Failed Philosophical Arguments
What the world says:
"If God cannot create a stone He cannot lift, then either He cannot create or He cannot lift. Therefore, He is not all-powerful (omnipotent)."
"God created a world where evil exists. Therefore, I cannot believe in Him."
"If God knows what we know, then some of what we know would make Him a sinner."
"If God hasn't experienced what we've experienced, then He cannot be all-knowing (omniscient)."
"If God does something other than what He would do, then He's not omniscient (all-knowing), and if He can't do anything other than what He knows He's going to do, then He's not omnipotent (all-powerful)."
What is the truth?
Science only tells of the natural world and is limited by the natural. If a being is supernatural, then that being doesn't have to obey laws of science. However, such a being still has to be logically coherent. God cannot both exist and not exist. There is no such thing as a square circle. And the following sentence lacks logical coherency and makes no sense: "This sentence is false." Such logically incoherent statements or claims have no use in a debate or discourse since they make no sense in and of themselves. So, keep in mind that statements must be logically coherent to even be considered.
Can God create a stone that He cannot lift? If God is all-powerful (omnipotent), then all stones, by definition, can be lifted. This question shows the aforementioned logical incoherency by asking if God can create a liftable unliftable stone. It's like asking someone to draw a square circle. It's nonsense.
Suffering and Evil:
Can God create a world where evil doesn't exist? The Tree in the Garden of Eden is the free-will element and true love includes free will and comes at a high price, a price which God knew and planned for His Son's sacrifice before time. However, there is more to say. It's easy to address man-caused evil theologically since it is necessary for free will to exist as just mentioned. Yet, there are physical evils with seemingly non-human causes. Think about tsunamis, famines, disease and "natural" evil. A Biblical worldview solves this with the Fall of mankind. The original sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the Fall and the suffering to follow. Even "natural" and physical evils that are not directly human-caused are ultimately human-caused when considering the Biblical worldview.
In his book Why Does God Allow It?, the late A.E. Wilder-Smith mentions how he admired the great architecture of the cathedral in Cologne before World War II. However, by 1946, this great cathedral had been bombed (along with the rest of Cologne), and he saw it was full of holes and in shambles. Smith points out that this was not the architect's or builder's fault. Likewise, we must accept the fact that we live in a broken world, a fallen world.
God does not have to experience what we experience to be all-knowing (omniscient). God can be omniscient and know about our sins without Himself being sinful (i.e., experiencing sin). Emotional experience is not knowledge. God doesn't have to be a terrorist to know about terrorism. It's like saying God isn't omniscient because He hasn't stubbed His toe. It's nonsense. If one makes such claims, then he or she might as well disregard medical treatment since it's like saying the doctor has to be a diabetic to treat diabetes or terminally ill to treat a terminal illness. Claiming God knowing all implies His being sinful is a foolish claim. Sin is not an act of power, but an act of weakness. It's like saying if God cannot be weak, He cannot be all powerful. If one can see negative consequences of bad choices, then one is less likely to make such choices. So perfect knowledge and wisdom would result in One who wouldn't even be tempted by such things. Omniscience includes knowing everything what will happen. And God exists outside of time since He is eternal and created time. He doesn't exist linearly or sequentially in time. He stands outside of time and sees it all at once. What God is going to do is from our vantage point. He doesn't look into what He's going to do. It's all now to Him while it's all new to us as it occurs since we, unlike Him, cannot see the future.
Regarding failed philosophical arguments, what does Scripture say?
Consider the following:
- Genesis 2:15-6 - The garden was for man to cultivate, but there was the one rule to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a rule which allowed for free will (and thus true love and obedience).
- Genesis 3 - The Fall of Man - disobedience, shame, fear, blame, enmity, wounds, pain in childbirth, usurping and domination, difficult toil, death, sacrifice, expulsion, barriers ...
- John 9:1-3 - Neither the man born blind nor his parents committed a sin that directly caused the man's blindness. He was just born that way out of the Fall. In such difficult scenarios, there can be hope and God can be glorified -- cures, healing, living life joyfully in spite of suffering.
- Isaiah 55:8-9- God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
- 1 Corinthians 1:25 - The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
- 1 Timothy 6:20 - Avoid worldly, empty, opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge."
In considering what's being said, truth and the Bible, how are we to respond to the world when the world makes philosophical claims in an attempt to discount God's omniscience and omnipotence?
Can God both exist and not exist?
Pinocchio says, "I am lying" and his nose grows. What is wrong with that statement?
How do you interpret the statement, "This sentence is false"?
Can you draw? Can you draw a square? Can you draw a circle? Can you draw a square circle? If not, does this mean you cannot draw? Why or why not?
If I am diabetic, does that mean it is due to my sin or my parents' sin? Or something else? Why or why not?
If a car wrecked into a store and destroyed the storefront window, door, wall and the products, why would it not make sense for me to blame the builder of the store or manufacturer of the goods therein?
How does emotional experience differ from knowledge?
Do you know about terrorism? Did you have to be a terrorist to know about terrorism?
Does God know about terrorism? Does God have to be a terrorist to know about terrorism?
If I am an Information Technology professional, do I have to be a computer to tell people about computers?
Does God know about the human toe or injuries to it? Does He have to stub His toe to know about toes?
If a being is eternal can He see all of time as I look at a small object?
If a being can see all of time at once, why does it not make sense to consider Him thinking about what He's going to do?
Which response is the most engaging so that it may bring discourse and productive discussion, perhaps even to presenting the Gospel? What are some other possible responses that promote discourse?