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  #1  
Old Jul 1, '11, 5:33 am
Jonesboy Jonesboy is offline
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Default Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?
This question contains a mistake that, invariably, no-one notices, not even philosophers.

The mistake is the broken idea that something that cannot be lifted is a weight.
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  #2  
Old Jul 1, '11, 6:54 am
Garyjohn2 Garyjohn2 is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

I've heard this question explained on the radio, it's pretty interesting. The priest was explaining how different religions/denominations might answer this question. In the end, he said no, God cannot create a weight (or rock) so heavy he cannot lift it. Because God is everywhere...and all time and space exist within God, he would not be able to do this. He is limited by His own omnipresence, limited by his own nature (for this same reason God cannot lie).

However, there was a nun once who was asked this question by a group of children. She said, "Of course God can create a rock so heavy that even he cannot move it, and he has! It's the human heart."

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  #3  
Old Jul 1, '11, 7:05 am
GloriousOrder GloriousOrder is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

God cannot make a weight so heavy that He could not lift it: because no such weight exists or even could exist. God is not a body, in essence; He took on the human nature, but it is not integral to His being. This is a totally pointless "gotcha" question thought up by a skittish little Greek man more than 2000 years ago to stump people. It was rather impish, I must say...

This sounds suspiciously related to the "nothing greater than which can be conceived" argument...
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Old Jul 1, '11, 7:05 am
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

There is also a "time space" element to this question. When speaking of creating, and of things (matter) and forces (weight), the conversation is clearly tied into the "time space" universe (which God is outside of)
So - If God can "create" (in our time and space sphere) a rock so big He himself cannot lift it, then He can also (at a "later" time and space point) create a way to lift it.....

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  #5  
Old Jul 1, '11, 7:05 am
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ZDHayden ZDHayden is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garyjohn2 View Post
I've heard this question explained on the radio, it's pretty interesting. The priest was explaining how different religions/denominations might answer this question. In the end, he said no, God cannot create a weight (or rock) so heavy he cannot lift it. Because God is everywhere...and all time and space exist within God, he would not be able to do this. He is limited by His own omnipresence, limited by his own nature (for this same reason God cannot lie).

However, there was a nun once who was asked this question by a group of children. She said, "Of course God can create a rock so heavy that even he cannot move it, and he has! It's the human heart."

I like this. I really do. I like this much more than going on a ten-page rant about how the question is illogical. Your response, Garyjohn, has meat - it makes one reflect on one's own hardness of heart.
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  #6  
Old Jul 1, '11, 7:31 am
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Little One0307 Little One0307 is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

This question has always fascinated me.

I once asked it and the best response I got to it was, If God did make something too heavy for Him to lift, would you know about it? I was pretty speechless about it. I still cannot think of a rebuttal to this response.

God bless.
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  #7  
Old Jul 1, '11, 7:33 am
Garyjohn2 Garyjohn2 is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZDHayden View Post
I like this. I really do. I like this much more than going on a ten-page rant about how the question is illogical. Your response, Garyjohn, has meat - it makes one reflect on one's own hardness of heart.
Thanks! But I cannot take credit, it was Father Simon on Relevant Radio, I'm just relaying it. I thought it was pretty great too, which is why it stuck with me...
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  #8  
Old Jul 1, '11, 8:06 am
Usagi Usagi is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

The question is a variation (adding God) of "What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?"

In both cases, the question is literally meaningless. You can form the words, but they can't actually all have the intended meaning at the same time.

If we define the existence of an irresistible force (or an omnipotent God), then we have just defined out of existence anything that cannot be moved by that force or God. "Immovable object" is no longer a possible category in the universe we have defined. That universe can still contain an arbitrarily large/heavy object, but if we are accepting that we have an irresistible force/omnipotent God already, then it/He will be able to move any such object.

Remember, though, it's just the description "immovable object" that's logically disallowed. If we are talking about what God can create, He can still create any possible object, as large and heavy as He likes, but He will also (being omnipotent) be able to move it around if He wants.

