Can God make a rock so big he can’t lift it?

Over at Tough Questions Answered, I notice they are putting out a lot of quality work. But they also have some answers for beginners. I am going to be posting two of their beginner answers today, just to make sure we can all answer them. Here is the first question they answered: “Why can’t God make a rock so big he can’t lift it”

This is a common question that is asked by those who misunderstand the nature of God’s omnipotence.  Another humorous way of asking this question is: Can God make a sandwich so big he can’t eat it?  (I owe that jewel to my friend Greg).

You’ll have to go over there for the answer, I’m not telling!

UPDATE: My answer is actually a little different than their answer. My answer would be that a rock that can’t be lifted is self-contradictory. All objects that have mass can be lifted, by definition. So what the questioner is really asking is something like this: “Can God make a married bachelor?” or “Can God make a round square?”. God’s power does not allow him to perform self-contradictory things. That is not a limit on his power – self-contradictory things are nonsense, and no one can do nonsense.

5 thoughts on “Can God make a rock so big he can’t lift it?”

  1. the view that mr. pratt and myself both prescribe to is that the reason that God cannot break the laws of logic is that these laws stem from his very nature. God cannot go against himself. For this same reason, God cannot sin, or go out of existence.


  2. I think Tyler is exactly right. What we are realy asking is whether or not God is usbject to the laws of logic.
    The idea would be that if Logic trumps God, then God is not ultimate. But if God trumps logic, then God becomes nonsensical.
    As Tyler points out though, Logic is what it is because it derives from, and is a reflection of God’s own nature. So the question reduces to
    “can God be different than who He is?”


  3. Exactly. And as God is Pure Actuality, (and therefore cannot change), the answer is clearly- NO. God is unchanging.


  4. “Can God make a sentence so ridiculous even he can’t believe it?”

    There is no rock or sandwich: these ‘quandaries’ are forms of words, not things or even possibilities. Furthermore, if God as God is spirit, he has no hands or teeth or stomach. How much yellow can you hear on a heavy Wednesday? Grammatical, maybe, but not about anything.

    Playing with such words gets us away from: what is the nature and scope of divine power? How is the finite related to the infinite? What is the nature of creatureliness?

    The questions remain, even when we try to subtract or caricature God. Also, the divine principle of the philosophers is not the big picture, of the self-revealing, self-defining God of the Christians.

    Just pondering,



  5. This question should have gone away with Newton’s Theory of Gravity. If the rock is the biggest source of gravity in the universe, there is nothing heavier to lift it from; therefore, it cannot be lifted. If He can do what He pleases, as it says in Psalm 115, what can be more omnipotent?


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