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God the all-powerful: The Paradox of Omnipotence

Updated on April 28, 2014

Then Job answered the Lord and said: "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You." (Job 42: 1-2)

Can God create a stone so heavy even he can't lift it?

The paradox of omnipotence is one of the simplest, and therefore one of the most powerful, questions one can ask about God. It forms the basis of a classical argument against God's existence.

The paradox stems from the notion of "omnipotence" as indicating the ability to do anything. One may conclude that if a being is capable of doing anything, therefore it must be able to do even that which is logically impossible. Thus God can create a square circle, God can create a stone that even God cannot lift, and (my personal favorite) God can create another God. Keep in mind that God is defined as an uncreated being. To create an uncreated thing is logically contradictory. But if God cannot do the logically impossible, then he isn't omnipotent, right?

So what may the God-believer respond to such a question? Let's take one form of the paradox, and see where deduction leads us.

Can God create another God?

The answer to this question is either yes or no. For the purposes of this discussion, the main quality of God is his uncreated nature. Therefore, if one responds "yes," it means that God can create something that is uncreated. Let's look a bit closer at the "yes" response.

If God can create something that is uncreated, it means that the ability to create something that is uncreated exists. If that ability exists, somewhere in the universe, then the believer who responds "yes" is met with a dilemma: God himself may have been created.

Think about it. Since the "yes" responder has now established that the ability to create an uncreated thing exists, he has admitted that uncreated things can be created. God is an uncreated thing. Therefore God may have been created. And "God" as typically defined, ceases to exist.

But the fun doesn't stop there. Not only is it now possible that God (an uncreated thing) was created, but the thing that created God--the Overlord that created the Lord--itself may have been uncreated. The "yes" respondent has thus opened the floodgates to an infinite regress of uncreated creators. Interestingly, the absurdity of an infinite regress is one of the major themes offered by God-believers to support the existence of God as an "uncreated creator" or an "unmoved mover."

To sum up the conclusion from the "yes" response:

  1. God is omnipotent
  2. Therefore God can do anything
  3. Therefore God can create another God
  4. Therefore, since God is uncreated, it is possible for God to create an uncreated thing
  5. Therefore, the ability to create something that is uncreated exists
  6. Therefore, uncreated God himself may have been, in fact, created [refuting the existence of God]
  7. By (5), since every uncreated thing may have been created, we are necessarily left with an infinite regress of uncreated creators, each in turn created by an uncreated creator

The "No" camp

Perhaps sensing the inconvenient outcomes of the "yes" response, the main thrust of religious thinking (from such great philosophers as Augustine and Aquinas and Averroes) has focused on the "no" response. However, as we shall now see, this too leaves the God-believer in a profound intellectual predicament.

If one says that God cannot create another God, then one is admitting that God's power is limited. And therefore God is not omnipotent.

Not so fast, says the theist. It's not that God is limited, but rather that power is limited. That is, God can do with power whatever power can do. But since power, by definition, cannot bring about a contradictory state of affairs, God cannot do it. But that is the fault of power, not of God. So (the theist will claim) we are legitimate in identifying God as omnipotent, because God can do whatever power can do. But since power cannot do that which is logically impossible, neither can God.

The problem with this argument is that it confuses the definition of the word "power." Power means, quite simply, "the ability to do something." That's it. The definition doesn't say "the ability to do something that is logical," or the "ability to do something that makes sense." The word "power" makes no reference to logic, to contradiction, or any such thing.

Once we have a solid understanding of the word "power" as the ability to do a thing (not a logical thing, not a sensical or nonsensical thing, but just "a thing"), then we can see why the "no" response digs its own grave.

The "no" respondent indicates that God's power is constrained. Specifically, it is constrained by logic. The question then arises... who created logic?

Obviously, if God cannot violate logic, it follows that he did not create logic. A being cannot create the thing that constrains it. Therefore logic must exist outside of him, external to him, or prior to him.

If logic exists beyond God's hand, then logic is either uncreated, or was created by something other than God. Either way, we have discovered at least one thing--logic--that God did not create. Therefore God did not, in fact, create everything. And the God hypothesis is defeated twice: first, as a being with infinite/ unlimited power, and second, as the creator of everything.

To sum up the conclusions from the "no" response:

  1. God's power is restrained by logic
  2. Therefore God cannot do that which is logically impossible
  3. Therefore, no, God cannot create another God because God cannot create an uncreated thing
  4. Thus, God is not all-powerful
  5. If God's power is constrained by logic, then logic must exist outside of God
  6. Therefore God cannot have created logic
  7. Therefore logic is either uncreated, or was created by another being
  8. Therefore God did not create everything

Final Thoughts

Omnipotence isn't all it's cracked up to be. According to logic, we have seen that it is very unlikely that God exists, as far as "God" is typically defined. It is also highly unlikely that omnipotence exists. The paradox of omnipotence is a fascinating intellectual game, but it would seem that no matter who plays, and no matter what side they take--the "yes" side or the "no" side--nobody wins. Nobody, that is, who is a theist.

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    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Tom:

      I agree with a lot of what you say. There are massive gaps in what we understand, or perhaps could ever understand. Which is why humbleness is all important.

      It is also why beliefs about a "God" complicate matters even more--we take something we don't understand very well (the universe, reality), and then add on top of that an additional thing (God) that seems extremely difficult if not impossible to fully understand, according to its own definition.

      As far as the human brain: indeed, humanity is the closest thing to a "God" that we have discovered thus far.

    • profile image

      Tom the Agnostic 3 years ago

      I do not believe in the Judeo-Christian God anymore than I believe in Thor or Santa, however I have my doubts that one could say with full certainty that a supreme being of sorts does or doesn't exist. Even if such an entity were to exist, what would we really know of its true nature anyway?

      We've barely scratched the surface of the observable universe, and have come up with theories just as incomprehensible as a formless "Sky daddy." If it exists outside the realm of our limited existence and knowledge thereof, we wouldn't have a clue, just as we've barely a clue if there really is a multiverse or not. I think our first step is to first understand all of reality, before we jump to anything concrete.

      Suppose he does exist, he or it was just subtle enough to make his presence quite debatable. Why? What would be the gain? Either he doesn't exist, or romantically, he really wants to test us and I mean as a consequence, rather than judgmentally; to help us grow, rather than to punish or reward us.

      If God is simply that which creates reality, then I have one potentially definable god in mind, quite literally and figuratively. The human brain, while in truth only perceives objective reality, is also the one thing that creates subjective reality for each individual. In that sense, I have no problem believing in a type of God, as fragile and limited as it is.

      Yeah, not quite the cosmic being most are hoping for, but it's as close as we'll probably get to any celestial creator, seeing as we are still a part of the universe, even if we are a tiny insignificant part of it.

      Oh what secrets would be presented to us, if we were given the opportunity to cheat and take a peek just before the Big Bang. What would we see...what COULD we even see? Reality itself is a wonder, with or without the need of a creator.

      Food for thought, and I welcome the criticism.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Well on one hand you say that logic precedes God, and then on the other you say that God himself is logic.

      If logic precedes or contains God, then he is subject to logic. But if God is himself logic, and logic is God, then presumably God would be able to make logic into whatever he wants. If he wanted to make a square circle possible, he could just wave his hand and make it so.

      You have to choose either one or the other.

      See the section on the "No" response. I already dealt with this. If God cannot violate logic, then he is not all-powerful, and he did not create logic, therefore he did not create everything.

      Now, separately, if God is incapable of lying, isn't that interesting? It means that humans are capable of doing something that God is not. And yet we are supposed to be inferior to him.

      Regarding the Bible, clearly, the Bible contradicts itself. In some parts it says that God cannot lie and so on, but then you have other sections like the passage from Job that I quoted at the top, which say that God CAN do anything.

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      Dunzel Kirk 3 years ago

      Ridiculous.

      God cannot do "everything" and omnipotence does not denote the ability to do so. This is not a true paradox. God cannot do the logically impossible. The Bible states there are things God cannot do, like lie, or go against His own nature. So, the argument starts off on faulty ground by misrepresenting what omnipotence really means. In order for God to exist in any possible world, there must be order. Order is derived from logic. Without logic, nothing would exist. So, in this universe, order exists, therefore logic must exist, and everything is subject to logic - including God. God is logic.

      As an aside, the Christian Bible notes that Jesus Christ was the "Logos," or "logic"before becoming a man. This is consistent with the idea that in an ordered universe where God enters in and works His will, logic will be there also.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Hi Captain.

      "However, if God is logic (being the source of logic) than He himself is the only thing that constrains Himself"

      Hold on. If God is, or is the source of, logic, then he is NOT constrained by logic. (In other words, he IS able to violate logic, making the previous assumption moot in any case. He can change the rules whenever he wants.)

      Therefore your answer to the original question would be "yes", and that results in all the problems already mentioned for that answer.

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      Captain Obvious 3 years ago

      Quote from the "NO" conclusion:

      "Obviously, if God cannot violate logic, it follows that he did not create logic. A being cannot create the thing that constrains it. Therefore logic must exist outside of him, external to him, or prior to him."

      I agree with the second sentence but not the first. The statement, "If God cannot violate logic, it follows that he did not create logic" only applies if, as you say, logic exist outside of God. However, if God is logic (being the source of logic) than He himself is the only thing (God) that constrains Himself and therefore since He is the only being/force/thing that constrains Himself, He is in fact still ALL-POWERFUL.

      But . . .anyway just a thought. I'm glad you all have your opinions and I'm sure these opinions cannot be changed over argumentation. LOL! Best of luck to everyone.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Dion:

      "GOD is supernatural and there are many thing that can not be explained by logic or any thing else."

      Then, as I already said in the article, you cannot claim to understand God, in which case it makes no sense to believe in him.

      You cannot say on the one hand "I know that God is like this" and then on the other hand "But we don't understand God."

      "...silly nonsensical musings to entertain the human mind..."

      This is just dismissing the argument because you cannot address it.

      "I EXPERIENCE HIM DAILY."

      Shout all you want. But you have no proof of God. You experience what you believe is God. Not necessarily actually God.

      There are many logical and empirical problems with the idea of God. This paradox is just one. But yes, theoretically, if it could be resolved (and it has not been in thousands of years), that would encourage me to believe in God.

    • Dion Walker profile image

      Ultraman 3 years ago from Maryland

      If these questions that were proposed by the writer were answered to your satisfaction would it change your minds?

    • Dion Walker profile image

      Ultraman 3 years ago from Maryland

      GOD is supernatural and there are many thing that can not be explained by logic or any thing else. Such questions that the writer proposed were merely silly nonsensical musings to entertain the human mind and such questions were posed by atheist that could never be answered by the logical mind because spirit/supernatural transcend the logical mind. FOR ME GOD IS REAL, I EXPERIENCE HIM DAILY.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      "...logic is internal to God Himself as an aspect of his character..."

      We would have to more clearly define what "aspect of his character" means exactly.

      But regardless, it still doesn't wash because any way you slice it, God's abilities are constrained in some fashion. If logic is part of God's character, then we have simply moved the location of logic from outside God to inside God. But logic is still logic.

      Either way, restrictions are in place. Restrictions mean omnipotence is impossible.

      One of his "aspects"--logic--is constraining another of his "aspects"--his actions.

      (So this is essentially the same argument that some theists make, including some earlier in the comments, when they said "Pish! God would never want to do such a thing anyway, silly!" because God would never *desire* to make an immovable stone, etc. Needless to say, the issue is not what God wants (i.e. what is in his nature), but rather what he can do (what the limitations are on his power, whether internal or external).)

      "...old canard that nontheists would be better off abandoning..."

      You give the theists far too much credit. In thousands of years, they have not been able to solve the paradox of omnipotence. They create convenient (for themselves) workarounds such as "God would never want to make such a stone anyway." But the fundamental issue is never solved.

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      Jordan Garrett 3 years ago

      Could it not simply be said, however, to play the Dev...er, Deity's advocate that logic is internal to God Himself as an aspect of his character, as opposed to either transcending him or being subservient to him? By suggesting that logic is either "above" God or "below" him, so that he is either A) Constrained by logic or he is B) Irrational, nontheists (I include myself in this category, albeit as a somewhat strong agnostic.) present a false dichotomy which any skilled theist can easily sidestep.

      If my suggestion holds, then if God violates an aspect of his character (IE: Logic), then by strict logical necessity, he is internally inconsistent. Basically, the situation would look like this

      A) God exists and can, per impossible, actualize a state of affairs, whereby He, an omnipotent Deity, can create a rock so heavy He cannot lift it.

      B) Actualizing a state of affairs whereby an omnipotent Deity can create a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it is logically absurd and impossible

      C) Logic is an aspect of God's character (One could hardly postulate an Omniscient Deity who created a universe of observed regularities, who Himself is inherently irrational, and who belongs in a Cosmic Rubber)

      D) If God were to violate his character, He would be internally inconsistent.

      E) Something internally inconsistent is logically impossible

      F) God exists and is logically impossible.

      G) Therefore:

      God exists and does not exist. (Again, Reductio Ad Absurdum)

      With all due respect, I think you're beating a dead horse. I hope you don't take issue with my saying so, but there are much better arguments against God then what I perceive as an old canard that nontheists would be better off abandoning if they are to be taken seriously in the intellectual arena, as it were.

      Another Example of a logically valid :

      A) God's will is eternal and immutable (Unchanging in character, will, etc)

      B) God is omnibenevolent. That is to say, he constantly wills the good of His creatures, and never possesses ill-will for them

      C) For God to condemn anybody to hell, requires that He change his will, which requires that it change in response to outside circumstances. Whether or not he foreknew the decision that creature made (And I fail to see how Omniscience is compatible with free will, at any rate.) was irrelevant, insofar as it engendered a response.

      D) If God's will switches from benevolent to "wrathful" as a result of a human decision, he is neither omnibenevolent, nor is immutable.

      D1) If, God's will does NOT change as a result of a free decision by one of his free creatures, but for no reason external to himself, God is not only A) Not immutable B) Not omnibenevolent, but C) Apparently suffers from Intermittent Explosive Deity Disorder, Sovereign Schizophrenia or Blessed Bipolar Disorder.

      E) God is not God~! (Reductio Ad Absurdum. For the fucking win.)

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      "Logic dictates the limits of reality, and if reality includes an Omnipotent Creator God, then the idea of a state of affairs whereby that God's power could be thwarted is nonsensical, because logic prevents it from ever being actualized..."

      Then, as I said in the article, logic is not under the control of God. Therefore God did not create everything, and therefore God, as defined, cannot exist.

      It's the same idea that has already been looked at.

    • profile image

      Jordan Garrett 3 years ago

      Power defined:

      1. The ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something.

      If one cannot speak of something in such a way so that it makes sense, then, as Wittgenstein said, one must remain silent. The idea of "creating" a being that by definition is necessarily uncreated is inherently contradictory and absurd, so there is no ability for raw power qua power to bring it about by itself. Let's say that you and I agree conceive of an omnipotent, all-knowing, omnibenevolent and so on Hen, that exists, as opposed to God. If that Hen (Praise be!) can only lay an Egg out of which it's only begotten Chick pops out, as opposed to a dog or a unicorn, nobody would say that it was not omnipotent. Logic dictates the limits of reality, and if reality includes an Omnipotent Creator God, then the idea of a state of affairs whereby that God's power could be thwarted is nonsensical, because logic prevents it from ever being actualized, just as 1+1=3 can never be actualized, being contrary to logic.

      If you want a better argument against God, here's one I just came up with:

      1) God created reality and all of existence (by definition)

      2) God, by definition, is self-existent and eternal.

      3) If God always existed, then there was an existent state of affairs before He existed.

      4) Therefore, reality existed before God existed

      5) God created reality and did not create reality. (Reductio Ad Absurdum)

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Sorry I completely forgot about this for a week. I have just one rule on these articles: please keep your comments to no more than 1000 words at one time. This helps keep the discussion flowing. Any comment over 1000 words I will delete because I don't want one person monopolizing this page.

      If God is the only omnipotent being in existence, it is irrelevant as to omnipotence's definitional/ logical independence from God. Here's an analogy: let's say that humans are the only beings with intelligent life in the universe (not likely, but possible). Does that mean that we cannot logically divorce "human" from "intelligent life"? Of course not. There is a clear distinction between "intelligence" and "human." So even if IN REALITY intelligence does not exist without humans, in a CONCEPTUAL sense, "intelligence" is independent of "human."

      Existential dependence does not imply conceptual or logical dependence. They are two different dependences.

      On this minor point:

      "What we know about omnipotence, we know only because God has graced us with the ability to understand it..."

      But according to your belief system (which I am entertaining), this is true of everything that we know, so it is not unique to the concept of omnipotence, therefore not relevant.

      You said: "Existentially, omnipotence cannot be apart from God"

      I am not questioning this. I am saying that existentially, omnipotence is impossible. If omnipotence cannot be apart from God, then it follows that if one is impossible, the other is too. So this winds up supporting my point anyway.

