How Does One Use the Term Omnipotent and Other Similar Terms?
Nowhere in the Bible is it implied that "God created everything." Indeed, the sentence has no logical meaning. If you assume that "everything" is not to be restricted to say the "heavens and earth," then this leads to a logical regress, an unlimited mode of thinking from which one can't escape. Such regresses have been know for thousands of years. It must be true; the intelligential ability of human beings is devolving. God tells us that He is not created. And to differentiate Him from others, this means His attributes are not created. God states that to properly understand who He is, one must simply state that "He exists." (As he says "I am.") Hence, His attributes exist and nothing more needs to be stated.
(In the following, I have, at times, employed a GGU-model theological interpretation. Further, please disregard all the material that appears in this article dated prior to this revision date.) My dictionary states that omnipotent means "having unlimited power or authority; all-powerful." (This actually has little meaning since "power" needs a definition.) Many alter this definition by replacing "unlimited" with the word "all" throughout, which is apparently allowed by the "all-powerful" term. However, if the notion of "all" is included, then, as is here established, certain meaningful phrases when combined seem to give a meaningful combination, but, from the view point of classical logic, the combination has no "truth" value. The lack of a truth-value tends to imply that the combination is meaningless.
(Unless otherwise stated, this article is concerned with classical logic, which is common logic as well as Biblical logic.) The major logical problem with such a definition for "omni" involves the quantifier "all" and lies with the entity to which it applies. To have a truth-value, one needs to specify, in some defined way, the individual "objects over which" the "all" notion varies. If this is not done, then a statement can easily become meaningless.
(1) "If God has all authority and God applies His authority in all cases, then God applies His authority to deny Himself all authority."
The phrase "deny Himself all authority" means; (A) "God applies His authority in this case and there exists something over which God does not have authority." Notice that the unqualified "all" part of the phrase "God has all authority" includes this "something." Hence, if (A) is true, then this contradicts, the "God has all authority" part of "God has all authority and God applies His authority in all cases." If "God has all authority and applies His authority in all cases" is false, then no matter what follows the "then" (1) is technically true. Of course, the statement "God does not have all authority" is not an attribute of the God of the Bible. Logical problems associated with natural human languages have been well-known for thousands of years. By now, I should think, such errors would be common knowledge.
(2) "Can God create a stone that He cannot move?"
Obviously, this question is poorly stated since the physical notions of a "stone" and "to move" are only relative to a list of physical entities and physical processes that influence the entities behavior. Do we have any actual knowledge as to what the verb "to move" means outside of this physical environment? Further, a higher-language and a higher-intelligence are mathematically predicted. These model two important Divine attributes as attested to by Biblical statements. Although the higher-language contains statements that are meaningful to a higher-intelligence, in almost all cases, no biological entity within our universe can comprehend their content. Hence, it is certainly possible that an individual can correctly state a question. It can have an answer, but it requires a higher-language and high-intelligence to express and comprehend the answer. Paul (1 Corinthians 13:12) implies that this problem will be eliminated at a later time. This is not the case for statement (2).
A correctly composed question would be "Can God create a stone that He cannot physically move relative to any other created physical entity." The answer is yes. At a certain point during the development of our universe, an appropriate event sequence could alter the entire physical universe and transform it into a stone. Since all created physical processes that remain active are interior to this stone, then the processes cannot move the stone relative to any other created physical entity. Indeed, no physical entities exist exterior to the stone. Recall that the realization of any portion of an event sequence is not accomplished by application of any physical process. The GGU-model processes that God created in order to create a physical universe are not labeled as physical processes.
Question (2) was actually purposed in the following form. "Can God create a stone that He cannot lift." Since "lift" involves but one "physical process" related to gravity, I chose to make it more general and describe the action relative to all other physical processes. Of course, such questions are purposed in attempts to show that the concept of God having all power or authority leads to specific types of logical error. If this were the case, such a theological concept must be in error as viewed from classical logic. The fact that there existence millions of meaningless statements in the sense of classical logic is relevant in that it shows that the descriptive power of any human language is limited. If one follows the proper rules for writing statements that refer to God's attributes, then such logical errors can be avoided.
Other statements one sees use the notion of God and the "all" type word "everything." Once again such a term must be qualified in some manner for the statement to be logically meaningful relative to the "true" or "false" concept. The Bible does qualify such an "all" statement in the beginning by indicating that there is a list of entities that God creates. "And God said, Let there be light" etc. It may be called "the work to be done" list. If the term "all" or "everything" is not properly qualified then, as I'll demonstrate, logical error occurs. The Bible does not make these errors.
If humankind would not stray from Biblical statements by adding their own faulty descriptions, then none of these perplexing logical problems will occur.
(3) If God creates everything, then who or what creates God?
(3)' Who or what creates God?
One needs to ask what does the "everything" include? In the "everything" list, is God a member of the list or is He not a member? The thrust of such an "everything" or "all" statement is that the everything list includes God. Further, (3) has no meaning if it is assumed that God does not exist. So, necessarily , I assume that God exists.
