What is the omnipotence paradox?
The omnipotence paradox is a paradox commonly used by atheists to disprove the logical possibility of an omnipotence being. In order to do this, they would suggest whether an omnipotent being can create a stone so heavy he cannot lift. If he cannot create the stone he is not omnipotent, if he cannot lift it, he is not omnipotent, either way omnipotence appears logically impossible.
There are three predominant ways to solve this paradox which are all equally successful. By discussing these three methods, we can clearly see that the omnipotence paradox is non-sensical and fails to defeat theistic explanations of an omnipotent God.
In this post, I will only address the first two objections and rebuttals. If you want to see an in depth description of all three rebuttals, be sure to check out my youtube video which can be found here.
Equivocation on omnipotence:
The main objection that I would raise against the omnipotence paradox is the idea that it equivocates on the term “omnipotent”. This is the idea that the atheist subscribes to a different meaning for omnipotence than the theist and hence completely misses the point.
When the atheist refers to “omnipotence”, they like to appeal to a no-limits form of omnipotence. This is the idea that God can do anything at all including logical absurdities. Under this definition, it is clear that this paradox is sufficient. If God created a stone that he couldn’t lift, it logically follows that he is not omnipotent.
That said, this is not the only definition of omnipotence. While there are multiple different formulations of omnipotence, I adhere to the definition as follows
x(omnipotent being) can do all y (all actions) if and only if x doing y is logically possible.
In other words, God can do all logically possible actions.
With this in mind, the omnipotence paradox fails. While creating a stone so big one cannot lift in itself is not logically contradictory, when you add an omnipotent being to the equation, it becomes logically impossible.
When you turn back to the definition, we can see that the omnipotence paradox fails to overcome or defeat the notion of an omnipotence. God (x) doing the omnipotence paradox (y) is logically impossible, hence due to the second condition (only if x doing y is logically possible) does not include the omnipotence paradox, the proponent of Christian theism can just accept the paradox and say that it does not apply to God of the Bible.
God is necessarily omnipotent:
In the previous response, we looked at the omnipotence paradox, god creating a stone and lifting it as one action. However, it is possible for someone to separate the actions, to suggest that God creating the heavy stone and then failing to lift it are two different events. (while the previous rebuttal would work fine in this situation as well) one can easily raise a new objection.
This is raised in Richard Swinburne’s article named Omnipotence. He basically postulates that God can create a stone so big that He cannot lift, He just doesn’t do it. Let’s assume creating a stone so big He cannot lift is logically possible for an omnipotent being, under the definition that omnipotence means (abilities to do all possible things) God would be omnipotent up until the point that He creates the stone. After which He would loose His omnipotence. Hence it follows that since God hasn’t yet made the stone, He is currently omnipotent.
From these objections and others which I raise in my youtube video, we can conclude that the omnipotence paradox fails in defeating the notion of God’s omnipotence. Hence, the theist can be intellectually satisfied with God’s divine omnipotence and be confident in defending it.