God and the Big Rock

What about this common objection? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Within the past week, I have seen the objection shared on a Facebook group I’m in and realized I don’t think I’ve ever written on it. You’ve probably heard it before. Can God make a rock so big that He can’t lift it? This is a case where there are some real atheist objections and then there are some that people think they’re saying something profound, and they’re really not.

The short answer is no. God can’t do this. It can’t be done because it involves a contradiction. A rock is finite and God is infinite and this would mean the rock would need to be finite and infinite. C.S. Lewis once said “God can” does not make nonsense any less nonsense.

The reality also is that this does raise up good questions about omnipotence. Unfortunately for internet atheists, Christians were already raising up these objections long before they came along. This was especially so in the medieval times. Consider this much more simple question that does raise a question on what omnipotence is. Can God swim?

We might be able to say Jesus could in the incarnation, but apart from that, could He? We know God can become a man, but could He become a cucumber? In each of these cases, we can discuss what it means for God to be God and what natures are compatible in some way with deity.

One objection also was if God could change the past. Thomas Aquinas said no. Again, this is a deep question and the TheologyWeb forum I’m a part of long ago had a good laugh about it. This was shortly before the massive meteor shower that wiped out Seattle. Oh? You don’t remember that? I had prayed about it. You’re welcome.

What about omniscience? One could ask if God knows what it’s like to sin. He could know in the sense of understanding our experience, but not in the sense of experiencing our experience. This raises the question of what knowledge is much like the earlier question raised was what power is and what it can do.

We’ve been asking these questions for centuries. They’re not new. Unfortunately for internet atheists, since they don’t read contrary thought and don’t know the history of ideas, they miss out on these. One saying I have is that those who don’t read will always be at the mercy of those who do.

Again, there are real atheist objections, like the problem of evil. This is not one of them. Atheists who use objections like the big rock think they are revealing something profound, and they are, but the problem is it’s only their own ignorance.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)