Need help with older brother


He says that because of the boulder paradox, God cannot be omnipotent. That stupid paradox has been bugging me for weeks, now I need an answer to it. Just what is the answer to the buolder paradox?


To begin with, you could explain to us what the boulder paradox is. :slight_smile:


Can God make a stone so big He can’t roll it.

The real question is not if He can, but why would He?

It’s hard enough to move disobedient selfish hearts of mortals, don’t you think?


God and His Perfections
"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth …"

** What do we mean when we say that God is the Supreme Being? **

When we say that God is the Supreme Being we mean that He is above all creatures, the self-existing and infinitely perfect Spirit.
I am the First, and I am the Last, and besides me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6)

**What is a spirit? **

A spirit is a being that has understanding and free will, but no body, and will never die.
To whom then have you likened God? Or what image will you make for Him? (Isaiah 40:18)

** What do we mean when we say that God is self-existing?**

When we say that God is self-existing we mean that He does not owe His existence to any other being.
I am who am. (Exodus 3:14)

What do we mean when we say that God is infinitely perfect?

When we say that God is infinitely perfect we mean that He has all perfections without limit.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and of his greatness there is no end. (Psalm 144:3)
What are some of the perfections of God? **

Some of the perfections of God are: God is eternal, all-good, all-knowing, all-present, and almighty.

** What do we mean when we say that God is eternal? **

When we say that God is eternal we mean that He always was and always will be, and always remains the same. “
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God.
(Apocalypse 1:8)

** What do we mean when we say that God is all-good?**

When we say that God is all-good we mean that He is infinitely lovable in Himself, and that from His fatherly love every good comes to us.
For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done with faithfulness. He loveth mercy and judgment: the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord. (Psalm 32:4-5)

** What do we mean when we say that God is all-knowing?**

When we say that God is all-knowing we mean that He knows all things, past, present, and future, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.
Behold, O Lord, thou hast known all things, the last and those of old: thou hast formed me, and hast laid thy hand upon me. Thy knowledge is become wonderful to me: it is high, and I cannot reach it. (Psalm 138:5-6)

** What do we mean when that God Is all-present? **

When we say that God is all-present we mean that He is everywhere.
Whither may I go from thy spirit, or whither may I flee from they face? (Psalm 138:7)

** If God is everywhere, why do we not see Him? **

Although God is everywhere, we do not see Him because He is a spirit and cannot be seen with our eyes.
God is a spirit; and they that adore him must adore him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

**Does God see us? **

God sees us and watches over us with loving care.
Be not solicitous therefore, saying: “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “Wherewith will we be clothed?” For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. (Matthew 6:31:32)

What is God’s loving care for us called?

God’s loving care for us is called Divine Providence.
Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (I Peter 5:7)

** What do we mean when we say that God is almighty? **

When we say that God is almighty we mean that He can do all things.
For nothing shall be impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)

**Is God all-wise, all-holy, all-merciful, and all-just? **

Yes, God is all-wise, all-holy, all-merciful, and all-just.
The Lord is just in all his ways, and holy in all his works. (Psalm 144:17)

** Can we know by our natural reason that there is a God? **

We can know by our natural reason that there is a God, for natural reason tells us that the world we see about us could have been made only by a self-existing Being, all-wise and almighty.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice; because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. (Romans 1:18-19)

** Can we know God in any other way than by our natural reason? **

Besides knowing God by our natural reason, we can also know Him from supernatural revelation --that is, from the truths, found in Sacred Scripture and in Tradition, which God Himself has revealed to us.
All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice. (2 Timothy 3:16)


God is limitless. We can not even begin to understand Him.


The correct answer is “YES.” Just as it is impossible for athiests to believe that God can create a boulder he cannot lift, so likewise it was impossible for Jews to believe that God can become man.

Jesus Christ, FULLY GOD AND MAN, was struggling under the weight of the cross! Can God even struggle at something? Well, Jesus Christ, who is God, DID. One can thus conclude that there would have been a boulder that Jesus Christ, who is God, could not lift.

God indeed has the power to condescend to a level wherein He cannot move a boulder. But know this. The same God can ALSO ascend to the level where there is not a boulder that He cannot move.

He is ALL-poweful. He can do it all.



