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Featured Is God omnipotent?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Xavier Graham SA, Jul 22, 2021 at 1:50 PM.

  1. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love is love is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    The Problem of Evil had me reevaluate if I thought God was omnipotent. I no longer think He is.
    First, I will cover the Zoroastrian idea of God, and then I will go through Biblical examples.
    As a syncretist, I believe that Zoroastrianism provides an accurate depiction of God. The God of Zoroastrians, Ahura Mazda, is omniscient, benevolent, but not omnipotent. The central belief of Zoroastrianism is that Ahura Mazda is in a cosmic battle between the evil god, Ahirman. Every persons actions and thoughts contributes to this cosmic battle, for better or worse. God needs our help to overcome evil, so is not omnipotent in this way.
    Now to the Bible.
    In the latter end of the book of Daniel, he is praying. He is praying for several weeks, as that’s how long it takes for him to get an answer. An angel eventually comes to where he is praying and apologizes, saying: “Sorry Daniel! God sent me on my way to you the second you started praying, but an evil spirit held me back for a few weeks!”
    I remember as a kid, the pastor preached that this wasn’t proof that God wasn’t omnipotent, rather the amount of days was symbolic or something like that, I don’t remember completely. But I think this is proof of God’s omniscience, but lack of omnipotence.
    Then there’s Jesus. Do you suppose that if another way was possible to save us, Jesus would have done it? The fact that Jesus was crucified, if we believe our God is benevolent, then surely that sacrifice must have been necessary. If that was the only available route to save man, is God omnipotent?
    In the book of Revelations, it is prophesied that people in the Messianic Kingdom will rebel. Does God not have the power to prevent sin, even in heaven?
    Do you believe that the God you believe is omnipotent? Why or why not?
     
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  2. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Whatever I (or any of us) believe in this regard has nothing to do with God's omnipotence, or lack thereof.

    Also, being non-omnipotent, ourselves, means that we have no possible way of determining the existence of such a condition, or state. Any observable instance of such supposed omnipotence would by definition be beyond our ability to comprehend. Which is why I stated above that whatever we believe about this, is irrelevant to it's possible actuality
     
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  3. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love is love is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    I just bring it up because for example atheists will bring up the problem of evil as a moral dilemma to some theists beliefs. If Christians say God is omnipotent (from my experience, they often do) then the problem of evil is a legitimate question. What we believe won’t affect the reality of it, sure, but discussing it has worth I think.
    Because not ascribing omnipotence to God is one way to solve the moral dilemma of the problem of evil. And moral dilemmas are always worth considering.
     
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  4. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    (coming from my Advaita (non-dual=God and creation are not-two philosophy)

    I would say the question of God's omnipotence is coming from a dualist perspective (God and creation are two).

    I liken creation to a grand play/drama where God separates Himself from Himself in Act I and then returns Himself to Himself in Act II. In any great play/drama there are intrigues/conflicts/suffering throughout the middle of the play but this play has a happy ending: Liberation for All in God.

    So in another sense I would say God is omnipotent as any author is over what happens in the play he writes.
     
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  5. Jahia El Ti

    Jahia El Ti Member

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    My God's Spirit is everywhere I am, therefore
    my God is always present in the present.
     
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  6. epronovost

    epronovost Well-Known Member

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    Then, by that logic, omnipotent is a meaningless term since there is no way for us to understand it. You might as well refer to one of the characteristics of God(s) as being farglakut. Is that what you mean?
     
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  7. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Member

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    I see different Christians adjusting the attributes of the god they believe in, so that it fits whatever they are personally comfortable with, or what makes the most sense to them personally. It's curious that these different attributes from person to person are often incompatible or contradictory.

    Still, I don't think you should believe in any omni-property until it can be demonstrated, and I don't see any way to demonstrate it. For example, I could watch a being create a billion universes, and that would still be 0% of infinite power, and no basis to infer omnipotence. Omni-properties also seem to entail logical contradictions and paradoxes. So, I don't think you should believe in such a god. The problem of evil is a good example of this; whatever god's purpose was in creating the universe, he should have had the power to accomplish it without any suffering, as well as the knowledge and will to do so. Having intentionally chosen to include suffering, he therefore can't be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. It's an awfully airtight line of reasoning. In most cases, I see Christians get around this problem by redefining "good" to include things widely considered evil. No thank you.

