An atheist friend of mine once asked me a baffling question—one to which I could not respond any other way.
“According to the Bible God is Omnipotent, he is All Powerful....Could God create a rock so heavy that he could not lift it?”
I answered No, and then he laughed and said,
Well if he can’t create a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it, then isn’t he logically NOT Omnipotent?
This question has left me in deep prayer and concern, even though I know that God is beyond our understanding. What can I say that challenges this atheist’s claim?
Dear Ken Ham,
I really enjoyed visiting the Creation Museum. I got those two books called The Answers Book for Kids Volume 1 and 2. I really enjoyed the walk through history: Creation to Consummation. It felt like walking into a time machine starting with the beginning of the whole earth. Isn’t God amazing? He made the world really beautiful just for us. And we didn’t even do a thing! He loved us that much. Well, thank you for being open to our family when we saw the Creation Museum and met you for the first time.
Let us know what you think.
Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis with an oft-used challenge question: Can God create a rock so big He can’t lift it?
For this to be a valid question, God would need to be bound by the laws of gravity. Obviously, God is not bound by His creation (i.e., gravity), as it is part of the universe He created. This is like asking on what page of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can we find Shakespeare? It is an illogical question. One could argue that Shakespeare’s characteristics are in the play, but he, as the playwright, is certainly not bound by the pages of his work.
In other words, this question first assumes that gravity is greater than God. How can something God creates be greater than God? The assumption is illogical right from the start, and thus the question is illogical right from the start—this is called the contrary-to-the-premise fallacy. Since this question assumes God is bound to His creation, it cannot be referring to the Creator God of the Bible. One way to reveal this fallacy when someone asks this question is to ask:
“What ‘god’ are you talking about?”
They will probably respond: “The God of the Bible” (as this person apparently intended).
Then you can respond: “The God of the Bible is not bound by His creation, and since this question has this ‘god’ bound by gravity, it cannot be referring to the God of the Bible.
Along a similar line, a coworker relayed this conversation to me that she had with her ten-year-old daughter:
She asked “Can God lie?” to which I said “No.” Then she asked, “Can't He do anything?” and I said “Yes, but He wouldn't want to lie.” Then she asked, “Well, could He if He wanted to?” to which I replied, “He wouldn't want to.” But she kept asking, “But what if He wanted to.” So I answered “According to the biblical account of His character, He wouldn't want to and He wouldn't. Whether or not He could is a question that misses the point. The answer is He wouldn't want to and so He would not, and that’s the end of it.”
Additional to the general biblical account of God’s character indicating He would not lie is Hebrews 6:18, which says it is impossible for God to lie. Remember that God is not like us, and even when God the Son was in human form on the earth, He was tempted in all ways as we are, yet He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). Always examine the logic behind these sorts of questions; you will find that these sort of challenges don’t stand up to logic or scrutiny. Keep proclaiming the truth.
With kindness, God bless,
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