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Verneph

What if God isn't all powerful?

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Now I haven't had much time to really develop this theory as I quite literally just thought of it, but just hear me out on this.

Now the vast majority of religions talk about how God is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise divine being but...what if It's not? That would explain one of the biggest arguments against the existence of God (namely, why does he let horrible things happen if he's so good and exists?). Maybe God literally can't intervene in everything. Maybe It (I call God "It", sue me) simply doesn't have the ability to intervene in everything. Perhaps It can only set things in motion, and we are expected to handle ourselves from there.

Now it's my personal belief that the latter is true in that God expects humans to help themselves rather than wait for It to give free handouts, but perhaps there's a bit more to it than that? Thoughts?

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If you mean there was an intelligent designer whose sole influence was to get things going (like winding up a clock-work frog and just watching what it does without intervening) - then I think that probably doesn't fit most people's definition of what a god is.

I think this scenario is more likely than there being a god that actively gets involved and actually cares (albeit, probably unlikely).

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Well, lets see this old Rabbi Dilemma: Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

The question is: How do you define all powerful?

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You're trying to argue an Axiom, and that's not going to work. God, by definition, is all powerful. Therefore, if it isn't all powerful, then it isn't God. It's something else. It's like asking what if water wasn't a liquid? By definition, water is the liquid form of H2O, so to try and go anywhere with that idea is kind of pointless.

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You're trying to argue an Axiom, and that's not going to work. God, by definition, is all powerful. Therefore, if it isn't all powerful, then it isn't God. It's something else. It's like asking what if water wasn't a liquid? By definition, water is the liquid form of H2O, so to try and go anywhere with that idea is kind of pointless.

There's a difference between the way we understand the term "god" today and what the beings described in ancient documents actually were. It could be one and the same, but that does not seem to be the case.

The only way we know that the "gods" were all powerful is because the documents that talk about the gods being all powerful. It cancels itself out because both the concept of "god" and of "all powerful" essentially come from the same place. We can't know if those documents were accurate, influenced, or as in the case of the old testament, the people writing the document were told by Jehovah that the reason he made things so difficult for them was so that he could do greater wonders and convince them of his greatness. (Exodus 10:1-2)

It's how "history" was written but it doesn't mean it was true... and since those cultures ultimately begat our cultures, our concepts of the terms come from them... and thousands of years of interperetations and building upon the concepts.

We can't know what they meant or even if they understood what they were seeing... if the stories have any truth at all.

So I guess for me, I don't think the god of the bible was all powerful... I think that he was a mortal being of some type and wanted the Israelites to think he was all powerful and revere him above all. He didn't seem to have interest in having the world revere him... just the Israelites. But I also don't think that he is the "father" of whom Jesus spoke.

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There's a difference between the way we understand the term "god" today and what the beings described in ancient documents actually were. It could be one and the same, but that does not seem to be the case.

The only way we know that the "gods" were all powerful is because the documents that talk about the gods being all powerful. It cancels itself out because both the concept of "god" and of "all powerful" essentially come from the same place. We can't know if those documents were accurate, influenced, or as in the case of the old testament, the people writing the document were told by Jehovah that the reason he made things so difficult for them was so that he could do greater wonders and convince them of his greatness. (Exodus 10:1-2)

It's how "history" was written but it doesn't mean it was true... and since those cultures ultimately begat our cultures, our concepts of the terms come from them... and thousands of years of interperetations and building upon the concepts.

We can't know what they meant or even if they understood what they were seeing... if the stories have any truth at all.

So I guess for me, I don't think the god of the bible was all powerful... I think that he was a mortal being of some type and wanted the Israelites to think he was all powerful and revere him above all. He didn't seem to have interest in having the world revere him... just the Israelites. But I also don't think that he is the "father" of whom Jesus spoke.

Right...that's what I said. You are trying to define something other than God. If this mortal being that was pretty powerful, but not all powerful, who was trying to convince an ancient tribal people that it was allpowerful, then what your are describing needs a definition, be it a more advanced humanoid like the theory of Atlantis advocates, or an Alien that wanted to rule humans or something. No matter what, it's not God your talking about, it's something else.

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Now I haven't had much time to really develop this theory as I quite literally just thought of it, but just hear me out on this.

Now the vast majority of religions talk about how God is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise divine being but...what if It's not? That would explain one of the biggest arguments against the existence of God (namely, why does he let horrible things happen if he's so good and exists?). Maybe God literally can't intervene in everything. Maybe It (I call God "It", sue me) simply doesn't have the ability to intervene in everything. Perhaps It can only set things in motion, and we are expected to handle ourselves from there.

Now it's my personal belief that the latter is true in that God expects humans to help themselves rather than wait for It to give free handouts, but perhaps there's a bit more to it than that? Thoughts?

