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Can God Create a Stone that He Cannot Lift?
This question is more than 800 years old. In asking this question, the questioner had already assumed the existence of gravity because of the word “lift” in the question. What is “lift”? My definition for “lift” is: Moving an object to the opposite direction of gravity. By definition, God created everything. Hence, God created gravity. Since God can create gravity, he can certainly make it disappear. So God can “lift” any stone. Put another way, this question could become: if God were to have an arm wrestling match between his left arm （gravity）and right arm (to “lift” the stone), which one would win? Both arms belong to God. This is not a contest; there is no winning or losing. Therefore this is a stupid question.
If God is omnipotent, God must be everything, everything must be God. There is nothing outside God, not even empty space, because God created space and time. The fact is, “Outside God” is an oxymoron: if there is God, then there will be no “outside”; if there is an “outside”, then there will be no God. There is no gravity “outside” God. God doesn’t live in a gravitational field. For an omnipotent God, there is no such concept as “lift”. “Lift” only exists in human experience. Gravity, like everything else, exists inside God. For an omnipotent God, there is no such concept as “stand” either, because there is no ground “outside” God. By the same token，for an omnipotent God, there are no such concepts as “breathe”，“eat”，“drink”，“excrete”, “wear clothes”, “walk”，“sit”, “lie down”. God doesn't have a body. All bodies have skin, skin is the boundary of the body. God doesn't have boundary. Therefore, God doesn't have a face，nor shape. An ant looks at you while you are talking, it could see your lips and tongue moving. The ant asks you: “How do you lift your lips and tongue?” You reply: “It’s a stupid question.” A man sees that the Moon is moving, he asks God: “How do you lift the Moon?” God says: “It’s a stupid question.” — Preceding Tengwang777 (talk) 19:01, 1 July 2013 (UTC SOCIAL PHENOMENA
Critical notes and alternatives
From the first moment I heard of this paradox, I always liked it and pondered about it.
Reading all the comments, I suddenly realized that I have always used a different concept of omnipotence: "X is omnipotent" if "X can do Y" where Y is a desirable action, Y is not inconsistent and nobody can do Y.
Examples: 1. Y could be "to feed humanity". Nobody can feed humanity, but an omnipotent being can. In the Bible, the feeding with manna comes to mind, of which it is conceivable that manna could appear anywhere (not just in a desert). If God caused the manna to appear and it was enough for all present, then God could cause manna to appear anywhere on earth and feed humanity. Also, in the new testament, the feeding of the five thousand (Mar 6:37-44) and the feeding of the four thousand (Mar 8:1-9) come to mind. If a quantity of this size can be fed, why not the whole world? A related question becomes: If God is omnipotent, and God can do Y, why do we not see God do Y? If God is omnipotent, what do we see happening that confirms it?
2. A new disease is discovered and medicine has no cure for it yet. However, it is desirable that there is a cure for such diseases. There is no reason to believe that there is no cure for that disease because for all diseases that were discovered in the past, some cure exist. Therefore, if God is omnipotent, he has a cure for the disease.
Yet, another variation is this: "X is omnipotent" if "X can do Y" where Y is something that somebody can do. The point is that X is omnipotent because he can do all possible Y!
But this is not omnipotent with the previous example in mind. If there are diseases for which no cures exist, it does not mean that there never will be a cure. To be omnipotent would imply to at least create a cure for a disease. It seems that with time progressing humanity is omnipotent in this sense. Maybe the definition of omnipotent is not fixed but progresses with time!
Another thing came to mind, showing the absurdity of some of the definitions of omnipotence in the article. Consider the answer to this question: "Can God drink water?"
Isn't that the most simple thing for a human being, to drink water? However, in order for God to do it, what do we suppose God looks like and how, if he is spirit, is he going to drink water (physical)? If God is omnipotent but it prevents him from doing simple things that humans can do, why would we trust him to do things that we can NOT do? How did it come about that most people consider God to be omnipotent? (I must admit that there was a time that I did not question this either.)
The answer to all this is, that the question of omnipotence of God has never been related to the things that God can actually do, regardless of whether he is omnipotent. We also need to consider that if action Y is desirable, what are the conditions for Y to occur? If God is omnipotent, he may be preparing to do Y, but we have no way of knowing when he is going to do it. In other words, if we have certainty about the things that God is able to do, then and only then can we ever consider whether he is omnipotent in any sense and whether or not there is a time lapse involved preventing us to see action Y in the present.
