Omnipotence paradox  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The omnipotence paradox is a family of semantic paradoxes which address two issues: Is an omnipotent entity logically possible? and What do we mean by 'omnipotence'?. The paradox states that if a being can perform any action, then it should be able to create a task it is unable to perform, and hence, it cannot perform all actions. Yet, on the other hand, if it cannot create a task it is unable to perform, then there exists something it cannot do.

One version of the omnipotence paradox is the so-called paradox of the stone: "Could an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that even that being could not lift it?" If so, then it seems that the being could cease to be omnipotent; if not, it seems that the being was not omnipotent to begin with.

The argument is medieval, dating at least to the 12th century, addressed by Averroës (1126–1198) and later by Thomas Aquinas. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (before 532) has a predecessor version of the paradox, asking whether it is possible for God to "deny himself".

Many answers to the paradox have been proposed.


See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Omnipotence paradox" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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