Can God Make A Rock He Cannot Lift?

There is an old philosophical question that asks, "Can God make a rock He cannot lift?"

If God can create a rock he cannot lift, then He is not all powerful.  And if He is not all powerful, then He isn't God, and therefore, God does not exist, or at least, God is not truly all powerful.

At least, that's how this riddle goes. It's known as the "omnipotence paradox."

And, lest you think this problem is something that atheists have constructed in order to take cheap shots at Christianity, you would be wrong.  It was a problem that some medieval monks and priests toyed around with.  Over the centuries, great philosophers and theologians, like the legendary Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, and C.S. Lewis have attempted to solve this problem.

There are a lot of varied answers to this problem.  Some attack the question itself, saying the question is illogical, and is like asking if a two-sided triangle can exist.  Others treat the question as being less hostile, and end up saying that our minds have to understand that God being all powerful doesn't mean that God can truly do everything that is theorized in some abstract questions.  Rather, God simply has the ability to do everything that needs to get done. So, God is all powerful they say, but in some limited sense of the idea.

It occurred to me as I mulled over this problem recently, that God long ago solved the omnipotence paradox, long before the question was ever asked by all the great thinkers of the past centuries.  He did this in the person of Jesus Christ.

As a Christian, I believe that God came to this world in the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ was not merely a man, but He is "God made flesh."  And in the incarnation of God as a man, Jesus Christ lived in this world, subject to all its forces, and the limits placed on His humanity. Yes, He is fully God, but fully man at the same time.

Even though Jesus did amazing things like walk on water, heal the sick, and raise the dead, He was ultimately limited by His humanity.  Everything you and I are limited to in our humanity, He was also limited by.  And, anything supernatural that Jesus Christ did, was as a man empowered by the same Holy Spirit that had empowered prior prophets like Moses, or Elijah.

In the person of Jesus Christ, God was limited and weak.  So much so, that the world and people He created eventually took hold of their Creator, stripped Him naked, and crucified their God on a tree.

So, to answer the age old question, can God make a rock He cannot lift?

The real answer to this question gets answered every Easter, as we tell the story of the Passion.  In it we learn of Jesus Christ, the crucified God.  It is the story of the God who created a rock that He could not lift.  It is the story of the God who was crushed by the world He created.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus Christ as a person can not lift up a stone more that 100 kg (220 lb). But Jesus Christ as Creator created every stone and can lift up any stone.