Provided you believe in the God of the Bible, you overlook the many miracles of Christ as a man and those He performed for the Israelites in the desert wanderings. He can intervene. Why He chooses not to is a mystery to me but it doesn't stop me from believing. I also believe that this existence is a test for us as we proceed to the next. The bible says that "without faith it is impossible to please God" I think that the test of faith itself is somehow profound for Him when he see us.

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You're trying to argue an Axiom, and that's not going to work. God, by definition, is all powerful. Therefore, if it isn't all powerful, then it isn't God. It's something else. It's like asking what if water wasn't a liquid? By definition, water is the liquid form of H2O, so to try and go anywhere with that idea is kind of pointless.

No, the point is that either He is all powerful or He is not. And that simple far fetched rabbinic example illustrates the point perfectly: Nothing, and that includes God, is so powerful that it can neutralize its power. That is, if there is a God He (SHE, IT) does not have the power to cease being a God, and therefore not all powerful. Even Gods have to stick to rules, maybe a few less than the simple mortal but they have rules. Rules make you less powerful, if you are less powerful you are not omnipotent.

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What about a delusional arrogant madman who thought he could conquer and control the world, and failed miserably.

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What about a delusional arrogant madman who thought he could conquer and control the world, and failed miserably.

Napoleon?

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Napoleon?

Don't be silly, he's talking about Hitler. I think ? :unsure2:

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What about a delusional arrogant madman who thought he could conquer and control the world, and failed miserably.

HW I'm curious. Is it that you really hate the concept of God or do you just get off on trying to offend believers? Your schtick got boring for me after the first dozen rants. You have a right to say anything you want and it doesn't harm believers but I just don't understand the need to intentionally offend strangers as an M.O. for life. Just curious, guy.

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Don't be silly, he's talking about Hitler. I think ? :unsure2:

Oh...well that makes just as much sense.

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HW I'm curious. Is it that you really hate the concept of God or do you just get off on trying to offend believers? Your schtick got boring for me after the first dozen rants. You have a right to say anything you want and it doesn't harm believers but I just don't understand the need to intentionally offend strangers as an M.O. for life. Just curious, guy.

The post is about what if god isn't all powerful, I gave a reasonable answer. Why take offense to it?? You could never imagine the harm the influence of "god" has been on me and my family. He's not the nice you guy's portray him to be.

My answer is very logical.

Edited by HavocWing

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The all powerfulness is measured (perhaps defined) by deception. 0 deception = all powerful. It is because deception is tooling for the not-all-powerful to get what he wants. So if Satan is all powerful, he doesn't need deception, he just gets what he wants as he wishes. Satan needs deception simply because he's not all powerful.

On the other hand, God hates deception, (because) He can get what He wants without that tooling.

As for the definition. All powerful = you can get whatever you will wants to get!

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Napoleon?

More like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_the_Impaler

When I seen the words drunk with blood, it is an easy comparison to this.

220px-Impaled.gif

Even during his lifetime, Vlad III Țepeș became famous as a tyrant taking sadistic pleasure in torturing and killing. <<< :devil:

Edited by HavocWing

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No, the point is that either He is all powerful or He is not. And that simple far fetched rabbinic example illustrates the point perfectly: Nothing, and that includes God, is so powerful that it can neutralize its power. That is, if there is a God He (SHE, IT) does not have the power to cease being a God, and therefore not all powerful. Even Gods have to stick to rules, maybe a few less than the simple mortal but they have rules. Rules make you less powerful, if you are less powerful you are not omnipotent.

RIght, but omnipotence is only one of three criteria to be God. There is also omniscience and omnipresence. So the old, can God create a stone question is flawed in that it supposes that God is a physical being that occupies a space outside but in proximity to the stone. If God is also omnipresent, then God is the stone as much as God is anything or anywhere else. It's only by adding human limitation to God that we can try to understand it. If God exists and was a real conscience entity, by definition God must exist simultaneously in our universe, but also outside of it. God must, based on definition, be unlimited in any way, even by the logical fallacies of human understand and reasoning.

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The all powerfulness is measured (perhaps defined) by deception. 0 deception = all powerful. It is because deception is tooling for the not-all-powerful to get what he wants. So if Satan is all powerful, he doesn't need deception, he just gets what he wants as he wishes. Satan needs deception simply because he's not all powerful.

On the other hand, God hates deception, (because) He can get what He wants without that tooling.

As for the definition. All powerful = you can get whatever you will wants to get!

So why does God use deception to test Abraham?

God lead Abraham to believe he wanted Isaac sacrificed, by definition that is deception.

