Is God a Contradiction?


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One of the often heard criticisms of the existence of God is that it somehow produced irreconcilable contradictions. These arguments range from the very simple to the very sophisticated, but most of them can be dealt with in a very straightforward manner. We will list a few:

1) Can God create a rock so big that he cannot lift it?

The idea here is that if God is all powerful, He can do anything. But can He do something that that destroys his omnipotence? The answer is no. This is because the concept of a rock so big that an all powerful being cannot lift it is incoherent, it contains a logical contradiction. Since logic is grounded in the very nature of God, asking if he can create a logical contradiction is basically the same as asking if God can choose to be not Himself. The very concept is incoherent.

2) Can God create a round square?

This question is basically the same as the first. God cannot create logical contradictions since logic is part of the nature of God himself.

3) If God is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent, doesn’t the existence of evil contradict Him?

This question is a little harder than the first two. See the section on the problem of evil for a thorough discussion. Suffice it to say, however, that these do not actually constitute a contradiction. This can be shown by a thought experiment:

Imagine that all of the evil in the world came about by the actions of free creatures. In this case, the freedom of creatures could constitute a morally sufficient reason for an all loving, all powerful, and all knowing God to permit evil to exist. As long as this is even possible, then we have shown that there is not a contradiction (remember that a contradiction would be completely impossible).

4) How can God be one and three at the same time?

God is three persons and one God, which is not a contradiction.