Can God write a sentence so long he can’t reach the end of it? Can God speak so softly He can’t hear Himself? Can bullshit shit itself out of time? Can 1+1 sing so loud that algebra goes deaf?

A ‘stone too heavy for God to lift’ is a logical impossibility because it is impossible for God to be UNABLE to lift (or ’cause to rise’) a stone simply by virtue of its being too big. In other words, the question — like those above — is an exercise in nonsense.

Can God make a flower so serious it rejects Shakespearean comedy in favour of Platonic philosophy? Can God force the colour blue to rewrite Taylor Swift songs to make them taste less indigo?

You get the pic.

God’s omnipotence cannot be discussed apart from, among other things, the logical rules He has set (logical as well as physical) for the world. Thus, a question presupposing the logically impossible has to be judged invalid.

Objection 1: But that which is logically possible may CHANGE, no? Perhaps in another world or time, God WILL be able to create rocks so huge He has trouble lifting them?

We simply cannot KNOW OF such events which (possibly) transcend history and logic. To raise this objection, in fact, presupposes ‘this-worldly’ logic. In a word, we do not possess the epistemic tools to even conceive of how that which is ‘logically impossible’ can become ‘logically possible’ in another time/world.

A question appealing to (or ‘awaiting’?) the logically impossible is, also, invalid.

Objection 2: But aren’t the events foretold in the Book of Revelations (especially in the later chapters) ‘beyond’ history and logic? The New Jerusalem of chapters 21–22 can hardly be conceived — are we required to think they are illogical too?

Leaving aside the issue of how we interpret Revelations — really, what is the writer of Revelations expecting us to conceive of from his writings? A literal crystal waterway running in between celestial alleys? — I would state that some Biblical pictures go beyond reason, but none go against it.

2 quick points:

a) These are revealed promises of a Revealer FROM the ‘beyond’ — if He’s the Creator and He tells us there is a new creation, we can only give Him the benefit of whatever epistemic doubt we may possess…

b) There is continuity between this world and the ‘next’ — nothing requires us to believe in ‘new’ logic completely at odds with what we have in our world. New possibilities certainly, but nothing we can label il-logical nor im-possible. In fact, there’s a good case that the Eschaton cannot be understood in isolation from our present condition.

We need to distinguish between things we cannot understand and those we do not need to understand in order to reject as nonsensical. In the case of the former, we are normally given strong prior grounds for accepting their truth-value independently of our ability to explain them. However, nothing — least of all logic — gives us good reason to consider the latter worthy of further investigation.

Edu-trainer, Žižek studies, amateur theologian, columnist.

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