A Conversation for How to Be a Philosopher

Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 41

Otto Fisch ("One, you started coming over. Two, you started sleeping over. Three, you started taking over. Four, you told me it was over.")


"The problem is thus, if you insist on questioning the omnipotence of a god, you must argue that the god itself exists. "

No. The point about the stone example is to show that it is logically impossible for any being to be omnipotent while remaining inside the laws of logic. The example assumes for the sake of argument that God exists, but posing the question does not commit one to the view that God exists.

"If the god exists and has created everything, then the god must be omnipotent. "

No. If God exists and has created everything, then that God must be powerful enough to create everything that exists. It doesn't follow from this (that God has done everything) that God can do absoluteluy anything. There might be things that don't exist because God can't create them. One way out of the problem of the stone is just to concede that God cannot do absolutely everything, but can do nearly everything, which compared to what humans can do is still loads more!

"If the god created EVERYTHING, the god must therefore have created the laws of logic by which we live (Laws of logic being included in EVERYTHING). Therefore, this god must be outside of those laws in the same way that a computer programmer is outside of the laws of their program."

Yes. As Tality and I have indicated, one way out of the problem is just to deny that the laws of logic apply to God.

"Our laws of logic state that we must be able to prove something for it to exist or be correct."

No. There are plenty of things that exist / propositions that are true that we cannot yet prove. It was true that the earth orbits the sun long before anyone could prove it.

"If you can therefore not PROVE that a god exists, and a god does, then he must therefore be outside of our logical laws. If, however you could PROVE that there was a god, then that god must exist within our laws of logic."

No. If God exists, but I can't prove it, it doesn't follow that God is outside of our logical laws. Again, lots of things exist that I cannot prove exist. Logical laws are not the same as what I can or cannot prove. Logical laws (e.g. all x are z, y is an x, therefore y is a z) are like mathematical truths.

"Since we cannot prove whether or not a god exists, but we must argue that one does in order to answer this question, we must also therefore believe that that god exists outside of our logical laws(since we cannot otherwise prove it)."

I don't see that any of this follows (see above).

"If you can prove nothing, all you have is an opinion, and an opinion is neither correct nor incorrect unless it can otherwise be proven."

No. Beliefs can be correct or incorrect in the absence of proof, it's just that we don't know who's right. In the absence of proof, there's still evidence either way to be considered. So even in the absence of proof, not all opinions are of equal weight.

"Beliefs are not always logical, I'm sure everyone can agree with that. So why is it that in attempting to explain belief in an illogical being, and it's abilities, we must always apply our laws of logic?"

Because that's what being a philosopher is all about.


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 42

Someguy

You make the mistake of confusing laws with truths. Our Laws are things which men have set out and proven in one form or another. Truths are things which will always be (whether or not our laws will allow it). So, things like the sun being the center of the galaxy, are given as truths. It will always be as such unless it can otherwise be proven. It however was a law that the earth was the center of the galaxy. This was later proven incorrect by research.
We can then argue that though we may imply that God must be within our laws of logic, that it may later be proven otherwise. This then would become the law or the universal truth.
Universal truths do not change, but our laws can based upon how much evidence we have to show that the law is incorrect.
To say that God is outside of universal truths is hard to do, but outside of our laws of logic is very easy. Laws of Logic as we know them are set down by man and can therefore be flawed or incorrect.
Also someone need not always be wrong, as I have stated before.
For example. Two people see a square, one says It is a square, while the other says It is a rectangle. Neither is incorrect, and both can in this case prove their point of view.
In the case that either point of view can be proven to both sides to be correct, it does not mean that both of them cannot be correct, but they have seen different things (as people are inclined to do).

We cannot rule something out simply because we feel it not logically plausible (everything spun around the earth, it was not thought logically plausible for everything to spin around something else; in fact, it was considered heresy to even suggest that everything did, it did not make it any less true)





P.S. I am thoroughly enjoying this debate smiley - biggrin


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 43

Wøñkø

...the sun isn't the center of the galaxay...
i'm sure that was jsut unclear.


It seems, though, that there has to be some truth to everything: the earth may not be the center of the galaxy, but something is. So there has to be some sort of truth to logic, not just law...


