. You  can trust Him and He can do something about what you have experienced. He has a plan and purpose for it, and if you have an authentic and meaning relationship with Him by trusting in Jesus for eternal life, that plan and purpose will most certainly result in your good and God's glory. Trust Him with the loss, pain, violation, or struggle. He can handle it, but you'll have to trust Him with it.

Now, as far the intellectual explanation of the question's "NO" answer is concerned, the answer is "NO" for a lot of reasons, but we will start with the most obvious reason. It is a bad question. If by the word "God" we mean the One Being who has truly limitless, infinite power over anything and everything, then self-evidently there is nothing that can be created that will exceed His power. If we also understand the word "God" as signifying the One Being that exists outside of space-time, then obviously again no rock can be created by God that exceeds space-time and exceeds God, because space-time is not one of the qualities that God exists in, rather space-time exists within His existence and all created rocks would exist within space-time. Or if you cede that space-time might not be the only meaningful dimension of existence (i.e. the spiritual realm), where at least space would not be a relevant component of existence, then the fact that all created entities would have contingent and even dependent existence would likewise bar any and every created entity from exceeding the power and presence of God. Even an entity without the quality of spatiality or an entity that was infinite in some sense could never be infinite in the same way that God was, because all infinite entities would still have contingent/dependent or limited infiniteness, whereas God has non-contingent and non-dependent and non-limited infiniteness. In other words, God has infinite existence where as all created entities by virtue of their being created could not have infinite existence.

Hence the answer is NO, God can't create anything that exceeds Him in any way. The problem with the question misunderstands the nature of the entities involved or the qualities attributed to them. And thus, it also doesn't mean that God is not truly all-powerful, because all-powerfulness by definition excludes the possibility of not maintaining itself, otherwise the definition changes, and you are not really talking about all-powerfulness. That is all-powerfulness means not "can actualize non-contingent/dependent/finite entities" but "can actualize any kind of contingent/dependent/finite entities." Otherwise you are going to end up violating the very meaning of the word all-powerful.

The even more abbreviated long answer is "NO, because that's a bad question" in other words "your syllogism is in error." If anyone has any questions, please comment.

Much Love by the Spirit to all

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