What serious response would you give to the question, "Can God Create a Stone to Heavy for Him to Pick up?
@kelelek. I am assuming the Him references GOD. Can GOD create a stone too heavy for Him to pick up? My answer would be, “only if GOD was human.” My question would be, “why would GOD need to pick up a stone?” It may be a leap for us to conceive that GOD does not operate with limitations. If the stone cannot be lifted, that indicates our limits, not GOD’s. If He does not lift the stone because we ask that He do so, well, that could be for numerous reasons. But none of them because GOD cannot lift the stone. All creations submit to the Creator.
@kelelek, This is an interesting question, one that I think invites us as Ravi teaches to look at the questioner behind the question. Your desire for a “serious response” suggests this was asked with some skepticism or perhaps to test you.
The question is about a stone impossibly heavy to lift, even for God, but I think we can expand it to the question that God himself asked twice, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:17). Similarly, Jesus taught, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).
These scriptures alone, I think, show that nothing in the creation exceeds the strength of the Creator. He is omnipotent.
But their context also is meaningful. In Genesis, God asks if it is too hard for Him bless Sarah, who is barren and now well beyond child-bearing age, with a son. In Jeremiah God addresses what seems impossible to the prophet — the restoration of Israel from its exile for sinfulness and infidelity. And Jesus sets aside the impossibility of our salvation because “with God, all things are possible.”
Can God create a stone too heavy to pick up? These scriptures answer, no. And then, consider this promise: “I will … take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19). If God can remove a heart of stone, what is an inert rock, regardless its weight?
Hi Kelly and thanks for your question . All I would like to add as a possible response is to say that God cannot do the logically impossible. God cannot make a square circle or a married bachelor as these are logically impossible or incoherent. Likewise, God cannot make a stone too heavy to lift as this functions outside the laws of logic. An all powerful being cannot make a stone that he is unable to lift as this is logically absurd, just like the other examples I gave.
I hope that this is of some help
@kelelek Good question. William Lane Craig actually has done some good work on this. He shifts the question to its foundations. Is the question logically coherent? God can do all things which are logically consistent with His nature. God cannot create a square circle because it’s logically incoherent. This question is the same. (See link below)
This question bugged me since I was little, but I’m satisfied with this answer. I hope it helps you too!
I have thought and prayed since I read this earlier and I came to this coclusion. Jesus said if we had faith we could say to the mountain be cast into the sea. The questioner is asking could God create something He cant do or make something beyond his ability to do. I believe He already has done that. He will not violate our free will. I think this proves He is all powerful by giving us free will to choose Him, not making us serve Him
Thanks for all of the feedback. Although I am not qualified to really enter into discussions with this individual (who has multiple years of philosophy, etc), I strive to learn more from each conversation.
I appreciate so much you wanting to find an appropriate response to the question. I’d like to first say that most people who ask this kind of question aren’t usually actually seekers but just people trying to play a trump card. Not always of course, but often.
I think in any answer, though, it is important to point out a mistaken definition of the term “all-powerful”; becase whichever way you answer this question it appears you are saying that God is in fact not all-powerful. Saying that God is limited to acting within His character, however, (eg. logical, as stated in previous comments) does not mean He is now not all-powerful. It simply means He cannot be something that He isn’t. Just like any human can’t be anything but a human. No matter how hard we might try to be a bird, fish, etc.
I hope that helps as well!
That’s a great question, in the majority of cases the issue is one of intellectual pride assuming that God is limited the way we are. We can create a cement block if you will that is too large for us to lift. But the law of identity I believe says that God cannot be all-powerful and not all-powerful at the same time. I’m certain that that was roughly stated but I hope the point comes across. Whatever God create he is in complete control over. the scripture says that he holds all things together in the palm of his hand. the reason a person can ask a question like that it’s because they do not believe that God is actually behind everything. A gentle question you can ask the other person is can their worldview (without God )support any of the concepts the question uses as ammunition against God Himself. IE the human language.
