If you have been a Christian for any amount of time, it is more than likely that you have heard this standard atheist question, “If God is all powerful, could he create a stone too big for him to move?” This question has haunted theologians for years, and by far the most common answer to it I have heard is this, “He could create such a stone, but he won’t because it is against his nature.” As a Christian, this answer has always felt off to me. It admits that there are some theoretical situations that God could not conquer, but rests on the fact they could not occur without his help in the first place.
Instead of simply accepting this answer as the best option I, your humble armchair theologian, have decided that I will try to create a new answer myself (talk about storming the castle). Along the way, I will probably come dangerously close to committing heresy, and I will do so by relying on the very basic nature of the trinity (cause whenever has that subject ever caused any controversy).
Now before I get into my arguments, I feel like setting some ground rules. Since the atheists are on the accusing end of the argument they have the right to set up any theoretical situation, but with one major limitation. Since they are challenging Christians on their own turf, they have to stump Christians according to the Christian worldview. For example, they cannot base any arguments on the fact that they believe Christ did not rise from the dead because true Christians just don’t share that belief. Because of this, any argument based off of that idea has no weight with true Christians.
Now to begin with my argument, I am going to try and define the Trinity. The most basic explanation of the trinity is that he is made up of the Father (the creator), the son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit working through his followers). Now it is important to note that this definition is woefully incomplete. The true definition of the trinity states that each of these beings is simultaneously a separate individual being and one and the same with each of the others (If you find this intellectually dizzying, wait till I get going). Right off the bat, there is a major logical conflict with this. In debate, there is a logical rule of identity that states that something cannot contradict its own nature by its own nature. In layman’s terms, I cannot be on both sides of a river at once because by being on one side I disprove the possibility that I am on the other. By stating that the Trinity is both three separate beings and one being simultaneous, this law is broken.
Now, it may seem like it would take a miracle to get me out of this situation, however, I believe that there is a simple explanation that can solve this problem. Christians believe that God created the universe, including the laws of logic. To expect God’s nature to be bound by the laws of logic as we know it would be like a character in a computer game expecting the “Almighty Programmer” to live his life according to 1s and 0s. It actually makes sense that if God created the laws of logic, he would not be bound by them except when he wanted to be. In other words, the basic nature of the Trinity suggests that god can break the laws of identity at will. At this point many readers may scoff at this notion, it may seem as ridiculous as, say, deciding to get involved in a land war in Asia. I would like to remind any doubtful readers that in order to disprove God any argument must be constructed according to a Christian worldview, and according to the Christian worldview, there is no reason why God should not work this way.
Now it is finally time to answer the question, could God create a stone too big for him to move. And I will answer this question by coming dangerously close to committing heresy. I believe that not only is this possible, but it actually has happened. For any skeptical theologians out there, I ask that you just hear me out. We believe as Christians that Christ was both fully God and fully mortal man, with all the limitations and powers thereof. This once again demonstrates Gods power over the laws of identity by having Christ be both a pure God and a pure man without actually being a mixture of the two. Because of this fact, any stone too big for any single human to move was too big for Christ to move. Because Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same this stone would have been too big for God to move and the requirements for the question would have been met in full. At the same time, for the same reason, God would have had been fully able to move said stone. This is because Christ was simultaneously fully limited and fully unlimited. At this point, I will restate that because God does not necessarily need to follow the laws of Identity he was able to be fully limited and fully unlimited simultaneously.
At this point, I want to state that I am not suggesting that Christ drew his power from the Father, I am making the claim was simultaneously limited and unlimited. I am saying that God is able to exist on both sides of the road at once when he wishes, and therefore any argument that is dependent upon him being on only one side of the road is unable to pin him down. Under the situation, I have described It should be noted that for anyone looking for a stone so big God could theoretically not move it, you need to look no further than the stone before the tomb of Christ. As a limited man, God would have been completely incapable of moving it. However, as Unlimited God it posed no challenge. And since God was fully both, the stone in question perfectly fits the one described in the original question.
Now I know that there are many places where my understanding of the Trinity may have had some holes and I would appreciate any replies or comments that would educate me.
As to any atheists who are annoyed by my reasoning, I would give you this advice. I truly believe that your logical process would be put to far better use solving problems and exploring concepts where they actually have some level of authority. And also, take care of yourselves, if you haven’t got your health you haven’t got anything.
J. R. Woowright