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Old 12-28-2019, 05:15 AM   #1
Mightyboosh
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God's omnipotence

Question about god's omnipotence.

I'm taking 'omnipotence' to mean - 'unlimited power, can do anything', as long as it's logically possible, so he can't make a square circle etc etc.

Does god have the power to remove from himself one of his abilities (whilst retaining the ability to restore it), and if he does would that then render him not omnipotent until he was able to do it again since he would no longer meet the condition of 'unlimited power, can do anything'?

If the answer to that is yes (i.e. that situation would make god not omnipotent), then is it actually logically impossible for god to to remove a power and make himself, even temporarily, not omnipotent?
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Old 12-28-2019, 08:17 AM   #2
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Re: God's omnipotence

The bible says that God cannot lie. I think "omnipotent" is more like, all power is his. He might lend out power to some of his little goblins for a time, and to you, lol.
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:17 AM   #3
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by zica View Post
The bible says that God cannot lie. I think "omnipotent" is more like, all power is his. He might lend out power to some of his little goblins for a time, and to you, lol.
In what way does this even remotely address my question....

This is about logic, not what you or I believe.
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Old 12-28-2019, 10:18 AM   #4
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
In what way does this even remotely address my question....

This is about logic, not what you or I believe.
"I'm taking 'omnipotence' to mean - 'unlimited power"

I don't think this is the teaching of the bible. If that's so then the premise of your question is wrong. If that doesn't have to do with your post, isn't this just a thought experiment and so, why are you posting in this forum when there is a Science, Math and Philosophy forum?
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Old 12-28-2019, 12:25 PM   #5
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by zica View Post
"I'm taking 'omnipotence' to mean - 'unlimited power"

I don't think this is the teaching of the bible. If that's so then the premise of your question is wrong. If that doesn't have to do with your post, isn't this just a thought experiment and so, why are you posting in this forum when there is a Science, Math and Philosophy forum?
Because it's a religious context and a characteristic assigned to god specifically. What do you think the answer to my question is?
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Old 12-28-2019, 01:18 PM   #6
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
Does god have the power to remove from himself one of his abilities (whilst retaining the ability to restore it), and if he does would that then render him not omnipotent until he was able to do it again since he would no longer meet the condition of 'unlimited power, can do anything'?
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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
This is about logic, not what you or I believe.
"Could God microwave a burrito so hot that even He himself could not eat it?" -- Homer Simpson

See also "Can God make a rock so heavy that he could not lift it?"

There are lots of questions of this type that are framed as questions of "logic" but are really just questions of semantic meaning. The challenge here is mostly about the concept of "unlimited power" while still putting on limitations such as "as long as it's logically possible."

Admittedly, the Christian use of the term is itself muddled. One of the better renderings of the meaning of the term is something akin to "God has the power to do what God wills to do." But that's already bogged down with lots of theology and so isn't necessarily that useful, especially with regards to this type of questioning.
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Old 12-28-2019, 02:10 PM   #7
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
"Could God microwave a burrito so hot that even He himself could not eat it?" -- Homer Simpson

See also "Can God make a rock so heavy that he could not lift it?"

There are lots of questions of this type that are framed as questions of "logic" but are really just questions of semantic meaning. The challenge here is mostly about the concept of "unlimited power" while still putting on limitations such as "as long as it's logically possible."

Admittedly, the Christian use of the term is itself muddled. One of the better renderings of the meaning of the term is something akin to "God has the power to do what God wills to do." But that's already bogged down with lots of theology and so isn't necessarily that useful, especially with regards to this type of questioning.
I understand that even god can't do the logically impossible, square-circle/rock so big/married bachelor etc etc, so what I'm asking is, is the question 'can an omnipotent god remove the ability to do something he's normally able to do and make himself temporarily not omnipotent' a logically impossible thing? Is he restricted from doing that by the conditions required to be omnipotent, just as with the other examples?

