Can God create a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it? If yes, how is He all-powerful? If no, how is He all-powerful?
I love this question. Initially, it seems like a perfect proof that an all-powerful being is impossible, which is troubling (to say the least) from the standpoint of religion. It is the kind of question that probes into the fabric of reality. It seems like the perfect trap. But I don’t believe it is inescapable. In fact, I would say that such questions force us to look into the depths of reality, and the fundamental facts of God Himself.
It seems that to answer yes, is to admit defeat, and to answer no, is also admitting defeat. Apparently we can do neither.
The first key to the question is the difference between what God could do theoretically (i.e. what’s in His power to do), and what God would do (i.e. what’s in His nature to do), and the second is the power of the question itself. Yes, God could (theoretically) create a stone so heavy that He could not lift it, and what’s more, He could then lift it. Yes, this is the contradiction the question was after. But what question is so powerful as to bind God? God is not subordinate to logic (or He is not God), nor did He create logic (or He Himself would be inconceivable), but God is (in a sense) logic (look up the theology of Jesus as the divine Logos and the divine Wisdom).
So, if God is logic, can God do something illogical? Theoretically, He could if He changed Himself. Can the unchanging God change Himself? Again, theoretically, yes. Nothing constrains God but God.
But then again, God won’t ever create such a stone, do something illogical, or change Himself, because of who He is. God will never change; He will never lie; He will never be unfaithful. And God will never change, because there is nothing that can affect God but Himself; and He will never choose to change because He is not even subject to time, and to change your mind requires time’s work. He already knows all things perfectly, and will not discover anything to change His mind.
So if we consider that God is, in a certain sense, unable to create and lift such a stone, it is only because He Himself, by His very being, makes it that way, by His free and continued choice.
God bless you
[P.S. I’d love to keep the discussion going, so if you have any further points, either agreeing or disagreeing or neither, I’d love to see them. Thanks]