When we discussed the Chicken and Egg question, I said that I would share the answer of my friend’s son to the question of whether or not God would be able to create a stone that he would not be able to lift. You may remember that I mentioned that he has exceptional ability. Well, today I thought we’d take a look at his answer.
Again, he chewed this question over for some time before he came to a conclusion. But before we take a look at his answer, let’s first consider the question. It is not really a question about God. It is a question about the concept of omnipotence. If you don’t believe in God, then you should consider the use of the word as a kind of shorthand for the phrase ‘an omnipotent being should such a being exist’. So in that case, your revised question would be: can ‘an omnipotent being, should such a being exist’ create a stone he cannot lift?
Let’s define omnipotent. It is the ability or power to be able to do anything i.e. unlimited power. So hopefully we can see why the question is a paradox. If he can do anything, he should be able to create such a stone. But, if he can do that, he would not be able to lift it and that means he would not be omnipotent (able to do anything). So either answer, yes or no, gives us a problem.
I don’t know how you would decide to go about resolving this issue, but for me it is really a problem related to language and the concept of omnipotence. As I have said in previous posts, it is always good to contemplate these things for yourself and come up with your own answers. I believe that doing so helps to equip us for dealing with other difficult to answer questions in the future.
So, what answer did my friend’s son come up with? What he said was that God would have the power to be able to allow himself to be weak, so that by not lifting the stone, it was not that he was not capable of doing so. He would be simultaneously capable and unable to lift the stone by exercising his power to make himself weak. It is the best answer to this question that I have ever heard.
I do realise that there would be people who would want to argue with his answer. But it is an excellent answer and it came from a young boy. What I think this illustrates is that we all have that ability to think things through for ourselves. The ability needs to be cultivated and developed, certainly, but I believe we are all capable of that kind of original thinking.