I'm not trying to prove god is or isn't omnipotent, this is a question of logic that I need to understand to solve an entirely unrelated problem.
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Old 12-28-2019, 02:17 PM   #8
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
I understand that even god can't do the logically impossible, square-circle/rock so big/married bachelor etc etc, so what I'm asking is, is the question 'can an omnipotent god remove the ability to do something he's normally able to do and make himself temporarily not omnipotent' a logically impossible thing? Is he restricted from doing that by the conditions required to be omnipotent, just as with the other examples?
What is the meaning of the sentence, "This sentence is false"? What is its truth value?
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Old 12-28-2019, 05:16 PM   #9
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
What is the meaning of the sentence, "This sentence is false"? What is its truth value?
So it's logically impossible for an omnipotent god to make himself not omnipotent? So god, for example, could not decide to not be able to hear prayers temporarily, he has no choice but to hear them because not to be able to would render him not omnipotent and that's not possible?

But why would omnipotence necessarily be an enduring characteristic? I'm not omnipotent but if those powers were awarded to me, I would become omnipotent, so could I not then become not omnipotent once more?
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Old 12-28-2019, 06:00 PM   #10
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Re: God's omnipotence

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So it's logically impossible for an omnipotent god to make himself not omnipotent?
Is the sentence "this sentence is false" false?

Again, this is about the meaning of the words you're using. It's not actually about "logic" because you're using the phrase "unlimited power" but then throwing in exceptions to "unlimited." You've made one exception for logical contradictions. Do you make another exception for other types of sentences?

So it's kind of up to you to say what you mean. If you think that unlimited power except for logical contradictions means the same thing as a burrito that's so hot that God can't eat it, then so be it.
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Old 12-29-2019, 06:37 AM   #11
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
Is the sentence "this sentence is false" false?

Again, this is about the meaning of the words you're using. It's not actually about "logic" because you're using the phrase "unlimited power" but then throwing in exceptions to "unlimited." You've made one exception for logical contradictions. Do you make another exception for other types of sentences?

So it's kind of up to you to say what you mean. If you think that unlimited power except for logical contradictions means the same thing as a burrito that's so hot that God can't eat it, then so be it.
Your sentence is a paradox, as is the burrito example, and all the others mentioned so far. I don't think they're logically equivalent to what I'm asking. God can't do paradoxical things, he can't create something that has a property that he then can't control (because he's required to remain omnipotent through the example), but why can't he remove one of his powers whilst retaining the ability to restore it? That has an impact on his omnipotence, but it doesn't create paradoxical conditions unless you assume that omnipotence is a necessary characteristic, and I'm not assuming that.

And yes, I am struggling to articulate what I'm thinking, and working through it as I go along, and the way I do that might change as I think through or come to understand issues that arise, and yes I might end up abandoning it entirely but I'm not there yet.

[The definition of omnipotent is 'having unlimited power and able to do anything', so that's what I'm using.]
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Old 12-29-2019, 04:09 PM   #12
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
God can't do paradoxical things
A paradox is dependent on logic right? What I interpret you saying is that God canít do counterintuitive things since God being uncontained by logic would be counterintuitive to you.

Itís going to be tough to convince believers that God is incapable of being counterintuitive, and you will never get a sufficient logical answer for how God can operate outside of logic.

You will end up in dead ends whichever direction you go with this.
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Old 12-29-2019, 08:50 PM   #13
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Re: God's omnipotence

If he has the ability to restore it then he didn't turn it off.
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:02 AM   #14
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Re: God's omnipotence

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If he has the ability to restore it then he didn't turn it off.
I take it you turn off your computer with a hammer?
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:09 AM   #15
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
Question about god's omnipotence.

I'm taking 'omnipotence' to mean - 'unlimited power, can do anything', as long as it's logically possible, so he can't make a square circle etc etc.
Whats logically possible is not omnipotence...
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:35 AM   #16
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Your sentence is a paradox, as is the burrito example, and all the others mentioned so far. I don't think they're logically equivalent to what I'm asking.
You're welcome to think that. But now make the argument that it's different. The fact that it's a paradox doesn't appear to be the problem.

What I'm saying is that there is the semantic content of the statement, and then there's the logical content.

"This sentence is false" carries semantic meaning. I understand what the sentence is saying. But then I also see that the sentence is saying something that is a logical contradiction.