Edited by Rlyeh

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I see my initial question has raised some debate. A few have questioned what my exact meaning is when it comes to God not being "all-powerful", so let me attempt to clarify with a metaphor:

Let's say we have God, who for the sake of clarity will be referred to as "he" for this example. Now, God has put a lot of effort into fashioning a perfectly round boulder from a large stone. This boulder represents the universe as we know it. In front of God and the boulder is a steep slope. This slope represents time, and for the purpose of this example let us just assume that time is infinite and therefore this slope is infinite. Now, God decides he is going to push his boulder down this slope. After he does this, he hops into a small buggy and follows the boulder as it careens down the slope. Now at this point God cannot stop the boulder, as it is moving too fast. All he is able to do is throw smaller rocks at it and poke at it with a long stick he brought with him in the buggy. These acts cannot do much to change the boulder, only alter, influence, its direction in small ways.

Does that make a bit more sense> Basically my thought is that perhaps God, or whatever the powers that be should really be called, simply can't do much to alter the universe at this point. Perhaps It can only influence things in smaller, subtler ways.

Oh, one of you questioned whether we're talking about the Christian Bible's God, and I will clarify that I'm not basing this thought off of any religion that I know of as most religions speak of their god as if he/she can do anything, and therefore this can't apply to those specific gods.

Another one of you has pointed out that if God is not able to do anything, then It is not fitting the definition of a God. That may be the case, but I'm merely raising a question regarding whatever power is responsible for the creation of the universe. This is something that's above our true understanding, so it may not be "god". It may be something else with less direct control over things than a god would.

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Right...that's what I said. You are trying to define something other than God. If this mortal being that was pretty powerful, but not all powerful, who was trying to convince an ancient tribal people that it was allpowerful, then what your are describing needs a definition, be it a more advanced humanoid like the theory of Atlantis advocates, or an Alien that wanted to rule humans or something. No matter what, it's not God your talking about, it's something else.

It seems like we basically agree but are looking at the terminology from two different perspectives.

It is God I'm talking about, as I referenced specifically the God of the bible...and saying that being, called God, was not all powerful. He was portrayed that way by the authors and they even recorded him specifying to them how he was to be recorded as all powerful... but I don't think that he was/is.

It's going to be all semantics anyway, because in translating ancient texts we're going to see them describing something with some god-like attributes consistently with a given word and assume that word translates to god. How do we use the word god and do we understand the word correctly, as it was meant when such a being was first described?

Yes, if there is an ultimate creational force in the universe, I would think that would be all-powerful. But I would not call it god, and I would not call god all powerful.

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The gods and goddesses of Pagan religions are not generally considered to be omnipotent.

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Oh, one of you questioned whether we're talking about the Christian Bible's God, and I will clarify that I'm not basing this thought off of any religion that I know of as most religions speak of their god as if he/she can do anything, and therefore this can't apply to those specific gods.

Ok :)

I do think that whatever influenced the creation of the universe created the universe from within itself... IE: the very smallest and most simple particles of matter are tiny bits of that being (or isolated spots in the "cloud" of that being, if you will)

I won't get into my thoughts behind the physics of all of it, but assuming that were correct, the being would indeed be

omnipotent (as the universe being a part of itself, it can alter it in any way),

omnipresent (no part of the universe can exist without the being's presence),

and omniscient (as the universe springs from the being all knowledge of the universe must also spring from the being).

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Now I haven't had much time to really develop this theory as I quite literally just thought of it, but just hear me out on this.

Now the vast majority of religions talk about how God is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise divine being but...what if It's not? That would explain one of the biggest arguments against the existence of God (namely, why does he let horrible things happen if he's so good and exists?). Maybe God literally can't intervene in everything. Maybe It (I call God "It", sue me) simply doesn't have the ability to intervene in everything. Perhaps It can only set things in motion, and we are expected to handle ourselves from there.

Now it's my personal belief that the latter is true in that God expects humans to help themselves rather than wait for It to give free handouts, but perhaps there's a bit more to it than that? Thoughts?

From my opinion (I believe in god just not religion) the reason god let's bad things happen is because it's the whole reason of living. To have good you have to have bad. Bad is what makes most of us good. If god intervened in all bad situations and everything in the world was good, it wouldn't really be a life of living at all. It's all about to feel pain, sadness, joy, happiness, and love, as much as it's sad with the bad stuff; it's life. I also always believed that god has washed his hands of us in a way, and that he's somewhat disappointed and disgusted with how we've become. Because if he did intervene and stop wars, and murder, we'd only do it again.

Just my opinion mind. :)

Edited by Magic Stars

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This sums up what I think :)

I think that if there were a God, there would be less evil on this earth. I believe that if evil exists here below, then either it was willed by God or it was beyond His power to prevent it. Now I cannot bring myself to fear a God who is either spiteful or weak.

Marquis De Sade

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This sums up what I think :)

I think that if there were a God, there would be less evil on this earth. I believe that if evil exists here below, then either it was willed by God or it was beyond His power to prevent it. Now I cannot bring myself to fear a God who is either spiteful or weak.

Marquis De Sade

Marquis De Sade spent a good portion of his life in a mental asylum, He is the person where the term sadistic personality disorder stems from.

But "god" is spiteful though.

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