Thursday, December 08, 2005

Question 2: God's Power

Question 2: If God can do anything, can he make a rock so big he can’t move it?

I am sure most people have asked this question before. (If you haven’t, you should. All the popular people are) Most of the time it is asked rather sarcastically, but there is a good point behind the question. The intent of the question is to ask, “Is there anything that God cannot do?”

This question goes back somewhat to the discussion I had a couple of days ago in explaining open knowledge. If you will remember, I said that there are some things God cannot do because that would be impossible. For example, it would be impossible for God to create a married bachelor or a square circle. Those things would be absolutely impossible. C.S. Lewis calls this intrinsically impossible because it carries impossibility within itself. These things would be impossible in all worlds for all agents. The same would be true for our question. Lewis goes on to say that intrinsic impossibilities are actually nonentities. In other words, asking if God has the power to create a married bachelor, a square circle, or creating a rock so big that God could not carry is nonsense because those things do not exist. Those are not “real questions.” Lewis concludes then, that God can do all things that a possible to do.

I also want to suggest that there is another question that is of greater importance than whether or not God can do anything. That question is this. “Are there certain things that God will not do?” This is, I believe a far more difficult question to answer. When we examine the world, we see lots of times in which we think God should intervene and perform a miracle and yet he doesn’t. Then, we hear reports from other people that claim God intervened in their life in an extraordinary way. I am not sure there is a real pattern to this. All I can conclude is that God does interact with the world, but there are times when he will not.

I do think there is one issue where we can conclude that God does not do. I think God does everything possible to help humanity respond in a positive way to his love. However, I do not believe God will override our freewill in order to bring about a faithful response from us. I think God does everything short of overriding human freedom in order to save people. Note that God could override our freedom, however, I believe he chooses not to in order for people to enter into a true loving relationship with him.

No comments: