Gallery D

God's Big Stone

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The Great Stone Paradox

By James Donahue

Atheists like to use the stone paradox to argue against the existence of God. The paradox goes like this: If God can create and accomplish all things can he create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

If He can’t create such a stone, then there is something that He cannot do. Thus God is not omnipotent. But if He can create such a stone, then God has created something else that He cannot do, thus we must say He still is not omnipotent. Thus, if God is not omnipotent, perhaps he does not exist.

I have thought about this paradox for a long time and I think I have found a few reasons why the very question is totally silly.

First of all, why would God wish to create such a stone, even if He could? It would have to be an object so large it would fill God’s entire creation, thus destroying His magnificent work and take us all out with it.

Secondly, unlike the ancient Hebrews, I do not believe that God is a powerful grandfather figure floating around in the sky over our heads. Even the Book of Genesis suggests that God is a multi-personality. During the Creation story He said things like: "Let us make man in our own image." Then after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, God said: "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." So who was God talking to when he said this?

As scientists create new and better instruments allowing for more careful examination of the far reaches of our universe, and the extreme depths of the atoms that comprise every part of ourselves and the objects around us, we are coming to a deeper understanding of just who God is. Everything we examine, both within and without, is in motion. There is an unseen energy force that keeps protons spinning around the nuclei of every atom, just as it keeps the planets spinning around the suns and the solar systems in motion in the galaxy. There appears to be no end to the depths of everything we can see in both directions.

What is this energy? Would it not be the energy of the Creator? Are we not all part of the whole of the God that created us?

Suppose God did choose to create a giant rock, so large that he allegedly could not lift it? If God exists within His creation, would he not also be the energy of the atoms comprising such a stone? He would BE the stone. So why would he wish to create such a thing?

The great theologan Thomas Aquinas looked at this problem in another interesting way. He determined that God could probably create such a stone, but he would not do it because it violated his own laws of logic and mathematics. Thus creating such an object would be doing the impossible within the realm of His own creation.