The Christian Cop-OutFor Christians, it’s as simple as this: God is limitless and supernatural. There is no way for us to assess God based upon our logic, our physical senses, or our conception of reality. What seems to be a paradox to us is not in fact a paradox at all where God is concerned.
That is, of course, bullshit. It’s a cop-out. So you’re saying we can’t rule out God because understanding how or why God exists is beyond our capabilities? Then when we ask you how you know God exists, every example you give -- of course -- is based upon things that are within our capabilities to understand. So the same senses and mental powers you use to prove God you’re disallowing from disproving God.
Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Celestial Teapot, and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. The fact of the matter is that when you disallow logic, common sense, and the scientific method as valid means of establishing a fact, anything should be accepted as fact because it may be “beyond us.”
Obviously there are plenty of things that are beyond our comprehension right now that may nevertheless be natural realities of the world as of yet unknown to us. I guarantee that there are forces or phenomena that we haven’t seen or measured and don’t know anything about. Does that mean that we should start making things up that would explain some of the mysteries of the world to us and then assert those things as absolute fact without evidence, simply because they can’t be disproved? Of course not. We have not yet conclusively determined what causes gravity (although gravitons is the current prevailing theory), but that doesn't mean we can claim as fact that Robot Hitler controls gravity from his lair in the Third Reichmension.
God ParadoxesSo, let's say that we aren't allowing the intellectual cop-out given above. Most Christians give God the following properties:
- Omnipotent (all-powerful)
- Omniscient (all-knowing/all-seeing/prophetic)
- Perfect (including, specifically, perfectly just)
- Unwaveringly loving (specifically with regard to His creation)
This one’s actually pretty simple. Omnipotent means that you’re all-powerful and can literally do anything you can think of. You can make whatever you want a reality. The problem is … no you can’t.
The classic example is this: Can God create a rock so heavy that even He can’t lift it? Well, let’s say that He did -- creating a rock that He’s not powerful enough to lift means that He’s not omnipotent, because He can do anything … even lift the rock that’s too heavy for Him to lift. But wait, He specifically created it to be too heavy for Himself to lift, which is definitely within His power, because He can do anything.
See the problem here? Omnipotence isn’t possible. Something can be incredibly powerful, but nothing can be infinitely powerful.
Obvious problems arise with being both omnipotent and omniscient. If you already know what the future holds then you’re powerless to affect it -- everything you do is predestined. But if you’re all-powerful then you can do anything, even change the future. So … you’re at an impasse.
This also brings up the problem of free will, which God allegedly gave to His creation. The problem is, He can see the future since He’s timeless and omniscient, so even if every choice you make is your own, He knows what choices you’re going to make before you do. This butts right into how the final two items are paradoxes.
Perfection and Lovingness
So, God allegedly loves all of His creation and is perfectly just. (Let's set aside all of the easy disproofs of this based on His cruelty in the Old Testament.) He also gave His creation free will to make their own choices and has the omniscience to see what they’ll do with it, as well as the power to stop that future from happening if need be.
Now, let’s say you blaspheme -- say the Lord’s name in vain; something even as simple as saying “God is imaginary,” and meaning it. You’ve just committed an unforgivable sin. Read it for yourself:
Mark 3:29 -- "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."
(There’s even something called the Blasphemy Challenge for atheists, telling them to post videos of themselves blaspheming on YouTube, thus theoretically condemning themselves to eternal torment.)
So, now you’ve committed an unforgivable sin in the eyes of God simply by saying three words, and He will give you absolutely no options to wash that sin away. In His infinitely just wisdom, He will banish you to eternity in hell for this sin -- because He just love, love, loves you -- a sin that He knew you’d commit even before you were born. So, He allowed you to come into existence knowing full well that He’d force Himself (they’re His divine laws after all) to be infinitely just and send you to hell forever for uttering some words -- but again, He loves you.
There couldn’t be more contradictions in there. He can’t be all of these things at once. The existence of hell is a big thorn in His side for many reasons, and free will simply doesn’t make sense. And we’ve already been over how it’s impossible to be omniscient.
This all just barely scratches the surface, by the way. An author named Clifford Pickover wrote an entire book on just the paradoxes of God. (And, coincidentally, The Paradox of God is the title, too. Clever man.) I’m actually going to pick up that book and give it a read. After that, I hope to update this post with possibly even more clear, damning points of paradox.
-- The Atheist Apologist --