What is the Omnipotence Paradox?

The question is commonly asked by skeptics of God, Christianity, etc.: Can God make a rock so heavy even He cannot lift it? To many, this is called the “omnipotent paradox” and is a nail in the coffin in regards to God’s omnipotence.

This supposed “gotcha” question falls woefully short and reveals that the skeptic asking doesn’t understand the nature of God. The answer to the question is far less important than the explanation.

In this post, I simply want to provide the answer, but more importantly I want to provide why the question is misguided to begin with. It assumes one major thing that is mistaken.

It Assumes God Can Do Anything

This question is very popular even though it is terribly misinformed. At the very foundation, the question assumes God is capable of doing anything. People equate His omnipresence with the ability to do anything even if it is outside the realm of logic or God’s nature.

To state it simply: God cannot do anything.

How can that be, Blake? Your faith claims to believe that the God you serve is omnipotent, yet what you just said contradicts God’s omnipotence.

To that I say, it most certainly does not. God’s omnipotence doesn’t mean He is capable of doing anything. God cannot do anything that contradicts His nature. Allow me to give you a short–but not exhaustive–list:

God cannot:

  • Lie (Numbers 23:19)
  • Break a promise (Psalms 89:34)
  • Change His character (Malachi 3:6)
  • Can’t get tired (Isaiah 40:28)

And there are many more things God cannot do. The so-called “gotcha” question, like I said above, reveals a lack of knowledge about who God is and what it means for Him to be omnipotent. His omnipotence doesn’t mean He can do anything. Is He all-powerful? Yes. But that doesn’t mean He can do something that goes against His nature.

God can’t make a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it because that would go against who He is as God. God is omnipotent, but He cannot do something that is illogical. Him not being able to do something doesn’t undermine His omnipotence. For example, God cannot lie. If He could, He would not be God.

Let’s Stop with the “Gotcha” Questions

God is sovereign over all. He will not be put to task for being who He is. You cannot trick God. You cannot out-smart the only God. You cannot stump the sovereign Lord of all. The Pharisees tried that on numerous occasions and each time it backfired horribly. You will not put Him to task; in due time, He will put you to task for your unbelief.

When skeptics ask this question, they believe they have stumped the believer. If the believer is well-equipped–which they need to be–then this question shouldn’t be an issue.

So, respond with grace to this question. Even though it is a question that makes them feel like they have the upper hand, show them how the question falls short. Reveal the ignorance of the question; answer it, and then make a bee-line to the gospel. Proclaim it!

Soli Deo Gloria

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