# Omnipotence is logically impossible!

C Hess
Spirituality 25 Jul '14 14:57
1. 25 Jul '14 14:57
Not exactly news, but I love how he presents it.

Omnipotence Fails. Period.: http://youtu.be/95xXt0D0SQ8
2. vivify
rain
25 Jul '14 15:081 edit
I haven't seen the vid, but does the speaker say something like "can God make a burrito too spicy for him to eat and then it"? Or ask if God can make a circular square, or perform other self-contradicting feats?
3. RJHinds
The Near Genius
25 Jul '14 15:13
Originally posted by C Hess
Not exactly news, but I love how he presents it.

Omnipotence Fails. Period.: http://youtu.be/95xXt0D0SQ8
Maybe this guys logic is flawed. Just saying.
4. 25 Jul '14 15:241 edit
Originally posted by vivify
I haven't seen the vid, but does the speaker say something like "can God make a burrito too spicy for him to eat and then it"? Or ask if God can make a circular square, or perform other self-contradicting feats?
Yes, he does. Obviously most people who have given it some thought do not define omnipotence that way.
I personally see major problems with omniscience. Generally if you know the future, you can't change it.
5. DeepThought
Losing the Thread
25 Jul '14 15:39
Originally posted by vivify
I haven't seen the vid, but does the speaker say something like "can God make a burrito too spicy for him to eat and then it"? Or ask if God can make a circular square, or perform other self-contradicting feats?
The definition of a square is four equal length straight line segments perpendicular to one another and linked at their end points. The definition of a circle is a curve all of whose points are equidistant from its centre. Simply select your background geometry so that a square has all it's points equidistant from it's centre.
6. 25 Jul '14 16:11
Originally posted by vivify
I haven't seen the vid, but does the speaker say something like "can God make a burrito too spicy for him to eat and then it"? Or ask if God can make a circular square, or perform other self-contradicting feats?
No, he's not actually. He's pointing out that to be omnipotent is to be able to do anything
that is logically possible, but not what is logically impossible. Then he goes on to show that
omnipotence itself is logically impossible, since it's a paradox, self-contradiction.
7. 25 Jul '14 16:39
Originally posted by C Hess
He's pointing out that to be omnipotent is to be able to do anything
that is logically possible, but not what is logically impossible.
No, he is not 'pointing it out' he is defining it that way. It is not the only possible definition - as I said it is not even the most reasonable definition
8. DeepThought
Losing the Thread
25 Jul '14 16:40
Originally posted by C Hess
No, he's not actually. He's pointing out that to be omnipotent is to be able to do anything
that is logically possible, but not what is logically impossible. Then he goes on to show that
omnipotence itself is logically impossible, since it's a paradox, self-contradiction.
Since he's taking a non-absolute form of omnipotence, specifically one where God cannot do anything contradictory I don't see why there should be a contradiction. Possibly he's defined omnipotence in a way which contains a contradiction and needs to revise his definition so it does not.
9. 25 Jul '14 17:55
Originally posted by twhitehead
No, he is not 'pointing it out' he is defining it that way. It is not the only possible definition - as I said it is not even the most reasonable definition
I think it's reasonable enough. A being that can do the logically impossible (such as both
exist and not exist at the same time - or create itself before it exists so that it can exist)
makes even less sense than a being that can do anything, but only as long as it's logically
possible. Either way, the concept of omnipotence fails on its own definition.
10. 25 Jul '14 18:07
Originally posted by DeepThought
Since he's taking a non-absolute form of omnipotence, specifically one where God cannot do anything contradictory I don't see why there should be a contradiction. Possibly he's defined omnipotence in a way which contains a contradiction and needs to revise his definition so it does not.
He is saying that an omnipotent being can do anything as long as it's logically possible,
then points out that it's both logically possible for an omnipotent being to create a rock so
heavy he himself cannot lift it, and also logically possible for an omnipotent being to lift
any finite mass, thus showing that it's logically impossible to be omnipotent. Revising the
definition of omnipotence to be able to do the logically impossible creates problems of its
own.
11. 25 Jul '14 19:14
Originally posted by C Hess
I think it's reasonable enough. A being that can do the logically impossible (such as both
exist and not exist at the same time - or create itself before it exists so that it can exist)
makes even less sense than a being that can do anything, but only as long as it's logically
possible.
Making an even less sensible definition doesn't justify his definition.

Either way, the concept of omnipotence fails on its own definition.
Yes, by either of those definitions, it fails. But as I have said several times, this is of little importance because most theists do not use either definition when they talk of omnipotence.
He is using a strawman argument.
12. 25 Jul '14 19:21
Having gone through it again I would say that I dispute his premise 4. or the way he applies it.
He claims that it is logically possible to create a rock so big its creator cannot lift it. He does not state whether this applies to any creator. But he then claims that an omnipotent being can create such a rock. But this does not follow unless premise flaw applies to all beings. But if premise 4 applies to all beings then it is false.
13. 25 Jul '14 21:04
Originally posted by twhitehead
...as I have said several times, this is of little importance because most theists do not use either definition when they talk of omnipotence.
He is using a strawman argument.
I don't think so. Consider other definitions. Any one of them would have to include further
restrictions on what an omnipotent being can do, limiting its power. Consider, for instance,
the nature of said being. There's the age-old argument that god, because of her nature,
can't lie. Still, she's considered omnipotent. But a being that cannot alter its own nature is
not all powerful.

So, now we define omnipotence as not all powerful, but very powerful. The problem with
this is that any human can be considered omnipotent by that definition, for every human is
very powerful in relation to, say, ants. Really, any living thing can in some sense be
considered omnipotent by that definition.

No, I think for omnipotence to mean anything, it must mean that whomever possess this
quality can do anything logically possible.
14. 25 Jul '14 21:58
Originally posted by C Hess
I don't think so. Consider other definitions. Any one of them would have to include further
restrictions on what an omnipotent being can do, limiting its power.
I think a reasonable definition would be one that could do anything that didn't result in a contradiction. So God could not for example make something both existent and non-existent at the same time even though it could do both individually.

There's the age-old argument that god, because of her nature,
can't lie. Still, she's considered omnipotent. But a being that cannot alter its own nature is
not all powerful.

Yes, such a God is clearly not omnipotent. But what if there was a God that choose not to lie, but could if it had wanted to? Omnipotence does not require a being to actually do every thing it can do.

No, I think for omnipotence to mean anything, it must mean that whomever possess this
quality can do anything logically possible.

I think you have to be very careful about what you mean by 'logically possible'. I think the guy in the youtube got it wrong in that he claimed something was logically possible, then showed it was logically impossible, then instead of admitting his premise was false, he instead claimed a contradiction. In reality it was his premise that was false.

Consider this:
1. I could go to the Johannesburg. It is logically possible for me to go to Johannesburg.
2. I could not go to Johannesburg yesterday. It is logically impossible for me to go to Johannesburg yesterday.
3. 1. and 2. form a contradiction. I don't exist.
15. 25 Jul '14 22:17
Originally posted by C Hess
Not exactly news, but I love how he presents it.

Omnipotence Fails. Period.: http://youtu.be/95xXt0D0SQ8
God defines Himself.

It is irrational for a mere mortal to explain anything about God that God hasn't already, or doesn't explain about Himself.

1 Timothy 1:17
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Genesis 35:11
And God said unto him, I [am] God Almighty: ...

Ok, what do we have here? Almighty, and only wise God.

Sure sounds omnipotent to me. Unless you think there's more to what omnipotent means than being almighty and only wise!