Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can God make a rock so heavy even he can't move it?

Jared Wilson says Yes


  1. What a good example of not answering the question. It's a nice summary, but it isn't on point.

    It uses the same language, but tries to deal with the challenge by changing the meanings. If that is an example in sincerity then I must be reading the wrong bible.

    We shouldn't automatically assume that the philosophical challenge is insincere. I've had honest seekers ask me this as a way of breaking the ice, we've ended up talking about much more serious matters.

  2. I agree. It is a "clever" approach (almost too clever perhaps?)- as a way of saying there are some constraints God puts on himself I don't think it's a bad approach. I guess it depends what a sincere person is really asking when they ask questions like this...

    If its just a way of breaking the ice then mocking the question wont do, I guess Jared's approach possibly takes too big a step forward in one go, but it would certainly send things in a serious direction.

    Role play for us Tom a way or ways you'd take this question and how it moves you forward, that would serve us helpfully since it is one people do ask.

  3. First of all, you need to figure WHY they are asking this question.

    What are the possible motives?

    Help me list them....

  4. 1. For fun
    2. To look smart (like the smirking Christian who says "So, Predestination.."
    3. To break the ice and start a conversation
    4. Because no would be a theological/philosophical problem (i.e. "God is the one who can do anything")
    5. Because they'd like to know what God is like
    6. Because it's a question asking about the limits of God's power (i.e. if he can do that why didn't he save/heal my relative..)

  5. Each of those has a different answer. Which one is it most likely to be?

    Then, what question could you ask to make sure that you have understood the motive beneath the question correctly?

    This is the OCCA/Zach trust approach to apologetics and evangelism.

  6. (I like this approach. Must get you down to train my team sometime...)

  7. WOW! Its like another Alex BH! :O)!

  8. And Oxford is gaining both of them this autumn...!!

    I'm inclined to think in this form it's either option 3 or 4 - both of which mean further conversation is possible...

    Cat, or someone else want to suggest otherwise?

  9. From my experience it's most often been number 2 and 6 but hey maybe thats just the people I meet!

    Liked that guys answer but like Tom said, he didn't actually answer the question that was asked but just uses the question to go straight into the gospel. Surely the question should be answered before we hit them with the good book, no? Or should we answer the question with a question just like Jesus would?

  10. My experience would suggest 2 and 4 as the most common reasons, often together in fact.

    How I'd answer it would depend massively on the context I reckon. If it were asked publicly at a grill-a-christian event or something, and it seemed like 2. was what was going on, I'd still give the honest answer (which is, of course, no), but it'd be a short answer and I'd be far less interested in probing than if I thought some of the other reasons were in play.

  11. I think the issue here is that God can (in theory) do whatever he likes, but in practise, the way he acts is restricted by his attributes. For example, God can never act in a way that is not just, because he is just.
    I guess the issue then is... if their underlying premise is (6), then you have to explain as best you can why God would allow such a thing, and though there are answers, it's not easy :(

  12. Dove,
    Nearly, but no cigar just yet :)

    Could a good God in theory contemplate evil (E.G. Child abuse, Rape)?
    Under your answer - you would have to say yes, God can in theory do this.
    I'm not comfortable with that.

    Why divide logic and truth?

    I think that the distinction you are looking for is true/untrue or real/unreal rather than theory/attrtibutes(practice).