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"Can God make a square circle" isn't a fair question

#1Faust_8Posted 8/31/2013 7:31:56 PM
The square circle, rock that can't be lifted, and so on do not make any sense when arguing against omnipotence. They are in fact pseudo-tasks, and logically impossible. Like I've seen many say before, only being able to do anything logically possible is not actually a restriction at all.

There is, however, a way to truly show the paradox of an omnipotent, immortal god:

Can it kill itself?

Suicide isn't a logical impossibility or a pseudo-task. It happens every day.

If you can kill yourself, you're not immortal.
If you can't, you're not omnipotent.

"But that contradicts God's properties! He can't do something that is against his properties! It's just another pseudo-task!"

Well, if that's how you define omnipotence...then I'm omnipotent. Can I move the world? No, but not because I'm not omnipotent, but because that is against one of my properties. Ask me anything and I either can do it, or can't because it's not one of my properties, which doesn't contradict that definition of omnipotence.
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I'm not against religion. I'm against all bad ideas, held for bad reasons, prompting bad behavior.
#2BerenPosted 8/31/2013 7:35:46 PM
So a square circle is a logical contradiction, but an immortal being dying isn't?
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From the ashes a fire shall be woken; A light from the shadows shall spring.
#3Faust_8(Topic Creator)Posted 8/31/2013 7:51:46 PM
If I didn't address that, that would be a good point.

I'm omnipotent. Don't ask me to fly, because asking a being without wings to fly makes no sense and is an unfair pseudo-task.
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I'm not against religion. I'm against all bad ideas, held for bad reasons, prompting bad behavior.
#4JonWood007Posted 8/31/2013 8:28:57 PM(edited)
These kinds of paradoxes can be approached in 2 ways:

1) You can basically say you've shown omnipotence to be an impossible characteristic. By showing such logical contradictions, you've shown true omnipotence to be impossible, and therefore disproved any god that can be considered omnipotent.

2) You can change the definition of omnipotence to exclude such paradoxes and logical impossibilities....however, this in itself seems illogical IMO. Is something really omnipotent if you place logical limits on what it can do? And what other limits should also apply to God? if you exclude logical impossibilities, why not physical impossibilities? Can God really create a universe if matter cannot be created nor destroyed for example? After a while...omni qualities don't really seem...impressive at all.

If anything has potentially moved me closer to a form of gnostic atheism (i'll say I'm agnostic overall, all definitions of god being considered, but I'm definitely gnostic toward specific definitions), its the fact that many definitions of God involve these tricky omni qualities that lead to all kinds of...strange conclusions and logical and physical impossibilities. Omni qualities really shoot the concept of God in the foot to an extent, because I feel like they cause all kinds of problems and are largely inconsistent with the known state of the universe.
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#5IndoriPosted 8/31/2013 8:28:16 PM
One of the issues that I have with all of these threads is that the questions of power are always related via potential. To put it bluntly, God does not have potential. God acts. God only acts. Chuck Norris waits, and God acts. Not only does God act, but God acts infinitely in the present. He applies the fullness of his nature (read: power) in accordance with his nature (read: will).

Asking whether God "can" do something is itself misunderstanding God. The logical impossibility isn't limited to God's ability. It begins with the assumption that there are things in God's power to do that God is not doing.
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Me? I'm the king of the twentieth century.
I'm the bogeyman. The villain.
#6darkmaian23Posted 8/31/2013 8:46:30 PM
Indori posted...
One of the issues that I have with all of these threads is that the questions of power are always related via potential. To put it bluntly, God does not have potential. God acts. God only acts. Chuck Norris waits, and God acts. Not only does God act, but God acts infinitely in the present. He applies the fullness of his nature (read: power) in accordance with his nature (read: will).

Asking whether God "can" do something is itself misunderstanding God. The logical impossibility isn't limited to God's ability. It begins with the assumption that there are things in God's power to do that God is not doing.


I apologize if I am ignorant for having missed your point, but what exactly are you trying to say? Are you trying to argue that rather than being separate the universe, God is constantly sustaining everything with his power? Even if God is constantly using his power to sustain the universe somehow (like a computer running a simulation), how does that allow you to escape from the logical problems that can arise when you consider omnipotence?
#7IndoriPosted 8/31/2013 8:53:38 PM
I'm not arguing on the omnipotence issue in any capacity, I'm just trying to clarify something that I see as an extremely common misconception.
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Me? I'm the king of the twentieth century.
I'm the bogeyman. The villain.
#8Faust_8(Topic Creator)Posted 8/31/2013 8:56:37 PM
Indori posted...
I'm not arguing on the omnipotence issue in any capacity, I'm just trying to clarify something that I see as an extremely common misconception.


It didn't clarify anything to me at all. I had no idea what you were getting at. It seemed like it had no conclusion.
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I'm not against religion. I'm against all bad ideas, held for bad reasons, prompting bad behavior.
#9IndoriPosted 8/31/2013 9:20:03 PM
Ok, let me kick it around til tomorrow. Thomas Aquinas probably explained it better somewhere.
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Me? I'm the king of the twentieth century.
I'm the bogeyman. The villain.
#10Moorish_IdolPosted 9/1/2013 12:07:32 AM
A "dead immortal" is just as logically incoherent as a square circle. I'm not sure why you thought your paradox is any different than the other logical impossibilities.

Could you explain a bit more?