Super God: The Omni Paradox

Omni-Paradox

The belief that god is omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient (all knowing) and Omnibenevolent (all good) is held by many religions. It is however, possible to note some contradictions with this belief.

The first one goes like this:

 

  1. God is omnipotent
  2. God is Omnibenevolent
  3. God is omniscienent
  4. God will prevent all evils he can (from 2)
  5. God knows of all evils (from 3)
  6. God can prevent all evils (from 1)
  7. God will prevent all evils (from 4+5+6)
  8. The world will contain no evil (from 7)
  9. But, the world contains evil.

The argument here is that god cannot be all three, good, powerful, knowing because they are mutually exclusive. Theists will argue that god allows some evil to prevent a greater evil. Well if he is all powerful can’t he do both?

If god is all powerful can he make a room that he cannot get out of? This is the paradox of omnipotence. If he can make a room that even he cannot get out of then he is not omnipotent because he cannot get out of the room—if he can get out of the room then he is not omnipotent because he cannot make a room that even he cannot get out of. This can be applied to lots of things—a stone that even he cannot lift; can he make an unstoppable train hit an immovable wall? Another area that he may be limited in is can he commit suicide? Does he have the power to kill himself?

What about omniscience? God knows everything even what he is going to do—so can god change his mind? If he can he is not all knowing because he didn’t know what he was going to do—he might have known he was going to change his mind but he didn’t know what he was going to change his mind to or else that wouldn’t be changing his mind. If he cannot change his mind then he is not all powerful.

There are loads of these types of arguments—finding incompatibilities with these three virtues of god. Demonstrating how they are not actually possible never mind consistent with one another. However, again I cannot spend too much time enumerating all the different arguments that have been written on this topic.

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11 Comments

Filed under atheist, god, philosophy, religion

11 responses to “Super God: The Omni Paradox

  1. Pingback: Is there a proof that god exists? « This is What I Would Do

  2. calin

    God it is not what u guys want to thing that believers thing He is
    God is what He says He is , or what the believer who has God IN him says He is

  3. Rick

    God is omnipotent
    God is Omnibenevolent
    God is omniscienent
    God will prevent all evils he can (from 2)
    God knows of all evils (from 3)
    God can prevent all evils (from 1)
    God will prevent all evils (from 4+5+6)
    The world will contain no evil (from 7)

    If the world is to contain no evil, then all men must die & be removed from it, because all commit evil throughout their lives. Lying, stealing, hurting others (physical, emotional, etc)
    But, the world contains evil.

  4. actually, what is darkness, its the fact that is no light, an evil is the fact that is no God, and people choose to believe that is no God so because of that is evil, and so man if you say that is no God you might be in a big problem… And why exist evil? cause we choose to believe that is no God, and missing of God is evil. Actually first angel who felt he choose to go far from God. and that’s why he felt.
    God didn’t told that he will prevent all evil… he told that the world will is full of evil, and those who believe in him will face a lot of evil from those who don’t believe. Actually every body see the evil as something bad that happened to him but those who trust in God they see like a reason to joy, cause that “evil” will develop more patience. when you believe in God and live your life as God really exist, you will understand everything completely different.
    God can prevent all evil but He don’t want us to be like robots, he wants us to sow that we really believe even if the evil will attack us, if you say to somebody that you love him and when first evil appears you would freeze your love, than where is real love… the real love is not to have evil, the real love is to know how to cross over evil, why? because you love.
    the evil for a child of God is definite buy Him, and when you don’t believe in him you make evil everything you thing goes bad, you will say the evil was that i could not have enough time to robber that bank and the police catch me, but God says that evil is even the though that you indented to robber, and what happened next is the way of sin, of don’t believing that Gods ways are right. When is no God you became your own god. and your law is your identity, represents you. Gods laws is not the law that everybody should live like that, its the law that represents God, and how He is, and you believe in Him is not enough, because even the evil believe in Him but they don’t love Him, you must love Him and when you love Him, you live your life as He likes, and He become your way to see and to understand situations, and when you love Him you want to became more like Him, cause He is the best for you, no sex is the best, no music, no fun, no beer, no other satisfaction, He is the best for you, He will give you what you need, everything at his time. Sex in marriage, fun enough to be encourage to continue, working at his time, learning at his time, everything at His time.

  5. Ryan

    Rick,

    But why do men commit evil acts? Couldn’t an all-knowing/powerful/good god have created beings that didn’t? Even those that didn’t and still had choice? Maybe if we were created with less aggression. Maybe with greater empathy. Maybe with less selfishness and a greater understanding of how our actions effect people. It could have given us more knowledge. I’m a finite being and can think of ways to make us better. Wouldn’t an all-good god at least do that?