Conversely, if we start by proposing that there exists (or can exist) in our universe an object that literally cannot be moved, then the same universe cannot contain an irresistible force or an omnipotent God. It can contain an arbitrarily powerful force or God, perhaps even one that could create our postulated immovable object. But since we have defined the object as immovable, there cannot suddenly exist a force or God capable of moving it.

In other words, the answer to "What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object" is "one of them turns out not to be as advertised."

Likewise, an omnipotent God can't suddenly not be omnipotent, as He would be if he created something that He was then unable to affect. But that doesn't mean there's any actual object He cannot create (which is usually the point of the question), just that the category "too big for God to lift" is meaningless if we have already postulated an omnipotent God.

The existence of questions like these is a matter of thinking that any sentence we can construct has to have meaning, even though two terms in the sentence have definitions that cannot both be true.

Usagi
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  #9  
Old Jul 1, '11, 8:13 am
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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Smile Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

this is a copy of an old post of mine that may answer the questions ...

... my dear friend ,,,

... i don't have time to show resolutions to all atheistic arguments as they are plenty , but i'll offer you the resolve of one that has dogged man and the church for millenia and never been answered by any satisfactorily that may help with your work, i'll quote the argument first then give the answer ,,,

Problems With Divine Omnipotence

Omnipotence is a part of the concept of deity; God, if he exists, is omnipotent. It is sometimes argued, however, that the concept of omnipotence is paradoxical, logically incoherent, and so that it is logically impossible that there be any being that is omnipotent. This position, if it can be sustained, precludes the existence of God.

The argument that the concept of omnipotence is paradoxical is best introduced by presenting the theist with a dilemma. Any one of a variety of questions—e.g. “Can God create a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it?” or “Can God create a law that binds himself?”—might be posed in order to introduce this dilemma.
For each of these questions, God, if he exists, will either be capable or incapable of performing the feat described. The atheistic argument is that either alternative forces the conclusion that God is not omnipotent. The argument, constructed using the first of the questions above, therefore has the following structure:
The Paradox of Omnipotence

(1) God either can or cannot create a rock that is so heavy that he cannot lift it.
(2) If God can create a rock that is so heavy that he cannot lift it, then God is not omnipotent.
(3) If God cannot create a rock that is so heavy that he cannot lift it, then God is not omnipotent.
Therefore:
(4) God is not omnipotent.
(5) If God exists then he is omnipotent.
Therefore:
(6) God does not exist.
The controversial premises of this argument are the second and the third. Proponents of the argument defend these premises in the following way. If God can create a rock that is so heavy that he cannot lift it, then there is something that he cannot do, namely lift the rock in question. If God cannot create a rock that is so heavy that he cannot lift it, then there is something that he cannot do, namely create such a rock. Either way, then, there is something that God cannot do, and if there is something that he cannot do then he cannot be omnipotent.
One response the paradox of omnipotence is to attempt to
dissolve the problem. GB Keene argued that statements such as “God cannot create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it”, despite their superficial linguistic structure, affirm rather than deny God’s power.
The most common theistic response to the problem, however, rests on the thought that
omnipotence is limited by logical possibility. An omnipotent being, it is suggested, is one that can bring about any logically possible state of affairs. The existence of a rock so heavy that God cannot lift it, though, is arguably a logically impossible state of affairs. God’s inability to create such a rock, it is claimed, therefore does not count against his being omnipotent.

... answer : i'll give a few examples in answer : take a consecrated communion wafer or host , that is god , and put a little rock on it , and you'll see that god cannot lift it , but if god performs a miracle he can lift it ,, sounds funny but true ,,,

... we see in jesus' life here he was unable to do things being restricted by the laws of physics , but when he wanted he could do anything miraculously , and not be restricted by the laws of physics ,,, it is not unreasonable to assume jesus could not lift heavy rocks but if he wanted he could perform a miracle and lift the heavy rocks ,,,

... the ultimate answer to this question is : god can create laws and rules if he wants to , and god can choose to be subject to those laws and rules if he wants to , and no matter what god always remains omnipotent ,,,

