How would you refute the “paradox of the stone”?


I assume you are asking me to refute the famous argument against the omnipotence of the God of the Bible.  Christians claim that God is omnipotent.  Yet, the argument goes, God is clearly not omnipotent, because he is not powerful enough to create a stone He cannot lift.  If he is unable to create a rock he cannot lift, the argument goes, then he is not omnipotent.
This argument is a fallacy for two reasons.  First of all, the question of whether God can create a stone which he cannot lift is a nonsense question.  The first premise behind this argument is that God is omnipotent, which means that he can do anything. The second premise is that it is in principle possible for there to exist a stone which God cannot lift.  It it is possible for such a stone to exist, then God, by definition, is not omnipotent.  The problem here is that the argument assumes that it is at least conceivably possible for such a stone to exist.  In this case, the argument assumes the existence, or potential existence in the first place, which is to make the existence of such a rock both a premise and a conclusion of the argument.  This is circular reasoning.  A premise cannot be a conclusion.  It is equivalent to assuming that God is not omnipotent, and using this assumption to prove that he is not omnipotent.  Therefore, this is a fallacious argument.
The second (and more powerful) reason this argument is a fallacy is that it assumes a definition of omnipotence to which Christians do not espouse.  Here is a correct definition of the kind of omnipotence which God has:  God is able to do anything which does not violate his nature.  Here is the point.  There are a LOT of things which God cannot do.  But none of these things disprove God’s omnipotence.  God cannot lie, as it is not in his nature to lie.  (Hebrews 6:18).  God cannot do a thing which is not loving because God is love.  God cannot commit a hateful act against a person, because God does not hate people.  God cannot do an unjust thing, because God is perfectly just.  God cannot commit an unholy act because God is holy.  Also, God is not able to do things which are literally impossible.  God cannot make 2 + 2 = 5.  God cannot create a square with three corners.  God cannot create a stone which he cannot lift.  There are a lot of things God cannot do.  This is a bogus argument.
John Oakes

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