    If I ever felt like inventing a god I wanted to believe in, like all theists seem to do, I would have it be a powerful role model that I could look up to, that would be generous, helpful, and eager to mentor people toward achieving their goals and living life to its fullest. (This approximates the god of progressive Christianity, I think?) It would certainly never be someone I would have to fear, or who would hurt me for disagreeing, or who would demand constant praise, which is all laid out clearly in Abrahamic texts. Only people who are insecure in their weakness seem to make such demands. These are hallmarks of a toxic, abusive relationship.
     
    #7 AlexanderG, Jul 22, 2021 at 2:41 PM
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021 at 2:48 PM
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  8. Jahia El Ti

    Jahia El Ti Member

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    Which came first
    the knowledge there is a God
    or the knowledge there is no God?
     
  9. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Member

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    I wish you'd addressed any of the points in my comment you quoted, but I'll bite.

    It would entirely depend on your definition of god. The descriptions of some gods entail logical contradictions, so I can know they don't exist. Other gods are unverifiable and unfalsifiable, so we can't have what I consider knowledge about whether they exist or do not exist. I've never seen anyone give enough evidence to warrant "knowing" a particular god exists. That failure of evidence gives a functional, tentative knowledge that gods probably don't exist, and whether you consider that "knowledge" is again a matter of definition. I'm not really interested in a battle of definitions.

    If you had to pin me down, I'd say there was a time when humans had no concept of any gods. Then, some humans imagined gods to justify and increase their personal power, and were initially met with skepticism from everyone else until they inflicted violence to force others to say they also believe. Soon enough, this led to young children being indoctrinated into these beliefs along with everything else their parents taught them, since children are wired to do this at a young age. Continually threatening violence to anyone who expressed doubt or disagreement, plus social pressure, kept this belief cycle going and kept the powerful leaders more secure in their positions of power. Personally, I don't see any "knowledge" in this scenario but that's just me.

    Should we get back to omnipotence?
     
    #9 AlexanderG, Jul 22, 2021 at 2:56 PM
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021 at 3:02 PM
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  10. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Consciousness is omnipotent but in a way that has no connection to "reality".

    Reality IMO, requires natural laws/physics which can't be circumnavigated. If God has omnipotent powers over the universe, then the universe is a very elaborate illusion.
     
  11. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    You can't have knowledge about the non-existence of something.
     
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  12. Jahia El Ti

    Jahia El Ti Member

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    The question I asked of you is addressing your post
    and everything you said in your post.

    Your lack of understanding of my speech is not a reflection
    upon the validity of it.
     
  13. Jahia El Ti

    Jahia El Ti Member

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    Can you have knowledge of tomorrow that does not exist today?
     
  14. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    IMO one can imagine what tomorrow will be but that is not knowledge of tomorrow.
     
  15. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I believe He is. But, it seems to me that He has for example decided that people have free will. That brings for example possibility for people to choose evil, as I think they did in paradise. But, I don’t think evil is a problem, I think it is just something that we can learn in this Matrix. Good thing is that nothing of this world can destroy our soul and those who are righteous, have chance to return back to life with God.
     
  16. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Nothing can be omnipotent while you (or anything else) exists.

    Omnipotence is unlimited power. Power is energy divided by time.

    To have unlimited power implies infinite energy.

    In a closed system energy or mass cannot be created or destroyed but can be changed from one to the other.

    Matter (mass), you and i, earth, every planet, sun, asteroid, speck of space dust that exists in this universe is made from energy, thus reducing the amount of available energy. So energy even if it were infinite is no longer infinite.

    Hence no god can have infinite power.
     
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  17. Jahia El Ti

    Jahia El Ti Member

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    So you are telling me that you have no knowledge of your next birthday
    on the day that has yet to exist?
     
  18. Xavier Graham SA

    Xavier Graham SA God is Love is love is love. OM, AV KAH AHH!

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    I suppose the Hindu ideation of “God”, Brahman, would disagree. Brahman is seen more as what is intrinsically tied to all matter and energy, and not so much a sentient being as in Abrahamic religions.
    does the Hindu claim Brahman is omnipotent, I’m not sure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  19. Jahia El Ti

    Jahia El Ti Member

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    Who taught you this you have stated or did you just make it all up?
     
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  20. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I don't know myself, perhaps someone will enlighten us.
     
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