“Can God create a stone so heavy that even He could not lift it?”
If you have involved yourself in any interfaith dialogue or evangelism, you have likely come across this interesting question. This is a common trap provided by skeptics to create havoc in the minds of the believers and, if the believer is not careful, they can succumb to the fake dangers of what is believed to be conclusive proof against God’s omnipotence (which is also coupled with other “proofs” against God’s very existence). Despite the seemingly difficult nature of the question, I believe firmly that it is actually quite easy to navigate without falling into either conclusion.
The question essentially concludes that, if God can create a stone so heavy that He could not lift it, He cannot be omnipotent for God would be able to lift the stone and, alternately, if God cannot create such a stone, then He could not be omnipotent because a truly omnipotent God would be able to do so. This is also seen in other variations such as: “Can God create another God of equal power and capability?” or “Can God make a square circle?” I join the countless minds over the last centuries which have shared the sentiment that the question points to a grotesque misunderstanding of the term “omnipotence”. Omnipotence is not being used in a manner that indicates the ability to do all things at all times, but, when we use it with respect to the nature of God, we conclude that God’s omnipotence is His ability to do all things within the context of the nature He has revealed.
What has been revealed to us?
To start, we know that there is not one who is like our God – He is the First and the Last: Is. 44:6; 48:12; Rev 1:17; 2:8; 22:13.
For being such a difficult and tricky sounding question, it really is simple to avoid. God’s omnipotence is His ability to do all things according to His nature. He cannot stop being what He is and there is nothing greater.