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5 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
3 Points

examining omnipotence

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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 639 times Debate No: 56291
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)




i am interested in examining omnipotence. i think that the concept itself is somewhat nonsensical. my opponent will explain how it is not nonsensical, and the winner will be the one who is the most cogent.

as i understand it, omnipotence means "having all powers". (omni-all, potent-power/ability) the usage of the term seems to generally reflect its etymology.

if my opponent wishes to provide any alternative definitions they may, but we shall focus on this definition and call it def 1. any alternative definitions must also be numbered for convenient reference. should my opponent believe that def 1 does not adequately represent the usage of the term, he/she should argue for that as well.

i will examine the concept and try to show its problems, my opponent will both provide his/her viewpoint and we shall both attempt to find and articulate fault in eachothers views.

round 1 is for opening arguments, my opponent is also allowed to address my opening argument, but only after providing thiers. from there on we shall examine each others arguments until we run out of rounds and the audience shall decide who was most convincing.

i will begin with a few omnipotence paradoxes.
the power to create something immovable(not logically incoherent concept)
the power to move anything (not logically incoherent concept)
an omnipotent entity has all powers (def 1).
thus an omnipotent entity can both lift anything and create something that is unliftable.
as this is a contradiction, omnipotence cannot occur.

the power to destroy anything. (not logically incoherent)
the power to create something indestructible (not logically incoherent)
(def 1)
thus an omnipotent entity can both create an indestructible object and destroy that object.
as this is a contradiction, omnipotence cannot occur.

the power to create something that cannot be interacted with. (not logically incoherent)
the power to interact with anything (not logically incoherent)
(def 1)
thus an omnipotent entity can both create something that cannot be interacted with and then interact with it.
as this is a contradiction, omnipotence cannot occur.

it is apparent that omnipotence paradoxes will always describe the the creation of something with a certain property (which in itself is not illogical) and a power that cannot coexist with that property (but by itself is completely fine). as omnipotence is to have all powers and one can always find two properties that cannot coexist, it follows that no supposed entity can 'have all powers' and thus omnipotence is impossible.

another problem of omnipotence would be 'the power to suspend the laws of logic'. this is problematic, as an entity not bound by logic is definitionally illogical. it is not an entity that makes sense any more.

in this case, if you wish to assign some entity the property of omnipotence, then from then on all statements about that entity that can have truth values become suspect (including the statement that the entity is omnipotent). as logic is the necessary (though not sufficient) condition for statements to be assigned truth values, any statement claiming that itself or any referent within itself is not bound by logic, is a statement that cannot be given a truth value.

heres a demonstration:
basic laws of logic:
identity: a=a
non-contradiction: there exists no case where both a and not-a are true.
excluded middle: only a or not-a (there are no other options)

proposition A = "john is omnipotent"
proposition B = "statements involving john do not have to follow the laws of logic"
proposition C = "john exists"
proposition T = "x is (exclusively)true"
proposition F = "x is (exclusively)false"
if A implies B (which it does) then neither T nor F can apply to propositions A,B or C,

since the law of identity may not apply (and thus proposition A is not itself, and since only A is true or false, then we don't know the truth value of A since A is not A) and the law of noncontradiction may not apply (and thus B can both be true and false simultaneously) and the law of excluded middle may not apply (so there may be some third magical truth value that we don't know of that applies to C)

so it comes out that the statement 'john is omnipotent' if it is true, then its not true (since its not itself). the statement "statements involving john do not have to follow the laws of logic" is both true and false simultaneously and the statement 'john exists' is some third truth value 'glurble' or maybe john half exists half doesn't exist or something like that.

these are the reasons i see omnipotence as nonsensical. the concept leads to all kinds of weird and illogical situations.


Hello. As Pro, my resolution would be defending the concept of omnipotence and proving that it is logically consistent.
Note that I have no obligation to prove whether God exists or not, only that an Omnipotent being is logically consistent. When using the word "God" I mean a being whose only known charactristic is omnipotent.

Omnipotence is, as you defined, being all-powerful. However, what it implies is the ability to actualise every possible affair effortlessly rather than raw power.
Thus, I agree with your definition with that clarification.


