Arya was lying down in the middle berth of the train travelling back home for the weekend. She tossed and turned only half asleep as she was so anxious to be back home already. She missed her grandma’s constant nagging, friends teasing her and her dog Casper gnawing her fingers gently. Few more hours, she consoled herself to catch up some sleep.
Someone pat on her folded forearm waking her up from sleep. Maybe I am dreaming, Arya thought. “Hello!”, a voice boomed and she woke up with a jolt. The compartment somehow seemed very strange and there was a complete stranger standing right next to her and talking. She was a little perplexed.
“I am sorry, but who are you? Where are the others in the compartment?”
“They should have got down. As for me, I am God. You can call me by any name of your choice. Of course, that is what people generally do.”
“Yeah right! You are God… Har Har Mahadev! Ok, agreed. haha….. Actually no, you don’t look old, beardy with tattered old clothes”, she said eyeing him down. He was a young fellow, should be in his mid thirties, wearing a hand me down jeans with both hands in the pockets and a grey t-shirt with the words I am Omnipotent on it.
“Maybe because you guys associate wisdom with old age, and believe that ‘God’ is wiser!”
“Oh my! Maybe… You actually caught me there. But that doesn’t make you God, really.”
“Can you prove I aint?”
How dare he challenge me, she thought, but he is claiming to be God, how will I disprove that. She tried to collect her thoughts. “Your tee… It says you are omnipotent.”
“Yes, it means that there is nothing I can’t do.”
“I know what that means”, she said, enraged. “Create me a stone heavy enough that cannot be lifted.”
“Haha… Let’s see… Do you agree that you cannot lift yourself? What if I turn myself to stone? Will you still try to ask me the next obvious question in your mind (i.e) to lift the stone?”
“Hmmm, yes… I mean, no I can’t then … But…”
It was at that moment the train chose to speed through a tunnel, thus blackening the surroundings for a while. And as guessed, when light came back, the stranger was nowhere to be seen.
A puzzled Arya suddenly realized that the train had already arrived at her station. She collected her bearings and dumped into her handbag and got down the train hastily arranging her handbag as she walked. That was when she realized something graze her fingers. She took it out and was amazed to find that it was a small stone figurine resembling that man!
“Grandma! Look who is here… Un aruma pethi Arya…” Arya ran into grandma’s room and hugged her. “Know what! I think I know why people make the deities’ idols out of stone!”
It is said that God is all-powerful, or as theologians put it, “omnipotent”; there is nothing that he cannot do. This is part of the definition of “God”.
So can God create a stone that is so heavy that he cannot lift it? Either he can or he can’t.
If God can’t, then he isn’t all-powerful. If God can’t create a stone that he can’t lift, then there is something that he can’t do: create the stone.
If God can create a stone that is so heavy that he can’t lift it, though, then he also isn’t all-powerful. If God can create a stone that is so heavy that he can’t lift it, then there’s something that he can’t do: lift that stone.
There is, therefore, no way of answering the question above that preserves God’s omnipotence. If there is an omnipotent God, then he neither can nor can’t create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it. This, though, is absurd; he must be either able or unable to perform this feat.
This is the paradox of omnipotence.