Impossible even for God?

Some atheists like to ask silly questions like, “Could God create a rock so big that he couldn’t lift it?” or “Could God make a four-sided triangle?” If the answer is no, they say, then God is not omnipotent. Obviously, the teaching that God is all-powerful does not mean that he can do anything, even if it defies logic. However, it is probably worth noting that there are some things that God cannot do.

Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli write in Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions,

…even omnipotence could not have created a world in which there was genuine human freedom and yet no possibility of sin, for our freedom includes the possibility of sin within its own meaning. “All things are possible with God” indeed; but a meaningless self-contradiction is not anything at all. One such meaningless self-contradiction is a world in which there is real free choice–that is, the possibility of freely choosing good or evil–and at the same time no possibility of choosing evil. To ask why God didn’t create such a world is like asking why God didn’t create colorless color or round squares….

…Some argue that God’s power is limited by nothing, not even the laws of our logic…We believe this is a misunderstanding…of God in that it is not a divine perfection to create or perform a meaningless self-contradiction. It is rather God’s consistency–his never contradicting himself–that is a perfection. There is also a misunderstanding here of what logic means. The law of noncontradiction is not “our” logic. It is not an artificial rule…It is an objective truth about everything. We discover it; we do not invent it.

One of the difficult questions to answer is “Why couldn’t God have created humans with free will that would not choose to sin?” I’ve been pondering this question recently. As noted above, this would be a self-contradiction. We need to realize that there are, in fact, some things that an omnipotent God cannot do. I think there is evidence for this in the Bible.

We know that there are angels, and we know that one of them, namely lucifer (or satan), has fallen and taken some rebellious angels with him. We know from the Genesis account that satan had fallen before Adam sinned, because it was satan who tempted Eve in the Garden. The fact that satan fell means that angels, too, have free will. It follows, then, that God created beings with free will on two separate occasions and that both times they chose to sin. Since God is all-powerful and yet two different times free willed beings that he created chose to sin, I think it is safe to assume that when a creature has free will it will choose evil. Not every time, of course. We do not choose sin every time, but all it takes is once to separate us from a holy God.

So it was inevitable that Adam and Eve would sin. So yes, God allowed evil, but he must have seen that something good would come out of it all. I hate death and suffering as much as the next person, but I am glad that God chose to let me live, despite the fact that I will experience suffering.

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