      Omnipotence is what we would call a "necessary condition" of God, but not a "sufficient condition." Meaning that you can't have God without omnipotence, but omnipotence alone is not enough for God--God also needs other things, hence "necessary" but not "sufficient." If any of God's necessary qualities--omnipotence, omniscience, etc--are proven impossible, then God is impossible by extension because they are necessary to his existence.

      The key is that omnipotence is a *quality* of God. Thus it is one of the building blocks that composes God. If a building block is removed from a structure, that structure collapses.

      If you disagree with the notion that omnipotence is a quality of God, then your argument is with thousands of years of theistic philosophy, not with me.

      "Next time my Power goes out at my house..."

      You use "power" here colloquially to refer to electricity. It is not "power" in the basic sense of the word.

      Yes, there are different means of power, different types of power, etc. The point is: can God do X? If God cannot do X, then there is a limit to his power. Omnipotence means power without limits.

      Now, note that God can still be extremely powerful without being "all-powerful." The US military is very powerful, and probably cannot be defeated by any military on this planet. But there are still limits to what it can do. It cannot blow up the sun, for example.

      But unfortunately for the theists, God has not been defined as "extremely powerful." He has been defined as "all-powerful", capable of anything and everything.

      On this Christian syllogism thing, this is a really minor point. But a logically sound syllogism would be: Joe is a Christian, Christians are vegetarians, therefore Joe is a vegetarian. The structure is A is B, B is C, therefore A is C. It is logical but factually incorrect because not all Christians are vegetarians. In other words, empirical evidence belies the premise B.

      So in this case: God is omnipotent, omnipotence is impossible, therefore God is impossible.

      You say: "Omnipotence cannot exist outside of God... It would be illogical to assume that God cannot exist just because omnipotence apart from God cannot exist."

      Again, see my previous point that omnipotence is a necessary *quality* of God.

      The analogy comes again: intelligence is a necessary *quality* of humans. Your argument has things backwards; you say "omnipotence cannot exist without God," but this is like saying "intelligence cannot exist without humans." In the reality of the universe, that may very well be true (again, assuming there are no other intelligent life forms).

      But that is not the issue. The issue is whether intelligence is possible logically. What the current, past or future state of the universe is, is irrelevant, because we are talking about logical absolutes, which are absolutely true or untrue regardless of time.

      So instead of the above, we need to reverse things and say "humans cannot exist without intelligence," or, "God cannot exist without omnipotence." These are definitional statements, not empirical statements.

      "He can do anything we can imagine, and if He can’t, than He isn’t really Omnipotent."

      Of course, for it is the very definition of omnipotence to be able to do *anything.* The fact that many theologians and other religious people would disagree with that just shows the depth of their irrational thinking around their religious beliefs. The paradox is precisely a result of this illogical thinking on the part of theism.

      Your Biblical citations also demonstrate that the Bible contradicts itself to no end. In one part, God is described one way, in another, he described differently. But that is another topic entirely :)

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      Peeps 4 years ago

      Hi Justin,

      I totally understand.

      Just wanted to put something up really quick to address your last post before you reply more thoroughly.

      Then Job answered the Lord and said: "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You." (Job 42: 1-2)

      "For now I will just say that if anything is "impossible" for God then he is by definition not all-powerful"

      This isn't really a question of God's power, but of His "purposes."

      God can't sin because sin is not one of His Holy purposes.

      One could almost say that we have more freedom in the sense of sinning. Unfortunately for us, That leads to Hell...

      But, that's where God's Omnipotence matters so much.

      God demonstrated His Omnipotence by having power over the grave (sin and death) after He died on the cross for the sins of the world, "...so that He would be Just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      This is one of my busiest times of the year with work, so I will respond more completely some time next week.

      For now I will just say that if anything is "impossible" for God then he is by definition not all-powerful. Isn't it interesting that it is impossible for God to lie, but it is possible for a human to lie? The human being would seem to have more power and freedom than God!

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      Peeps 4 years ago

      It seems that the last part of my post is missing, Ill add it back in, in case there was some technical difficulties that limited the extent of my content or something.

      If a child (small kid. Say, 6 years old or so.) runs out into the middle of the street while a speeding car comes barreling down the road. His parent, who happens to be watching their child running into the path of the speeding car, yells out “GET BACK HERE JIMMY DEAN!” (Dean is his middle name... sausages is His last) the child has no idea why the parent is yelling at him. It seems harsh, unfair, and uncalled for. Should this child, than, assume that the parent cannot be trusted because what they are doing makes no logical sense to them?... But this child doesn’t know about “D” (speeding car)… Does He?

      I’m getting the sense that your contention with God’s omnipotence isn’t really the rock that He can lift, and make for that matter; rather, it seems that your understanding of God’s omnipotence is that He can do anything we can imagine, and if He can’t, than He isn’t really Omnipotent. Is this a more accurate definition of your understanding of/issue with God’s Omnipotence?

      No theologian in his right mind would say this about God. There are indeed things that are impossible for Him, He cannot Lie, He cannot deny Himself, He cannot be tempted by Evil (Num 23:19, 2 Tim 2:13, James 1:13). These things are impossibilities for Him because they would contradict His other Holy attributes. This is where, as I said earlier, “every attribute of God has to be understood in light of all His other attributes.”

      I, again, would like to tremendously apologize for the length of this post; can you see why I didn’t want to discuss any additional attributes? LOL. But seriously, I know you have a life, like I do, and it can be difficult to sit down and read lengthy writings, at least for me it is.

      If any of this made sense, let me know. I’m still trying to work out how to communicate stuff like this.

      If you have question and would like to Email that would be cool too.

      Name’s Shane BTW.

    • profile image

      Peeps 4 years ago

      Hello Justin,

      I would like to apologize in advance for the duration of this post; I have trouble wording things, so I often go on longer than I need to.

      I would like to, for the immediate future, hold off on farther defining God’s attributes, namely His Omnipotence in light of His Holiness, and focus solely on His Omnipotence at this point. The attributes of God are topics that are better suited for thick wordy Theology books, but I hope to, in time, describe some of these attributes for you. It is important to Know about His attributes Primarily because every attribute of God has to be understood in light of all His other attributes, I will allude to this fundamental truth in this post, but will not go in depth.

      (1) “My contention in the exchange with Dean was that omnipotence is wholly independent of God, as it is independent of every other concept, definitionally speaking.”

      (2) “If this is true, then it follows that if omnipotence, in its own right, on a conceptual basis, is shown to be untenable, then any concept (or hypothesis or theory or whatever) that is derived from it or based upon it (in this case God), is similarly untenable.”

      (A: 1) Is Omnipotence wholly independent of God? No, as I said earlier, Omnipotence is dependent on God. Can we define omnipotence apart from God? Sure (sort of), definitionally, we can describe (to the best of our abilities) what this means; however, what we cannot do is understand this existentially, apart from God, for God is indeed the only Omnipotent Being or source in existence. What we know about omnipotence, we know only because God has graced us with the ability to understand it, so in reality, even on a conceptual basis, Omnipotence is dependent on God, but we don’t need to know God personally to understand omnipotence on a conceptual basis, as you have demonstrated.

      (A: 2) Omnipotence is only proven to be (to the best of our ability) definitionally independent of God. Not existentially independent of God. “…any concept (or hypothesis or theory or whatever) that is derived from it or based upon it (in this case God), is similarly untenable.” This could be an accurate statement; however, as I have stated before, Omnipotence is dependent on God, not the other way around, as you understand it. Existentially, omnipotence cannot be apart from God (as previously mentioned in Psalm 62:11).

      A movie cannot exist unless there is first a camera filming it. Would it be fair to assume that if we have never seen a movie, cameras are none existential things? This is just another variant of the DNA analogy, my apologies for the confusion with that, I am still learning how to come up with similes, analogies, and what not.

      My quote: "He [God] cannot make a rock so big that even He cannot lift... because He can make a rock that expands beyond infinite space... and than still lift it."

      “So he cannot make that object, therefore his power is limited.”

      The problem with this, as I have already said, is that "The argument presupposes either one of two limitations, God is limited by what He can lift, or God is limited by what He can make."

      It assumes that things are weighty or heavy to God, they are not. God being the source of all power is not limited in power. So, as said before "He [God] cannot make a rock so big that even He cannot lift... because He can make a rock that expands beyond infinite space... and than still lift it."

      On the other end of the argument is that if God cannot make something greater than Himself (cause that’s what this rock would accomplish) He is not God. This is true, not because of His ability to create, but rather it is an issue of His nature. I will allude to this latter in the post.

      This argument is assuming that an impossibility (God being limited in Power) is a necessity for God to be All Powerful. The paradox, as it would seem, is in the argument itself, Not in God’s Power.

      I would still like to present that this argument cannot even apply to God, Because He is Spirit, Not flesh, as revealed to us in John 4:24, But you had an issue with this.

      “The problem with this idea is that power is power, whether it is spiritual or worldly”

      Next time my Power goes out at my house, and I really need to use my computer and printer, cause I have a paper to write a paper or something like that. Will I be able to hold onto my laptop hard enough, stare at it long enough, or punch it vigorously enough, to get it to power up? Perhaps if I hold it in a strong wind, or light a stick of dynamite underneath it, will it than power on for me?

      “Power is power” in the sense that it is all used to accomplish things, but there are different means of power indeed, and they accomplish different things with different results. The only way in which we could properly define “power as power” is that all power ultimately finds its source in God, but even then, God has seen fit to manifest His given power in many different ways.

      Skipping to the syllogism about the Christian.

      My quote: "It would be the same as this, "Mr Joe Blow Christian guy is a vegetarian; therefore, Christians are vegetarians." The syllogism may be "logically" sound, but the premise that the whole syllogism is based on is flawed."

      “Well, first of all, that is not a syllogism. Second of all, it is not logically sound at all. Just because one Christian is a vegetarian does not mean that all are. And I'm not sure what this has to do with the issue of omnipotence and God (Emphasis added).”

      My understanding of a Syllogism is this: A is the same thing as B, B is the same thing as C; therefore, A and C must be the same also. Oxford English Dictionary seems to agree with this, at least to the best of my understanding in my reading, and dictionary.com (love it, for its simplicity and ease) definitely agrees with this.

      “Mr Joe Blow (I chose this as a super broad name because the name isn’t representing that individual, but rather, “people”)” (A) “Christian” (B) guy is a “vegetarian” (C); therefore, Christians are vegetarians.

      I would maintain that the syllogism here is logically sound within itself. Where it becomes illogical, as you have said it is, (and, you have said correctly in stating the illogic, here) is when you have the knowledge of “D,” in this case: Other Christian (B) people (A) who are “not Vegetarians” (D). D being in relation to A and B, voids the possibility of C being equal to A and B because D is contradictory to C.

      To draw the parallel of the original intent for this syllogism/simile:

      “God” (A) is “omnipotent” (B). If we see omnipotence in itself to be “untenable,” (C) than God (A) is “Untenable” (C) (proving God not to exist). As with the Vegetarian syllogism, it is logically sound within itself, until, as you have said with the previous syllogism, “it is not logically sound at all.” And I would affirm that for this Syllogism. The grenade pin, so to speak, here is the knowledge of “D.” just as it was with the vegetarian Christians. “D” is that Omnipotence cannot exist outside of God. So, we draw the same conclusion as with the previous syllogism. It would be illogical to assume that God cannot exist just because omnipotence apart from God cannot exist.

      Getting closer to the core issue now.

      “Either God is understandable by us, on our terms, according to our logic, or he is not. If he is, then the paradox, which is a product of logic, DOES apply. If he is not, then it makes no sense to believe in him anyway.”

      I would argue that He can be understood logically because He is The Father of Logic, but we can understand Him only to an extent. I say this because our logic has been affected by our sinful nature (when I say this, I am not implying that EVERYTHING about God can be known by us, Indeed He is above us) (Isaiah 55:9, 1 Cor 2:11, Col 2:8, 1Tim, 6:20).

      Indeed God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

      But, even though we don’t understand Him by our Logic (I, myself cannot logically wrap my mind around the Trinity, but I still believe it). Why would this give us any reason not to trust Him?

      If a child (small kid. Say, 6 years old or so.) runs out into the middle of the street while a speeding car comes barreling

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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      I'm always respectful to those who are respectful to me. Plenty of comments on my hubs confirm that. I welcome all commenters, whether they agree or disagree, as long as they provide substantive discussion. So, certainly, I welcome you to the discussion.

      "Is God the same thing as Omnipotence? Not really."

      Certainly, I agree with that.

      "God and omnipotence are tied together, not because God is dependent on omnipotence, but because omnipotence is dependent on God, and omnipotence is one of His Holy (set apart) attributes."

      It would be helpful if you clarified your statements beyond the Biblical citations. But that aside, the idea that "omnipotence is dependent on God," needs more clarification.

      My contention in the exchange with Dean was that omnipotence is wholly independent of God, as it is independent of every other concept, definitionally speaking. That does not mean that there is necessarily an object hanging out in the universe called "omnipotence," but it does mean that we can distinguish it conceptually from God himself. In the same way that we can distinguish "clothing" from "shirt" conceptually, and definitionally.

      (Note that this is true even if God is the only being in the universe that is omnipotent.)

      If this is true, then it follows that if omnipotence, in its own right, on a conceptual basis, is shown to be untenable, then any concept (or hypothesis or theory or whatever) that is derived from it or based upon it (in this case God), is similarly untenable.

      Not sure I understand the science/ DNA analogy. I am confident that I understand what God and omnipotence are, as they have been defined by theists for centuries.

      "He cannot make a rock so big that even He cannot lift... because He can make a rock that expands beyond infinite space... and than still lift it."

      So he cannot make that object, therefore his power is limited.

      "The argument presupposes either one of two limitations, God is limited by what He can Lift, or God is limited by what He can make."

      It just so happens that the rock argument focuses on those two qualities, but the real core of the issue raised by this argument is the nature of infinite/ limitless power.

      "It would be the same as this, "Mr Joe Blow Christian guy is a vegetarian; therefore, Christians are vegetarians." The syllogism may be "logically" sound, but The premise that the whole syllogism is based on is flawed."

      Well, first of all, that is not a syllogism. Second of all, it is not logically sound at all. Just because one Christian is a vegetarian does not mean that all are. And I'm not sure what this has to do with the issue of omnipotence and God.

      "This argument cannot apply to God even if we wanted it to... God is Spirit, not flesh..."

      This is then the same argument raised earlier by several commenters. The problem with this idea is that power is power, whether it is spiritual or worldly. And logic is logic, whether it is being applied to spiritual or worldly matters.

      Either God is understandable by us, on our terms, according to our logic, or he is not. If he is, then the paradox, which is a product of logic, DOES apply. If he is not, then it makes no sense to believe in him anyway.

    • profile image

      Peeps 4 years ago

      So, I have, in no way at all been keeping up with this impressively large string of comments; however, reading the last comment, I felt like it was still keeping with the Omnipotence attribute of God's. I am just a kid, not too many years away from being a child, really. But I love Theology, Proper Theology. With that knowledge, don't expect me to keep up with what you have been taught about science and all that.

      secularist10,

      Firstly, I am a kid, so I would appreciate it if you would be gracious to me in your comments (if you comment back) as I will be gracious to you.

      Second,

      In your last comment you seemed to be very inclined to believe that God and Omnipotence cannot exist.

      Is God the same thing as Omnipotence? Not really. Why do I say this? A: God exists regardless of our understanding of Omnipotence. and on the other side of the coin, some would argue that the concept of Omnipotence can exist without the knowledge of God. I would word it like this though, "the concept of Omnipotence can exist without a PERSONAL understanding of God" I word it this way because of Romans 2:18-20. So, with that in place, if you don't understand God, (and I am in no way saying that I have God all figured out [Isaiah 55:9]) it is likely that you cannot understand how omnipotence can exist. Indeed, apart from God there is no power (Psalm 62:11). Omnipotence is real, just as God is real. God and omnipotence are tied together, not because God is dependent on omnipotence, but because omnipotence is dependent on God, and omnipotence is one of His Holy (set apart) attributes.

      It would be the same as me saying, Since I don't understand science, DNA doesn't exist; However, I feel that if I understood science, I would than have a better understanding of DNA.

      I don't know if the "can God make a rock so big even He can't lift it?" argument has been answered yet, but I will give you my response to it.

      No, God cannot make a rock so big even He cannot lift.

      Why do I say this? And, am I not just affirming that God is not Omnipotent?

      No, I am by no means saying that God isn't Omnipotent. He is. He cannot make a rock so big that even He cannot lift it because He can make a rock that expands beyond infinite space (I know this "logically" doesn't make sense) and than still lift it.

      The argument presupposes either one of two limitations, God is limited by what He can Lift, or God is limited by what He can make. God is limited by neither, so the syllogism may be accurate, but the premise is not properly understood, and that's why I would answer it that way.