"Can God microwave a burrito that's so hot that even he can't eat it?" Again, it has a semantic meaning. I understand what the sentence is saying. But then I also see that there are troubles in trying to apply logic to it. If God is somehow "all-powerful" then can he do something that puts him beyond his own power?

"Can an omnipotent god remove the ability to do something he's normally able to do and make himself temporarily not omnipotent?" This seems to be the exact same situation. If God is somehow "all-powerful" then can he do something that puts him (even temporarily) beyond his own power?

Quote:
[The definition of omnipotent is 'having unlimited power and able to do anything', so that's what I'm using.]
I'll first point out that by saying this is "the" definition of omnipotence, you're already giving away the game. Earlier, you had imbued the term with limitations that do not exist here.

The fundamental sticking point is simply that you are asking whether unlimited power can be limited. I don't see how this can ever not be a type of contradiction. So at some level, you're probably going to make an exception, either explicit or implicit that messes with the idea of "unlimited."
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Old 12-30-2019, 06:17 AM   #17
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Re: God's omnipotence

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You're welcome to think that. But now make the argument that it's different. The fact that it's a paradox doesn't appear to be the problem.

What I'm saying is that there is the semantic content of the statement, and then there's the logical content.

"This sentence is false" carries semantic meaning. I understand what the sentence is saying. But then I also see that the sentence is saying something that is a logical contradiction.

"Can God microwave a burrito that's so hot that even he can't eat it?" Again, it has a semantic meaning. I understand what the sentence is saying. But then I also see that there are troubles in trying to apply logic to it. If God is somehow "all-powerful" then can he do something that puts him beyond his own power?

"Can an omnipotent god remove the ability to do something he's normally able to do and make himself temporarily not omnipotent?" This seems to be the exact same situation. If God is somehow "all-powerful" then can he do something that puts him (even temporarily) beyond his own power?

I'll first point out that by saying this is "the" definition of omnipotence, you're already giving away the game. Earlier, you had imbued the term with limitations that do not exist here.

The fundamental sticking point is simply that you are asking whether unlimited power can be limited. I don't see how this can ever not be a type of contradiction. So at some level, you're probably going to make an exception, either explicit or implicit that messes with the idea of "unlimited."
ok, so is 'unlimited' a value that can't change? The paradoxes create situations where god's omnipotence always remains but he's put in a situation where he can't do something despite being omnipotent. I'm suggesting that he can cause his unlimited power to become limited. Is that logically impossible?
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Old 12-30-2019, 07:07 AM   #18
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Re: God's omnipotence

Further (because this occured to me after the editing time limit had expired)

If we take 'unlimited' to mean exactly that, then isn't god's omnipotence already limited by the fact that he can't do logically impossible things? God is bound by logic, and that's a limit, so perhaps his omnipotence isn't actually 'limitless'. If god's omnipotence is limited in one way, then why not another?
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:52 AM   #19
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh View Post
If we take 'unlimited' to mean exactly that, then isn't god's omnipotence already limited by the fact that he can't do logically impossible things? God is bound by logic, and that's a limit, so perhaps his omnipotence isn't actually 'limitless'. If god's omnipotence is limited in one way, then why not another?
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Again, this is about the meaning of the words you're using. It's not actually about "logic" because you're using the phrase "unlimited power" but then throwing in exceptions to "unlimited." You've made one exception for logical contradictions. Do you make another exception for other types of sentences?
You're kind of at the point where you just need to do some thinking for yourself. Based on your posting history, it seems to me that you're intent on making some point (most likely, there's a logical contradiction in the Christian concept of God).

Ultimately, there's nothing here that anyone else can resolve for you. You can play the game all you want, but as I've pointed out it's ultimate just a game of semantic content. What do *you* mean when *you* say "unlimited"?
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:46 PM   #20
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Re: God's omnipotence

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You're kind of at the point where you just need to do some thinking for yourself. Based on your posting history, it seems to me that you're intent on making some point (most likely, there's a logical contradiction in the Christian concept of God).