@Amy_Walker Hi Amy. While I didn’t feel comfortable engaging in a deep discussion, I did ask the question of whether or not they were sincerely seeking for an answer to this question, and if so, who were they pursuing in their search. Interestingly enough, he responded by saying that he was very sincerely seeking an answer and that if what he currently believed was inaccurate, he wanted to know and change his stance. No mention of source was provided, so I don’t believe he is seeking Christian apologists. Nevertheless, it was a positive indication and I believe God can bring the right people and sources into his life to challenge his current beliefs.
He followed with the statement from Epicurus, "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Thanks for your feedback!!
So glad to hear that he seems genuine in his search. God can speak to someone who is actually seeking and searching.
It seems once again that he would likely define his terms differently than a Christian worldview would. And while he as a non-Christian obviously can’t be expected to use certain words as we would, if he is actually asking about the God Christianity teaches then he does need to, for the duration of the conversation, concede Christianity’s definitions. God according to the Bible is both able and “willing” in the sense that he is desirous that evil would not be done. Additionally he does often act to prevent evil. Evil is in this world, however, because men have free will to choose right or wrong. In that sense you could say that God is “unwilling” to prevent evil because he could impose his will on men but doesn’t. A world without the possibility for evil, though, is a world without the possibility for love as well, and this is what God was after when he created in the beginning.
I just thought of another simple question you can ask him. What kind of a world would you like God to have given you? I would be interested to hear his response.
How I have answered this is somewhat similar to what has already been mentioned, but the fundamental question is actually asking …“can God create something greater than himself?” My answer is God is infinitely great and there can be nothing greater than INFINITELY great.
Did you ever get the answer you were looking for for the Epicurus quote?
It seems to me that in this second to last question is the answer that is not popular with the unbelieving person. That evil resides within the human heart!! "Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?"all of the above questions assume that God can or should do something about evil while leaving the questionar out of the equation( or guiltless). if the questioner does an honest internal review of his or her’s own heart, that would reveal that evil(not honoring or glorifieing God) is presant in their own heart. I would ask a question along those lines. Where do they personally stand in regards to evil. (first in the virticle man to God, being carefull not to reverse the order. we always answer to God , not God to us. when this is looked at first as apposed to a human to human comparison then there will be no escape in the “I’m not as bad as the next guy, I’m basically a good person” argument.
Yes, if you are wanting to do some good reading on this, I would read J L Mackie on the side of evil ruling out God and then Alvin Plantinga’s God, Freedom, and Evil as an answer. Everyone, atheists and theists alike, agree that Plantinga’s answer resolves this issue entirely.
Where Mackie’s argument fails is in his assumptions. He states as one of the conditions of his argument that God can do anything, he is omnipotent. However, he leaves out the qualifier, God can do anything which is not logically inchoerent. With that qualifier the argument falls apart. Because, the idea of God creating morally determined free moral agents is logically incoherent. This would be the equivalent of created square circles.
This then answers the question, as you pointed out, “whence cometh evil?” It comes from the human heart. God has made us free moral agents, and therefore cannot override our wills to turn every decision for good. If that were the case we would no longer be free moral agents able to choose evil.
Of course, there is much more to the argument than that. That is the cliff notes version.
Appreciate your comments and thoughts. Joshua, I will look for Alvin Plantinga’s book. I am not currently in dialogue with this person, so I will have time to research deeper before our next meeting. One point of stumbling is the fact that they lean away from the idea of “free will”. Rodney, I think that somewhat addresses your question regarding where he stands in regard to evil.
Since he is so much more educated in philosophy, etc. I gather what I can and love abundantly. I pray God bring the right person at the right time to engage him where I am lacking!
Perhaps this page will provide you with some helpful information and resources:
Hi, well yes/no both tricky but I know that William Lane Craig have answered this many times, and Dr Frank Turek at CrossExamined says like this https://crossexamined.org/can-god-create-a-rock-so-heavy-that-he-cannot-lift-it/
@kelelek, something to keep in the back of your mind is 1. Is he free to ask the question or is the question determined? Perhaps @Joshua_Hansen, can provide a reference from Ravi where he answers a questioner about free will. 2. Does He want meaning to be restored.https://youtu.be/wsIPrasmvAQ
Ravi has a great message I listened to this morning.