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The Contender
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Can God create a rock so big he can't lift it, or not create the rock? either, not @ same time

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/30/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 450 times Debate No: 77154
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Can an Omnipotent God create a rock he cannot lift? it is said that If one answers yes to the question, then God is therefore not omnipotent because he cannot lift the rock, but if one answers no to the question, God is no longer omnipotent because he cannot create the rock.

my position is that he can do one or the other, at different times, but he can't do both at the same time. and, that he can't do both at the same time doesn't disprove God as omnipotent.

the solution is to say that God is limited by logic as far as we can see, but it is possible for him to act beyond logic. 'the otherwise unlimited force of God that is limited by logic'. and the opt out, that God is God and he can do whatever he wants, logical or not.

the questions of the paradox are basically another way of saying the following...
"can the unlimited limit itself? if not, it is not unlimited. is so, it is not unlimited."

does the fact that we can ask those questions show that the unlimited is possible only in theory, but when examined, is not actually possible? a mere human construct that has been shown to not hold up against scrutiny?

not necessarily. it more so shows the absurdity of the question. no matter how we approach it, the unlimited is then limited. calling the unlimited, limited, for the above stated reasons, is an absurd notion itself.

the only way to approach it is to say, if the unlimited is truly unlimited, then it cannot limit itself. that would be illogical. this is true at the abstract level, but has troubling consequences in application. cause what gives, can he make the rock or can't he? does the inability of the unlimited being unable to limit itself translate into "God cannot create the rock i.e. limit himself in that way?" or does it translate into 'he can create the rock cause he is unlimited, but he can't lift it?"

the solution is to say 'the otherwise unlimited force of God that is limited by logic'. and then i gave an opt out, that God is God and he can do whatever he wants, logical or not. if God wants to make the moon mean fish, or a circle be a square, he can.

the solution lies examining God according to logic, versus the unlimited imagination. for example, in the real world as we can claim to know it, a circle cannot at the same time be a square. if the inability for a square to at the same time be a circle shows that the unlimited is not possible, then yes, the unlimited does not exist. but in the real world, the unlimited can be said to exist, if it follows the laws of logic. this all translates into God by replacing "unlimited" with "God". the unlimited ultimately translates into God's abilities. so, God in the world of imagination where circles can be squares, God is in no way limited. but in the real world as we know it, God is limited by logic. perhaps it is better not to say that God is unlimited, but that God is reality, which includes logic. or at least to recognize that the unlimited can only be so in the real world where logic restricts what it really mean to be unlimited.

so we've examined the unlimited when it comes to the square circle, an as an 'unlimited as otherwise limited by logic'.... so what about back to the issue of God and the rock?

to answer this, we need to ask another question. what happens when an immovable rock meets the unstoppable force of God?

the issue-- the paradox arises because it rests on two premises- that there exist such things as immovable rocks and unstoppable forces - which cannot both be true at once. If there exists an unstoppable force, it follows logically that there cannot be any such thing as an immovable rock, and vice versa.

so the key then is "at once". to ask if God can create both scenarios at once is a logical impossibility. God cannot do the logically impossible.

if God creates the immovable rock, he cannot be an unstoppable force. and if God acts as the unstoppable force, he cannot create an immovable rock. he must choose which scenario exists at any given time. and, in fact, the fact that he would be able to choose the scenario, highlights the underlying omnipotence of God to begin with.

to highlight the time element. if God made a rock that could not be lifted for a week, then for a week he could not lift it. when we merely say God can make the rock, but then he can lift it, we are assuming that the time has elapsed such that God is able to then 'switch gears' and lift it. when we add a time element such as "a week" it highlights that there are in fact restrictions if God makes that rock.

we have to suppose that God knows what he's doing when he makes decisions like that to prevent lifting it for a week. and, this is a matter of consistency.... it is like dropping a ball or not. i can say i won't drop a ball, and if i am consistent as i would imagine God is, then i won't drop the ball. if he creates the rock, whether or not he can lift it, he probably won't lift it for as long as he says he won't. not that he couldn't.

but, if God wanted to lift the rock which should not be able to be lifted, then he can. but this is getting into illogic, making a circle a square type stuff.

so, as some have intuitively argued, God can create the rock, but then he can also choose to lift it. but he can't create both scenarios at once. that would be illogical.
so.. yes, in some sense, God as the unlimited has been shown to not exist... he is restricted. but.... he's merely restricted from the world of imagination, due to logic. God cannot be illogical.

so, ultimately... the notion of unlimited that follows logic hasn't been shown to not exist.... it and the following notion of God, has been shown to be possible..... as long as it's consistent, and logical.


and last, it is notable to approach this from the point of 'the unlimited paradox'. "the unlimited paradox states that an immovable object cannot exist at the same time as an unstoppable force. the fact that it cannot exist at the same time, shows that the unlimited truly doesn't exist." this approach in practice, highlights more that those who are atheists will find ways to make 'the unlimited paradox' not be a paradox, while the "God paradox" has the same issue with regards to theists.


Before I go right to trying to disprove this, I would like to ask for clarification.

We understand that time and space are related. God is outside of time and therefor in a way, outside of space.
By God having to "lift" this kind of rock, doesn't that assume that God is bound by time and space, as "to lift" is a verb?
If so, then this is an illogical question, because the assumed Omnipotent nature of God is assumed to be non-Omnipotent in order to prove he isn't Omnipotent. This is circular reasoning and appears to not define God in the correct way.

