who is god

nature of god

Q. Can God create a rock so heavy that He can’t lift it?


A. When someone poses this question, usually they are either joking or else trying to demonstrate how ridiculous belief in God is. But let’s analyze the question for a minute.

The first half asks about God’s creative capacity. The Scriptures affirm that He created the entire universe (Isa. 45:12; Jer. 10:12; 51:15), demonstrating that His creative capacity is infinite. He does as He wills, with no one to stop or hinder Him. We humans have no category in which to file this ability, since our creative capacity is so limited and derivative. With pre-existing materials human beings can create some amazing things, but we cannot create something—anything—out of nothing.

The second half explores God’s capacity to do work. To this ability we can relate, for though our ability to work is limited, we know what work is, to some degree. As humans, we know that if the work is lifting, our ability decreases as the load increases, until finally, the weight is too heavy for us to lift. Not so with God! Having infinite power means that a heavier load does not tax Him more than a light load. No matter how much weight is added, His lifting ability remains the same: infinite.

When we put the two halves together, we find ourselves comparing the infinite with the infinite. Therefore, the answer is: No, it is impossible for God to create a rock so heavy that He can’t lift it. Why is it impossible? Isn’t nothing too hard for God (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17, 27; Luke 18:27)? If nothing is too hard for God, why would we claim He cannot create such an object? Because it is impossible for such an object to exist. The question theorizes a logical absurdity.

Does that mean that even God is subject to the rules of logic? No, it means that the rules of logic arise from the nature of the eternal and omnipotent God. They exist as a part of His eternal Mind, and “He cannot disown [or deny] Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). Other things are also impossible for God: He cannot lie (Heb. 6:18); He cannot tolerate wrongdoing (Hab. 1:13); He cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13); and He cannot run out of covenant-love, because it also is bound up in His essential nature (1 John 4:8), its scope is infinite (Ps. 103:11), and it lasts forever (Ps. 136:1-26).

Want to go deeper? Take a look at “Omnipotence Paradox” in Wikipedia, but I warn you: way too quickly it gets way too deep for safe “swimming.” Better take oxygen tanks!

Steve has been a Bible teacher for over 30 years. He has written many articles, more than 20 e-books, and several study guides, most recently, Overcoming: Guide to Understanding the Book of Revelation. His website, DeeperStudy.com, encourages all people to go deeper in their understanding of the Word of God, the Bible, and to become authentic, New Testament Christians who serve a risen Lord.

Posted in bible study, christian theology

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