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 44

Someguy

The sun is the center of our galaxy, but not the center of the universe. as there are many galaxies, but only one universe. We have, as of yet, no reason to beliveve that the sun is not the center of our galaxy, but we can assume that it is not the center of the universe.

And I agree, there is some truth in logic, but some people term the illogical logical, so truth may also be lost in what we define as logic.


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 45

Wotsit_thingamyjig

May I have a go at this? Don't expect wonders of philosophical argument, I have no 'qualifications', just my own curiosity! smiley - biggrin

The original statement was such (more or less):

"God is omnipotent.
Can God create a stone he can't lift?
If he can create a stone he can't lift, he's not omnipotent because he can't lift it.
If he can't create a stone he can't lift, he's not omnipotent because he can't create it.
Therefore God cannot be omnipotent."

Firstly, are we all agreed on what 'God' is and what 'omnipotence' is? I shall go by the good old dictionary meanings, as this is a universally accepted description in most cases, though by no means necessarily 'right' or 'true'.

God - in many beliefs, a divine or superhuman being with power over nature and the human race, and often an object of worship. (I won't be specific in any particular god)

Omnipotent - having very great or absolute power.

Starting off with these two meanings, we can say that firstly God has powers above and beyond our own abilities and knowledge, and that he has power over nature and the human race, therefore, if we also assume that a stone is part of nature, it is possible that he can create a stone he cannot lift, and also that he can lift that unliftable stone. You following so far? smiley - erm

If God is omnipotent, it means he has very great or absolute power. This covers both physical abilities and control and influence over others. Therefore by this it is possible he can be able to lift a stone of any size, mass, weight etc, due to his physical omnipresence. He could also lift the stone with the power of his will, but be unable to physically lift it, or vice versa. But the question still remains as to whether he can create such a stone that goes beyond his own omnipresence. If you take the meaning again as that he has VERY GREAT powers but not necessarily ABSOLUTE power then you could argue that he can both be unable to create a stone he can't lift, and be unable to lift a stone he has created, yet also be omnipresent, as omnipresence in our own language means having very great OR absolute power.

Now this poses the question of whether God has ABSOLUTE power or just VERY GREAT power?

Did anybody understand that? Time for a cup of tea methinks! smiley - tea

Oh, and this is by no means a complete argument, just me waffling on as usual until I get too knackered to continue! I shall crawl away and wait for somebody of infinitely greater intellect to pick away at what I said and make me seem totally inadequate. But then again, if everybody agreed, there would be no need for this conversation! smiley - headhurts


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 46

Someguy

Just a few grammatical difficulties I need to fix on that post....
I'll try to bold the important stuff...don't know if html works properly in here...

"If God is omnipotent, it means he has very great or absolute power. This covers both physical abilities and control and influence over others. Therefore by this it is possible he can be able to lift a stone of any size, mass, weight etc, due to his physical omnipresence. He could also lift the stone with the power of his will, but be unable to physically lift it, or vice versa. But the question still remains as to whether he can create such a stone that goes beyond his own omnipresence. If you take the meaning again as that he has VERY GREAT powers but not necessarily ABSOLUTE power then you could argue that he can both be unable to create a stone he can't lift, and be unable to lift a stone he has created, yet also be omnipresent, as omnipresence in our own language means having very great OR absolute power."

You have switched items, that is all i say. You went from omnipotence to omnipresence. Although I know you were speaking of omnipotence, I just thought I'd point it out.

If you really must question the omnipotence of God, do it in such a way, and you'll have better results.


There are two things God cannot do. He cannot Lie, and He cannot (Learn as he is all knowing). Except for that, it is considered that God is omnipotent and therefore can do anything, even if we find it logically impossible.


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 47

Wøñkø

(html doens't work)


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 48

Wotsit_thingamyjig

Yes, html doesn't work. THAT, I know!

