The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
4 Points

Omniscience and omnipotence

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,700 times Debate No: 33451
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




I checked religion as the "category" here, but I think it ain't religion It's just plain old logic. And I think you are asking the wrong question if you wish to get any sensible answer.
First of all, it would be logically impossible for any being to be both omniscient and omnipotent, if for no other reason, than to point out that an omniscient being could never change its mind and remain omniscient. What kind of omnipotence is it where one couldn't even change one's mind? And from a practical side, why then ought any of us bother praying? Think about it. And forget about benevolence. I doubt anyone could ever define benevolence in a sufficiently basic manner that would satisfy everyone, ergo, it's undefinable for practical purposes.

And Omniscience and Omnipotence, even disregarding logic, would surely guarantee Predestination, which then makes all of us responsible for actions over which we have no control, no matter how it might appear to us. That would be merely an illusion.

For a fun debate, try Justice along with Merciful. The nuns taught us the god was perfectly both. But these traits lie on opposite ends of the same spectrum, so for example, to be more "Just" means you likely would need to be less "Merciful".


No wonder some people say that to be religious, one must check one's intellect at the door before entering the church. But some argue that god being all powerful does not need to be logical. All I could say here is "OMG" we are a in the hands of a psychopath where logic may have no meaning. But seeing as we were created in the image and likeness of god, logic ought to have no meaning for us either. And when I read or hear the news, I find that idea not all that hard to accept.
But to sound religious, why would god give us an intellect at all and then punish us if we used it? I never could figure that one out.


The Con side has made several claims that he argues refute any probability of an omniscient and omnipotent god. Note that the Con side also challenges the benevolence of such a god, given that benevolence can not be adequately defined. However, Con does not make an argument that omniscience and omnipotence hinge upon benevolence. To summarize, I will succeed at this debate if I can show that the present state of affairs suggests a possibility for a god that is omniscient and omnipotent. I do not have to show benevolence, but I assume Con would like me to show a possibility of a universal benevolence. This I will attempt as well, in the spirit of the debate if not the letter of its criteria.

***Assuming a god that is universal in appearance, such god is omnipotent and omnipresent***

If what mankind terms god is seen as the motive force within all of creation, then such god is omnipotent (it possesses all power) and omniscient (it knows all things for it is in possession of and creates all knowledge). Con argues that of necessity such a god would suggest predestination. Perhaps, although predestination is a belief held by many religious denominations - such a state does not disprove the possibility of an omniscient and omnipotent god. However, Con appears to argue that predestination eliminates culpability for action, and that lack of culpability means that there is no "justice." Let me propose a wild theory - that we are all fractal systemic manifestations of the cosmic consciousness we refer to as "God." Assuming this is the case, and that we are the language of this all encompassing being as it communicates within itself using systemic expressions of perceptual consciousness (i.e. us and anything motive in nature), then the abandonment of some of us for the benefit of others would be for God akin to our abandonment of bad thoughts on behalf of good. Like such thoughts as we recognize in the microcosm as expressions of perception of the good and bad variety, so too from a macroscopic perspective might such a God see the abandonment of some of us as the recognition of the "good" expression over the "bad." Such judgment is the same judgment as we would exercise at a lesser level of sophistication, and might therefore be said to be "just" not in the sense of pursuing justice towards equals but in the sense of doing what is good and right as regards oneself. In this manner, God might be just, and remain seemingly non-benevolent.

***Towards universal benevolence***

The question arises whether or not a God possessing the qualities of omnipotence and omnipresence may be omni-benevolent (all good) while the world remains in a state that some would define as "not good." The question then arises though, what is "good?" Con seems to suggest that since an omnipresent and omnipotent God can only be presently possessed by a God that we would not define as good, either God is not good or the concept of "good" has no meaning. Let us consider an alternative. "Good" does have multiple meanings in the English language. See . Rather than arguing semantics, let's look at why there are so many definitions of the word "good." "Good" possesses a different meaning depending upon the context in which it is used. In the case of a cosmic being, "good" would mean good on a cosmic scale (i.e. what is good for the whole and not necessarily a part of the whole). Continuing with the possibility that god is a cosmic consciousness, and that we are components of that thought process, what is good would be what is right thinking. If we are the process by which such thinking occurs, then what is good is to allow us to conflict and resolve, as thoughts are wont to do, for the benefit of the greater corpus. There is some evidence that this is the case. .