      It would be the same as this, "Mr Joe Blow Christian guy is a vegetarian; therefore, Christians are vegetarians." The syllogism may be "logically" sound, but The premise that the whole syllogism is based on is flawed.

      Aside from all that,

      This argument cannot apply to God even if we wanted it to.

      How can I say that?

      God is Spirit, not flesh and bone that is fed by oxygen to give strength.

      John 4:24

      If there was anything In that post that was in anyway pointed, I apologize. It is not my intent to throw insults back and forth. I simply want to, and need to, give a response for the Hope I have in me.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      So close!

      Your inability to understand or answer a simple question is really astounding. And then you have the absolute gaul to insult my intelligence! LOL

      Do you even understand that "clothing" and "shirt" are two DIFFERENT concepts? Even though all shirts are articles of clothing, and "clothing" is essential to the nature of "shirt"? I have my doubts.

      I've already either destroyed your other ridiculous arguments above, or they are self-defeating on their face, so I don't need to waste time on that again.

      "How can God being all powerful and all knowing be distinguished from God?"

      You will never understand this. Or you are being intentionally obtuse to try to save face. Which is pathetic.

      The concept of "infinite power" or "omnipotence" is a DIFFERENT CONCEPT than "God." Just look them up in the dictionary. There are TWO different concepts. Not one. This is despite the fact that the concept of "God" includes the concept of "omnipotence." A requires B, but A and B are nevertheless two distinct concepts.

      Since they are different from each other, then we can analyze and test each concept SEPARATELY. Upon analysis, omnipotence is impossible UNTO ITSELF. And since God requires omnipotence to be possible, if omnipotence is impossible, then God is impossible.

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "Then you agree that omnipotence can be logically distinguished from God?"

      How can God being all powerful and all knowing be distinguished from God? It is the nature of God to be all powerful and all knowing!

      You need to go back to school and take a course in basic cognitive skills, then a course in critical thinking, unless, of course, and this is the only real explanation in your case, you're a Satanist. Otherwise you would have clearly understood that God, being God, is all powerful and all knowing.

      In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen:

      The supposed "God Omnipotence Paradox" is so spurious I'm shocked no one else before me debunked it. The only way Satanists can claim such a "paradox" is by excluding God's all knowing nature. In other words, they cheated!

      Examples of the "God Omnipotence Paradox" provided in this article melt away as soon as God's all knowing nature is included (Though in the particular "omnipotence paradox" that affirms that God should be able to create another God, God's all knowing nature isn't even necessary to debunk that "paradox". God's omnipotent nature alone will do just fine in debunking that claimed "paradox".).

      For convenience, here once again are the three claimed "paradoxes" presented in this article, and their dethronement by this writer (see my comments above for initial dethronement):

      1. God should be able to create a rock He can't lift.

      Solution: God certainly can create a rock He can't lift, because he would know He would never need to lift the rock. A moot paradox!

      2. God should be able to create a square circle.

      Solution: God would never need to create a square circle since He made the circle round and God can't be wrong about the circle being round due to His Omniscience. Conversely, if God had made circles square in our universe, then again being omniscient, He would have no need to create a round circle due to His Omniscience. Another moot paradox!

      and

      3. God should be able to create another God.

      Solution: If God could create another God, then the created God would be, by definition, neither omnipotent nor omniscient, therefore not a God. Yet another moot paradox!

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      "Omnipotence is a word used to describe His all powerful capability..."

      Finally! We're getting somewhere. That's a little bit of an answer anyway.

      Then you agree that omnipotence can be logically distinguished from God? In other words, just as "clothing" and "shirt" are two different concepts, "omnipotence" and "God" are two different concepts?

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "Are "omnipotence" and "God" two different things, or not?"

      As I said, God is God, who is all powerful and all knowing! Why is that so difficult for you to understand?

      Omnipotence is a word used to describe His all powerful capability, and omniscience is a word to describe His all knowing capability.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Why is it so difficult for you to answer a simple question?

      Are "omnipotence" and "God" two different things, or not?

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "And, look here, yet another question you cannot answer: why do you call "omnipotence" and "God" by different names?"

      Do you know what you're talking about? "...call "omnipotence" and "God" by different names?"?!

      God is God, who is all seeing and all knowing! Why is that so difficult for you to understand?

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Your contradictory and silly semantics about me "misplacing God's omniscience" is obviously not an answer to anything. Just a diversion. I reiterate, therefore, that you did not answer the question.

      And, look here, yet another question you cannot answer: why do you call "omnipotence" and "God" by different names? If omnipotence cannot be distinguished from God, then why do you distinguish them by using different names?

      You cannot answer these questions because your argument is fundamentally weak, and you must pretend that I do not know what "omnipotence" and "omniscience" mean.

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "You still did not answer what you meant by "missing" (yet another of the dozens of questions you have not answered)."

      Another diversion! Why, since my answer is there? As I said, "As you know, YOU misplaced God's OMNISCIENCE (not omnipotence) in your ludicrous paradox: God is BOTH omnipotent AND omniscient."

      secularist10 says, "If they are not distinct from God, then why do you call them by different names?"

      Because omniscience means the capability to know all things, and omnipotence means all powerful. God, being God, has both characteristics at the same time. I can't believe you don't know that!

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Wow, four whole hours! Believe it or not, some of us have lives outside of the internet. You still did not answer what you meant by "missing" (yet another of the dozens of questions you have not answered).

      "God's omnipotence and omniscience are not distinct from God..."

      If they are not distinct from God, then why do you call them by different names?

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "Lol. What do you mean by "missing"? Did God misplace his omnipotence?"

      Is that the best reply you thought of in 4 hours?! As you know, YOU misplaced God's OMNISCIENCE (not omnipotence) in your ludicrous paradox: God is BOTH omnipotent AND omniscient.

      secularist10 says, "As long as "clothing" and "warm" are distinct from each other AND essential to the condition "shirt," all it takes is lack of one to make "shirt" impossible."

      God's omnipotence and omniscience are not distinct from God; they are his nature, they are who He is at all times, and therefore can't be separated.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Lol. What do you mean by "missing"? Did God misplace his omnipotence?

      Let's take an example completely removed from God: a shirt.

      Let's say a shirt has only two qualities: (1) it is an article of clothing, and (2) it is a warm item.

      If you own a factory, and your factory cannot make an article of clothing, it follows that your factory is unable to produce shirts. But wait, you say: your factory CAN produce things that are warm. Doesn't matter--BOTH qualities are essential to the shirt. Without either one, the shirt does not exist.

      As long as "clothing" and "warm" are distinct from each other AND essential to the condition "shirt," all it takes is lack of one to make "shirt" impossible.

      The same is true of omnipotence, omniscience and God respectively. Omnipotence and omniscience are distinct from each other and they are both independently essential to the condition "God."

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "You are still failing to comprehend that if an essential quality of something is impossible, then that thing is also impossible."

      You are still failing to comprehend that if an essential quality of something is MISSING, then the argument is a straw man argument.

      secularist10 says,

      "If A requires B, C and D,

      and B is impossible,

      then A is also impossible

      C and D are irrelevant."

      If A is both B and C

      then

      refuting A on the basis of B alone is LUDICROUS!

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      You quoted me deceptively, as anyone can see. Come on, at least TRY to cover yourself, lol.

      I'm well aware that God is believed to be both omnipotent and omniscient. Always have been. You are still failing to comprehend that if an essential quality of something is impossible, then that thing is also impossible.

      If A requires B, C and D,

      and B is impossible,

      then A is also impossible

      C and D are irrelevant.

      If God (A) requires omnipotence (B), omniscience (C) and omni-benevolence (D),

      and omnipotence (B) is impossible,

      then God (A) is also impossible

      Omniscience (C) and omni-benevolence (D) are irrelevant.

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "The issue is not God. The issue is omnipotence. ONLY omnipotence."

      The issue is God, all of God, which includes omnipotence AND omniscience.

      secularist10 says, '"What God IS is relevant."

      Exactly."'

      Thank you. Boy, it took you long enough to comprehend the simple proposition that God is omnipotent AND omniscient!

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      You cannot point to a single straw man from me. If you actually look at the definition of a straw man argument, you will see I have created none.

      "the fact is that God is omnipotent AND omniscient."

      The issue is not God. The issue is omnipotence. ONLY omnipotence.

      God is a separate issue. As such:

      "What God IS is relevant."

      Exactly. What God is. And God is omnipotent. So if omnipotence alone is impossible, then God is impossible. Regardless of his other qualities.

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "Whether you want to accept it or not, the fact is that the concept of omnipotence contradicts itself."

      Whether you want to accept it or not, the fact is that God is omnipotent AND omniscient.

      secularist10 says, "Omniscience is irrelevant.

      What God "wants" to do is irrelevant."

      What God IS is relevant.

      secularist10 says, "Your arguments continue to be incoherent and confused."

      Your arguments continue to be straw man arguments.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Whether you want to accept it or not, the fact is that the concept of omnipotence contradicts itself.

      Since God does not exist without omnipotence, if omnipotence is impossible, then so is God.

      Omniscience is irrelevant.

      What God "wants" to do is irrelevant.

      Your arguments continue to be incoherent and confused.

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "The only laughably incoherent concept is God, as the paradox of omnipotence demonstrates..."

      We've already been there (see my comments above). What's laughable is the supposed paradox of God's omnipotence. The only way atheists can claim a paradox for God is by forgetting that God is also omniscient. In other words, atheists construct half a God and then discern there's a paradox!

      In fact, the supposed logical paradox of God not being able to create another God (which you say is your favorite God omnipotence paradox permutation), doesn't even require the inclusion of God's omniscience to debunk it. It's logically absurd, by definition, to claim that there is a paradox because God can't create another God.

      What this means is that the logical paradox atheists claim for this permutation of the God omnipotence paradox is cancelled out by the logical absurdity of the notion that God should be able to create another God. In other words, atheists in desperation have concocted an obviously ludicrous MOOT argument!

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      No significant atheists that I know of "use the cover of evolution or communism." They just don't believe in god. Simple.

      Sounds like you need to take a look at my hub, which deals with the myths surrounding atheism:

      https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Top-10-Myths-a...

      Atheism most certainly "can" exist. You may not like it, but it does. The only laughably incoherent concept is God, as the paradox of omnipotence demonstrates, as well as countless other logical problems with God.

      You still have not provided any evidence of any kind about 5% of anything. No surveys, polls, studies, nothing.

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 says, "Well evolution and communism have nothing to do with atheism."

      Those who claim to be atheists use the cover of Evolution or Communism. They are not atheists, for atheism can't exist. They are Satanists. All atheists are adherents of Evolution or Communism or both.

      Since everyone knows that God exists, and Evolution and Communism are laughably incoherent concepts, persons who say they adhere to such ideas are in reality worshipers of Satan.

      Those Satanists that practice their religion in the open are the 5% or less of Satanists that actually exist. Hence the iceberg analogy.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Well evolution and communism have nothing to do with atheism. So your argument makes absolutely no sense. But even if there was a connection, you did not explain where you got the 95% number.

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      secularist10 asks, "Dean, where did you get the idea that Satanists comprise 95% of atheists?"

      Simple, since it's easy to see the logical holes in [Natural Selection] Evolution and Communism, individuals who espouse such ideologies are naturally Satanists using those ideologies as a cover to weaken religion.

      Satanists would know that the best strategy to weaken religion is to hide from religion; a Satanist is a religious person siding with Satan, however by openly siding with Satan the Satanist also affirms God.

      Affirming God is contrary to the Satanist's goal. Satanists want those who side with God to fall away from God. Therefore Satanists hide behind the cloak of secular, bogus ideologies to confound and weaken those who side with God.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Dean, where did you get the idea that Satanists comprise 95% of atheists?

    • Dean M Jackson profile image

      Dean M Jackson 4 years ago from Washington, District of Columbia

      Jonathan Pira, the only way atheists, and Satanists pretending to be atheists who comprise 95% of atheists, can create a "paradox" for God is by separating God from His duel nature, which is omnipotence AND omniscience. When the complete nature of God is presented, all paradoxes disappear or become moot.

      See my comments above for more on this subject.

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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      That's very clever, Jonathan, but it doesn't solve the problem. The question is not whether God can accomplish something by taking a different form, but whether God, as an omnipotent entity, can accomplish something. Insofar as Jesus as a person is not omnipotent, he does not apply.

      Moreover you can't say that creating Jesus constitutes creating another God because Jesus is believed to be God himself. So you are actually contradicting yourself--when it comes to moving the stone, Jesus is the same God (a different version of God), but when it comes to creating another God, Jesus is a different God.

    • profile image

      Jonathan Pira 4 years ago

      I think Jesus is the answer you are looking for.

      Yes, Jesus, the Son of God, can create a stone which is too heavy for him as the Son of Man. The cross was even too heavy for him. Or He can command that stones become bread or whatever but He will only do what the Father wants Him to do.

      God, the Father, can create another God, Jesus, even if Jesus is from all eternity. Trinity is amazing when you are thinking about it.

      And God can die for you on a cross just because He loves you. Hope you will find Him.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      You don't have to agree with everything theists claim to be true. You were making an argument against X.

      X deals with theism.

      X = my argument.

      You came to my article, to my argument, not the other way around. Just quoting and re-quoting yourself over and over is not going to change that.

      "As for the rest of your "reply", well no need beating a dead horse."

      Sounds like a white flag to me. You did not respond to the square/ circle issue, nor did you explain how omniscience *logically* requires an entity to be uncreated.

    • profile image

      Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

      secularist10 says, "Discussing a theistic belief indicates I am dealing with theism."

      Response: You said, "And you are replying to my argument, which is in response to omnipotence and God as defined by the theist." Since I don't necessarily agree with everything "theists" claim to be true, then as I said, "I could care less what theists say, you're replying to me." If you wanted to reply to theists only, you should have made that clear at the top of the blog."

      As for the rest of your "reply", well no need beating a dead horse.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      "If you wanted to reply to theists only, you should have made that clear at the top of the blog."

      Discussing a theistic belief indicates I am dealing with theism.

      "Who says He wants to do "something"? Checkmate!"

      LOL! Checkmate what? I reiterate once again: God's desires (i.e. what he "wants") are irrelevant. His powers are.

      "That's the point, "God" #2 didn't know!"

      Of course not, he wasn't created yet! Lol.

      I asked for the logical connection between (a) being created, and (b) non-omniscience. Still no answer.

      "Now, for the THIRD time, I want YOUR explanation for why you think the "square circle paradox" is true in proving God is not Omnipotent."

      Why don't you just read the article or my previous comments to other users? Squaring a circle is illogical. If God cannot do it, then he is limited by logic. Therefore there is a limit to his power, therefore his power is not unlimited, therefore he is not omnipotent. Not complicated.

      I don't think I have much to fear from your piercing arguments, lol. I've dealt with countless commenters online and I've pretty much heard it all at this point. I only ask that commenters to my hubs maintain respect. Substantively, you can disagree as much as you want.

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      Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

      secularist10 says, "And you are replying to my argument, which is in response to omnipotence and God as defined by the theist."

      Response: As I said, "I could care less what theists say, you're replying to me." If you wanted to reply to theists only, you should have made that clear at the top of the blog.

      secularist10 says, "Therefore he is not omnipotent, because there is something he cannot do."

      Response: Who says He wants to do "something"? Checkmate!

      secularist10 says, "How can an entity know something before it exists? Lol."

      Response: That's the point, "God" #2 didn't know!

      secularist10 says, "Therefore if I attack omniscience, I am defending square/ circle. That is according to your own claim. If you want to change that claim, go right ahead."

      Response: You're the one making the claim that since God can't create a "square circle" He is therefore not Omnipotent. Now, for the THIRD time, I want YOUR explanation for why you think the "square circle paradox" is true in proving God is not Omnipotent.

      secularist10 says, "And I also suggest you be more respectful if you want me to keep approving your comments. Stick to the substance."

      Response: Getting a little hot under the collar, huh? Don't worry, I have this Q&A written down for all to see.

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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      "I could care less what theists say, you're replying to me."

      Lol. And you are replying to my argument, which is in response to omnipotence and God as defined by the theist.

      "God certainly can create a rock He can't lift. Now tell me...so what?"

      Therefore he is not omnipotent, because there is something he cannot do. Did you even read the article before commenting? Lol. Looks like you're the one pretending to be slow.

      "if "God" 2 were Omniscient, it would have known God #1 before it was created."

      How can an entity know something before it exists? Lol.

      Anyway, this is, again, a non-sequitur. You have not explained why something must be uncreated in order to have infinite knowledge. What does one thing have to do with the other? You are operating on faith and blind assumption, not logic.

      "You have now for a second time refused to address my critique for the claimed "square circle" paradox."

      Let me spell it out for you. You originally said:

      "As for the claim God is incapable of creating a square circle, the argument is moot due to God's Omniscience"

      Thus, your claim is: Omniscience argument makes [square circle] moot.

      Therefore if omniscience argument stands, square/ circle is moot.

      Therefore if I attack omniscience, I am defending square/ circle. That is according to your own claim. If you want to change that claim, go right ahead.