Ultimately, there's nothing here that anyone else can resolve for you. You can play the game all you want, but as I've pointed out it's ultimate just a game of semantic content. What do *you* mean when *you* say "unlimited"?
I'm here to get some help with my thinking which I must have started before posting, otherwise I coudln't have created an OP.... You haven't given an answer to either of those last two questions you've just started speculating about my motives, which are utterly irrrelevant to whether or not I'm right or wrong, and that isn't useful to me. I've also already told you "I'm not trying to prove god is or isn't omnipotent, this is a question of logic that I need to understand to solve an entirely unrelated problem." Aaron, I'm not interested in personal asides, help me with this, engage because it interests you, or whatever, but stop with the personal comments or I'll just put you back on ignore.

Not that I owe you this in the slightest, we should just be able to talk usefully... but this is the problem I'm trying to resolve and I'm using god's omnipotence as an analogy.

So....

I feel that I raised two points in my last post(s) that haven't been covered yet in this conversation, and that were a direct result of taking on board your replies about the word 'unlimited', are you saying that you think nothing as changed? Do you think then that god's omnipotence is not already limited by the fact that he cannot do the logically impossible? Isn't that a limit? And so is his power actually 'unlimited'? And if it isn't, then could another type of limit be imposed, say by removing one power specifically.
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:08 PM   #21
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by David Sklansky View Post
If he has the ability to restore it then he didn't turn it off.
Could an AI delete a subroutine whilst retaining the ability to rewrite it?
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:17 PM   #22
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Re: God's omnipotence

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A paradox is dependent on logic right? What I interpret you saying is that God canít do counterintuitive things since God being uncontained by logic would be counterintuitive to you.

Itís going to be tough to convince believers that God is incapable of being counterintuitive, and you will never get a sufficient logical answer for how God can operate outside of logic.

You will end up in dead ends whichever direction you go with this.
I'm not trying to convince believers of anything. I simply want to understand if what I'm suggesting is possible. I don't even see how it would negatively impact on religious beliefs to agree that god could make himself not omnipotent, so what?
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Old 12-30-2019, 06:02 PM   #23
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Not that I owe you this in the slightest, we should just be able to talk usefully... but this is the problem I'm trying to resolve and I'm using god's omnipotence as an analogy.
Uh sure dude. Nobody analogizes from more complexity to try to understand less complexity. You’re being dishonest either with responders or with yourself.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:09 PM   #24
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
You're welcome to think that. But now make the argument that it's different. The fact that it's a paradox doesn't appear to be the problem.

What I'm saying is that there is the semantic content of the statement, and then there's the logical content.

"This sentence is false" carries semantic meaning. I understand what the sentence is saying. But then I also see that the sentence is saying something that is a logical contradiction.

"Can God microwave a burrito that's so hot that even he can't eat it?" Again, it has a semantic meaning. I understand what the sentence is saying. But then I also see that there are troubles in trying to apply logic to it. If God is somehow "all-powerful" then can he do something that puts him beyond his own power?

"Can an omnipotent god remove the ability to do something he's normally able to do and make himself temporarily not omnipotent?" This seems to be the exact same situation. If God is somehow "all-powerful" then can he do something that puts him (even temporarily) beyond his own power?
Not sure what distinction you're making between a semantic contradiction and a logical one.

The so called semantic statements your using are logical in that they are reductio ad absurdum conclusions, to premises that don't make any logical sense. Most premises that use infinites and absolutes are susceptible to absurd conclusions that no one would agree - seem logical...
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:14 AM   #25
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Re: God's omnipotence

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Not sure what distinction you're making between a semantic contradiction and a logical one.
I didn't use the term "semantic contradiction."

Semantic content has to do with the words making sense. I understand what "this sentence is false" is trying to say. It is meaningful insofar as the words can be understood.

Logical content is the truth value of the statement. "This sentence is false" does not contain logical content because it's a contradiction.

There are many sentences that have semantic meaning but contain no logical content. For example, "the number seven" is a phrase that has semantic meaning, but no logical content. We can understand what "the number seven" is without trying to state whether "the number seven" is true or false.

I understand what "This sentence is false" means. That semantic meaning precedes the logical analysis. We cannot proceed to the logical analysis if we don't understand what the words mean. Once we understand what the words mean, we can see that it's a logical contradiction. But we need to use the meaning of the words in order to arrive at that logical contradiction.
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