If the things that God can do are related to the spiritual world (inherently invisible), and we consider human beings as being physical beings, we can readily see that the omnipotence of God should be restricted to the things that can not be seen. For instance, God may be considered omnipotent because he is love (whatever that means, it certainly is not a physical object) and he can cause love in a human heart (invisible). I have no idea how such a thing could be proven and henceforth how such a thing could be attributed to God, let alone how it could prove or disprove God's omnipotence, since it is always a human being that has an experience that he attributes to God, whether there is a God or not and whether God is omnipotent or not. This does not falsify any experience, but it questions the source of the experience and the explanation of the experience. Therefore, to answer questions about the omnipotence of God, we should also answer questions about the nature of being human. Bcurfs (talk) 02:24, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I saw some things in here that are original research! According to all the known laws of physics it is impossible for there to be a massive object that is not influenced by gravity at all! Such a thing would be able to escape from a black hole through the event horizon! That is a flat impossibility! (Matter that 'escapes' from a black hole via Hawking radiation does not go through the event horizon.) You can check anywhere you like and you'll find that all physics references agree with me! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yonathan Arief Kurniawan (talk • contribs) 16:48, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
A stone that is the largest source of gravity in the universe would collapse to form a black hole! There is no way to move a black hole because all energy hitting it would simply be lost behind the event horizon, and, as far as mankind is able to tell, disappear forever from our physical universe! Again, all physics references agree with me! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yonathan Arief Kurniawan (talk • contribs) 17:07, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
For the "Can X make a stone that X cannot lift?", nothing says that X itself has to be the holder of the stone. Nothing says that X cannot try to hold the stone from, say, a piece of string. Obviously a boulder that weighs several tons can't be held by a piece of string, so it could be possible to create something that cannot be lifted (via a material that isn't strong enough for the task). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 16:07, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't Christianity already adress this?
I've looked at this "paradox" for some time, and I'm surprised I haven't seen an obvious interpretation. Questions like can God devise a task he cannot perform amount to the question of whether an infinite God who is incapable of nothing can become finite and incapable. The state of being finite and limited is a cornerstone of the concept of mortality, a big part of what it is to be a human. There is plenty that humans cannot do, making the state of humanity a very valid state of incapability. While people may struggle with the idea of God making a prison he can't escape from, the concept is one of the central points of Christianity: that God could and did become a mere mortal man. How is the question being asked any different from this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 19:57, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
"Christian" trinitarian God is the only logical way to believe in an omnipotent God
Yes. You are right. And this is why of all the monotheistic religions with an omnipotent God, only Christian trinitarian God is logically possible.
God is omnipotent in the way that s dreaming human is onmipotent in his dream. The dream does not exist outside the dreamer. The creation as a dream of God is the only way man can still have free will and God stay omnipotent.
The dreamer may appear and act in his dream as a finite part of the dream. The dreamer may bend the dream to his conscious will. There you have explained the trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
And also: Man can be the image of God can be understood so that also man dreams - creates a world of his own - and while animals dream too, only man is also conscious of his dreams.
Frankly, I don't see how any of that addresses the original point. The fact that we as dreamers often make ourselves characters within a dreamt story simply creates an ambiguity. Can a dreamer dream a stone so big that even he cannot lift it? If we mean "him" as a character, then can the dreamer dream that he has, as a character, encountered an unliftable stone? Yes, of course. Could a dreamer dream a stone so big that it would be impossible for him as the dreamer then to dream of any force or person within the story who could lift it? I'm not sure what the answer is to that as a matter of dream psychology. BUT if we begin by stipulating that the dreamer is omnipotent within the dream world, we have recreated the original paradox. We've done nothing to solve it. --Christofurio (talk) 19:11, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
removed debate template
The explication of different positions on the paradox does not mean the article was structured as a debate. These different possible solution shave to be included in any good article on a paradox. The template was originally add by user 188.8.131.52 in Nov. 2010 was either incorrect or never updated to reflect the work done by the Cleanup Taskforce. Jjk (talk) 15:48, 30 November 2013 (UTC)