I need some clarification if I am going to state my position in a correct way.
Debate Round No. 1


it is not illogical in the sense that if God confines himself to time and space, then that is a committment he can't break.

in some sense it is illogical, because as i argued, god can always switch gears and act illogically. it all depends on if God wants to abide by logic or not.


You seem to be mistaken with what logic is. Logic is a nature of God. God cannot act illogically, as that is His nature.

You first say "it is not illogical in the sense that if God confines himself to time and space, then that is a committment he can't break."
But God cannot be confined, because he is omnipresent. So that position is invalid. It goes against the law of non-contradiction.

Next you say "in some sense it is illogical, because as i argued, god can always switch gears and act illogically."
But how do you know God can act illogical? If logic is God"s nature, then he wouldn"t be illogical, because all truth is in him. He isn"t bound by his lesser creation, just like when we make pottery, we aren"t bound to live inside of it. Also, logic doesn"t disprove God's existence, because logic deals with the correct chain of reasoning from premise to conclusion, as I will emphasize latter on. Logic only proves that God exists in a perfect way. It only proves that he is all powerful, because being omnipotent means that you are not non-omnipotent. God is above all and self-sustaining, thus further proving his omnipotence.

Finally you state "it all depends on if God wants to abide by logic or not."
Logic is necessary to understand God"s omnipotence and omnipresent. Also, logic is the nature of God. Without it, we could just use contradictions when describing God"s nature. Logic isn"t a restriction to God, it allows him to be who he is, and is his character. The only way to argue against this is to use laws of logic, which presupposes God. A law needs a law giver. Without God, you can"t have an origin of the laws of logic. This may seem circular, because it is. Circular reasoning isn"t always arbitrary though when you are talking about an ultimate standard for what all other things must be based upon. All chains of reasoning must have an ultimate end/ beginning. That beginning, that highest standard, is God. This is taken from the preconditions of intelligibility argument. Logic is presupposed, but then after presupposed, must have an origin. That origin is God. The only way to argue against it is to use logical reasoning, which already presupposes God.
God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13) and all truth is in God (John 14:6; Col. 2:3), therefore truth will not contradict itself. The question you pose in the beginning itself misrepresents God and reality. If you try arguing logically, you prove my position to be correct, because logic presupposes the God who does not apply to the question.

"Laws of logic are God's standard for thinking. Since God is an unchanging, sovereign, immaterial Being, His thoughts would be necessarily be abstract, universal, invariant entities. In other words, they are not made of matter, they apply everywhere, and at all times. Laws of logic are contingent upon God's unchanging nature. And they are a prerequisite for logical reasoning. Thus, rational reasoning would be impossible without the biblical God."
-Dr. Jason Lisle

Your illogical question doesn't disprove God's existence. At the same time, the existence of logic proves God's existence.
If anything is unclear, I can try to clarify. This can sometimes be a complicated subject to understand.
Debate Round No. 2


you say God cannot act illogically, yet when i try to confine him to his own logic, you say he can't be confined.

you say any reasoning to God as illogic involves logic. if i say A plus B equal peanut butter, i didn't engage in logic, but I describe God's potential.

how would you answer the question? can GOd create the rock he can't lift? or can he lift the rock he can't create? can he make the rock or not?


"you say God cannot act illogically, yet when i try to confine him to his own logic, you say he can't be confined."

I think I understand what you say. My response is that you cannot confine God to his own logic. As it says in Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher then your ways, and my thoughts than your thought." This implies a similarity between our thoughts and God"s thoughts. But God is infinite, while ours is finite. You can"t confine God the way you are trying too because people are below God. You can't contain something that you can't understand.

"you say any reasoning to God as illogic involves logic. if i say A plus B equal peanut butter, i didn't engage in logic, but I describe God's potential."

Your statement is confusing to me. I don"t see how "if I say A plus B equal peanut butter"" has any relevance to God"s potential or the topic. I was saying that logic presupposes God. So if you try logically disproving God's existence, you only prove his existence, because logic proves God's existence.

"how would you answer the question? can GOd create the rock he can't lift? or can he lift the rock he can't create? can he make the rock or not?"

I answer it as so. The paradox is the question. The imaginary and paradox concept of a rock that God can"t lift doesn"t mean God is a paradox, but means the question is imaginary and a paradox. You can"t disprove God by making a faulty question. All you end up doing is making a faulty question. A question that is faulty doesn"t prove anything. The verb "lift" would require God to be bound by space and time, and be material. God is not bound by space and time, and is immaterial. Your concept of God is faulty, as God isn"t some person walking around with super powers like in The Avengers. He is God. He created all things. He isn"t bound by his creation because he is Omnipotent. The question is a faulty, not God.

My conclusion is that logic presupposes the existence of God. Therefor, God exists, and your question fails to disprove His existence.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by skipsaweirdo 4 months ago
Creating a logical absurdity can be done by God because God can change the perceptions of humanity if needed. Con merely needed to say that lifting is relative to humans only. Gods by definition do not and have no need to "lift". If God can create the rock then God can uncreate it and then create it again on the moon. Same rock, same perception of what humans define as lift. As long as God created the rock on Earth first the assumed omnipotent paradox was nothing more than a straw man of God and a equivocation fallacy as to what lifting is defined as when applied to humans and how it is defined when applied to a God.
Posted by TheOpinionist 1 year ago
I would suggest looking through the doctrine of omnipotence. It's much like making a married bachelor, or a square with three sides.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ThatChristianGuy 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:16 
Reasons for voting decision: I agree with Con, due to his argument that God cannot go contrary to His nature. This is true, and won him the debate in my eyes.