      I suggest you read things more closely before responding.

      And I also suggest you be more respectful if you want me to keep approving your comments. Stick to the substance.

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      Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

      secularist10 says, "We are discussing omnipotence as a quality of God, as it has been defined by the theist."

      Response: I could care less what theists say, you're replying to me.

      secularist10 says, "We are discussing omnipotence as a quality of God..."

      Response: Fine, continue to pretend you're slow:

      God certainly can create a rock He can't lift. Now tell me...so what?

      secularist10 says, "There is no logical reason why a created entity cannot be omniscient. "

      Response: As I said, "God #2 can't be Omnipotent or Omniscient because he didn't know God #1 before he was created, therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omnipotent because he didn't create God #1. Clear for you now?"

      If "God" 2 were Omnipotent, by definition it would have created God 1, and if "God" 2 were Omniscient, it would have known God #1 before it was created. "God" # 2 only knew God # 1 AFTER it was created by God #1. What God did was to create a demigod.

      secularist10 says, "You must enjoy jumping to conclusions. It has already been dealt with. You said at the top that issue depends on the omniscience issue, so I only need to deal with the latter to deal with the former."

      Response: As I said in my previous comment, "I see you immediately saw the fault in the claimed "square circle" paradox, since you failed to reply to my critique of it."

      You have now for a second time refused to address my critique for the claimed "square circle" paradox.

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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      "Response: Where did I say "whether"? I said, "He KNOWS"

      Semantics.

      "When discussing God's nature, one can't omit Omniscience."

      Yes we can. We are discussing omnipotence as a quality of God, as it has been defined by the theist. Just as "plant" is a quality of "tree." We can isolate plant and discuss it. If it is impossible for a plant to exist in a given location, then it is, by definition, impossible for a tree to exist there. Because plant is impossible, tree becomes impossible. Same thing with omnipotence vis-a-vis God.

      We are destroying omnipotence as a possibility, apart from God. And in the process destroying God. Clear for you now?

      "God #2 can't be Omnipotent or Omniscient because he didn't know God #1 before he was created, therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omniscient because he didn't created God #1."

      The fact that 2 did not know 1 before he was created is irrelevant. There is no logical reason why a created entity cannot be omniscient. God 2 may be aware of everything that has ever happened, before or after his creation, for instance. His created quality does not logically negate this possibility. Clear now?

      "I see you immediately saw the fault in the claimed "square circle" paradox, since you failed to reply to my critique of it."

      You must enjoy jumping to conclusions. It has already been dealt with. You said at the top that issue depends on the omniscience issue, so I only need to deal with the latter to deal with the former.

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      Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

      Correction:

      "...therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omniscient because he didn't created God #1."

      should read:

      "...therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omnipotent because he didn't created God #1."

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      Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

      secularist10 says, "The issue is not whether God wants or needs to lift the rock."

      Response: Where did I say "whether"? I said, "He KNOWS [emphasis: mine] He would never want nor need Himself to lift the rock!" God would KNOW he couldn't lift the rock, because He made the rock not to be lifted by Him.

      secularist10 says, "Dean, God's omniscience is irrelevant. The issue is not whether God wants or needs to lift the rock. The issue is whether he can."

      Response: God's Omniscience is critical, since that is the duel side of God's nature. When discussing God's nature, one can't omit Omniscience.

      So again, God very well can create a rock He can't lift, knowing He would never want nor need Himself to lift the rock. In other words, the argument you're making is moot.

      You say, "The issue is whether he can." The issue is moot, and in raising the moot point, you have misunderstood God’s true nature; Omnipotence and Omniscience.

      secularist10 asks, '"...only one Omniscient entity can exist.

      Why?"

      Response: The question you posed in the article was, "[Can] God...create another God[?]"

      As I replied to that question in my last comment, "Whatever the nature of the second created entity was, it could not be Omniscient or Omnipotent because it was created!"

      That answer should be clear to you, however if you need elaboration on that point: Since "God" #2 was created by God #1, God #2 can't be Omnipotent or Omniscient because he didn't know God #1 before he was created, therefore he isn't Omniscient, nor Omniscient because he didn't created God #1. Clear for you now?

      I see you immediately saw the fault in the claimed "square circle" paradox, since you failed to reply to my critique of it.

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      secularist10 4 years ago from New York City

      Dean, God's omniscience is irrelevant. The issue is not whether God wants or needs to lift the rock. The issue is whether he can.

      "...only one Omniscient entity can exist."

      Why?

      (If you are going to say that there is a "contradiction in terms" or a "logical fallacy" or some other such problem, then you will admit that God's power is limited by logic, and therefore not unlimited. Therefore not omnipotent.)

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      Dean Michael Jackson 4 years ago

      You forgot that God is not only Omnipotent, He is Omniscient, therefore God can indeed create a rock He couldn’t lift, because He knows He would never want nor need Himself to lift the rock!

      As for the claim God is incapable of creating a square circle, the argument is moot due to God's Omniscience; God would never want nor need to create a square circle since He made the circle round and God can't be wrong about the circle being round due to His Omniscience. It's a moot point!

      This brings us to your last argument against the existence of God, "God can create another God". Again, the argument is moot since God is Omniscient, and only one Omniscient entity can exist. It is a contradiction in terms to posit that an Omniscient entity should be able to create another Omniscient entity. Whatever the nature of the second created entity was, it could not be Omniscient or Omnipotent because it was created!

      A little reflection on Omniscience would have shown that all Omnipotent arguments against the existence of God are moot.

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Muslim:

      The user "HAK" posted a Youtube video above featuring a talk by a Muslim intellectual. The same arguments you are making were made in that video, and I have already addressed them.

      "... your question is like asking can god make the concept 2 itself mean 43,obviously the question is absurd because 2 is intrinsically 2."

      If God is truly omnipotent (i.e. his power has no limits, none) then he is able to do what for us seems impossible. He will therefore be able to make the concept 2 intrinsically 43. It may make no sense to us, but that's irrelevant. He is God. All things are possible.

      Now, that is if God exists prior to logic/ rationality/ reason/ the laws of nature. If, on the other hand, God is *constrained* by the laws of logic and reason, then he cannot make 2 intrinsically 43. But in that case God is constrained. He is limited. And therefore he cannot have created the laws of logic (because a being cannot create the thing that restrains it), and therefore he did not create everything, and therefore he is not God.

      "Because the very definition of omnipotence is that nothing can over power him"

      Precisely. Even things that overpower us, like the laws of logic, or the intrinsic nature of the number 2, cannot overpower him. If he is truly omnipotent. That is the point.

      I understand the argument very well, and I'm probably more familiar with Ibn Rushd than you are.

      "He simply asks,can something be greater or equal than the greatest?"

      Not for a thing that is limited by logic. But, if God really did create everything, then he is not limited by logic.

      "The question is illogical."

      What theists such as yourself do not realize is that logic itself constitutes a *constraint*, a *limit* on what is possible.

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Daniel:

      "Likewise, it would be as much a case of power for a student to fail an academic test as for a student to succeed at the test."

      Yes, the power to succeed and the power to fail are both manifestations of "power" essentially. That is a far more precise and consistent and useful way of thinking about "power" than to try to finely delineate what constitutes "success" and what constitutes "failure"--i.e. is a 50% a passing grade? Maybe in some jurisdictions it is, but in others, it's not. So in Texas, if you earn a 51% on your test, you have power, but in Nebraska, you don't. That doesn't make any sense--how can crossing a state line suddenly change the definition of a word, or the meaning of a human concept. And how about a 60%? 65.324%? And so on.

      "This is, it seems to me, to be your thesis on omnipotence, so that you hold that power is PG and that PG is prior to the omnipotent being."

      The omnipotent being has, precisely, been defined in terms of power, so definitionally, power is prior. It is the theist who has claimed "this being depends on power; power is part of what he is."

      "This is why I have said what I have said about your logic: in so many words that your logic of power is at odds with your logic of logic. Whence, then, is there coherence in your logic, since it seems to me that you wield logic is if it were generic."

      I'm not sure I understand this question. But yes, I suppose logic is "generic" in the terms you have laid out. Logic here meaning the basic order of nature/ reality. If you are asking whether power comes first or logic comes first, the answer is logic comes first, because power (generic) obeys the laws of logic (generic). And as I said, the hypothetical omnipotent being, in turn, (ostensibly) is described by the laws of power, and therefore by the laws of logic as well. But if the logic clashes with implications of the power, then that creates problems for the omnipotence.

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      Muslim 5 years ago

      Ibn Rushd,famous islamic philosopher who was one of the main sources for philosophy for the west debunked this in the 12th century (it was debunked many times before that as well).

      He was actually the one who brought it up as well,so you are using an Islamic argument that was for the existence of god,and because you don't understand it you;'re actually trying to use it against god (quite funny).

      He simply asks,can something be greater or equal than the greatest?

      Then how can you ask the question,can god create something greater than him?

      The question is illogical.

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      Muslim 5 years ago

      Both your arguments stem from the same argument,which is in fact a very old and outdated one. Your argument assumes that the questions you are asking are valid,when in fact they carry no meaning. What you are doing is creating a grammatical construct without any ontological export from that grammatical construct.

      Clear example would be,"can god make 1 plus 1 equal 43?"

      The question itself has no meaning,because you are essentially asking "can god make 2 ,43" ? Notice I'm not talking about god turning 2 into 43,notice that I'm saying your question is like asking can god make the concept 2 itself mean 43,obviously the question is absurd because 2 is intrinsically 2.

      So when we go to your 2 questions,god creating another god is intrinsically impossible,so is creating a rock which over powers him,why?

      Because the very definition of omnipotence is that nothing can over power him,not a thing nor another being,so how are you asking such a contradictory question?

      This is like saying " This apple is the best at being red and nothing can beat it at being red".

      Then you say "I accept this premise,but I challenge it with this question,can another apple be better at being red"?

      How are you accepting the definition of omnipotence and then asking a question that contradicts it?

      Second,god is intrinsically the most power like 1 plus 1 is intrinsically 2,asking if something can over power god is like asking if 1 plus 1 can equal 43,both questions are flawed.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      If it has not been legitimated that intelligence is a useless redundancy, then how, in your mind, is it legitimate to think that power is, or can be conceptually reduced to, the level of a generic 'ability'. It seems to me that to allow such a conceptual reduction of power is to allow also the conceptual reduction of all other generic-able concepts, including 'existence', 'presence', 'logic', etc.. For example, if 'existence' is a generic thing (hereafter EG=existence generic) which exists prior to, and superior to, any actual concrete thing which exists, then the existence of anything which does exist is uselessly redundant to EG.

      In your article here, you seem to me to assert that power is something which exists prior to any concrete thing which 'has' power, and thus that you reduce power to a generic (PG) which has no inherent logical connection to any concrete thing no matter how irreducibly basic that concrete thing may be.

      In other words, if you do, in fact, assert that power is generic (PG), then, to be consistent with that assertion, it seems to me that you also must assert that existence is generic (EG). But, if power is PG, then it is as much a case of possessing/using power for an ant to be crushed by a shoe as for the shoe to crush the ant. Likewise, it would be as much a case of power for a student to fail an academic test as for a student to succeed at the test. This is, it seems to me, to be your thesis on omnipotence, so that you hold that power is PG and that PG is prior to the omnipotent being. This is why I have said what I have said about your logic: in so many words that your logic of power is at odds with your logic of logic. Whence, then, is there coherence in your logic, since it seems to me that you wield logic is if it were generic.

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      The problem of an infinite regress vs. an irreducible starting point is certainly an interesting one. Both options have problems from our perspective, but it seems that an infinite regress has many logical problems that the other option just does not have. It seems the problem with an infinite regress is that it violates a number of logical rules, but the only problem with an irreducible beginning point is that it is hard for us to understand it.

      The idea that in a reductionist/ materialist framework subjective consciousness or intelligence is a "useless redundancy" is nothing but a judgment call. The universe does not make judgment calls. The fact is that our minds have developed out of this reality, and we alone have the power to make such judgments.

      Starting from a theistic worldview, for example, yes, I can see how one would come to the conclusion that intelligence is a "useless redundancy" in this scenario. But that is presuming something that has not been legitimated.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      A little more about space: a positive bit of 'empty' space need not be empty, but do its contents make up the space itself?

      A little more about mind and perception: an analogy to the naturalistic theory of mind makes that theory make sense only up to a point. I think that the 'clunky', 'cave-man' perceptions are what make that theory seem to have a rational basis.

      But, while I struggle mightily with/against dualism, my own preferred analogy is that the relation between mind and 'clunky' matter, in terms of the control which the mind seems to have in making our bodies move and feel, is like that between a 'ghost' and a system-of-systems of gears-and-springs: in the womb, we build bigger and bigger gears and their drive springs, and the smaller sets of gears-and-springs that we've already built are kept up by our own direct driving of the biggest gears. So that, if any subset is removed from the system, that subset simply winds down while appearing to our 'clunky' perceptions to be at once alive and mindless. This analogy seems supported by the fact that people can learn to stop their hearts temporarily, or even, in some cases, to powerfully control their sense of pain. I myself have occasionally managed to see out through my eyes without my brain so much interpreting the signals from my optic nerves. What I saw was a lot like a pixilated jumble, and one story in the Bible has a newly-sighted blind man saying that when he was given sight he at first saw people 'as trees walking'. That's what I saw. I saw the feet and lower calves, but the rest was a lot like looking at a huge conifer in a wind storm.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      Yes, it seems to me as well that we will always have an explanatory problem. I think the something must simply exist necessarily, and that it must consist of itself: it is not concretely made up of things which can properly be understood as concretely distinct from it or from one another.

      But, my point about space has to do with the common 'folk physics' perception that space is in some sense composed of dimensionless points. Even Einstein seems to have arrived at such a dimensionless point: he seems to have proposed that spacetime began as a dimensionless 'singularity' in which all of the current physical forces was somehow contained. It seems bizarre. But I think our practical perceptions of physics are simply not equipped to comprehend the actual nature of physics. You refer, for example, to 'chaos', but do you really know what that is, and that it is really there as they assert that it is? Further, I think that, in keeping with the mere concept of the dimensionless point as a logical necessity, there is a current infinite regress of kinds-and-sizes of particles that make up things, so that even a single leaf has just as many particles as the whole tree (and, so, infinity concretely cannot be reduced, otherwise it's not infinity).

      Some people wonder how, then, can anything really exist if there is an infinite regress of stuff. But, if there is a bottom level to stuff, then it seems there is the possibility that human discovery and practical application has a fixed maximum, and beyond which there is just the spinning of our mental wheels. LOL.

      It seems it is going to be bizarre either way, because unless space does in some sense contain an infinity of dimensionless points, then how is there such as thing as objective locality? But, then, I'm thinking that that's part of the thing you call 'chaos': no particle has an exact location, because if it did then it would not act in a bizarre manner. Instead, it would act as something which itself has an absolute location at a particular 'point' in 'time'. But, since it appears that the smaller we look into stuff, the more dynamic it is, then is there really a need for particles to be merely miniature versions of the 'clunky' macro-scopic level. A tree and a rock are fairly 'clunky', appearing essentially inert and lacking in forces. But, of all the forces familiar to us, gravity alone seems to be everywhere. And, still, with all our advances in physics, it seems to me that we have not ascertained the 'clunky' idea that gravity is made of particles. Unless I've not kept up with the research, gravity is as mysterious as ever.

      And if gravity is not made of anything that we can think of as 'clunky', then what of our 'clunky' brains as the very substance of consciousness? What causes such a brain to 'immediately' perceive a dichotomy between the 'clunky' world and the world of perception? Between mind and matter? Some dualists had come up the concept of zombies in order to prove that their dualism is rational. But, to me, if mind is just the action of so much 'clunky' stuff, then why the perception of many people that the actions of a human consciousness can be fully realized in an artificial substrate? Isn't the idea of such a realization the essence of a zombie?

      And, most importantly to my way of thinking, if the actions of a mind can be realized independently of a mind, then it seems to me that the 'subjective' awareness which seems to us to drive our distinctly intelligent actions is ultimately a useless redundancy that need never have arisen in the first place. So, when we take our 'clunky' sense of things and super-impose it onto everything, including onto mind, that redundancy is what seems to me to result.

      That result seems to me to be at odds with the concept of infinity.

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Well, I will just say that insofar as consciousness as we know it is composed of complex chemical and electrical processes in the brain, it seems straightforward to draw the line between the physical/unconscious components and consciousness. Sure, it's very hard to wrap our heads around, and we have not discovered how it all works completely. But there appears no reason to think this phenomenon is inherently unexplainable by naturalism.

      An analogy would be the properties that collections of particles have. Individual atoms, protons and neutrons are not anything like the liquids, gases and solids that they compose. Yet the whole thing falls completely within the naturalism sphere.

      "I think space does not exist of itself. What I think is that the human perception that space is 'irreducible' is nothing more than the human cognitive device for sensing the 'expansiveness' of specifically practical space (unlike what space is 'made of')."