    Take the Eden myth, for example. If this omni-god didn’t want evil to exist in the world, it could have shown Eve what the consequences of her actions would be before she took the fruit and ate. It apparently knew it would happen, could have stopped it, and didn’t. Hence the contradiction.

    Brix,
    The light/darkness metaphor proves nothing. Evil is not the absence of good. Neutrality is.

  6. Hoa

    Ryan, you’ve been asking the wrong questions. You’re only asking “why not”, when you should be asking “why?”

    Let’s pretend there is a “God” and He is in fact the Christian God, for argument’s sake?

    Lets start from the beginning.

    When God made man He called man “very good” as appose to simply “good”. We, therefore, were made “omnibenevolent”. Adam and Eve were made to be all good. He did not purposely make them bad. I hope you’ll agree with me there. Then came the snake(satan) and tempted them.

    Now we ask “why did God allow satan to tempt them? Why make us so easily tempted?”

    Logical answers:

    What is special about us is that we have free will. Free will is free will. We are who we are. What is the point of making beings with the special intention of giving them free will and then limiting it? Isn’t that hypocritical? Isn’t it awesome that we, has a human being, can come to do anything that we wish? But how much more awesome is it when we CHOOSE to do good. When you hear the news of firefighters rescuing people from fire, you think “that’s good”, but when you hear news of a kid rescuing his grandma from a fire, you think “THAT’S AWESOME! So Brave of him!”! Why? Firefighters are meant to save people from fires, it is their duty. It wasn’t the kid’s duty to save his grandma, society wouldn’t have blamed him if he’d run out of the house by himself. To have a being choose to worship you is infinitely better than to have a being to have to worship you.

    So then to the question of “Why did God allow us to be tempted”

    God made us omnibenevolent, yet our flaw is that we are not omnipotent nor are we omnipresence. We were had those two attributes, then we’d be God ourselves! You argue about the paradox about the omnis, but you don’t even see the paradox in your argument.

    Anyone can be omnibenevolent, if all you desire is good. All Adam and Eve desired was God, because all they knew was God. When they ate from the tree of knowledge, they had other desires, desires greater than the desire for God.

    Let me ask you, how can anyone STAY omnibenevolent if they are not also omnipotent? We are the perfect example. We are powerless to temptation. Had we been made omnipotent, we’d have power over temptation. One cannot stay omnibenevolent unless one is also omnipotent. And one cannot stay omnipotent unless one is also omnipresence. How can one be all powerful if one does not know of any possible weaknesses that one might have, or any possible attacks that might be brought upon oneself. Omnipotent and omnipresence goes hand in hand. Yet to stay omnibenevolent you’d have to be omnipotent and also omnipresence (how do you know what you are doing is good or not?) .

    That aside, yes God is all powerful, but there are some things that He will not do. That doesn’t mean that He is incapable of doing it, it’s just not God-like. If He did it then it’d be contradicting, it would hypocritical of Himself. One thing He’d NEVER do is alter our free will. Free will is one of our greatest gift (if not THE greatest) and it would be unlike God to alter it. Altering it would, in my opinion, be evil.

    If a man hands you a knife and points a gun at your wife and tells you to kill your son or he’ll shoot your wife, what would you do? I would not do anything. Killing my son would be evil, but letting my wife die would be tragic. I therefore choose to not do evil and allow tragedy to happen. Some might find that heartless, but that’s what it takes to be omnibenevolent.

    And I think God is often in that situation and we should feel for Him, not blame him…

    To try to answer your questions:

    But why do men commit evil acts?
    -Not all men commit evil acts, all men sin, but not all commit evil acts.

    Couldn’t an all-knowing/powerful/good god have created beings that didn’t? Even those that didn’t and still had choice?
    -Whats the point of creating a being especially with free will and then limiting it to what that can become?

    Maybe if we were created with less aggression. Maybe with greater empathy. Maybe with less selfishness and a greater understanding of how our actions effect people. It could have given us more knowledge.
    -Our environment greatly effects who we are and who we become. Everyone has the ability to be omnibenevolent, yet our surrounds make it impossible. With knowledge comes desire. One must be careful of what one knows. If you know you can cheat without be caught, why not do it?

    I’m a finite being and can think of ways to make us better. Wouldn’t an all-good god at least do that?
    -God bless you my friend.