I am required to make an opening argument per the rules. However, there isn't much for me to work with, and since the nature of the argument was never specified, I will go with a simple one:

1- If there are no logical incosistencies in the concept of omnipotence, omnipotence is logical.
2- There are no logical incostencies in the concept of omnipotence.
C: Omnipotence is logical.

R1: Omnipotence Paradox

The scenarios my opponent presented are similar, so I shall group them and address them together.

Statements such as "immovable" are relative (Immovable to/by who). When making the statement: "God creating a stone He cannot move" we are desribing a self-contradicting affair that is impossible and with no value. The concept is as self-contradictory and impossible to exist as a "full-white full-black cow" or a "married bachelor" or a "circle triangle".

Basically your questions are with no meaning: A stone God cannot move is impossible to exist per Def 1. Something God cannot destroy is impossible to exist per Def 1. Something that God cannot interact with is impossible to exist per Def 1.
In a nutshell, your questions is: "Is God able to be inable?", which is contradictory with Def 1. Failure is not an aspect of omnipotence.

Your assumption can be summarized as: "God is all powerful He can do anything which includes failure", which is as self contradictory as saying: "An all powerful being cannot be an all powerful being"

R2: Suspending Laws of Logic

The only person I know of who believes in Universal Possibilism, in which an omnipotent being can suspend the laws of logic, is Descardes. That is an interruption of omnipotence that is a very unpopular.

For example, an neccessarily-existing omnipotent being cannot logically create himself, as that would be creating something uncreated.

Even if we assume Universal Possibilism, the omnipotence paradox sets double standards by assuming that an omnipotent being can break the laws of logic by creating an impossible object, and then complaining that the being broke the laws of logic if the answer happens to be yes. Thus, if you accept that the first premise in the omnipotence paradox is logical, you have to accept that the rest are logical, as you have already accepted the ability to defy logic to not be illogical.

I personally don't acknowledge linking breaking the laws of logic with Def 1.
Self-contradicting or paradoxical concepts are not existant and not concievable.
Debate Round No. 1


i thank my opponent for accepting my debate. my natural contention is not with the validity of his argument but with its soundness. i contest the second premise of his argument.

my opponent will notice that the way i formulated the omnipotence paradox was somewhat unique. i did not formulate them as questions, as he implied when he said 'your questions are with no meaning', rather i gave 2 lines describing 2 different powers. they always consisted of these; the power to create something with a specific property (be it immovable, indestructible or any kind of interaction) and a power that could not logically be performed upon the object. then i would restate the def1, then acknowledge the contradiction and conclude that omnipotence cannot occur. i specified each time that both the first and the second 'powers' are not in and of themselves illogical, and my opponent did not contend this.

now my opponent said that statements such as 'immovable' are relative. but then again, so are abilities like 'the ability to move things'. when talking about an omnipotent entity we would then ask 'the ability to move what?' and the answer would be 'anything'. i admittedly took it as evident that the powers and properties i described where a sort of 'omni-property' if you will. as i was describing the power to create something that is immovable i assumed that it was evident that it was not movable by anything. the terms i provided should be taken as universal. such that when someone asks 'immovable to whom?' the answer would be 'to anyone'. as that was not explicit before, i have now made it so.

the purpose of the first two parts of each of my three examples was to delineate sets of powers that on their own were completely logical but together were not. i demonstrated that there exists at least 2 abilities that cannot simultaneously be had, and as such, it is not possible to have 'all abilities'. i described no state of affairs where someone had both powers, as my opponent implied. rather i demonstrated that the state of affairs of 'having all powers' is meaningless (and therefore omnipotence is meaningless) because there exist mutually exclusive abilities.

i agree with my opponent when he says ' Failure is not an aspect of omnipotence' and i do not think that my demonstration implied that in any way.

i will rearticulate one of my paradoxes given what i have already said.