      (Technically, according to quantum mechanics, what we perceive as "empty space" is actually a bubbling brew of subatomic particles and chaos. But nevertheless, whatever its basic nature, your point is taken.)

      I see no reason to think that space does not exist of itself. Why should we think such a thing? There appears to be no rational or empirical reason to. If one day science were to discover some deeper, more fundamental thing that preexisted space, gave space the ability to exist in the first place, then that would not solve the basic problem. For we would then be forced to ask: well, what is the basic nature of this thing? Does it exist of itself and if so, how? And so on.

      In other words, all of the same questions you are asking about space/ reality now.

      Suppose instead of space/ reality being eternal and uncreated, now we are going to say that reality is created, and it was created by God.

      Well, now we have the same problem, just in a different format: how is God uncreated and eternal? How does God exist of itself? The same questions you are asking about reality/ space apply just as well to some such supernatural entity. Wherever the starting point is, we, with our limited brains, will always have this problem.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      I'm back.

      You said : I am assuming that you do not believe that consciousness and "subjective sentience" can arise spontaneously from nature itself (i.e. through evolution).

      That's correct. I think it is ontologically incoherent to say that 'subjective' consciousness is the product of merely 'physical', non-aware stuff (like saying that a cauldron of various witches potions heated and stirred to a certain temperature and rate re-creates the actual waking mind of a frog-prince who is otherwise sleeping). Unlike for Daniel Dennett, for me it seems not just a mystery that merely 'physical' stuff causes consciousness: for me it seems an impossible fantasy to say that it does cause consciousness. This might seem to mean that I'm a mind-body dualist, but I'm not satisfied with any simple such dualism.

      But, back to space vs. omnipotence. I say that space is more essential than, say, a tree, in that space exists prior to trees, whereas a tree is made up of things which are not 'tree'. Just like a motorcycle is less essential than plants, in that a motorcycle is not only less integrated with its own parts than is any plant with a plant's parts, but that motorcycle-ness is not integral to animal life on Earth.

      Now, if space is more essential than trees, then what, if anything, is space made of? I think it is self-evident that space is not made of anything but space: it is irreducibly what it is. But, even if space is not made up of even more basic stuff, but simply 'is space', this does not seem to me to say that space is actually a particular kind of stuff.

      I think space does not exist of itself. What I think is that the human perception that space is 'irreducible' is nothing more than the human cognitive device for sensing the 'expansiveness' of specifically practical space (unlike what space is 'made of'). This is comparable to the perception that 'time' is a 'field' of an endless procession of empty 'present moments' which successively pass into and then out of some 'room of the present' and each filled, in turn, with events, matter, feelings, etc..

      So, I think that to entertain the idea of time travel is an impossible fantasy built on a fundamental misconception of time. And, I think a similar thing of space: that space is not the same thing as the human practical sense of space. I think that the human practical sense of space cannot say what space is, but only what is the relation between space and matter in terms of matter.

      And, I believe that that 'in terms of' clause is the key to understanding everything as much as we contingent cognizing agents ('subjective' creatures) can understand things. There is a natural and unavoidable hierarchy of things in terms of which a creature ' makes sense of things'. Confusion in regard to a particular thing arises when, in face of an assumption that the hierarchy is plumbed, the hierarchy is not quite plumbed---when, what is not quite essential is assumed, for purely pragmatic reasons, to be essential (pragmatic evidentialism). The analogy by computers is to assume, quite ignorantly, that an accustomed program is right for correctly displaying every file, so that when a file displays as having 'errors', the file itself is assumed to contain the errors.

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Logic and reality are for our purposes the same thing. "Logic" technically is our interpretation of reality and its laws. But the basic meaning here is a set of laws and rules that are inviolable.

      "space is an object in itself... That's how I meant it"

      I agree with that. Ok, then in that case, as I said in my previous comment, we are back to where we started in terms of the logical problems of omnipotence.

      "But, I'm pondering whether space can be such a thing [concrete, irreducible, etc], because, if space is essentially non-sentient, then I'm struggling to make any sense of where 'subjective' sentience comes from."

      Ah, here is where things get interesting. We are getting a bit more fundamental here as far as our assumptions. It seems you are onboard with what many theists believe, which is that consciousness and sentience require an original sentient entity to exist. Subjective sentience requires objective sentience (the kind that could only characterize God or something like a god).

      I am assuming that you do not believe that consciousness and "subjective sentience" can arise spontaneously from nature itself (i.e. through evolution). That, of course, is another whole discussion. But for now suffice it to say that there is no reason to believe that consciousness must arise from other consciousness. There is no reason to DISbelieve the implications of evolution, which is that consciousness can arise spontaneously from non-conscious things and processes.

      "Do you include in those 'laws of nature' the 'laws of coherent thought' (what I think you might call 'logic')?"

      Again, "logic" per se is simply our interpretation and understanding of reality and its laws, or the effect of nature on our minds. If your next step after this question is to say that the logic or coherence of nature requires a logical designer, this relates to what I just said above. I have dealt with this issue, including in another hub. And many greater thinkers than I have successfully confronted it as well. There are logical holes in it. But I will wait for your response if that is your actual meaning, since that is another topic.

      "If you believe that there essential objects, then the first question I have for you is whether you think there can be multiple, mutually independent essential objects."

      I suppose anything is possible. I see no reason to believe such a thing though. It seems there is reason only to believe in a single such object--namely, reality or nature itself.

      "what is the nature of the connection between coherent thought and the coherence of essential objects?"

      I know this question does not technically apply based on your question chain, but I will answer anyway and say that coherent thought can arise--indeed, some might say, it is guaranteed to arise--from the coherence of nature itself. Hence evolution of complex intelligent organisms.

      (Of course, the much subtler and deeper insight is that what we call "coherence" is itself a byproduct of this reality we are in. So coherence/ order/ etc really only mean conformity with reality itself. This again indicates that it all goes back to nature/ reality itself. But again, that's another whole tangent.)

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      .

      .

      .

      .

      Based on your words about the 'laws of reality', I’m under the singular impression that you believe as I do: that some things, whatever they may be, are not the products of anything, but are irreducibly what they are as non-contingent objects (inherently coherent, self-existent objects). I shall hereafter call these objects ‘essential objects’.

      If you believe that there essential objects, then the first question I have for you is whether you think there can be multiple, mutually independent essential objects.

      If you think there can be multiple, mutually independent essential objects, then I have a second question for you: do you also think that any of these multiple essential objects can be sentient?

      If you answer ‘No’ to that second question, then I have a third question: what is the nature of the connection between coherent thought and the coherence of essential objects?

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      No problem for the delay.

      First, in reply to parts of two of your final paragraphs:

      1. "It's not so much that "X is limited because it cannot make irrational objects." It's more that "X is limited by logic,"

      and

      2."God is the creator of reality, and lies outside of reality, and thus it makes sense that he would be able to bend and violate the laws of reality."

      'Logic', 'reality', it seems to me that you are using both for the same thing. In any case, when I examine the idea in my mind of 'a sentient power that created reality', and compare this with your words, I get the impression that you are projecting actual entity-ness onto an abstraction which you are calling 'reality', so that you are maintaining the position that this abstraction subsumes the defined 'creator of reality'. But, regardless whether this is your position, this position seems to me to be incoherent on its own terms.

      Now, about your response to what you quoted of me at the beginning of your comment:

      Me: "A concretely real object, whether sentient to any degree, or purely non-sentient, if it has every logically possible kind and degree of power over, and if it is impossible to be compromised by, all other concretely real objects, is omnipotent in any rational sense in which power practically is said to be power."

      You: "I don't agree. I would say such an agent is very powerful, but not all powerful. Because there are still things he cannot do. He cannot travel through time, for instance. He cannot open a wormhole in space at will. He cannot rip a hole in, or create, or destroy, a universe. He is, therefore, limited. He is limited by the natural laws of reality."

      Are you saying that space is not concretely real, but that space is just an abstraction? Because, if you think that space is something that exists outside the minds of specifically contingent sentient entities, that is, if you think that space is an object in itself, then the 'omnipotent object' that you quoted me as defining is an object the power of which applies to space. That's how I meant it to apply: to any real object outside itself. Unless you think that space is an irreducible object which, by its nature, precludes wormholes or etc., then the 'omnipotent object' of my quoted definition has power to make wormholes.

      On the other hand, if, in your mind, the nature of space as a real (rather than abstract) object is comprehensively self-evident, ontologically necessary, concretely irreducible, and concretely non-manipulate-able, then space must be part of that uniquely non-contingent reality to the power of which all contingent objects are subject. But, I'm pondering whether space can be such a thing, because, if space is essentially non-sentient, then I'm struggling to make any sense of where 'subjective' sentience comes from. I'm wondering very much whether my own conception that some things are non-sentient (such as rocks, space, and even plants) is not in some way a cognitive shorthand for the purposes which my own merely practical needs generally require, since I'm aware that my mind is limited in its operations and resources.

      You said:

      "the real thing that defines the boundaries of what is possible for me, or you, or a bird, or the human race, is the laws of nature."

      Do you include in those 'laws of nature' the 'laws of coherent thought' (what I think you might call 'logic')?

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Sorry for the delay in responding.

      "A concretely real object, whether sentient to any degree, or purely non-sentient, if it has every logically possible kind and degree of power over, and if it is impossible to be compromised by, all other concretely real objects, is omnipotent in any rational sense in which power practically is said to be power."

      I don't agree. I would say such an agent is very powerful, but not all powerful. Because there are still things he cannot do. He cannot travel through time, for instance. He cannot open a wormhole in space at will. He cannot rip a hole in, or create, or destroy, a universe. He is, therefore, limited. He is limited by the natural laws of reality.

      Unless you will say that those natural laws, and the logic that they produce, are themselves "concrete" in some way, and therefore the omnipotent agent can indeed violate them, in which case we are back to where we started. (I don't think that's what you would say.)

      Basically, you use words like "concretely real" and "rational" and "practical." These are arbitrary self-serving designations. To an atheist, God is a figment of the imagination, and therefore not concretely real. By contrast, to a theist, God is most certainly "concretely real." Why do you arbitrarily draw the line of "concreteness" at the boundaries of what we know to be real?

      You have simply narrowed the terms just enough so that you can claim "omnipotence is possible."

      I can say that I am omnipotent. But let me clarify: omnipotent in my house. I have total power over everything, and nothing can limit me, in my house. Thus, I am omnipotent in my house. Within those boundaries, I am all powerful. Since I never leave my house, this is the only rational or practical meaning of power to me :)

      This is essentially what you are doing.

      I said in the article that power, definitionally, has nothing to do with anything logical or anything that "makes sense." That is a slippery slope. Power means the ability to do something. That's it. Not the ability to do something that "makes sense to us" or something that "obeys logic." No--just the ability to do something.

      "We don't normally think of the familiar concrete objects around us as limited in their powers by that fact that they cannot make irrational objects. Rather, we think of them as limited in terms of all the other concrete objects in our world: mutually subject."

      I don't quite agree with that. Yes, we say they are limited by each other on some level. But the real thing that defines the boundaries of what is possible for me, or you, or a bird, or the human race, is the laws of nature. (Those would be the "rules" in the context of the basketball game aforementioned.)

      It's not so much that "X is limited because it cannot make irrational objects." It's more that "X is limited by logic," or "logic dictates that A is possible for X and B is not possible." Essentially saying the same thing, of course.

      There is nothing in the actual definition of power or omnipotence that mentions logic or the laws of nature, as much as you would like to claim.

      And this is precisely why omnipotence is allowed as a quality of God--because God is the creator of reality, and lies outside of reality, and thus it makes sense that he would be able to bend and violate the laws of reality.

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      .

      .

      We don't normally think of the familiar concrete objects around us as limited in their powers by that fact that they cannot make irrational objects. Rather, we think of them as limited in terms of all the other concrete objects in our world: mutually subject. So, an omnipotent concrete object would be an object which is not mutually subject to other concrete objects, and would be that one concrete object to which all others are subject. So, there are, to start with, three senses in which an omnipotent concrete object would be omnipotent:

      1) its own concrete coherence cannot be undone by any other concrete object,

      2) it can effect any other concrete object in any concrete way.

      3) its omnipotent ability to effect any other concrete object cannot be undone by any other concrete object.

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      "a tyrant who has total, complete control over a small community of people...is a concrete agent who cannot be limited by any other concrete agent (suppose they are the only people in existence). This may qualify as "omnipotent" by your definition,"

      It seems to me you still mistake my position somewhat. So, I'm going to try to rephrase and re-term my position:

      A concretely real object, whether sentient to any degree, or purely non-sentient, if it has every logically possible kind and degree of power over, and if it is impossible to be compromised by, all other concretely real objects, is omnipotent in any rational sense in which power practically is said to be power.

      I take it as axiomatic that sentience is a kind of power: the 'power to know'. So, I have for you what I hope you find is a sensibly-termed question: By what 'power to know' do you believe that you’ve apprehended the true relation between the nature of power and the nature of knowledge, such that an object of logically ultimate power is defined as an object which, by its own self alone, is changed from irreducible power to reducible power?

      I may be over-simplistic in some or all of this, but my thinking is that there are exactly two most ‘basic’ definable, logically possible, kinds of concrete objects: that made of other concrete objects/synthetic/reducible (such as you and me, bread, water, atoms, etc), and that which is irreducible (entirely co-extensive with itself in such a way that it cannot be taken apart even into smaller bits of itself). And, it seems to me that this second-mentioned kind of object takes logical precedence, or a priority.

      I think that the formulation of either or both parts of the compound of 'omnipotence' that produces the irrational object which you insist is omnipotence implies that those formulations are ultimately irrational (mis-formulations of the actual real-world empirical facts from which the genetralized concepts of these parts are derived) Further, I think this irrational compound has much more to do with the Liar Paradox that you may realize:

      First, paradox depends on the existence of a coherence against which to construct a seemingly necessary conflict. How this works in the normal liar paradox is that the nominal liar lies only in sum, not in all the parts that make up that sum. That is, the nominally 'perfect' liar is permitted to make genuine reference to objects, such as to himself, as a means of misrepresenting the objects referenced.

      But, to assert that the liar must, by definition, be precluded absolutely from all senses in which it is possible correctly to represent anything is actually to allow that the nominal liar is precluded from representing anything as a means of mis-representing it.

      This means the classical Liar Paradox is inconsistent with the standard for which it sometimes is presented as the demonstration: the concept of the contra-normally ‘perfect liar’. In so far as the least contra-normative idea of a ‘perfect’ liar is allowed to be a cognizing object, that ‘perfect’ liar is an irrational object.

      The kind of ‘perfect liar’ which a mind normally contrives is that involving either a mind, or a necessarily epistemological interpretation of a form produced-by-a-mind-for-an-epistemological-purpose. The cost of such a contrivance is, at best, that the concept of a ‘perfect liar’ is side-stepped, and, at worst, that this side-step is not realized.

      This means that the classical Liar Paradox is a paradox for the very reason that it is a retention of the epistemologically normative function, on the part of a mind, of cognitive functionality. In other words, the classical Liar Paradox is a case merely of the mind’s own normal sense in which the concept of a ‘liar’ is a mind. This is why, in many cases, the paradox is rephrased as an impersonal statement.

      But, since forms themselves do not constitute reference, all forms are allowed---even ‘Abraham Lincoln was uncommonly tall’---, while no form may be produced as reference. And, if no form is produced as reference, then it doesn’t matter whether any form produced is taken by a non-producer as reference: the production is consistent with the standard, and so no paradox is produced. Only by irrational reference is a concept re-conceived as irrational.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      I would say power includes or implies sentience, or something resembling sentience. A bird, for instance, has the power to flap its wings, though it is not as sentient or conscious as a person.

      "...what is it is about your idea of power that makes you think that 'limitless power' implies the power to make everything meaningless?"

      Because a limitless power is not limited by anything, including logic itself. Yet the definition of "limitless power" itself requires the use of logic. Hence the paradox of omnipotence.

      "Of course, the point in conceiving such an agent is exactly what??? The same goes for your formulation of 'limitless' agent. But, it seems to me that you insist, for reasons which you have not succeeded in demonstrating to my mind, that that formulation is necessarily implied in every rational compound of 'power' and limitless'."

      Are you asking here why I bother to conceive of a limitless agent? What is the point, in other words. Well, I didn't come up with this idea--other people did. I'm just showing how their idea makes no sense.

      An agent with "limitless power" clearly means something, so I don't see what your criticism is there. I am just using the term "limitless power" or "omnipotence" or whatever as it has been given to me, and showing how it makes no sense.

      It's like if I said I believe in a square circle. You can then take the definition of a square, and of a circle, and show that my idea makes no sense.

      "I think that one meaningful way of interpreting the term ‘limitless power’ is that of a concrete agent which is not, and cannot be, limited by any other concrete agent... It seems to me that such an agent would be, by all rational definition, omnipotent and omniscient: the one non-contingent, irreducible agent."