    Take the Eden myth, for example. If this omni-god didn’t want evil to exist in the world, it could have shown Eve what the consequences of her actions would be before she took the fruit and ate. It apparently knew it would happen, could have stopped it, and didn’t. Hence the contradiction.
    -So what if he showed her? Would that guarantee she’d still not eat it at another time? Curiosity killed the cat. Would that also guarantee that another temptation won’t happen again? What if God wanted to teach us a lesson?

    The way I see it is that God is full of hope. He knew that Eve would be tempted. He even asked them if they’d eaten from the tree. What was the point of him asking if He’d already know and even knows their reply. I think it’s because he’s full of hope. Hope is usually when we want an unlikely outcome. God KNEW their answer, yet still HOPED that they’d tell the truth.

    -I hope that all made sense to you. God bless

  7. Demand evidence

    Hoa,

    You hold the argument that God would not do things that are not ‘God-like’, and you imply that God is still capable of doing these things. I have no criticism of this argument. It seems like it can logically work.

    You imply that God must have free will. If God has free will, why have we, the creation, not been endowed with all of God’s same assets? That is to say, why can’t we be given the same priveledges of being all powerful, all knowing with the given asset of being all good? It seems to me that we are made to suffer with our mistakes whereas this God has the priveledge of never having to feel like he made a mistake. It seems to me that in the ‘Christian God of the Universe’ scenario there is an unnecessary forced dependence on the creator. It seems to me that this God is saying, “love me or suffer the consequences.” It is difficult for me to picture a God who would so lovingly toss me into hell for merely disbelieving his existence (especially with no evidence to substantiate the existence of this God), when humans would champion forgiveness in that area.

    Also, you imply with your last paragraph that God knows what’s going to happen before it happens. Then you use the word, ‘hope’. The word hope implies that God does NOT know what is going to happen. In fact, there are several parts in the Bible when God is somehow surprized or disappointed or angry. This implies that the God written about in this text is NOT all knowing.

    You make a point of saying that God is all good and has created man to be all good (…and that man is given free will to neglect his all good quality). If God is all good, why would he endow the creation with the free will to do evil? Why not just assign free will to do anything that does not fall into the evil category? Why learn a skill – resisting temptation – that is unnecessary in the proposed paradise? There is also the issue that God orders humans to break his “Good Rules” in a couple of places in the Bible. What is God teaching his people when he orders them to slaughter the unbelievers? “People who don’t believe should die? And go down to the grave/shadow/hell”? What is good about this christian God? This God is like one of those bullies you want to brown nose, because they’re sensitive and irrational and any moment they could fly off the handle.

    I think if it exists, God could be more or less powerful than humans. There are cases where the creator is less powerful than the created.

    I think if it exists, God knows exactly what’s going to happen before it happens. The thing is: we’re bound by natures laws to do what we’re going to do. We cannot deviate from our path. There is no free will. Life is like watching a movie and you can’t change the beginning, the ending or any moment in between. So sit back and enjoy the show.

    I think if it exists, God is all Good, but that is because good is a point of view, and my point of view says that existence is all good. I’m certainly not going to be insulted if someone denies that I exist if I don’t leave a trace of scientific evidence that I do, in fact, exist. Existence, however isn’t necessarily good because I say it is, just like saving babies isn’t necessarily good because someone else says it is. Good is subjective. There is no ‘good’. There is no ‘evil’.

    That’s my piece for Hoa.

    Ryan,

    This nine step argument is brilliant, but holds less water if there really is no evil in the world. The arguments against all knowing and all powerful are effective covers. Thanks for the fun!

    Deman

  8. Hoa

    Deman,

    If God had made us all-powerful and all-knowing, would we not be Gods ourselves? How can God create God? Would that not be contradicting? If God can be “made” and who made the first God? It doesn’t make sense, to me at least. If God made us to be Gods, God would no longer be all-powerful, nor would we. Then the term “God” would no longer exist. You can debate that there is no such thing as God, but that’s a whole other debate…

    You say “love me or suffer”, what do you mean by that? Do you mean to say that all those who do not believe in God will go to hell? If you believe that then you must be very misinformed. I will state that I am no Bible scholar, but I do not remember reading anywhere in the bible where Jesus says “If you do not believe in me, you will be damned”. Jesus says if you accept him, then he will accept you. The only logical reasoning is, if you believe in God, if you are able to love God above all things, then you will go to heaven. Now if you don’t love God above all things, why would a loving God make you live in heaven? If God is not your #1 desire, why should you be forced to living with him eternally? It makes no sense for a loving God.

