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As Paradox of Omnipotence - Mackie

As Paradox of Omnipotence - Mackie

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Published by: dusty_badger on Mar 25, 2012
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05/13/2014

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If God is omnipotent, how can man have free choice?If God is omnipotent, how can man have free choice?If God is omnipotent, how can man have free choice?If God is omnipotent, how can man have free choice?
 Notes from J.L Mackie ‘The Miracle of Theism’. p160Notes from J.L Mackie ‘The Miracle of Theism’. p160Notes from J.L Mackie ‘The Miracle of Theism’. p160Notes from J.L Mackie ‘The Miracle of Theism’. p160----162162162162Mackie attempts toMackie attempts toMackie attempts toMackie attempts to define discussions regarding the apparent conflict define discussions regarding the apparent conflict define discussions regarding the apparent conflict define discussions regarding the apparent conflict between free will and God’s omnipotence. He stresses the differencebetween free will and God’s omnipotence. He stresses the differencebetween free will and God’s omnipotence. He stresses the differencebetween free will and God’s omnipotence. He stresses the differencebetweenbetweenbetweenbetween the idea of man being free because Godthe idea of man being free because Godthe idea of man being free because Godthe idea of man being free because God
does not does not does not does not 
control himcontrol himcontrol himcontrol himand because Godand because Godand because Godand because God
cannot cannot cannot cannot 
control him.control him.control him.control him.Mackie defines two possible t Mackie defines two possible t Mackie defines two possible t Mackie defines two possible types of omnipotence;ypes of omnipotence;ypes of omnipotence;ypes of omnipotence; first  first  first  first----order omnipotence being unlimited power to act,order omnipotence being unlimited power to act,order omnipotence being unlimited power to act,order omnipotence being unlimited power to act,secondsecondsecondsecond----order omnipotence being unlimited power toorder omnipotence being unlimited power toorder omnipotence being unlimited power toorder omnipotence being unlimited power todetermine what powers to act things should have.determine what powers to act things should have.determine what powers to act things should have.determine what powers to act things should have.Mackie points out that if a god had second orderMackie points out that if a god had second orderMackie points out that if a god had second orderMackie points out that if a god had second orderomnipotence he could create soomnipotence he could create soomnipotence he could create soomnipotence he could create something which had themething which had themething which had themething which had thepower to act independently of his own power, therefore he would not power to act independently of his own power, therefore he would not power to act independently of his own power, therefore he would not power to act independently of his own power, therefore he would not have first have first have first have first----order omnipotence.order omnipotence.order omnipotence.order omnipotence.The phrThe phrThe phrThe phrase, ‘things which an omnipotent being cannot control’ could bease, ‘things which an omnipotent being cannot control’ could bease, ‘things which an omnipotent being cannot control’ could bease, ‘things which an omnipotent being cannot control’ could beargued to be self argued to be self argued to be self argued to be self----contradictory, remember omnipotent means allcontradictory, remember omnipotent means allcontradictory, remember omnipotent means allcontradictory, remember omnipotent means all----powerful can do everything, can control everything, there is nothingpowerful can do everything, can control everything, there is nothingpowerful can do everything, can control everything, there is nothingpowerful can do everything, can control everything, there is nothingthat it can’t control. Does this mean, then, that Godthat it can’t control. Does this mean, then, that Godthat it can’t control. Does this mean, then, that Godthat it can’t control. Does this mean, then, that God
canno canno canno cannot 
makemakemakemakesomething which he can’t control, implying that there is something that something which he can’t control, implying that there is something that something which he can’t control, implying that there is something that something which he can’t control, implying that there is something that he cannot do? The answer is yes, but this does nohe cannot do? The answer is yes, but this does nohe cannot do? The answer is yes, but this does nohe cannot do? The answer is yes, but this does not detract from hist detract from hist detract from hist detract from hisomnipotence as part for the definition is that omnipotence does not omnipotence as part for the definition is that omnipotence does not omnipotence as part for the definition is that omnipotence does not omnipotence as part for the definition is that omnipotence does not include the power to do things which areinclude the power to do things which areinclude the power to do things which areinclude the power to do things which are logically impossible. Thuslogically impossible. Thuslogically impossible. Thuslogically impossible. Thusthere are grounds for replying, ‘He can’t!’ (To the question at the top of there are grounds for replying, ‘He can’t!’ (To the question at the top of there are grounds for replying, ‘He can’t!’ (To the question at the top of there are grounds for replying, ‘He can’t!’ (To the question at the top of the page.)the page.)the page.)the page.)However if a bHowever if a bHowever if a bHowever if a being with secondeing with secondeing with secondeing with second----order omnipotence confers on beingsorder omnipotence confers on beingsorder omnipotence confers on beingsorder omnipotence confers on beingsthe power of making uncontrolable choice, then to control thosethe power of making uncontrolable choice, then to control thosethe power of making uncontrolable choice, then to control thosethe power of making uncontrolable choice, then to control thosechoices wouchoices wouchoices wouchoices would be logically impossible (because anld be logically impossible (because anld be logically impossible (because anld be logically impossible (because anomnipotent being conferred those powers) thereforeomnipotent being conferred those powers) thereforeomnipotent being conferred those powers) thereforeomnipotent being conferred those powers) thereforeperfectly reasonable for an omnipotent perfectly reasonable for an omnipotent perfectly reasonable for an omnipotent perfectly reasonable for an omnipotent being not tobeing not tobeing not tobeing not todo (remember our earlier definition of omnipotence).do (remember our earlier definition of omnipotence).do (remember our earlier definition of omnipotence).do (remember our earlier definition of omnipotence).Mackie asks a further question, if a being was allMackie asks a further question, if a being was allMackie asks a further question, if a being was allMackie asks a further question, if a being was allpowerfulpowerfulpowerfulpowerful ie. omnipotent does this also mean that ie. omnipotent does this also mean that ie. omnipotent does this also mean that ie. omnipotent does this also mean that everything that happens is his doing (Mackie referseverything that happens is his doing (Mackie referseverything that happens is his doing (Mackie referseverything that happens is his doing (Mackie refers

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