      Well, an example of such an agent would be a tyrant who has total, complete control over a small community of people. This is a concrete agent who cannot be limited by any other concrete agent (suppose they are the only people in existence). This may qualify as "omnipotent" by your definition, but that is not the typical definition of that word. The tyrant still cannot jump up in the air and fly; he can't grow to an enormous size in an instant; he can't breathe in space; he can't melt into a puddle of water and then reassemble.

      There are countless things he can't do, so how is such a person "omnipotent"? Only by a very narrow definition of that word does it make sense. That is not the typical definition of the word "omnipotence."

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      .

      .

      I think that one meaningful way of interpreting the term ‘limitless power’ is that of a concrete agent which is not, and cannot be, limited by any other concrete agent. Such an agent would, in my mind, be defined as genuinely unlimited in this sense. But, other rational dimensions of ‘unlimited’ can be added, such as that this agent can do anything concrete in regard to the functions, potentials, and natures of all other agents. It seems to me that such an agent would be, by all rational definition, omnipotent and omniscient: the one non-contingent, irreducible agent.

      But aside from such an agent, I think that unless potential inheres in an irreducible agent of some kind, then our sense of the ability to identify as to what is logically required be conceived/inferred by a compound of two or more ideas is an illusory ability in any case.

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      I find this very interesting.

      Are you saying that 'power' implies sentience? Or, are you saying that 'limitless' power necessarily includes sentience as a kind of power?

      As this is not a live exchange, I'm going to assume that you think that sentience is a kind of power. But, if 1)sentience is a kind of power, and if 2)limitless power includes sentience, and if 3)limitless power includes the power to make any identity equal logical explosion, then...

      ...what is the relation between the sentience of that limitless power and anything that you and I find to be 'true (or else coherent) by definition'?

      In other words, what is it is about your idea of power that makes you think that 'limitless power' implies the power to make everything meaningless? Why does the term 'limitless power' compel you to think that it means a dichotomy between power and the essential knowledge that some things can be known to not be what they are not? Consider the following agent, in which inheres exactly three powers:

      Power 1: A benevolence which is devoid of the ability to grieve by the acts of any agent other than itself, but ‘perfect’ in its knowing when benevolence is required;

      Power 2: The power to accomplish anti-identifiably ‘anything-everything’ in the number-mathematics of all agents except itself (it has no power to multiply itself, or to reduce itself to zero, or etc.).

      Power 3: Indestructibility/inviolability in terms of all other agents.

      It has no other powers.

      Assuming that I have defined these three powers as explicitly by which to define the hypothetical agent I have in mind, I think a case can be made that there are at least three main conclusions that follow from this definition. The least controversial conclusion may be that this agent has no power to compromise itself (the definitions of the three powers given do not enumerate such a power, and they are concluded by the stipulation that this agent has no powers but those which have been enumerated). The second and third conclusions may be somewhat controversial:

      2nd, this agent has no power to communicate with any other agents except by using the irrational portion of its math power to change mathematical equations as a means of interaction. 3rd, this agent would never, and, thus, shall never, use the irrational portion of its mathematical power.

      A fourth conclusion seems to follow from the latter two: 4th, this agent shall never communicate with any agent.

      A fifth, independent, conclusion is that this agent has no necessary form.

      A sixth conclusion, which follows from the fifth and from the definitions of its powers, is that this agent cannot change its form.

      A seventh conclusion is that this agent has no form, and cannot occupy a form.

      An eighth conclusion is that this agent (but not this agent's actions) necessarily is insensible to all other agents.

      A ninth conclusion is that this agent would never create anything, because its one power to change anything (any ‘state of affairs’) is the power arbitrarily to change mathematical equations (which it will not do, because to ever do so would confuse and invalidate other sentimental agents, and this agent will never do anything that undermines the sentimental well-being of any sentimental agent).

      The tenth, and most important, conclusion is that if (I repeat, if) this agent exists, then mathematical sums are not inviolably true, but only inviolable in face of the powers of agents which are not this agent.

      .

      Now, by what means can the above agent be proved not to exist? Of course, the point in conceiving such an agent is exactly what??? The same goes for your formulation of 'limitless' agent. But, it seems to me that you insist, for reasons which you have not succeeded in demonstrating to my mind, that that formulation

      is necessarily implied in every rational compound of 'power' and limitless'.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      An agent with limitless power--it might be reducible or irreducible. Either way, I don't think it makes much difference. Either way, the fact of limitless power has certain implications. It is these implications that create logical contradictions. The implications, therefore, indict the very concept that gave birth to them.

      (If, on the other hand, you will claim that simply describing the implications of this limitless power itself makes the agent reducible, then I will say I don't see where the incoherence lies.)

      I am not just talking about the "idea" of a square circle. I am talking about an actual square circle--actually existing, out there in reality. We can't imagine such a thing, but a truly limitless agent can create realities in which such things are possible.

      If calling my analysis a "description" of omnipotence is what you prefer, then so be it. It is still valid regardless. And it is not "my definition" of omnipotence, it is *the* definition of omnipotence: the ability to do anything; limitless power; infinite power.

      "The position that an agent which is omnipotent... means that that agent's power is logically explosive is a position which is reducing the definition of power to an action which changes something."

      No, power is not an action. Power is the ability to perform action. Potential, in other words.

      "This definition of power fails to account for the fact that concrete entities, or agents, do not simply 'have' power, but actually are power. Power is not some abstract force. Every instance of power is an actual agent, otherwise no agent could change any other agent."

      No, again, power is the potential. I have the power to drive a car. Do I drive? No, I actually don't own a car. Does that mean I don't have the power or ability to drive? No, I do have a driver's license and I am physically capable of driving. I'm just not doing it at this moment.

      "... all-power would mean that everything, no matter how identifiably inviolable, can be changed."

      This is precisely what omnipotence means, and why it is impossible.

      "But, I would think that you believe as I do: that power consists most concretely in an agent; specifically, an agent which is not subject to being changed. I would say that you might assent to the idea that some ‘inviolable set of universal physical constants’ is such an agent."

      I wouldn't consider the natural laws of the universe to be an "agent" in this way. An "agent with power" to me sounds like a conscious entity of some kind--a person, an angel, a god, etc. I don't see the natural laws as "agents with power" I see them as rules.

      Here is an analogy: a basketball game. You have the set of rules of the game (natural laws), and then you have the players (conscious entities). The players have all sorts of powers--to pass, to shoot, to steal, etc--but they must work within the framework of the rules of the game.

      Do the rules have "power"? I suppose, in an extremely broad sense. But it seems much more useful to think of the rules as just boundaries or a framework demarcating what is possible and what is not. Within that framework, "power" has meaning. The rules say the player has the power to shoot the ball, but not the power to travel with the ball.

      (It should go without saying that although the players have the power to do this or that, that does not mean they actually are doing that at any given time.)

      So it is not that the rules have power; it is that the rules identify which powers are possible and which are not.

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      The position that an agent which is omnipotent, or has unlimited power, necessarily or literally means that that agent's power is logically explosive is a position which is reducing the definition of power to an action which changes something.

      This definition of power fails to account for the fact that concrete entities, or agents, do not simply 'have' power, but actually are power. Power is not some abstract force. Every instance of power is an actual agent, otherwise no agent could change any other agent. Most agents are synthetic, and so can lose some of their powers (such as that a bird dies) without losing their status as concrete entities. But, death is just a certain level of a failure to cohere.

      It seems to me you are saying that power is not most essentially an agent, or a concrete thing, but that power is most essentially an action upon something that changes that something. But, if power consists most essentially in the fact that something is subject to being changed, then, all-power would mean that everything, no matter how identifiably inviolable, can be changed. But, I would think that you believe as I do: that power consists most concretely in an agent; specifically, an agent which is not subject to being changed. I would say that you might assent to the idea that some ‘inviolable set of universal physical constants’ is such an agent.

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      Yow! I made a grammar error in that finl sentence, by putting 'precludes' where 'means' should have been.

      So, I should have written:

      'Some people actually assent that such a definition in no way means that an agent of that description cannot exist'

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      Firstly, we’re not talking about God. You may be talking about God, but I’m not. I’m talking about your logical standards for defining the idea of ‘all the power which may inhere in a single agent’.

      So, secondly, I’m not talking about whether such an agent is logically necessary. Rather, my basic question is whether, in your mind, such an agent is irreducibly a single agent, or whether, instead, you think that such an agent is reducible ‘by definition’? Because, if, in your mind, such an agent is reducible ‘by definition’, then I doubt the ultimate coherence of the standard(s) by which you arrive at that definition.

      About the definition of ‘states of affairs’ (or ‘things’). The idea of a ‘square circle’, or of ‘2+2=explosion’, clearly has ideational content (unlike intentionally ideationally content-less strings of letters such as ‘dfdhtye’). But, unless a ‘square circle’ and ‘2+2=explosion’ are things in the sense of even possibly existing in the actual world outside the ‘imagination’, then these ‘things’ aren’t things in any meaningful way in terms of the power to actualize them, nor in terms of their own power to exist.

      Imagine an agent which has only one very narrow ‘power’: the ‘power’ to make ‘square circles’. The problem is that, all else being equal, no one could actually identify an instance of that agent’s action: an actual ‘square circle’. Because, to identify an actual, concretely real, ‘square circle’ requires the power to identify it. And, this means that for an agent to have the power to create a ‘square circle’, this does not imply that that agent has the power either to know that it has created anything, or what it has created.

      So, what I’m saying is, I think that your ‘conclusion’ as to the logical impossibility of omnipotence is merely a _description_ of your definition of omnipotence. Some people actually assent that such a definition in no way precludes that an agent of that description cannot exist, but I hope that you can see how cognitively lax is the thinking of such people.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Daniel:

      "Let 'A' be a logical necessity. Let 'z' be the negation of 'A'. Therefore 'A'='z' is not (I repeat, not) a thing. Assuming you agree so far with this formula, let 'OP' be an agent that can do any thing. Need I complete the syllogism?"

      Either I'm too dumb, or you are not a very good communicator (or both), because I don't really get what you're trying to say here. I assume that you're saying that OP, an agent that can do anything, is a logical necessity, and then some kind of Z is the negation of this agent? Logic flies in the face of the ability to do anything, so that's all I can say on this. Unless you wish to clarify this for me.

      "'The following statement is false.' 'The preceding statement is false.' What, in any world, is the subject of the falsehood which that pair grammatically seems to address?"

      Well, each sentence in this pair is addressing a different subject. The subject of the first sentence is the second, and the subject of the second sentence is the first. Both sentences have the structure "[subject] is [adjective]." I don't know how else to explain this. It's simple grammar.

      But the liar issue does not concern me that much.

      "'A'='z' is a thing, somehow (you think), yet you've not even begun to prove it. You cannot name even one of those angels. But, you think 'OP can, if 'OP' existed, because 'OP' can____. Fill in the blank, even with random nothings: 'wtltwtbf spb gbpfpt', no less than that 'roses ARE wtltwtbf spb gbpfpt'..."

      I think you're saying that I am saying that OP can do anything. Yes? How about we replace "OP" with "God"? Again, as I said, I didn't come up with the idea of God. I didn't come up with the idea of an omnipotent agent. All I've been saying is, precisely the opposite, that such an agent CANNOT logically exist because it creates irreconcilable contradictions with itself.

      Is it possible to make a square circle? Of course not, because it is a contradiction. But if an agent can truly do ANYTHING then it can do even things that self-contradict. Self-contradicting states of affairs are included in "all states of affairs." Since such a being can bring about any or all states of affairs, it must follow that he can bring about impossible states of affairs. Which, obviously, leads to contradictions. Contradictions that liquidate the possibility of the existence of such a being at all.

      "By 'essential', I meant "cannot be undone in its own agency." In other words indestructible, even by its own power."

      In that case yes. I don't believe such a thing is possible. That is kind of the whole point of this article. That omnipotence is logically impossible. But I am not assuming this blindly, if that's what you're implying. I am coming to this conclusion from logical deduction.

      I didn't start with the assumption that omnipotence is impossible. I said "let's say that it is possible, what would that mean? Well, that would mean X, and it would mean Y. But wait--X and Y logically contradict each other. Therefore omnipotence is not logically possible."

      Creating a square circle is included under the umbrella of "everything." Creating a immovable stone that is movable is included under the umbrella of "everything." And so on. So if a being can truly do "everything," it can do these things. Nothing is impossible.

      You see how logical deduction leads to separate conclusions that each logically contradict each other?

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      .

      .

      Secularist10:

      In an earlier post, you had quoted me and then replied.

      I had said, "... you deny that there logically can be an agent that, as an agent, is essentially peerless."

      You repied, "No, I don't deny that. Suppose there are no other intelligent life forms in the universe. In that case, we humans would be peerless."

      First, I said _essentially_ peerless. By 'essential', I meant "cannot be undone in its own agency." In other words indestructible, even by its own power. By 'peerless', I did not mean simply in terms of a limited number of the basic kinds of agency, but in terms *every* basic kind of agency. If you think that intelligence (i.e., subjective awareness, and that awarenesses power to act and interact in a libertarian-ly free manner) is a basic kind of agency, so be it. But, clearly, humans are not peerless in terms of every basic kind of power. A human can, for instance, have his entire set of coherent powers crushed to oblivion between a very massive-and-voluminous boulder and the Earth's gravitational mass, or blown to dust by a very high explosive.

      Second, when I said that *you deny* that there logically can be an agent that is essentially peerless, I meant that your arguments here have failed to allow for an agent which is inviolably peerless in every basic kind of power (whatever you yourself think are all the basic kinds of powers, not what I might think). Whether you actually reject that such an agent is logically possible is not the point, but simply that it seems to me that your direction of thought (as assumed by the forms of language you've used), is looking right past the diamond ring in the tall grass (see my previous post).

    • profile image

      Daniel-Omnilingua 5 years ago

      Secularist10:

      I find this fascinating and challenging: That one person can find something so obvious to that person (either you or me) while another person does not seem even to see it, seemingly no matter how obviously to the one person that that one person states the issue. Herebelow is my own new, very short-and-simple, and formal, attempt to state what I find so obviously false about your statements about omnipotence, but which it seems to me that you miss (like a diamond ring in tall grass as you gallop by on your steed after the fox).

      Let 'A' be a logical necessity. Let 'z' be the negation of 'A'.

      Therefore 'A'='z' is not (I repeat, not) a thing.

      Assuming you agree so far with this formula, let 'OP' be an agent that can do any thing.

      Need I complete the syllogism?

      (I wish a smiley that likens someone pulling out his hair) :)

      .

      Now, back to the liar paradox:

      Consider the following pair.

      'The following statement is false.' 'The preceding statement is false.'

      What, in any world, is the subject of the falsehood which that pair grammatically seems to address?

      This is no less the case for the Bob-and-Jim world (in which the only members are two guys, by the names of Bob and Jim, each of whom knows nothing whatever except the mere idea if lying):

      Jim says, 'Bob is a liar.'

      Bob says, 'Jim is a liar.'

      What. Is. The. Lie? ???

      It's like you're saying that there are ten thousand angels on the head of a pin, but you cannot actually prove that there is even one angel there. You just assume it.

      So, all my replies have amounted to demanding that you name those angels, or even so much tell what they look like. 'A'='z' is a thing, somehow (you think), yet you've not even begun to prove it. You cannot name even one of those angels. But, you think 'OP can, if 'OP' existed, because 'OP' can____.

      Fill in the blank, even with random nothings: 'wtltwtbf spb gbpfpt', no less than that 'roses ARE wtltwtbf spb gbpfpt' (pre-consequential power, as one of the innumerable 'any things' that aren't things.)

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Daniel:

      Well, the statement "I am a liar" is pretty straightforward grammatically. It has the same structure as "the house is a mansion" or "Greece is a country." The subject of this sentence is not country, it is Greece. The statement is providing new information about Greece--Greece could be a city, a region, a planet, etc, but the statement is providing the information that it is a country.

      "... you deny that there logically can be an agent that, as an agent, is essentially peerless."

      No, I don't deny that. Suppose there are no other intelligent life forms in the universe. In that case, we humans would be peerless. But we do not have infinite or unlimited power. An agent can be peerless without having infinite power. It is the issue of infinite power that is a problem.

      "... your formulation of such an agent as necessarily paradoxical, by way of your appeal to an epistemologically indifferent (lax) notion of power which allows such an agent to be redefined as ‘existing’ in adverse relation to the possibility of defining anything as essential, including the very definition of such an agent."

      Well, firstly, "epistemologically indifferent" is quite a loaded phrase. You're essentially saying that if a given term does not give us the result we want, we can simply change the definition of it until we get that result. And if we are not so fast and loose with the language, then we are being uncreative, lax and indifferent. That is straightforwardly ridiculous.

