originally posted by: facedye
All you need to have a well functioning paradox is this:
- Acceptable premises
- The premises all follow from one another in agreement
- These premises all logically lead to an unacceptable conclusion
A paradox is evidence that your 'accepted premise' is a fallacy.
Paradox means error, usually the premise.
For instance, when 'time travel' is sufficiently examined, all avenues of exploration end in paradox.
This tells us that 'time travel', as is commonly thought in movies and literature, is not possible.
That's what paradox means.
When the notion of 'free will/choice' is thoroughly examined, all avenues of inquiry end in paradox.
Thus, actual 'free-will/choice' is impossible (other than as an illusion/vain belief).
Here's a popular one:
God is omnipotent.
As the creator of the universe and all things within it, it is all powerful.
With this, then, can god create a boulder large enough that it cannot lift the object?
If it can create a boulder large enough, it is not omnipotent.
If it cannot, then it again and ultimately is not all powerful.
Who can reason themselves out of this?
That has so many fallacies and impossibilities, and has already been thoroughly been refuted, many times!
Can God Make a Rock So Big He Cannot Lift It?
This is one of my favorite questions that comes up from time to time. Indeed, many atheists and skeptics have posed this question in an attempt to
stump Christians and somehow disprove the omnipotence (and existence) of God. Maybe you've been there. What is so ironic about a question of this type
is that rather than prove any sort of deficiency in the character or nature of God, this question actually shows a lack of clear thinking and logic on
the part of the skeptic! In other words, the question itself is flawed and fallacious in several ways and, unfortunately, the person raising the
question has not taken the time to truly think this problem through.
Problem #1: this question commits the fallacy known as a loaded question. Imagine if I were to ask you, "Have you stopped beating your spouse yet?" If
you answer yes, that means you were beating your spouse but you have since stopped. And if you answer no, that means you're still beating them! Either
way you answer the question, you automatically concede that you beat your spouse! This is a no win situation because the question itself starts with a
false assumption and is therefore a "loaded" question. Likewise, the question "Can God make a rock so big He cannot life it?" also starts with a false
assumption, i.e., that God is not omnipotent. If you answer "Yes" to the question, that means that God is not omnipotent since He can make the rock
but isn't powerful enough to lift it. But if you answer "No," that also means that God is not omnipotent since He couldn't make a rock so big He
cannot lift it! In other words, the question itself is dishonest, a pseudo-question, since it begs the question by assuming God is not omnipotent.
Problem #2: this question commits a categorical fallacy. The question itself is incoherent and meaningless. Suppose I were to ask you, "What does the
color blue smell like?" or "How much does the number seven weigh?" These are category mistakes because colors don't smell and numbers don't weigh
anything. They are logical impossibilities. In the same manner, asking the question "Can God make a rock so big He cannot lift it?" is essentially to
ask "Can God's power defeat His own power?" This is nonsensical and a category error since the question is being incorrectly applied. Greg Koukl has
stated, "The question is nonsense because it treats God as if He were two instead of one. The phrase 'stronger than' can only be used when two
subjects are in view...Since God is only one...it makes no sense to ask if He is stronger than Himself."
Problem #3: this question commits a straw man fallacy. The goal of the skeptic who asks this question is to somehow undermine the Christian concept of
an omnipotent God. It is thought that if it can be shown there are some things God cannot do, this would prove that God could not be omnipotent and
thus could not exist as Christians have traditionally portrayed Him. However, this line of reasoning is attacking a distorted concept of Biblical
omnipotence and is therefore guilty of the straw man fallacy.
So what does it mean then that God is omnipotent? Omnipotence doesn't mean that God can do anything. There are actually quite a few things that God
cannot do. He cannot make squared circles. He cannot make a one-ended stick. He cannot sin. He cannot improve His morality. So God is limited in a
sense. But not one of these "limitations" has to do with power, rather, they are logical contradictions. Also, notice that His "limitations" are not
due to any defects in His character or power but rather they are the result of His perfection and rational nature! As Norman Geisler has stated, "He
is only 'limited' by His unlimited perfection." To say that God is omnipotent then is to say that God can do anything so long as it is logically
possible and consistent with His nature. God's omnipotence does not mean that He can do what is impossible but only that He can do whatever is
Conclusion: So what then is the answer? Can God make a rock so big He cannot lift it? My comments above put aside, I still like the way one particular
7-year-old responded: "I can't give you a smart answer to a dumb question."
The old "willing or able" diatribe asked countless times here by those who never search it and somehow always think they are original! Chris Tiegreen
answers you this way..."He is both willing and able! The problem is not with God's power and it's not with his love, it is with our faith. When God
doesn't resolve a situation to our liking, especially in which the suffering is great, we are tempted to accuse Him of either impotence or negligence.
Jesus' response tells us to look within...unanswered prayer is a call to come closer, look deeper, know God better, and seek His will further. It's a
call to be transformed as a disciple and to be conformed to the image of Christ. By such the Father separates those who desire to test Him from those
who desire to know Him."