1) the "power" to "create" something that cannot be moved by anything or anyone. (this power is not illogical)
2) the "power" to move anything. (this power is not illogical)
3)def 1
4) an omnipotent entity would have two mutually exclusive powers, this cannot occur (unless my opponent accepts universal possibilism) and thus is an illogical state of affairs
5)as omnipotence implies an illogical and thus impossible state of affairs, omnipotence itself is therefore both illogical and impossible.

my opponent has said that per def1 a stone that cannot be moved is impossible to exist, but i think i should point out that this is not necessarily the case. it IS the case however that EITHER a stone that cannot be moved by anything cannot exist OR the power to move anything cannot exist. this is what i desired to demonstrate. alone both powers are completely logical.

there is a possible world where something that cannot be moved by anything may exist (and thus in that possible world the power to create such a thing would exist) and another possible world where the power to move anything exists, however, there exists no possible world where both the power to create anything (such as an object that cannot be destroyed by anything) and the power to do anything to your creation (such as destroy it), exists. as such, omnipotence cannot occur, unless universal possibilism is accepted.

my opponent has said that self or paradoxical concepts are not existent. i think i have demonstrated that omnipotence implies self contradicting situations and as such is itself self contradicting.

my opponent in his third paragraph under R2 does not criticize anything i said. it does not seem relevant. my point in bringing up suspending the laws of logic as a problem was not to expound upon the omnipotence paradox, but simply to explain why such a state of affairs is problematic (namely, you could never reliably say that the statement "x is not bound by the laws of logic" is true or false, or even itself.)

i would like my opponent to explain why he does not think suspending the laws of logic would be a power. if he does so successfully, then i will have to agree that def1 does not apply to the ability to suspend the laws of logic, as such an ability would not be amongst 'all powers' and thus could not be had.


Dragonfang forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


my opponent forfeited the previous round. i will wait for him to provide new arguments before providing any new ones myself.


I apologize for missing the last round. Guess I didn't get or notice the notification. Conduct points goes to Con.

My opponent acknowledges that, by definition, the concepts proposed cannot coexist with an omnipotent being. However, my opponent assumes the existence of an omnipotent being at the beginning of the arguments. Ergo, these entities defined as being immune to everything cannot exist as an omnipotent entity capable of doing anything possible already exists.
My opponent is incorrect by proclaiming that I did not dispute the soundness of "create something immovable by anything/himself", as I already stated that this object is impossible to exist, thus a meaningless concept while assuming the existence of an omnipotence being.

Regarding the relativity of the statements, by anything, I assume anything in existence. However, if an omnipotent being exists (Which would be the case if he created the object in question) then the claim that the object is immune to everything in existence is either false, since the omnipotent being is excluded, or the object is as impossible to exist as a married bachelor.

We have agreed that omnipotence includes the impossibility of failure, however what you are irrationally claiming that one of the things an omnipotent being can do is fail. What we can conclude from def 1 is that an omnipotent being can actualize any possible affair in accordance to his will, thus he can create a stone that is heavier than anything we can ever imagine, but he will always be capable to move the stone.

The first power my opponent claims to be logical is illogical. "Something immovable to even an omnipotent being" is directly contradicting the definition of an omnipotent being which already assumed to exist. The first premise can be paraphrased into "The power to create something that cannot be moved by self", or "The power to fail at something", which is contradictory to def 1. If an omnipotent being as described by def 1 exists, this automatically means that the objects and scenarios you described are non-existent.

To not shift the goal post, my opponent need to prove that an omnipotent being is non-sensical, and that the power to create something to fail at is not a self-refuting concept, rather than just point that it is possible that an immovable stone can exist in a world without an omnipotent being when his argument assumes the existence of an omnipotent being.

Regarding the suspension of the laws of logic, my opponent have to first prove that the first power proposed in his premised are not illogical when an omnipotent being is implied to exists, as that would be acknowledging that the power to suspend the laws of logic itself is not illogical. You are basically proposing these impossible and illogical statements: "God can not be God" and "God can create a rock so heavy that he who can lift any rock cannot lift it."

Suspending the laws of logic is not generally agreed on to be under omnipotence, however my opponent have yet to explain and prove how the power to break the laws of logic itself is illogical.
As for how I know omnipotence does not include breaking the laws of logic, well I don't. We can't be sure if breaking the laws of logic is impossible, however if that is the case then the attributes of an omnipotent being are not set as implied by being eternal. For example he could supposedly choose to make creating the universe while not existing make sense, and he could be evil in a possible world and so forth.
If universal possibilism is true, then we can't really call anything irrational. So to sum it up, perhaps the reason is personal bias. Humans are instinctively curious and knowledge seeking, and in order for us to reason, we have to assume that there are necessary truths (married bachelors can't exist). Furthermore, an omnipotent being is often attributed to be omniscient and all wise, which implies that an omnipotent being being always rational is one of his characteristics. However, we really can't be sure.
Debate Round No. 3


