Is God Omnipotent or Finite in Power?

DISCUSSION OF THE PROBLEM OF EVIL generally proceeds under the explicit assumption that the God who is perfectly good is likewise omnipotent. But is God really omnipotent? What is it to be omnipotent? Is it possible to provide an adequate analysis of omnipotence, for example, one which successfully meets the challenge raised by the Paradox of Omnipotence: can an omnipotent being create an object bigger than it can lift? The challenge is not meant to be silly (for it describes a task which we as finite human beings can perform) or picayune, but rather seeks to place in sharper focus the question whether the concept of omnipotence is internally consistent, such that the term can be predicated meaningfully of some being. Perhaps the theist is not necessarily committed to maintaining that God is omnipotent. If God is finite in power, yet greatly more powerful than any other being, this might circumvent or, better, make irrelevant some of the difficulties arising from the doctrine of omnipotence, and most importantly, might provide an easier yet intellectually satisfactory resolution of the problem of reconciling the existence of a good God with human pain and suffering.

On the other hand, if God is finite in power, what constitutes his limits, or what would limit him, particularly if he is considered the creator of all that is? Does appeal to a finite God really provide a satisfactory resolution to the


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Evil and a Good God


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