atheism

Can God create a stone…

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 truths 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]

Could we believe in God without knowing?

The idea of God is a tough one. Most who claim to believe in God would say He is a mystery. Plenty would say She is a mystery.
My question is, I suppose, what is belief in God? What does it look like?
A large part of the problem is words. Words are like empty pots that the hearer must fill with meaning, based on their position and the smells left behind by the meanings that have occupied it in the past. It’s a pretty risky way of communicating.
How many people might reject the word ‘God’ but actually believe in Him? Who knows.
What if you believe in a grand mystery? Is that ‘God’? What if you simply believe in goodness? Is that ‘God’? What if you believe in meaning, whether of life, or of the universe? Is this ‘God’? What if you just believe in something that transcends every individual? Is this belief in ‘God’? What if you believe there is something in man that is beyond man? Do you believe in ‘God’?
What if you don’t believe He is a ‘personal God’? Is this not belief? What if you don’t believe He’s best described as a He? Is this no longer belief? What if you don’t believe He’s particularly concerned with your life and its details? Is this not belief?

The word ‘God’ is a tricky pot, that is awkward to use because so many people at so many times have filled it in so many ways. So many different conceptions flood in with it. It would be understandable if everyone got together and agreed to never use it again. Think of all the clarity there could be.
However, I believe this is a mistake. The word ‘God’, I believe, signifies the ultimate beyond us, and that ultimate beyond us requires a word. This single word ‘God’ unites all who believe in this “ultimate beyond us”, in a more or less vague feeling of awe, and I don’t believe we should sacrifice that. Plus, without this word, it becomes impossible for us to have constructive and enlightening dialogue on the nature of the ultimate beyond us.
Calling It, ‘the Universe’ or ‘Fate’ or ‘Energy’ rather than ‘God’ is only evading necessary conflicts and questions. These words may be useful in their own right, but, in my opinion, to never say ‘God’ fails to adequately express the grandeur of such concepts.

For my part, I believe that Jehovah (I AM THAT I AM) is God.
I believe He deals with individuals, but is not there for the sake of any individual.
I believe He is like us, but in a way that is beyond us, so that imagining Him as one of us has limited use.
I believe that He is in every one of us, in a form. This may be called “the divine spark” or “the image of God” or simply “love”.
I believe that God is love.
I believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son. I believe that Christ is the Word in the flesh.
I believe that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I believe that He is the foundation of all things.
I believe that He is good, and that He is the source of all goodness. I do not believe He has anything evil in Him, or is the source of any evil.
I do not believe that He deals out punishment or reward except in the form of natural consequences or His own presence/withdrawal (and perhaps the two may be one).
I believe that He is a mystery, that may be understood in part, and explored further through experience and love.
I also like to call Him by masculine pronouns, as a default (eg. mankind) and to identify Him as the God of others who called Him ‘He’.

I believe it is better if we spend less time asking whether God exists, and more asking what He is like.

May ‘God’ bless you.