      Secondly, the whole point of all of this is that the agent, in light of the paradox of omnipotence, does not exist! It does not exist because it logically CANNOT exist. So I am not redefining it as existing, I am precisely arguing that it cannot exist in the first place. As for anything being "essential" that seems like yet another topic altogether.

      "... while the agent... can... create a rock that it then cannot lift, every quality of that rock task... is meaningless to that agent. Such an agent cannot care about what, from its own point of view, are just so many petty problems of identifiability and reality."

      Again you are bringing in irrelevant issues. The question is not "does God care if he can do XYZ" the question is "can God do XYZ." It is a question of objective truth, not subjective feelings. Everything may very well be meaningless to this amazing being, but that does not have anything to do with its basic ability to do anything. Buying a pack of chewing gum doesn't carry any great significance or weight to me, but that does not have anything to do with my ability to buy it.

      "... you seem to find it natural to actually pit power and logic against each other to see which one wins. But, any genuine contest requires a neutral, or otherwise common, standard..."

      The contest here is not between logic and power. It is between God's ability to create the immovable stone, and God's infinite power. In other words, God's power to do a specific thing (create an immovable stone), and God's power to do another specific thing (move any stone).

      Logic is the neutral arbiter, the standard you seek, between these two.

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      .

      .

      .

      If I state that ‘I utter falsehood’, and if I do not intend that statement as an instance of my uttering falsehood (but rather of my accurately describing that I utter falsehood), and if you know that I do not intent it as an instance of my uttering falsehood, and if you utter that it must nevertheless be understood as an instance of my uttering falsehood, then you shall be uttering falsehood.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      In your assertions about ‘omnipotence’, it sounds to me as if you’re arguing that, ‘for every agent, there can be another agent more powerful’, that you deny that there logically can be an agent that, as an agent, is essentially peerless.

      Hence, my appeal to the Liar Paradox as an instance of such a denial: your formulation of such an agent as necessarily paradoxical, by way of your appeal to an epistemologically indifferent (lax) notion of power which allows such an agent to be redefined as ‘existing’ in adverse relation to the possibility of defining anything as essential, including the very definition of such an agent.

      So, while the agent in your redefinition of such an ‘agent’ can, by definition, create a rock that it then cannot lift, every quality of that rock task, including the result that that agent is unable to lift the rock, is meaningless to that agent. Such an agent cannot care about what, from its own point of view, are just so many petty problems of identifiability and reality. If such an agent is posited to exist, then, to be consistent with that position, one also must posit that this agent is meaningless even to itself (power). So, if it is to be required that this agent create a rock too heavy for it to lift, then that rock’s very quality of being too heavy for it to lift is indistinguishable from any other outcome (cause-and-effect). In fact, there is no outcome as far as this ‘absolute’ power is concerned (change/sequentiality).

      In seeming to find it epistemologically required that the logic of the immediate coherence of the concept of omnipotence be viewed in dichotomous, or adversarial, relation to the concept, you seem to find it natural to actually pit power and logic against each other to see which one wins. But, any genuine contest requires a neutral, or otherwise common, standard, and, since no such standard is forthcoming for this contest, one or the other fully ambiguated contestants (logic and power) is presumed to serve as judge. After all, if some neutral or common standard were presumed to exist, then there would be some doubt, to say the least, as to how to determine the winner, much less how to convince anyone else that the winner has, indeed, won.

      So, either power, as such, can be identified to exist, or power is not co-extensive with...'logic' in any sense.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      Secularist10 wrote: 'The statement "I am a liar" is not a reference to lying. It is a reference to the speaker. The speaker, a person, is referencing himself. The speaker is the subject of that statement.'

      I disagree. I think the subject of that statement (when interpreted as an instance of hypocrisy/lying) is the implicit one of the mere idea of the act, on the speaker’s part, of lying.

      Some people think that the Liar Paradox is not a paradox, but simply a lie. But, the statement, 'This statement is an instance of lying', is, from a certain frame of reference, correctly representing itself, in that the statement is not actually committing a lie, in which case its self-representation as an instance of lying is a misrepresentation of itself. But, other than that, there is no lie, and, since it is intended as self-referential, there is, in fact, a paradox.

      The problem is that the statement, as you correctly imply, does not, and cannot, stand on its own: it has no mind, no intention, in the sense that it is just a sequence of forms which do not constitute meaning. Only by way of a mind's accustomed interaction with that sequence is there a lie, a paradox, or a failure to inform about that sequence's normal functional content.

      Taken self-referentially, the term 'lie', produces a paradox, because then the mind is in the act of contradicting itself as to whether the idea of lying constitutes an act of lying. Answering it in the affirmative is an instance of something being false: the statement, 'The idea of the act of lying is an instance of lying' is false.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Understood. Mistakes happen.

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      MilesArmbruster 5 years ago from Somewhere on the journey

      Mea culpa.

      I did say one thing in error in my last post, and I need to be honest, I was wrong. I said, "I know hundreds of theists, and none of them define God this way, not even one." That is incorrect. You did say that "most theists claim that God is omnipotent" and that is absolutely true. And you also say, "Omnipotence is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition." So in all fairness, I need to admit that you are right, you have properly identified omnipotence as an attribute that theists would claim for God. I am sorry that I may have misrepresented your position.

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      MilesArmbruster 5 years ago from Somewhere on the journey

      I know hundreds of theists, and none of them define God this way, not even one.

      And I didn't say that you claimed that God has only one quality. I said that your argument only works because you have created a god with only one quality. If you argued the God of the theists, your argument would no longer work.

      But, at least you do see the point. If omnipotence were the only quality of God, then you could perhaps make your argument work. In fact, I will grant your whole argument. If there were a god and his only attribute was omnipotence, and we assume that his omnipotence is somehow constrained to the rules of rhetorical argument, then yes, that god does not exist. (And, as I said, I don't know any theists who believe in a god like that) If, however, we grant God at least the complexity of character that we would give anyone, He would be judged on the complexity of His many attributes. I think that the issue in this case would be your analogy. Attributes of a person's character cannot be so singled out, as in your image of pillars of a building. It is perhaps more helpful to see a person's character as a tapestry where you can't pull out a single characteristic and judge the whole person by it. If we look at God this way, a theist doesn't define God narrowly at all. Nevertheless, your whole argument still hinges upon a narrow definition where you set up a god who is no God at all. The god that you and "countless thinkers and philosophers through the ages" have created is easy to refute.

      Given the criteria you have used we could argue this way.

      Joe, the typical next door neighbor, is typical. He likes football, enjoys backyard bar-be-cue, yells at his kids when he get angry, and works hard to support his family. One day, we see Joe yelling at his kids because they threw a baseball at the house and broke a window.

      1) Joe is angry.

      2) Angry people are not kind.

      3) Conclusion: Joe is never kind.

      So, by narrowing Joe down to a single attribute, anger, we can prove whatever we want about him. Simple logic. Of course, our judgement of Joe would be altered if there was, perhaps, other attributes of his that made us rethink our conclusion.

      And I am sorry, I did not mean to imply that your definition of god was original in any way. To be consistent with your expression of it, I should have said that, "countless thinkers and philosophers through the ages" have imagined a narrow definition of god to build arguments around. You did not invent it, both this narrow view of God and this form of argumentation have been around for a long time.

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Miles:

      This isn't my definition of God, it's the definition of God as held by most theists. Most theists claim God is omnipotent, so that is why I am using that definition.

      So I haven't "created" any god, it is the theists who have created the God and I am simply working with what they have given me. And moreover, the fact that this is not a personal thing unique to me is indicated by the fact that countless thinkers and philosophers through the ages have employed the paradox of omnipotence. I didn't invent any of this.

      "In this case, the straw man you have set up is one where your god has only one quality - omnipotence."

      Nowhere did I claim that God has only one quality. I assumed--again, as the theist claims--that God is omnipotent. This omnipotence is an essential feature of God, but not his only feature. Omnipotence is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. There are other qualities (such as omniscience or the fact of creating everything) that are also essential to God. Just like the columns holding up a building, if just one of these qualities fails, then the whole concept fails.

      Therefore if omnipotence is impossible, then God is impossible. In the same way, if omniscience were impossible, then God would be impossible for that reason. And so on.

      So the theist, by defining God so narrowly with all these necessary qualities, has made God very fragile indeed.

    • MilesArmbruster profile image

      MilesArmbruster 5 years ago from Somewhere on the journey

      Ultimately, the answer to the original "paradox" is simple. You are correct, god, as you have defined him, is impossible based upon your logic. In other words, you have created a god who can't exist within the parameters you have defined. Your argument and conclusion are correct as long as you get to choose what "god" is. Since you are so committed to logic, you should immediately recognize this as a "straw man" argument. That is, you set up a false view, one that fits your position, and then proceed to knock down the false view.

      In this case, the straw man you have set up is one where your god has only one quality - omnipotence. In your definition of god, he is less than a person, he is a mechanism, you even define what he can and can't do, based on your logic. Now, if we follow your argument, since you have defined god in this way, your argument only proves that you are capable of creating a god in advance who fails the criteria you want him to fail.

      This is, why as you claim, "The paradox of omnipotence is... one of the most powerful, questions one can ask about God." As long as you define omnipotence and god in a way that are incompatible with the conclusion you already hold, every argument will ultimately prove what you have already concluded.

      I wonder what would happen if you put the true God of any religion into your argument.

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Daniel, I'm going to have to ask you to keep your comments under 1000 words. You should be able to express yourself adequately within that range. Anything above 1000 words will be deleted. If you want to write these huge essays, join Hub Pages and have at it.

      I'm not inclined to wade through your dense linguistic thicket in any case. Too much time to try to figure out what exactly you're trying to say, to say nothing of your many irrelevant tangents.

      So I will just respond to a few points that jump out at me.

      I notice you continue with this ridiculous "cognitively lax" nonsense. Why must a definition not be "cognitively lax"? What law says that we have to complicate everything endlessly? Sometimes things really are just simple and straightforward. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      So just because you want to complicate the definition of "power" or "omnipotence" doesn't change the actual definition of these words.

      "This first-mentioned notion of omnipotence is the product of the obscene sense that the ontology of the greatest conceivable power stands in ontologically independent, and even adverse, relation to the possibility of knowledge."

      Basically this is an argument from outrage. You see something as "obscene" and therefore it must be wrong.

      I don't quite understand how the "possibility of knowledge" is relevant here. You would have to flesh that out more. But if this is a chicken-and-egg issue (as in, God encompasses everything, including knowledge itself), I already addressed that issue earlier. You need to use logic to come to that theistic conclusion, thereby undermining your own argument.

      "But, when taken self-referentially, it fails to be in reference to anything about which a lie is epistemologically possible. The mere idea of a lie is not anything about which a lie is possible. So the point is that there is no possible world in which the only subject matter is the mere idea of a lie, or the mere idea of truth."

      The statement "I am a liar" is not a reference to lying. It is a reference to the speaker. The speaker, a person, is referencing himself. The speaker is the subject of that statement.

      "Again, what is logic?"

      Why are you asking again? I already answered this question. You are once again trying to have your cake and eat it too, in any case. Because although “logic” may be difficult to define, “God” is even more difficult if not impossible to define, especially by the narrow materialistic standards you seem to be applying here.

      "Concretely, an agent either: 1)is simply coextensive with itself, or 2)depends for its continued coherence on contact with things which are external to it. The human brain-mind is a case of 2). God, by definition, is a case of 1)."

      If God exists as he is defined by theistic believers, then yes. But this does not prove in any way that God exists.

      Here: An agent either (1) has a single horn on its head or (2) it does not. A unicorn, by definition, is a case of (1). This statement is just as reasonable.

      "And, the reason they do not abide it is because they, like everyone else, grant that the nature of knowledge is more intimately known to them than is the concrete nature of ultimate power known to them."

      Well, don't you think that kind of makes sense, since we can't "know" anything without "knowing" it? Lol. Knowledge of power, or knowledge of a tree, or knowledge of a car, is obviously our brains working. So of course knowledge or awareness--and the potential or ability thereof--is more fundamental to us than anything else.

      But perhaps I am being "cognitively lax" lol.

    • profile image

      Daniel 5 years ago

      ===

      ==

      ==

      ==

      "God is not needed for logic, but logic is needed for God."

      Again, what is logic? You use the word so easily, so it normally would seem that you would know what it is. All knowledge by limited cognizing agents, even the most a priori knowledge, does not simply terminate, or 'dead-end', once consciously identified, but flows back around to other, related knowledge, and to many other cognitive functions. Your mind is not some kind of computer that either reverts to ‘standby mode’ or shuts itself off when some terminal cognitive task is completed. This means that for the contingent, linear minds of limited cognizing agents, there is no static end to the process of thought, no matter what that thought involves. Another term for a priori knowledge is presupposition, and while most presuppositions have more basic presuppositions of their own, the non-terminal nature of thought allows even the most basic, or terminal, presuppositions to lead back around to all secondary, non-terminal knowledge.

      Concretely, an agent either: 1)is simply coextensive with itself, or 2)depends for its continued coherence on contact with things which are external to it. The human brain-mind is a case of 2). God, by definition, is a case of 1).

      For the human brain-mind to define God coherently, such a brain-mind requires 'logic'. Such 'logic' is not a Platonic 'glue' that holds everything to be what everything is. Rather, such 'logic' is a coherent coordination of the parts of the brain-mind requisite to such a coherent definition. Such parts may be referred to in the abstract, but they really are a bit more concrete.

      It seems to me that the exact nature of the relation between the ‘merely’ concrete and the sentient-ly concrete is somewhat beyond me. But, it also seems to me (and I could be wrong) that the concept of the ‘merely’ concrete may well be a concept which is more a product of the cognitive efficiency of limited cognizing agents than an actual accurate representation of the nature of the concrete. Much by the efforts of Albert Einstein, even the Newtonian concept of space as both concretely fully accommodating/indifferent and ontologically independent of matter/energy is today commonly accepted as an example of the illusion which cognitive efficiency can paint for us limited cognizing agents.

      The conception of power as the most abstracted sense of ‘something bringing something about’, or ‘simple agency’ is logically indifferent. So, this conception of power can seem to us to be logically all-purpose. But, in fact, it is logically no-purpose, because it is perfectly epistemologically passive. As the epistemologically passive conception of power, simple agency is the root of the paradoxical reconception of omnipotence: simple agency is that by which omnipotence is 'proved' to be irrational. But, such ‘proof’ actually is nothing but a description — however un-complete-able ? of this irrational re-conception of omnipotence.

      In keeping with the term, ‘simple agency’, its resultant conception of omnipotence may be termed 'pure agency': an agent in regard to which not only its own agency has no essential agency in face of its own agency, but everything else, too, including the identity of mathematical sums, has no essential identity in face of this pure agency. In other words, simple agency constrains our notion of omnipotence to be formulated as an agent which must be anti-identifiable except in terms of simple agency. But, this means that, for the anti-identifiable conception of omnipotence to be valid on its own terms, the very idea of ‘all identities’ must include even the negation of given positive identities, else it is allowed that such negations are proper states of affairs that are ontologically and epistemologically independent of their respective positive identities.

      But, an equivalently simple haecceity as that of simple agency is not normally, nor typically readily, applied either to omniscience or to omnibenevolence. But, it can be so applied. In fact, to so apply it is only consistent with the epistemological passivity of simple agency and its resultant re-conception of omnipotence as an irrationally ‘pure agency’.

      So, the epistemological equivalent of simple agency is the purest abstraction of ‘knowledge’, or ‘pure knowledge’, containing no actual knowledge, but being simply the idea of knowledge. And, the sentimental equivalent to simple agency is the purest abstraction of ‘benevolence’, containing no actual sense that some things are bad, others are good, and still others are indifferent, but being simply the idea of benevolence?whatever that actually can mean.

      The re-conceptualization of omniscience in terms of a meaninglessly abstract mere idea of ‘knowledge’ results in defining omniscience as a ‘pure’, or ‘absolute’ ‘extent of knowledge’, including knowing that a given identity or equation equals explosion. And, spectacularly, such a ‘pure omniscience’ actually is equivalent to ‘absolute’ omnipotence, because this ‘omniscience’ must include knowing how to exercise pure agency without having either to know anything or to take any thought to initiate such exercise.

      But, this absurdly meaningless re-conception of omniscience is not abided by people who maintain the paradoxical view of omnipotence. And, the reason they do not abide it is because they, like everyone else, grant that the nature of knowledge is more intimately known to them than is the concrete nature of ultimate power known to them. Naturally, therefore, they the more readily reject this standard for conceiving omniscience than they reject it for conceiving omnipotence.

      And, for the same kind of reason, they with least difficulty reject this standard for omnibenevolence: an ‘omnibenevolence’ which as well approves every lie, evil, and indifference as it approves every truth, good, and empathy? like some insensibly happy man who cannot see that anyone else is having a difficult time, as if he is on some overpoweringly euphoria-inducing drug that makes him smile and pat his belly while responding to everyone’s complaints as if they were telling him the most cheery news.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      Secularist10:

      I shall here address the 'liar paradox' at length.