    Now hell has been interpreted differently in many different sects. Many believe that there are different kinds of “hell”. The Hebrew for hell is many meanings and different words are used for hell. So as earth or below earth. I believe the “Hell” that Jesus speaks of is for those who HATE God. If you absolutely despise God, a loving God wouldn’t force you to be near him would he? Now what does it mean to “hate” God? It means to hate mankind, for we are, afterall, made in the image of God. Now does who are good, but yet do not love God above are things go to the “earth” hell, where I believe the wander around. Again, I am no expert and I do not think deeply hell for I do not intend to go there, but those reasons to me are logical for a loving God. Who God is and what is he really like? I don’t know for sure, but I trust that he is in fact a loving God. What does it hurt to trust that he is a loving God?

    Sorry for babbling on about God, I just have a huge passion for Him.

    Anyways, Hope. I said God is extremely hopeful. What is it to have hope? Is it not to “believe” in a positive outcome? Now there is a difference between “believe” and “knowing”. Sure God “knows” the outcome, but he still “believes” in a positive outcome. I don’t know about you, but there has been many times in my life where I’m in a bad situation where the outcome is obviously going to be bad, yet even with all the facts in my face I still had hope, I still believed that there might be a positive outcome. My dad had lung cancer when I was 8. The doctors said he had a few years left and they were certain. Yet even with those facts, I had Hope. Hope has nothing to do with “knowing”, “hope” is about believing. “Knowing” actually discourages “hope”. Yet being an “all-knowing” God, he still hoped, that is my I said he is full of hope.

    Again, free will is free will. There is no point in limiting it. We were not meant to experience evil, but time will take it’s course. We are not perfect, we are not God. Deman, we DO have the skill to resist temptation. Everyone does. Yet we do not even try. As time passes by, we try less and less. Do you not agree? Look at the adultery rates throughout history. Why has to gone up? Why is there now a website just for married men and women to meet up and cheat on their spouses? Soon the term temptation with be out of our dictionary.

    Your argument about a Bulling God…I know what I’m about to say will sound like justification of wrong-doings by God to your ears, but I will try anyways.

    There is a difference between God of the OT and God of the NT. It has always been stated throughout the OT and NT that God is a JUST God. Now what is just to me might not be to you so what is just to God might not be just to you and others. God made us to be good, and once we are longer good, is it not just for God to get rid of us? For me it is. If I make something and the result is the opposite, I’d get rid of it. But God is all knowing, maybe He has a plan? God has the right to take any life he pleases whenever and where ever, just as I have to right to get rid of anything I make whenever and where ever (maybe not where ever). But if you believe in God then you must believe in the Spirit, which can never die (unless God destroys it). Our physical life is not as important as our spiritual life. Now for God to take physical life is not as important for him to destroy the spirit altogether. Anyways, The God of OT is all about JUST, what is right. The land belongs to God and he can give it to whomever he wants. Why not give it to the people who actually loves him.

    Now the God of NT is all about Mercy. OT God said “eye for an eye”, that is just. Yet Jesus teaches to turn the other cheek, which is the opposite. Now one might argue that that is contradiction, but it actually is a beautiful contradiction. Jesus not only fulfills Justice by sacrificing himself (the wages of sin is death) but fulfills mercy and love as well (for whomever believes in him shall have eternal life)

    I don’t know of any cases where the created are more powerful than the creator. A good creator will all ways have the ability stop the created, if anything goes wrong. If the created can be stop by the creator, then the created is not more powerful than the creator himself.

    You’re correct about good being subjective. Good is only what you perceive it as to be. What may be good to you might not be good to me. What is bad today, might be good a decade from now. So how can one truly know what is good? How do you know what you think is good is really good? You’re wrong about there not being “good” and “evil”. There are always a “common good” and a “common evil” where society deems something as good and something as bad. If there are no common good and common evil, there would be chaos. Murder and rape would not be evil in that case? what would you call it? Breaking the law? But where do the laws come from? Do they not come from the debate of good and evil? To say that there is no Good and evil, to me is evil in itself. As for me, my good is God. I love God above all things. Although I do not fully understand him, I still love and trust him. I probably cannot convince you to do the same. I just loving talking about God =)

  9. Juice

    You guys should check out process theology, it has some pretty neat work-arounds for these kinds of questions. If you look hard enough the “paradox” becomes unimportant.

  10. Reblogged this on Igtheist Morgan and commented:
    That’s why He ranks with married bachelors as nonsense! And believers make the argument from ignorance in deducing God from the lack of evidence.

  11. Pingback: What if Superman behaved like God? | The BitterSweet End

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