The question is dumb, many smart atheists stopped asking these questions long ago because it’s flawed, one website gives an answer:

“Can God create a rock He cannot lift? Since an all-powerful being will always be able to accomplish whatever He sets out to do, it is impossible for an all-powerful being to fail. The above atheistic argument is arguing that since God is all-powerful He can do anything - even fail. This is like saying that since God is all-powerful He can be not all-powerful. Obviously, this is absurd. An all-powerful being cannot fail. Therefore, God can create a rock of tremendous size, but, since He is all-powerful, He will always be able to lift it. The ability to fail is not a part of omnipotence.”

It’s like saying infinity is overcome by infinity, or infinity is not overcome by infinity. (Infinitely big stone and God is infinite) which is a rather dumb thing to ask.

Furthermore take a look at the definition of OMNIPOTENT, it means “all powerful”, it does not mean “all powerful as long as humans understand it”. God is above all, therefore whether you understand something or not doesn’t mean it’s not possible.


It isn’t a paradox at all, it’s merely a restating of that old chestnut "what happens when an irresistable force (in this case an omnipotent God) meets an immovable object? (the boulder God can’t move.)

An irrestistable force is a force such that no object exists that can possibly resist it, no matter how great. An immovable object is an object such that no force exists that can possibly move it, no matter how strong. The two conditions are mutually exclusive by definition. Your brother might just as well say God can’t be omnipotent because other mutually exclusive conditions also do not apply to Him. For example, God can not both exist and not exist.

C. S. Lewis put this into perspective nicely:

…His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say ‘God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,’ you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words ‘God can.’… It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God…


I think the standard answer applies to our discussion also. When an immovable object meets an irresistable force, both objects will dissipate, the kinetic energies of one cancelling the potential energies of the other.

Likewise, the impossibility of the two propositions present in the apparent conundrum just blows up in the face of the one who presents it.


First, my brother is a Christian, not an atheist. He’s just awe-inspiringly heretical.

The problem with the answers here is that I’m getting multiple ones that are often confusingly described. I have one saying yes, I have one saying no, I have one saying that the question is just bunk to begin with.


Well, sometimes when a question is meaningless neither a yes or no answer can really apply without implying some untruth to the answer.

Example: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” asked when you have not in fact ever beaten your wife. A yes answer implies that you have beaten her in the past but not anymore. A no answer implies that you still beat her.

Your brother asks if God is omnipotent in light of his perceived boulder paradox. Either a yes or no answer implies that the question has something meaningful to say about God’s omnipotence. It does not.


No. God cannot make a boulder so heavy that He can’t lift it.

The fact that God cannot “do” a negative does not mean He isn’t omnipotent. He is omnipotent. The problem is that the question itself is a glorified play on words. It’s like asking, “Can God not not not not not not do something?”


[INDENT]“Can God make a weight so heavy that he cannot lift it?” asks the unbeliever. He feels he has us cornered. If we say yes, then God cannot lift it; if we say no, then God cannot make it. (The reader might do well to pause here and think out how he would answer this.) Our reply is that God can indeed do all things, but self-contradiction is not a thing. God cannot make a four-sided triangle, because the terms contradict each other and cancel out. A four-sided triangle is meaningless; it is not a thing at all, it is nothing. A weight that an almighty Being cannot lift is as much a contradiction in terms as a four-sided triangle. It too is nothing. And (to give an old text a new emphasis) nothing is impossible to God.

Frank Sheed, *Theology for Beginners, *p.21-22
As excerpted in “What Spirits Are and What They Aren’t”[/INDENT]


Thanks for that important info! If that is the case, I think my answer in post#6 is the most appropriate, because it goes straight to the heart of his beliefs as a Christian. What does everyone else think?



What Vincent said – Contradictions are contrary to the nature of God. God does not contradict his nature. The question about the boulder contains within it a contradiction of terms. What does “too heavy for God” mean? Huh? It’s a contradiction! And God does not contradict himself. God is Truth, capital-T truth. He is truth. He cannot do anything against truth. The boulder question is not a true question. It’s a false question because of the inherent contradiction. Thomas Oden, in volume 1 of his 3-volume systematic theology set, also uses the triangle/rectangle analogy to debunk this very boulder question.


Playing Devil’s Advocate:

So you DO believe there is something God cannot do!

Response: That is a contradiction. God does not contradict himself.

So you DO believe there is something God cannot do!

Response: That is a contradiction. God does not contradict himself.


This rationale will devolve into a circular argument. I still propose that my post#6 as the best response.



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