God and the Big Rock

Can God create a rock so big that he cannot move it?

In the past I've answered this question two ways:


Number One:

  1. According to Russell's theory of incompletes, an object that does not rationally exist in and of itself (ala, a square circle) cannot be correctly placed in a proposition in the sentential calculus. What that means is that irrational objects cannot be rationally discussed. A God that can will against his will (irrational object that violates the definition of "will"), exist and not exist, or create a rock so big that an omnipotent being cannot pick it up are all examples of objects that are irrational and therefore, cannot rationally be used by an atheist to argue against omnipotence.
  2. To uninformed skeptics omnipotence defines the ability to do anything at all including what is intrinsically impossible such as making a squared circle. In order to argue along these lines one must redefine terms. This amounts to word games.
  3. Comically, if God could make a rock so big he could still dematerialize the universe and then materialize the same universe in a different place thereby moving the rock in relationship to its former place in the universe.


Number Two:

The question “Can God create a rock so big that he cannot move it?” is a textbook example of the fallacy of special pleading because the question assumes as a premise that God can be internally contradictory.

There is no limitation upon an omnipotent Being to acknowledge that God cannot do that which by definition intrinsically cannot be done. If one argues that God can to what is intrinsically contradictory, the same argument doesn't increase the power and scope of God, but rather traps God in a comical premise. Contradictions are by definition unable to be actualized (the first law of logic dictates that A cannot be both A and none A at the same time and the same way), so what good can it do to elevate contradictions to a supposed dignity by the spurious assertion that God can actualize them? In other words, omnipotence is in no way diminished when the most perfect Doer is said to not do that which is intrinsically undoable. Since the premise of the argument presented employs the fallacy of special pleading (an informal fallacy) that contradicts the first law of logic (a formal fallacy), the question cannot be said to be valid.

Best regards,

Eric Landstrom

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