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 Post subject: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:56 pm 
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In this forum and some others, the idea of God's omnipotence seems to be used a lot to demonstrate that God doesn't actually exist. Some event happens, and somebody says, "Surely if there really was a good God, S/He would have prevented this event from happening." What exactly does omnipotence mean, though, the way people use it?

The dictionary defines omnipotent as "almighty or infinite in power, as God." But that doesn't help; it just transfers the lack of understanding from one word, omnipotent, to another term, almighty. I look almighty up in the dictionary and it says "having unlimited power; omnipotent, as God." So how can anyone figure out what either term actually means, when their definitions just point back at the other word?

Perhaps the key is to figure out what "infinite in power" means, and what "unlimited power" means. Does it mean, like some Christian scholars suggest, that God can do anything that can be imagined that doesn't involve a logical contradiction?

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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:12 pm 
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I suppose that various early Christian writers indicated a number of different ways to approach the tenet.

The one that seems to have the least involvement in paradox would be omnipotence as ineffability.

That is to say, Divine capabilities are beyond human comprehension. Any manifestations of omnipotence outside of human logic would simply be unfathomable. All such manifestations within the scope of human comprehension would be incomplete -- less than infinite.

UD

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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:15 pm 
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Uncle Dale wrote:
I suppose that various early Christian writers indicated a number
of different ways to approach the tenet.

The one that seems to have the least involvement in paradox
would be omnipotence as ineffability.

That is to say, Divine capabilities are beyond human comprehension.
Any manifestations of omnipotence outside of human logic would
simply be unfathomable. All such manifestations within the scope
of human comprehension would be incomplete -- less than infinite.

Uncle Dale, if, as you seem to imply, we cannot understand God's omnipotence, how in the world do we know that God of necessity has omnipotence?

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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:59 pm 
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If omnipotence is the opposite of impotence,

then maybe it just means God has a lot of offspring.... ;)

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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:35 pm 
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KevinSim wrote:
Uncle Dale wrote:
I suppose that various early Christian writers indicated a number
of different ways to approach the tenet.

The one that seems to have the least involvement in paradox
would be omnipotence as ineffability.

That is to say, Divine capabilities are beyond human comprehension.
Any manifestations of omnipotence outside of human logic would
simply be unfathomable. All such manifestations within the scope
of human comprehension would be incomplete -- less than infinite.

Uncle Dale, if, as you seem to imply, we cannot understand God's omnipotence, how in the world do we know that God of necessity has omnipotence?

Faith. That's the answer to every hard question, right?


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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Mormon men aspire to their own omnipotence, while their wives would be happy if they could last just 20 minutes.

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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:31 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:35 pm 
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Philosophical Disquisitions has a pretty good discussion on the concept of omnipotence here:

http://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogs ... art-1.html


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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:42 pm 
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Cylon wrote:
Faith. That's the answer to every hard question, right?

Faith that God will preserve into the eternities some good things, I understand. Faith that God is omnipotent (whatever that means), I don't understand.

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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:33 pm 
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Quote:
What Does Omnipotence Mean?


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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:43 pm 
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Allusion has supplied the sort of thing kevin referred to in his opening post. Make an artificial definition of God and show that it is abstractly conflicted.

I consulted the Catholic Catechism. It has the advantage of lengthy experience, a few thousand years of various people considering the question. . It refers to God as creator of all things and capable of fulfilling all of his purpose. I think that is pretty good definition.


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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:54 pm 
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KevinSim wrote:
Cylon wrote:
Faith. That's the answer to every hard question, right?

Faith that God will preserve into the eternities some good things, I understand. Faith that God is omnipotent (whatever that means), I don't understand.

I'm sorry to hear about your lack of faith. I hope Satan's buffetings don't knock you around too much for that one. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:57 am 
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KevinSim wrote:
Cylon wrote:
Faith. That's the answer to every hard question, right?

Faith that God will preserve into the eternities some good things, I understand.


Such as?

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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:13 pm 
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KevinSim wrote:
Uncle Dale, if, as you seem to imply, we cannot understand God's omnipotence, how in the world do we know that God of necessity has omnipotence?


I'm trying to interpret what an Israelite of the Jeremiah
prophetic school might have taught prior to the Exile.

I may be wrong, but this is as close as I can come:

(1) The doctrines taught in the various Israelite shrines under
the Davidic monarchy were either wrong or woefully incomplete.

(2) God is not an object; nor an entity confined by time and
space. Rather, God makes a "name" to dwell among the people.
There is no YHWH in the holy of holies of the temple, or
elsewhere in the cosmos discernible by humankind.

(3) All human beings have to resort to, in the way of Divine
teachings, is God's revelation, which comes through the
filter of human experience or human realization. That revelation
is infinite -- but the mind and comprehension of man is finite.
Religion then, will always fall short of ultimate truth.

If the above points represent the culmination of the pre-Exile
prophetic school's teachings, then "God" cannot "have"
omnipotence. We human beings assign that term as a result
of our attempting to describe God.

It is almost impossible to convey such conclusions to Mormons,
however ---- for them "God" is a progressed human being with
a body of flesh and bone, having parts and passions. Such a
"God" would take up omnipotence as "keys of power," upon
reaching the final stage(s) of eternal progression.

UD

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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:53 pm 
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KevinSim wrote:
Perhaps the key is to figure out what "infinite in power" means, and what "unlimited power" means. Does it mean, like some Christian scholars suggest, that God can do anything that can be imagined that doesn't involve a logical contradiction?

Maybe it means "almost as powerful as Justice".


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 Post subject: Re: What Does Omnipotence Mean?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:43 am 
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God is Energy. he is the life force that exists in all living things from the atomic Prasinophyte algae to the Great barrier reef.
He is therefore in everything and through everything and knows everything, he is as small as everything and as big as everything.

Actually he can't be limited to the living, So he must be hydrogen as it is the most abundant element in the universe! God is the SUN! he makes all living things he is everywhere in the universe and powers everything from stars to the food for algae.

All things are created for the purpose of man, so that man can come to earth and live a mortal existence, to breathe and to sense the sights and hear the sounds and smell the scents and taste the fruits and feel the pain!!!

But ultimately be judged on how well he plays Simon says and Chinese whispers.

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