*** Closing Argument ***

In closing, there is a distinct possibility that an omnipotent and omniscient consciousness, of which we are an active part, benevolently allows us to suffer for the greater good of the whole. This possibility is more than mere conjecture as scientific models have shown that universal physics are analogous to human consciousness. Since I need but prove possibility, and since I have shown evidence of such possibility, I have met my burden for this debate. The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 1


Sorry, but this sounds like Philosophical confusion to me, sort of along the lines of "if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with "bulls--t".

Forget about "Omni-benevolence" for the moment, that can wait. Consider the logic of what I stated, namely that no being could logically be Omniscient and Omnipotent at the same time. But, of course, if you consider your god to be beyond logic, then why bother with any debate. You have me outclassed. I surrender. But the Nuns taught me that god IS logical. So, what's a fellow to do? A logical god surely makes more sense to me than an illogical god, but history seems to favor the idea of illogical, capricious and largely malevolent gods who demanded obedience. Christianity added to this mix, the idea of Faith. Just read the new Testament. "Your faith has saved you." One needed to believe rather than just following a lot of rules, as other previous philosophies demanded.. Might that sort of suggest the idea of introducing logic and intelligence into the mix?

Does not Omniscience demand that the omniscient entity has knowledge of all that will come to pass. It WILL happen, no matter what. No one, and nothing, and not even an omnipotent being could change that, or it renders the concept of omniscience meaningless. I merely summarize this idea into the statement that an Omniscient being could never change it's mind, and still claim to be Omniscient. So, so much for Omnipotence. Meanwhile, I suggest forget about onmibenevolence. It's irrelevant.

Now, if you reject logic, then don't bother to reply. If you believe in an illogical god, what would be the point in debating? Anything would go. Otherwise I would be eager to hear your arguments.


Ah, I think I understand the gist of what you are arguing a bit better now. The argument is that, if a being is omnipotent, then that being possesses the ability to alter all outcomes (i.e. nothing is beyond the being's power). But if the being is omniscient, then the being also recognizes all outcomes (i.e. everything that can happen is already known). The paradox you suggest is that a being can not be aware of all outcomes if they are subject to change, and that if outcomes are not subject to change, allowing for omniscience, then there can not be omnipotence.

I think this isn't so much a paradox as it would first appear.

Consider this - you have some power (or so it appears, based upon our senses). You may know that talking to a person will result in a much different outcome than punching a person. You possess the power to do both. Yet, you may choose a fist or a word when engaging with such person. Your knowledge of the potentiality of the outcomes of the situation gives you a degree of scienter - you can reasonably predict outcomes based on your actions. If you should strike the person rather than speak to him, or speak to him rather than strike him, that does not negate your knowledge of both potential outcomes. Rather, you retain awareness of both the potential and the actualized reality that, through application of your potential to action, you have brought about. Now, imagine a being with the ability to comprehend the infinity of possibilities. Such a being, in applying its power, would prevent some possibilities from being actualized, but it would still retain its awareness of the outcomes it was bringing about and the outcomes it could have brought about. By accepting the existence of a being with infinite awareness of all probabilities, but which actualizes such abilities in a finite manner, it is possible to conceive of a being that is both simultaneously ominpotent and omniscient.The being is omniscient because it knows everything that *could be* or *has been*. The being is omnipotent because it determines everything that *is* and *will be*. Knowledge of all things does not preclude determination of some things, because one can know both what is and what is not or will not be.

As regards faith, I think that is a doctrinal matter probably outside the scope of the current debate. I would suppose that the logic of the argument is that you need to trust in the cosmic over-mind because it is bigger and more important than you, and your limited knowledge would never approach that of it's. Which might be correct, though I agree that it is an odd way of going about things.
Debate Round No. 2


When speaking of Omniscience and Omnipotence, we had best stick to deities. Human behaviors have no place in such an argument, lest we fall back into the old idea that just because one has knowledge of an event, that does not means one causes the event". That works for humans but not for gods, especially omniscient and omnipotent gods who are the "Authors of all things". For that reason alone, Omniscience implies Predestination, tho we need not debate Predestination here. But what does benevolence have to do with either Omniscience or Omnipotence? Could not an Omniscient or Omnipotent god just as easily be a bad guy as a good guy? In the old days, most gods were considered nasty beings and required sacrifices to keep them at bay.


1. "When speaking of Omniscience and Omnipotence, we had best stick to deities. Human behaviors have no place in such an argument, lest we fall back into the old idea that just because one has knowledge of an event, that does not means one causes the event."

