Thursday, 30 July 2009

Can god not be Omnimax?

Can an omnimax god decide not to be omnimax? That's an interesting question, and one that some may try to use to defeat some of the inherent problems with both the Bible and the contradictions that arise from omnimax deities (i.e. contradictions with the different abilities, contradictions with free will, etc.) So, it seems an appropriate question to ask, does it not?

So, let's focus on the main three omnis. They are:

omnipotence - the ability to do literally anything
omniscience - knowledge of everything
omnibenevolence - infinite goodness at all times and places.

First, let's look at omnipotence. Can god choose not to have the ability to do anything at all? This is a tough question. Logically speaking, if god were to give up the ability to do anything, he could always get it back so long as he keeps the power to regain his powers. If he gives that up, he may forever be in a non-omnipotent state, which would mean that god was omnipotent at some time but is not now and has forever given up that ability. I doubt many theists would be happy with that, however. So, I think what we find is that god must either always be omnipotent or would have given up that power forever.

I think we can similarly argue in regards to omniscience. god could use his omnipotent powers to give up knowledge, hence allowing him to now know what Adam and Eve had done in the garden.

Lastly is omnibenevolence. Can god give that up? I think the answer here must be no. If god gives up omnibenevolence or decides not to exercise it so that he can commit evil, then that evil mark stays with him and he can no longer claim omnibenevolence at any point.

If we were to throw in the concept of omnipresence - presence at all places and all times simultaneously - it makes the answers above different as none of them could be given up at any time, or else they are simultaneously given up at all times, which would cause some very serious weird time effects I should think. Suffice it to say that if we were to add the fourth omni in there, god would have no ability to not be omnimax.

A different question would be whether god can choose not to use his omnimax powers. This I'll tackle in a subsequent blog post, as well as the addition of "perfection" and what that means to the god concept. Until then, thoughts?


The Rambling Taoist said...

Hmm. Me thinks the bug in the mix is omniscience. If you know everything, then you would know that a time might come when you would choose to know nothing, but you'd already know everything about nothing because you know everything anyway.

For me, this is why the savior and the crucifixion story don't add up. If Jesus is God in human form, then he already knew when they nailed him to the cross that he wouldn't really die and he wouldn't have a reason to ask himself why he had forsaken himself.

Tyler said...

Omniscience is only a bug when coupled to omnibenevolence. No reason existence couldn't have been the work of a creator with both benevolent and malevolent streaks, depending on its mood.

Omnipotence, on the other hand, is an absolutely irreconcilable paradox.