In the March 25 edition of the New York Times, Professor Peter Atterton, in his article entitled “A God Problem,” concluded that the concept of God, as viewed by most in the Western World, is an incoherent one. This is an exceedingly bold claim, and it will here be shown to be an incoherent one.
Mr. Atterton asks, “Does the idea of a morally perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing God make sense? Does it hold together when we examine it logically?” And then Mr. Atterton proceeds to discuss the concepts of omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection, but he does so in a glaringly illogical way.
He asserts that if God cannot create a stone that he cannot himself lift, he is not all powerful because he couldn’t create it, but on the other hand if he can create such a stone, he cannot be all-powerful, because he would not then be able to lift it. And Mr. Atterton seems to think that this supposed dilemma is destructive of the very claim that God is all-powerful! But such an assertion is much misguided. And furthermore, the assertion is based on a most non-philosophical definition of “omnipotence.” Mr. Atterton’s definition of “omnipotence” is that it is applicable to anything of which a person can conceive even if it makes no sense! Mr. Atterton’s definition of “omnipotence” is incoherent!
Has he not yet considered this? To say that God, to be God, would have to be able to do that which is not possible in the first place, and then to say that, when the impossible act was accomplished, the act would be understandable by humans in the second place, would be to define “omnipotence” so as to make it nonsensical! Mr. Atterton’s definition of “omnipotence” is a clear overreach. It applies to the ontologically impossible and the intellectually irrational. That is not “omnipotence.” That is the irrational contemplation of ontological chaos.