Here, Con attempts to argue that my analogy of human potency and scienter to divine omnipotence and omniscience is meant to somehow exonerate an omnipotent and omniscient God from the consequences of such God's actions. I did not make such an argument. My argument was very specifically limited to the fact that an omnipotent being, capable of foreseeing all possible consequences of an action, may have the power to bring any or all such consequences about but may choose not to. This was a direct counterpoint to Con's argument that a being could not be simultaneously omnipotent and omniscient based on Con's assertion that omnipotence would destroy or limit omniscience. It was not an exoneration of the deity for acting as it did.

2. "Could not an Omniscient or Omnipotent god just as easily be a bad guy as a good guy? In the old days, most gods were considered nasty beings and required sacrifices to keep them at bay."

Here, Con is arguing omni-excellence, not omnipotence and omniscience, as a paradox. Moreover, Con is arguing that polytheistic divinities, and not necessarily omnipotent and omniscient divinities, somehow reflect upon a hypothetical omnipotent and omniscient divinity.

I admit to having some difficulty following this logic. Con appears to be arguing that an omni-excellent being has a duty to do what is good, and should create an existence that supports what is good. The problem here is that Con has made an argument that "human behaviors" "have no place" in our debate. Human behaviors include "doing good." If I take Con at his word, Con has argued in a manner that he himself has claimed should not be done.

However, it might be interesting to entertain the merits of the overall argument here. Con is claiming, in a fairly circuitous manner, that (a) God knows everything and is all powerful, (b) God is all good, and (c) yet suffering exists and (d) sometimes the suffering has been attributed to God. This is a decent argument against omni-excellence, but not a real argument against my proofs for an omnipotent and omniscient God. Let's none-the-less consider if there might be a response in support of omni-excellence that doesn't rely on absurdest fantasy (in the logical, as opposed to the hypothetical sense).

The first thing we must assume is that God is argued to be omni-excellent: i.e. God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good. The second thing we must realize is that, despite the presence of a limitlessly powerful, all-knowing and all-good God, we are left to suffer and die. Indeed, let me be terrifyingly direct and note that in the embrace of this all-loving super-being we are left to be raped, murdered, skinned alive, set alight, bullied, deceived, tortured and enslaved. How can this logically come to pass?

One argument is to suggest that, if we also accept doctrinal claims that we are truly spiritual beings of infinite durability, this world may have been created by God to allow such beings to experience a less than ideal existence in order to better understand and love God. This is not totally without merit. It is conceivable that spiritual beings cognizant of God might deign to enter a world of suffering, from which they are usually spared, in order to better perceive why and how they should be grateful for their otherwise blissful existences. Indeed, this entire experience could be a simulation for our amusement, that God, being all-good, would have counseled us against, but, being all-loving and super-supportive, would have allowed us to indulge in.

Personally, I think it might be a little bit overkill, but it is at least an argument. It's only problem is that it begs the question, why did not God make (or remake) us so that we wouldn't be so stupid as to create a world of limitless suffering? If we assume that we were not made by God, but rather came into being at roughly the same time, an argument could be made that we were not remade, and were subsequently indulged in our masochistic request, out of God's "good" respect for the integrity of our free will. Assuming all of these very peculiar circumstances, omni-excellence might not be precluded.

In any event, the fact that omnipotent actualization (up to and including to the point of predestination) does not preclude omniscience shows that the paradox suggested by Con is false. God can be logically all powerful and all knowing. He could even, theoretically, and under *very* strange circumstances, be all good, despite suffering.

Thank you for the debate, PacFrank! I see it was your first, and a heady subject at that! God-heady even.

Heh - well, that pun certainly wasn't divine, but the arguments were! Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Actually, now that I think about it, that comment I left two comments down is bad on every level. Pro was arguing that there could be a god that was omnipotent and omniscient. Con was arguing that there could not be because omniscience precluded omnipotence.
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
*replace omnipresent with omnipotent. typo on that comment. Sorry.
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
As far as I could tell Ragnar, the resolution was roughly (from the pro side) that a theoretical divinity could not be omniscient and omnipresent at the same time. I think it was conceded that the debate was not about an omni-excellent deity.
Posted by Ragnar 5 years ago
What is the resolution? It's a little hard to judge this without knowing.
Posted by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
So I see you challenged me! Surprisingly enough, I was checking in at the same time! So - time to debate! PS I realize you are con for omnipotence and omniscience so it will be my duty to prove both omnipotence and omniscience! A real challenges since I have argued against it so many times before! Here we go!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by BennyW 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had more developed arguments con was a bit confusion and also a bit condescending.