So, first let A be a qualified class, a list. The members of A are any entities that have meaningful descriptions in a human language. This is the only qualification used for members of A. As is now shown, this is not a properly qualified list. Members of A are certainly members of a more general not qualified "everything" class. There is a relation between God and the entities He creates. The relation simply indicates that God creates members of the list. This is a meaningful description. Let P(x,y) be a predicate that represents this relation. Thus P(x,y) is interpreted as "x creates y." The phrase, "God creates everything" implies that, at least, God creates each member of A.
Let G denote God. Either G is a member of A or not. Suppose that G is a member of A. Thus, P(G,G) holds. That is, God is self-created. Is this notion a logical problem? Since God creates P(x,y), then P(x,y) is in A. Thus, P(G,P(x,y)) holds. Under the notion of self-creation, one has that P(G,P(G,G)). But, in terms of relations, P(x,P(x,y)) has a meaningful description and is thus a member of A.
Continuing this logical argument, where the entities described are members of A, one gets . . . P(G,P(G,P(G,G))) . . . P(G,G). This is a potentially infinite collection of potentially infinitely long representative statements that has no resolution. What this means is that using formalizable scientific (i.e. classical) logic, then the conclusion of these "deductions," if any, cannot be expressed in any human language or in human thought using ordinary logic. Thus, depending upon ones definition, this potentially infinite or infinite regression means that to have a humanly understood logical answer to (3), we must assume that God is not self-created.
Now consider what happens if G is not in A. Call this list B. Then the "everything" has a describable entity removed. But this is our only choice at the moment. Under this restriction, the phrase "God creates everything" now holds, at least, for the set B of describable "everythings." Now one can ask the question, who or what created God?
In order to make the analysis very simple, the Bible states in 1 Tim. 2.5, and many times elsewhere, that there is only one entity with God attributes. In this case, the attribute in question is the creator attribute relative to A. This immediately implies that W does not exist since its been shown that to have logical meaning God is not self-created.
Not applying the Biblical statement, direct logical errors occur, relative to A, in assuming that there is something W, not God, that creates God. The creator concept implies that for something describable to exist, it must be in A and be created by God. Symbolize the "who" by W. Suppose "W creates God." Then "W creates God" is a meaningful description about this W. So, W is in A. Hence, God creates W. We know that W is not G. Hence, to create W, G must first exist and to create G, W must first exist. This is not a temporal first, since time is not necessarily created as yet, but a sequential first. Hence, you have that W exists sequentially prior to G and G exists prior to W. Hence, we have a contradiction. This can be avoided by stating that W does not exist. In which case, the answer to (3)' is nothing creates God.
A third argument, but not as strong as the Biblical statement, can be made using logical implications. Assume that there is a W(0) the creates G. Then by implication this notion needs to be applied to W(0) as well. This yields that there is a W(1) that creates W(0) that creates G. This logically leads to another logical regression . . . W(3) creates W(2) creates W(1) creates W(0) creates G.
To avoid these logical problems, from the viewpoint of human comprehension, one simply uses the Biblical descriptions for God's attributes and does not add to them. The Bible and what appears above imply that
God is not created, He is not self-created, but He exists.
(1) Omnipotence. God has all power, which includes complete power over all things.
(2) Omniscience. God has all knowledge (via His thoughts).
(3) Omnipresence. God is present everywhere. Or, God transcends space and time.
Obviously, the "Or" for (3) is modeled by the complete GGU-model. For (1) to have meaning the term "power" requires a definition. The most basic definition is that it signifies "actions." Hence, define "power" in (1) as meaning that God performs actions to accomplish a goal, a purpose or another action related consequence He considers as appropriate.
By definition, logical arguments are restricted to an expressible language. In our case this is denoted by L. To have a truth value for these omni-statements the "all" or "every" and other simular words must vary over a defined set of language elements. These statements refer to God and not us. The language He uses is a higher-language *L.
Let A be the collection of *L describable actions God allows Himself to perform. Let K be the collection of *L describable aspects of knowledge God allows Himself.
Consider two of the standard atheists arguments that the omni-statements are contradictory. They need to apply the common notion of what contradictory means.
(A1) If God knew the future with certainty, then He cannot change it. In this case, He cannot be omnipotent. (A2) If God can change the future, then He cannot have exact knowledge. It's hard to believe that these are considered intelligent arguments. Classical theists argue that God is the author of the future. That is descriptions of the future are members of K and these include changes. This theist argument is formalized by the complete GGU-model. For (A1), the phrase "He cannot change it" is false if there is one member of K describing the development of a universe that is a change from another member of K that describes another universe, which for the humanity-structure there is. For (A2), the phrase "He cannot have exact knowledge" is false since the "all" varies over K and K includes statements for allowable changes. Notice that the logical errors made by the atheist hold for the standard language L as well.
Using various conclusions from my General Intelligence Design (GID) model, we are not a higher-intelligence. As mentioned, we can ask questions and they can have answers, but it requires a higher-language and higher-intelligence to properly answer them. We are promised that we will, at least, share some aspects of this language and His higher-intelligence, when we are with Him. And, we "shall know fully."
Although I disagree with how he has stated his axioms, Gödel presented a formal proof for the necessity of God. He uses modal logic rather than classical logic.