And yes, I did mean OMNIPOTENT! Did the same thing trying to tell my other half about it as well. Darn language and brain thingy. Getting the right words was never my wotsit. You know. Sorry. smiley - blush


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 49

Someguy

well too bad about the html smiley - sadface
but at least I can put in smilies I guesssmiley - ok
and , I think the majority of people would have understood the switching, and that it was not intentional. Language can be very difficult sometimes...especially when you're thinking faster than you're typing...or typing faster than you're thinking...

smiley - winkeye


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 50

Someguy

I guess I should preview my posting before I post anyway...silly me...smiley - dontpanic


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 51

Wotsit_thingamyjig

smiley - laugh The embarrassing thing for me is that I DID preview mine before posting, I just didn't see it properly as my eyes were barely open from staying up too late! smiley - online2long



Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 52

Someguy

As is usually the problem...or as I was, up too early.

So what is the general consensus as to the answer of this question?? that it is possible, or not.

it seems to me that most of the nay sayers seem to have stopped trying to prove it impossible, which pretty much left the rest of us saying it is possible.

Let me know how you all perceive this...


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 53

tality

In asking what the general consensus is, whether it is possible or not, you invoke a logical law. This is called the law of excluded middle, and it holds that... for any proposition (p), either p is true, or p is not true. (There can be no middle ground -hence the name of the logical law) smiley - smiley

As one of the 'answers' to the problem is to deny that God is subject to the laws of logic, the people who do not declare it possible or impossible are not necessarily backing out of answering the problem -their answer is to deny that the law of excluded middle applies to the proposition 'God can create a stone he can't lift'. i.e. they deny that this proposition is definitely true or false.

The reason that this seems a strange answer, (or perhaps not an answer at all!) to some of us is because everything that we encounter in our world generally complies with this law. However, there are other paradoxes that also seem to deny this logical law e.g. if I say 'I am lying', and I am referring to the sentence 'I am lying' when I say it, I appear to create a problem for this law of logic...

If I am telling the truth when I say 'I am lying', then I am lying... But I can't be because I've just stated that I am telling the truth. The same is true vice versa - if I am lying when I say 'I am lying', then I am telling the truth... but I have just stated that I am lying. You see the problem, and it is created in the same way as the problem of God and the stone. (I do have an answer to the liar's paradox, but I shan't bore you with it here!)

Returning to the problem at hand, I prefer to say that God cannot create a stone he cannot lift. I see no real limitation on God's power if he is subject to the laws of logic, but of course this is a very contraversial viewpoint! Now, in a previous post I have explained the notion of possible worlds when used as a thought experiment, refer back to that if you get a bit stuck smiley - smiley -and have a think about this one...

If God is truly omnipotent, then he is infinitely powerful.

For a stone to be 'unliftable' to God then, it would have to be infinite in weight. (and as we cannot test this idea, I'm not even sure whether an infinitely powerful being would or would not be able to lift an object of infinite weight, but I'm willing, for the sake of argument, to to accept this premise. Let's face it, an object of infinite weight is the only thing that MIGHT limit the powers of an infinitely powerfl being, so just roll with it for now).

In our universe, it is not possible, due to the laws of physics, for an object of infinite weight to exist.

Therefore, in our universe, it is not possible for God to create a stone that he cannot lift.

Now, in another possible universe he might be able to create an object of infinite weight -if he truly is infinitely powerful, then creating this object should surely be a doddle. In this alternate universe, who knows whether he could lift the stone or not?!

Also, perhaps, if he altered a great deal about the universe we live in, he might be able to create an object of infinite weight... but the world as we know it would then effectively cease to exist, as it would have to be so drastically changed.

So, in answer to the question, I think it is NOT possible, at least in this universe with its current laws in operation, for God to create a stone he can't lift.

-I should credit my Father for sparking the discussion of possible worlds in this instance, as it was during a conversation I had with him over a nice cup of tea, whilst the rest of the family got bored and played 'I Spy', that I discovered this interesting way of answering the problem.


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 54

stealthwing

but would it not be possible that god is bound by different laws of logic, and thus be exempt from our chain of thought? it could be that infinaty is a real number in the logic of god ans thus be able to both create ... ok ive lost that, someone try continue with that one


what if he dosnt lift it at first and just holds it? would that work?


-stealthwing

P.S. tality, i am intrested in this answer to the liar's paradox, would you be able to link me to this / tell me this answer?