I find that my own logic in regards to the omnipotence paradox has been invalid. reflecting on my opponent's point, i realize that whilst a possible world where the power to create something that cannot be destroyed would (in such a world) make an omnipotent entity impossible, it does not make such an entity illogical or nonsensical. as i have already conceded that failure is not implied by omnipotence, and as the power referred to in the paradox implies failure, i cannot count it amongst the group of 'all powers' referred to in def1. as such, i concede my point on the paradox and thank my opponent for furthering my knowledge.

i will also have to concede my point on the suspending of logic.

my opponent did ask me to show how such a power is not illogical, but the power to suspending logic is definitionally illogical. however, that is not why i concede. (if anything, the fact that the power is illogical was why i brought it up in the first place.) i had somehow missed that the principle of explosion, which i was using to further my point, also implies that an omnipotent entity would also have the power to fail as well. as i have already conceded that omnipotence does not imply failure, for sake of intellectual honesty, i must also concede this point as well.

all other arguments that i had planned on bringing up would have relied on the two previous points, as this debate has led me to realize my inconsistency, i cannot with honesty continue to use such arguments.

as i have failed to defend my position and in that i have also failed to refute pro's second premise, i ask the voters to vote for my opponent.

had i not had this debate with pro, i may not have realized my folly. i thank pro for having this debate with me.


I applaud my opponent for a honorable concession. I thank my opponent for an opportunity to increase my knowledge and reasoning skills.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by crazedAtheist 2 years ago
i'm sort of upset that i won this debate. my arguments were thwarted. sagey's vote was ill placed, as cons argument was in no way circular as long as the second premise was defended. the only premise con had to defend was the second, as the first premise was completely logical, and the conclusion followed from the prior premises via modus ponens. at the very least sagey should have voted a draw, as i obviously failed to show that omnipotence was nonsensical, as was my burden.

i do believe that i deserve the points for conduct, but still, this is not the way i would like to win an argument. (or anything for that matter)
Posted by crazedAtheist 2 years ago
dragonfang; i apologize if this debate wasn't particularly stimulating, i was pretty cock sure that i knew what i was talking about, but you seem to have thought about the concept significantly more than i have.

also thanks again for having the debate.
Posted by crazedAtheist 2 years ago
dragonfang, i don't know if you weren't alerted by your email or something, but you forfeited the previous round. maybe you have notifications for comments. i hope this will alert you. i really am looking forward to continuing this debate.
Posted by Dragonfang 2 years ago
No problem, that is how you improve after all.

And I'd like thank you for your hospital treatment.
Posted by crazedAtheist 2 years ago

i apologize if i'm not particularly articulate, it has never been one of my strong suits. i also wanted to thank you again for accepting my debate.
Posted by Dragonfang 2 years ago

Arguments don't beg the question, people do. My assumption is verified as long as there are no logical inconsistencies, It is up to my opponent to provide a logical inconsistency.

If the earth is infinitely insignificant, everything else, in an other word: the universe, is infinitely insignificant too.
What you did is a fallacy; an argument from ignorance: "I don't see the wisdom, therefore wisdom doesn't exist". I am not here to defend God, only show that an omnipotence being is logical, but God have other characteristic, creating the universe would be manifesting these characteristic.
So for the purpose of this debate, assume that the omnipotent being would like to create the universe and earth for some reason.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Dragonfang's Circular Deduction (A) is fallacious.
Any major premise based on an unverified assumption is False
Any completely circular argument is a Fallacy.
Omnipotence is logically impossible, as infinity exists and infinite potency could not be attributed to anything other than the only thing known to be truly infinite, which is the Cosmos.
So to an Omnipotent (infinitely potent) entity, Earth and all on it would be infinitely insignificant.
So what would a God want with something that is infinitely insignificant in the scheme of things.
It's not Rational.
Posted by Bible13 2 years ago
Good arguments, Dragonfang!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments presented some fallacies, such as the immovable object, which Pro pointed out but Pro's reasoning is also fallacious, it was almost a draw, but Pro's circular reasoning in his first statement 'A' was too fallacious for my liking, as I hate such circular, useless proofs that Theists Love and are philosophically Inept, which tipped the scale towards Con.
Vote Placed by Cold-Mind 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD is in the debate.