Question from Philosophy Class #1

This will begin a series of questions taken from a Philosophy class. Please feel free to answer.

 #1 – If God is all powerful, and He has the ability to Will things to exist and to not exist, can He Will himself out of existence?


2 thoughts on “Question from Philosophy Class #1

  1. Hi there. Great blog! My major is philosophy so I can never resist entering into a philosophical discussion. As to your question, I see it as a variant of the old stone paradox (can God create a stone so big that he cannot lift it?) and I have no problem at all saying that God absolutely cannot will Himself out of existence. Let me give a couple of reasons I hold to this view.

    1. I (as well as the majority of traditional Western theism) do not define omnipotence as the ability to do absolutely anything. Rather I would define omnipotence as the ability to do whatever can be done (what is logically possible). There are plenty of things that Scripture states that God cannot do (things that are morally evil for example). The reason that God cannot do these evil things is because the are logically opposed to his perfectly good nature.

    2. God has traditionally been known as a Necessary Being. That is, a being which cannot not exist. To say that God could will himself out of existence would be nonsense. It would be saying, “The being which cannot cease to exist ceases to exist”.

    As a Christian theist, I also view God as the ultimate reality. It is he who creates and sustains the existence of all contingent beings (that is, everything but himself). Therefore, I certainly hope God doesn’t go willing himself out of existence; because if he does, he’s gonna take us all with him!

  2. I totally agree. I think the problem with “basic” philosophy classes is that, since the majority of the students are “babies” to philosophy and religion, they attempt to equate everything with what is “known” – empirical reality. God can not be judged in an empirical way, therefore we can not judge or explain the reality of God – His existence, His abilities – through our own “reality.”

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