      You mentioned that you fail to see how it is a failure to lie. But, I assume that you do see that it is a paradox. Now, if you think you see _how_ it is a paradox, then look self-referentially at the mechanics of your own thinking by which you see it as a paradox.

      The paradoxicality is purely the result of the _pure_ self-reference, which means there is no actual content about which the nominal lie is lying. An impersonal version of the original liar statement may be instructive: ‘This is a lie’.

      Of course, by a cognitive laxness which is nevertheless focused ‘carefully’ on the liar statement (as a telescope is focused on a forest), one tends to conflate two things 1) the mere subjective sense that the statement 'I am a liar' is somehow in reference to some actual matter external to the explicit statement; and 2) the objective sense that the statement can be turned upon itself. But, sense 1) is not actually part of the explicit statement.

      In mind of Kurt Godel's Incompleteness theorem, the statement, 'I am a liar', is incomplete. But, when taken self-referentially, it fails to be in reference to anything about which a lie is epistemologically possible. The mere idea of a lie is not anything about which a lie is possible. So the point is that there is no possible world in which the only subject matter is the mere idea of a lie, or the mere idea of truth.

      Much of this applies as well to the statement, 'I tell the truth'. When taken self-referentially, the same result obtains: a failure to actually inform in the explicit form of the statement. What truth am I telling? None, if the truth is merely about the _idea_ that I am telling the truth. But, unlike for the statement, ‘I am a liar’, to take the statement that ‘I tell the truth’ self-referentially does not produce in us a sense of paradox, because it has no epistemologically adverse element.

      But, in the case of sentimentally adverse self-reference, there easily is neither paradox nor a failure to inform: ‘I hate making statements.’ ‘I hate to talk.’ ‘I hate to use language.’ ‘I find it unpleasant to express my thoughts.’

      But, in the case of statements that use a combined sentimental-epistemological adverse element, there is some paradox when they are taken self-referentially: ‘I feel that there is no point in saying anything.’

      More complexly explicit forms of the Liar statement may instructively seem not to have as much paradoxical force to them, such as ‘I am lying by way of the current statement’. And, a fully reductive, one-word form may also be instructive: ‘Lie’.

      Further self-referential explications of the non-information of a statement are possible. For the liar statement, a rather lengthy such explication would be, ‘If you accuse me of lying about saying in this current run-on sentence that I am a liar, and, indeed, I assert herein that am a liar, then you must prove purely therewith that I am lying, but, since you can’t prove it purely therewith without also proving that I’m telling the truth herein, then I think you misunderstand what this run-on sentence is actually about, namely your failure to see how I’ve spun you up in the mechanics of your own thinking.’

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      Secularist10:

      “Except for the inconvenient fact that atheism will remain because non-acceptance of a claim is the default state of the human mind.”

      I’m not sure what you mean. It seems to me that that sequence of words amounts to saying that ‘Ignorance is the default state of the human mind’. But, I doubt my own impression that that’s what you mean, so I’m not sure what you mean.

      There are two, mutually exclusive notions of omnipotence. One of these is contingent on the most cognitively lax and ignorant sense of the idea of ‘power’. The other is contingent on the knowledge that power is not essentially an act, but a concrete thing.

      This first-mentioned notion of omnipotence is the product of the obscene sense that the ontology of the greatest conceivable power stands in ontologically independent, and even adverse, relation to the possibility of knowledge. This second-mentioned notion of omnipotence is the product of the sense that there logically is allowed an irreducible agent in which inheres the logically greatest scope and degree of powers.

      There are a host of issues and problems involved in conceiving of omnipotence as including sentience, which is an additional matter to those that I have addressed in my first post, to which you replied.

      It is not uncommon for people to think that for an omnipotent agent to be able to become even more omnipotent is accurately described as 'logic' being subsumed to omnipotence. But, this way of thinking is cognitively lax, and incoherently ignorant of its own presuppositions. The accurate description of the image of omnipotence being able to become even more powerful than itself is that the omnipotent agent is subsumed to a logic which applies, by definition, to limited agents.

      The logic of limited agents is not in the merest fact that they are limited, but in the causes of their limitations. These causes are contingence, synthesis, and mutually dependence. That is, a limited agent is made of other, limited agents; the mutual bonds of which are not immutable; and the organized whole of which, as its own distinct kind of limited agent, depends for its functional maintenance on a specific relationship to an environment comprised of a host of other agents each of which is in some ways more powerful that it. This is how limited agents can multiply themselves, and can artifice other agents which are in some ways more powerful than themselves.

      So, unless pure, cognitively lax imagination is the standard of the logical conception of anything, the concept of omnipotence must entail certain things while precluding others. I maintain that one of the things it precludes is the creation of anything that’s equal to omnipotence, such as second omnipotent agent, and doubly precludes the creation of anything that exceeds omnipotence.

      Now, this line of reasoning so far may not be convincing to many people. But, in that case, this is because there are many more facets of reasoning than this one that can seem to impugn the concept of omnipotence. But, then, too, there are as many more lines of reasoning involved in the concept, and which individually and together show that the concept of omnipotence naturally, and for every sound reason, obtains to our minds as immediately coherent.

      In fact, it is the immediate coherence of the concept of omnipotence that provides us with the sense that omnipotence is paradoxical: its immediate coherence is felt to pose an external, or otherwise genuine, constraint on the power of an omnipotent agent to change the very epistemological definitions of things. But, such a ‘constraint’ allows us to conceive of omnipotence in the first place, because the possibility of definitions is the possibility of knowledge. The issue, therefore, is as to what all are the things that cause us to feel that the possibility of knowledge poses a genuine constraint on the power of an omnipotent agent.

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      secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

      Daniel:

      "The cognitively least demanding conception of power is that according to which dictionaries may define power"

      Whether a definition of something is "cognitively demanding" or not is completely irrelevant.

      "But, simple agency is the fully ambiguated, or logically indifferent, sense of the idea of power..."

      So what?

      "It can’t tell us that the logical potential to accidentally trip and hit your head is not strictly an example of power, but of a lack of the cognitive power to coordinate..."

      Ability to trip and fall is not "strictly an example of power" according to your conception of the word "power." But it is an example of ability to do something. A rock does not have the ability to trip and fall, for instance. Whether we subjectively like to fall or not is irrelevant on this point. It is something we are capable of doing.

      "So, simple agency cannot tell us that the kind of agent that a particular agent is is what determines what powers it has, or, rather, is."

      Uh huh. And simple ice cream cannot tell us that the flavor (kind) of ice cream that a particular ice cream cone is is what determines what flavor it has, or rather, is. LOL.

      So what? This is all irrelevant to the core issue.

      "In fact, if the ontology of power were simple agency, then power would not be anything in itself, but would consist purely in the fact that something changes."

      How do you figure that? Power is the ability to change something or do something, not the change itself. The fact that something changes is not a power, it is the result of power. My college degree, for instance, is the result of my ability to graduate from college.

      "From a certain cognitively lax outlook"

      Again with this "cognitive" nonsense. I'm assuming this is a fancy way of calling your opponent dumb.

      "to imagine an omnipotent agent as having 'power over' 'logic' is assumed to describe a state of affairs in which 'logic' is subsumed to omnipotence... the omnipotent agent is being subsumed to the 'logic'--that is, to the accurate description, or identity--of non-omnipotent agents."

      Indeed. Thank you for proving the point that even if a God existed, it would be impossible for us to know anything about him. Thereby rendering belief in God baseless.

      "So, to think that omnipotence is an epistemological paradox is like failing to recognize that, when taking the statement, ‘I am a liar’ self-referentially, the statement is reduced to an actual failure to lie."

      Either the statement is true, or it is a lie.

      If the statement is true, then the speaker is not a liar.

      If the statement is false, then the speaker is not a liar. Either way, he is not a liar. Seems pretty simple to me. I fail to see how this is "reduced to an actual failure to lie."

      "The sense that the immediate coherence of the concept of divine omnipotence is a limitation upon the power of an omnipotent agent is tantamount to the position that the possibility of knowledge constitutes an object which is distinct from, and superior to, the ultimate agent."

      I suppose, in a very wordy and roundabout way, that is correct. I will reiterate that it is the theist who makes claims about God. It is the theist who claims to know something about God. Thus it is the theist himself who is essentially assuming that human reason and knowledge are distinct from, and superior to, the "ultimate agent." I already said that belief in God is baseless for this simple reason; even if God did exist, we could not know anything about it.

      "This irrational view of omnipotence is, in fact, the sense that logic is a power which not only is independent of the ultimate agent, but which is so superior to, and controlling of, that agent as to at once define that agent irrationally and, given the supposed ontological independence of ‘logic’, to deny that that agent is logically possible."

      Well, again, you are going to have to take that up with yourself and your theist friends. It is theism itself that creates all these contradictions and problems. Making your mirror analogy very apropos indeed, lol!

      While the atheist may use logic to deny that God is possible, the theist uses logic to argue that God is possible! If you are to be consistent with your criticism of "logic" then you must throw the baby out with the bath water: both theism and atheism must go for you. (Now who is trying to have their cake and eat it too?)

      Except for the inconvenient fact that atheism will remain because non-acceptance of a claim is the default state of the human mind.

      God is not needed for logic, but logic is needed for God.

      "What is the concrete substance of this 'uncreated' thing you're calling 'logic'?"

      A lot of ambiguous words there like "concrete" and "substance." So the answer depends on exactly what you mean. But to clarify, logic for this purpose can be thought of as the coherence in nature, or the laws of nature that we happen to perceive as ordering reality.

      These laws and rules, if God can violate them, God is not constrained by them. But if God cannot violate them, then God is constrained by them. In which case, nature/ reality preexisted God in some way. There is something in nature that existed before God. Therefore God did not create everything. There is at least one thing--whatever we call it--that he did not create.

      Despite your mountain of assertions and claims, you have failed to demonstrate how my position is irrational in any way.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      You say: "If logic exists beyond God's hand, then logic is either uncreated, or was created by something other than God. Either way, we have discovered at least one thing--logic--that God did not create. Therefore God did not, in fact, create everything."

      What is the concrete substance of this 'uncreated' thing you're calling 'logic'?

      What we commonly refer to as ‘logic’ is nothing but our minds reflected in themselves like a mirror. Of course, it's possible merely to submit to someone else's preferred presuppositions, and thus to be subject to their preferred reflections. Or, we could internalize wrong presuppositions when we're disappointed by, or afraid of, what our initial natural notions seem necessarily to produce. But, just like the simplest concept of power as simple agency, the simplest concept of reasoning is 'logic'. Both are pure abstractions; neither of them is a thing in itself. So, the problem with this ‘mirror’ called 'logic' is in recognizing ourselves when we look into it.

      So, your irrational have-your-cake-and-eat-it position on omnipotence argues, in effect, that the 'logic' which requires that this be the genuine concept of omnipotence is actually the glass, and the silver backing, of the very mirror by which you know also of logically coherent things. That’s a seriously flawed mirror:

      You: “Ouch! My mirror just punched me!...I'm telling!...mom! My mirror hit me!”

      Mirror: “did not!”

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      From a certain cognitively lax outlook, to imagine an omnipotent agent as having 'power over' 'logic' is assumed to describe a state of affairs in which 'logic' is subsumed to omnipotence. But, the accurate description of this imaginary, nominal 'state of affairs' is that the omnipotent agent is being subsumed to the 'logic'?that is, to the accurate description, or identity?of non-omnipotent agents.

      The accurate description, the logic, the order, of this subsumation is like two arrows, each of a differing degree of 'straightness', simultaneously nocked to one bow string, so that when the string is released, only one arrow hits the Bulls Eye. And, by this analogy, the description of the bowman and his point of view is that the bowman is so insensible as not to know that he has released two arrows at once, and so he concludes that the target, not his bowmanship, is incoherent.

      If it is allowed that an omnipotent agent can create a stone that's too heavy for it to lift, then it is allowed that omnipotence is more powerful than omnipotence. But, if omnipotence already is more powerful than itself, then it already is just that powerful. This means that its power to create a stone that’s too heavy for it to lift is identical to its power to lift that very stone.

      While this doesn’t quite make complete sense, I wish to stress the implicit point most strongly: that even within the process of proving that the concept of omnipotence is immediately incoherent, one concludes that it is immediately coherent, and that the only difference is that this process is forced to this conclusion by a perfectly irrational route to its own unwilling end, with a perfectly unwelcome set of things included in that end.

      In fact, this process is merely a fancier form of the classic liar paradox: if I say, “I am a liar”, then how can it be true if I’m telling the truth therewith, and, if I’m telling the truth therewith, then how can I be a liar? So, to think that omnipotence is an epistemological paradox is like failing to recognize that, when taking the statement, ‘I am a liar’ self-referentially, the statement is reduced to an actual failure to lie. In other words, if one maintains the supposedly ‘initial’ position that the necessary conception of omnipotence includes the 'power' to compromise both itself and all other identity, and if one concludes from this position that omnipotence is epistemologically incoherent, then one implicitly is asserting that one's own ‘initial’ position is incoherent. This position finds that the ‘ultimate identifiable power’ can be identified only by requiring that it be, at once, subordinate and superior to an ‘omnipotence of thought’.

      The sense that the immediate coherence of the concept of divine omnipotence is a limitation upon the power of an omnipotent agent is tantamount to the position that the possibility of knowledge constitutes an object which is distinct from, and superior to, the ultimate agent. This bias is equivalent to the statement: ‘the identifiability of omnipotence is not co-extensive with omnipotence, despite that the concept of omnipotence is known immediately to be coherent, because the haecceity of its immediate coherence is held to be concretely independent of its omnipotence.’ This irrational view of omnipotence is, in fact, the sense that logic is a power which not only is independent of the ultimate agent, but which is so superior to, and controlling of, that agent as to at once define that agent irrationally and, given the supposed ontological independence of ‘logic’, to deny that that agent is logically possible. Such ‘logic’ is nothing more epistemologically relevant than that of an irrational mind looking at itself in the mirror of itself and attacking the reflection as irrational while failing to recognize that the reflection is merely that.

      In a world of disharmony on all levels, we humans have a problem with power: we tend to conceptualize power as essentially adversarial or otherwise ‘dominative’. In other words, in the context of a basic psychological, social, organic, and general material insecurity, the human mind/psyche easily falls to ‘intuiting’ power not only as most essentially an action, but as an action which is a self-preserving or antagonistic response to inhospitable, intrusive, manipulative, domineering, or otherwise adverse external agents.

      In fact, this adversarial-dominative sense of power is so pervasive in the fallen mind that some people, despite their more-or-less conscious recognition that the concept of omnipotence is immediately coherent, adopt the view that its very coherence constitutes an external limitation on, or ontological counter to, the power of an omnipotent agent, called ‘logic’. They then are forced to ‘recognize’ that omnipotence must be remedied as irrational in order for them easily to maintain a sense of its epistemological stability: paradoxically in adverse relation to the logic not only of its own identity, but to all identities whatever.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      The cognitively least demanding conception of power is that according to which dictionaries may define power: the ability to bring about a particular state of affairs that does not obtain prior to the act of bringing it about. This conception of power is a fully generalized abstraction from actual kinds of powers. We abstract it similar to how we abstract generalizations in math. Whether we add two pair of shoes, or one pair of shoes and one of socks, there is a particular sense that stays the same: four objects. Similarly, whether we observe a hammer as it strikes a nail, or the nail as it goes into wood, the most singular sense is always the same: something brings something about: simple agency.

      But, simple agency is the fully ambiguated, or logically indifferent, sense of the idea of power. It doesn’t say anything that we don't already know: It can’t tell us that tornados cannot blow 2+2 up into 5, nor that human wishful-ness cannot cause tornadoes to cease. In fact, simple agency says much less than we already know if we think that it is sufficient to understanding any act of power: It can’t tell us that the logical potential to accidentally trip and hit your head is not strictly an example of power, but of a lack of the cognitive power to coordinate a less-than-perfectly-coordinated body sufficient to prevent accidents. Moreover, simple agency cannot tell us that the ontology of power is concretely neither the idea of ‘potential’ or the concreteness of action, so it can’t tell us what we most implicitly know about power: that power is an agent, and that there is, in fact, nothing which is not an agent. So, simple agency cannot tell us that the kind of agent that a particular agent is is what determines what powers it has, or, rather, is.

      So, to use the idea of simple agency as the singular metric for identifying potentials and actions of power, while being consistent on its own terms, nevertheless is ‘epistemologically adverse’: it is logically indifferent to the nature of the relations between results and their causes. It then becomes nothing but the idea of ‘effect’. So, to say that ‘power is defined in terms of its effects’ is to define power essentially as an adversarial relationship to the constitution of entities, rather than as a kind of entity in itself. In fact, if the ontology of power were simple agency, then power would not be anything in itself, but would consist purely in the fact that something changes. This, in turn, would mean that nothing could be held a priori exempt from being changed, including mathematical sums and other kinds of logical entailment.