... where all have come unstuck on this problem for millenia is not recognising that it is the laws of physics that govern whether god can lift such a rock or not , and as i say god can choose to be subject to the laws of physics if he wants to or not , and always remains omnipotent no matter what ,,,

there are other arguments in the same vein like can god create a force so powerful he cannot resist it ,,, the answer is of course he can ,,, as said : the ultimate answer to this question is : god can create laws and rules if he wants to , and god can choose to be subject to those laws and rules if he wants to , and no matter what god always remains omnipotent ,,,

... hope i've been helpful dear friend , good luck too ,,,

... god bless and love you
,,,

... john ...
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  #10  
Old Jul 1, '11, 8:27 am
JonathonofOhio JonathonofOhio is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?
This question contains a mistake that, invariably, no-one notices, not even philosophers.

The mistake is the broken idea that something that cannot be lifted is a weight.
Weight of matter is relative....what is 100lbs in one environment could be 10lbs in another. Therefore, the only constant in the proposed problem is God. But God is infinite.

The problem can be seen in multiplying infinity times 100. A person cannot say that the result is greater than infinity.

I would say this seems to be an 'argument of the beard', which is a logical fallacy. It is assumed that two ends of the spectrum are the same since one can travel along it in small steps. In this case, the one end of the spectrum is matter, and the small steps are increasing the weight of the matter, and at the other end of the spectrum is God, who created matter, but is nothing like matter. It implies that God functions and exists as matter, when He does not. Matter is finite, but God is infinite. The two sides of the spectrum are completely different, rending the argument (posed as a question) illogical and invalid.

Since the question is just nonsense, the best reply would be what the nun said:

Quote:
However, there was a nun once who was asked this question by a group of children. She said, "Of course God can create a rock so heavy that even he cannot move it, and he has! It's the human heart."
Best response I ever heard!
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  #11  
Old Jul 1, '11, 8:35 am
jantoniello jantoniello is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

The question is itself lending to the straw man fallacy. As Scott Sullivan writes in his book, An Introduction to Traditional Logic

Quote:
Hardly any theist worth their salt thinks that God's omnipotence entails that he is able to do something that is inherently impossible or self-contradictory.
The bigger question is why would God need to create a rock so big He could not lift it?
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  #12  
Old Jul 1, '11, 8:42 am
Garyjohn2 Garyjohn2 is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

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Originally Posted by jantoniello View Post

The bigger question is why would God need to create a rock so big He could not lift it?
Now THAT is an interesting quesiton. If I were God (I hope it's not sacrilege to play pretend ) I would put Satan under a rock so heavy not even I could lift it. That would make darn sure he couldn't lift it to escape.
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Old Jul 1, '11, 8:46 am
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Little One0307 Little One0307 is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

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Originally Posted by Garyjohn2 View Post
Now THAT is an interesting quesiton. If I were God (I hope it's not sacrilege to play pretend ) I would put Satan under a rock so heavy not even I could lift it. That would make darn sure he couldn't lift it to escape.
I got a question, how would a physical object keep a spiritual being from escaping? Though this was a good idea.
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Old Jul 2, '11, 4:22 am
John Russell Jr John Russell Jr is offline
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... my dear friends ,,,

... i'll elaborate my answer a little if you like : the q is quite simply can god create laws and rules and then decide to be subject to those laws and rules or not whilst always remaining omnipotent ??? it's really about laws and rules all these types of q's , and it can be an infinitesimally smal rock also , the answer is yes to the q when it is understood , god does not have to exercise his omnipotency in order to be omnipotent at all , this should be obvious in the way god deals with us , and the prior examples i gave ,,, just think about it as laws and rules and stop thinking about an infinite rock or force and note god is omnipotent even if he does not use his omnipotency -- god does not cease to be omnipotent if he does not use his omnipotency ,,, hope this helps ,,,

... may god bless and love you all ,,,

... john ...
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Old Jul 2, '11, 4:47 am
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Sam_777 Sam_777 is offline
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Default Re: Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?

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Originally Posted by Jonesboy View Post
Can God make a weight that he cannot lift?
The simple answer would be that GOD and Angels or any Spirit are not bind by the physics law.
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