Can God Create a Stone He Cannot Lift — How Dharmic Traditions View Omnipotence Paradox

Amongst the atheists the proof that is generally given to disprove the existence of God goes with the question “Can God create a stone that he cannot lift?”. This question is widely known as the stone paradox or omnipotence paradox. This is a paradoxical question because whether you answer this question with a yes or a no, you end up in conflict with the omnipotence of God. If you answer this question with a yes, then God does not remain omnipotent because there will then be a stone that God cannot lift. If you answer this question with a no then also God becomes omnipotent because he cannot make a stone that he cannot lift. The atheist then says that the property of being omnipotent in itself is paradoxical, therefore there can be no entity in this universe which is omnipotent.

Looking at this paradox from the Abrahamic point of view, where God is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, this argument is clearly very potent in terms of disproving the existence of God. After all in these faiths God is pictured as an entity separate from this universe, who has created this universe and is now overlooking it from someplace outside this universe. He judges what is happening in this universe and has absolute freedom to impose his will on the universe. When you picture God as an entity separate from this universe and the one who has complete free will, then God has to be omnipotent and this leads to the paradox of omnipotence.

Looking at this question from the Dharmic point of view however is a different matter altogether. In the Dharmic faiths, which includes, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, those sects which do have a concept of God, never define him to be Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient. Instead the idea in these faiths is that God is Existence, Consciousness and Bliss, i.e. Sat Chit Ananda. If you look at God from this point of view then God is not the creator of existence, but is existence itself. God is not separate from this universe, but is the one who is manifesting this universe. This means everything that is present in this creation is God.

Understanding God this way means God and Creation are not separate but one and the same. Since God and Creation are not separate but one and include everything that can be, this directly implies that God is infinite. Please NOTE: God cannot be infinite in Abrahamic faiths because in these faiths God is separate and creation is separate. Since God is separate from creation, therefore by not including the creation God becomes limited in its scope. Infinity can never be limited in scope therefore Abrahamic God is not infinite. Having understood that God as it is defined in Dharmic faiths is an infinite entity, we can now tackle the stone paradox/omnipotence paradox.

Infinity has the capacity to include singularity in it. Which means that if

a = infinity & b = infinity

Then all the three situations a=b, a>b and a<b are true. In the same way if God is infinity and he creates a stone which is infinitely heavy then God can both, lift the stone and cannot lift the stone. The paradox therefore is resolved. Another way to look at it is that the question “Can God Create a Stone He Cannot Lift” basically boils down to whether one infinity (God) can create another infinity (Stone he can create) larger than itself. Mathematically speaking the question boils down to: “Can one infinity be larger than the other”. The answer to this question is undeterminable, but that by no means is a proof of the absence infinity.

Discover Indian Heritage: Arts, Science, Religion and Philosophy of India