Have you ever had someone – usually an atheist – try to argue against the existence of God by asking “Can God make a square circle?” or “Can God make a rock so heavy he cannot lift it?” They assume they’ve found a solid argument against the existence of God and have us trapped! We all know that this is nonsense, but would you know how to respond to the question? Catholic apologist Matt Fradd does a great job answering this in his blog. Check it out:
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Hi Andy! How are you?
No one is suggesting this would actually happen; the hypothesis is purely hypothetical. “COULD God make a rock so heavy he couldn’t lift it?” The argument is in fact frequently presented by atheists as a “proof” against the existence of God and his omnipotence. “If God is all-powerful” they assert, “then he must be able to make a rock he cannot lift. If he can’t, he’s not all-powerful.” In other words, they are trying to disprove the existence of God by creating hypothetical cases that are impossible to solve. As the article states, God cannot be illogical. There are in fact restrictions on what God can and cannot do. He cannot do evil; he cannot make a mistake; he cannot cease to exist. But these restrictions do not indicate incompleteness or lacking of a power he should have. If God could err, do evil, or die, he wouldn’t be God.
Maybe I’m missing this point (now that I’m reading this long after the ensuing debate), but the assumption is that God has a human form, that He would emerge, appear much like you or I, and try to lift a rock. Surely, you can’t be serious.
Matt’s point is well-taken that we’re trying to associate God with the ‘known’ or with something to which we can relate, much the same way as we look at the family dog and try to suggest they’re telling us something in a human way. It’s not a very logical debating point.
To bring it full-circle, it’s like telling an atheist that in order to complete his analogy, he needs to first agree that there IS a God and that he also needs to agree on the form (or lack of it) He takes. The moment he does that, he begins to concede his own argument.
((for the record, I’m not the person who’d given you the one-star rating here.))
Hello Father. …I like Fradd’s blog on the subject. Though, I highly doubt that he actually used words such as ‘logically incoherent’ with a five-year-old. But, I digress.
I agree with him though, God couldn’t, and wouldn’t need to, change the weight of an object or permanent shape of said object. What the girl in his blog seems to have failed to realize is that God created the universe, and therefore created the physics, and the laws thereof. Why would he ever change them to prove a point? That, in turn, would destroy the core of everything he’s created, make him imperfect, and thereby give him no merit. Most atheists I associate with are aware that if they had a god, then that god wouldn’t change anything that he would have created for the reason of his perfection and power, and so they refrain from that argument. Nevertheless, Fradd had an intelligent, respectable response that would be useful in debate.