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 55

tality

Yes, of course it is possible that God is bound by different laws of logic, and I did allow for this possibility in my last posting. My argument rests on the fact that these laws of logic are operational in our world, and seeks to argue deductively from this along with the other premises listed, that in our world at least, God cannot create a stone he cannot lift.

Hope that explains my thoughts a little more clearly smiley - smiley


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 56

Paradox057

Ok, I will not attempt to argue my point of view as it would just be a redundancy of everything otto and most of what tality has already said.

I would however like to express what a wonderful entry i found "How to be a Philosopher" to be. I have also found this whole god and his stone debate to be wonderful.

That being said however, i have waited a month for someone tosay something about one of Someguy's latest posts.

"The sun is the center of our galaxy, but not the center of the universe. as there are many galaxies, but only one universe. We have, as of yet, no reason to beliveve that the sun is not the center of our galaxy, but we can assume that it is not the center of the universe."

This as i am fully aware all of you know is a completly untrue statement and leads me to be wary of any other arguments that Someguy may make. The Milky Way is the galaxy which is the home of our Solar System together with at least 200 billion other stars (more recent estimates have given numbers around 400 billion) and their planets, and thousands of clusters and nebulae, including at least almost all objects of Messier's catalog which are not galaxies on their own (one might consider two globular clusters as possible exceptions, as probably they are just being, or have recently been, incorporated or imported into our Galaxy from dwarf galaxies which are currently in close encounters with the Milky Way. All the objects in the Milky Way Galaxy orbit their common center of mass, called the Galactic Center (NOT THE SUN)!!!!!

As a galaxy, the Milky Way is actually a giant, as its mass is probably between 750 billion and one trillion solar masses, and its diameter is about 100,000 light years across, With our solar system (Wich the sun actualy is the center of) orbiting about 3/4 of the way out from the galactic center.

Now i know that this may sound like a nit-picky point, However i don't feel like you can atempt to argue theortical laws and theories when you don't even have a grasp on things already proven (for the time being) by the science we now have available.

So again wonderful thread guys, and understand that this is not a personal attack on anyone. It is however a point that went unmentioned and was really starting to bother me.

Keep up the terrific posts and enjoy your trip my friends..

-Paradox-


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 57

Lord Job Boron. That's Lord Job Boron To You!

Well howabout if god is not omnipotent, omniscient, or the other omni which escapes me at this precise moment in the illusion possibly known as time, but is actually the being (should he she it or other be a being) with the most of these three things?


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 58

agel_sizr

There was alot of posts here i and i didn't get chance to read them all but i wanted to get my 2 cents in on the matter.

If was take a more eastern view of god for a minute rather than a western view.

That is if we see everything in the world as a small part of an infinite god which has the power to create things by alocating a piece of his/herself to being a particular thing.

Now a rock cannot be infinite by its very definition, because if it were it would not be a rock because there would be nothing else by comparison (because an infinite anything would take up the 100% of god and the universe), and no one around to call it a rock.

Even if God were to create a very large rock that used 99% of him, then still even the 1% could create something that could lift the rock.

Therefore the only way god could create a rock which he couldn't lift would be to turn himself irreverabily into a 100% rock. Now a rock like that could not be lifted by god, but by his choice alone, because the irreverableness could only be by his/her choice.

So god can choose to make a rock that he cannot lift, but anyone can make anything liftable unliftable by their choice.

So this whole argument is silly.

How ironic that Jesus in the bible said "I am a rock".

smiley - winkeye


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 59

Lord Job Boron. That's Lord Job Boron To You!

That's all very well assuming there is a god at all. Would non belivers and western believers be part of the god or not and if they were would they denounce their faith in straight denile (western believers that is).

Did Iesu also say he was an Island?


Can God create a stone he can't lift?

Post 60

agel_sizr

QUOTE:

"Would non belivers and western believers be part of the god or not and if they were would they denounce their faith in straight denile (western believers that is)."

You obviously don't get the eastern view of God that i was talking about. They believe that EVERYTHING is part of god. You don't get a choice in the matter. It doesn't matter if you believe it or if you don't or if you denouce it.

That doesn't change anything.


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