Friday, June 01, 2007

Omnipotent God- A logical contradiction?

Just some random musings....

Let us consider the assertion that God is omnipotent. So can God create a task that he himself cannot accomplish? If he can, then there exists a task which he cannot do. If no, there still remains a task which he cannot do.

Hence by definition, an Omnipotent God is a logical singularity. However (and here it gets interesting), it does not necessarily prove that God does not exist. It only leads further to two more options:

a) School of thought One [e.g. The Hindu Purva Mimansa School] - "Reasoning grasps reality completely. If something is a logical discontinuity, it is false and must be rejected. God is a discontinuity, and worse a singularity. We reject the existence of God. God does not exist. Those who abandon this logical strictness abandon reason. They can rationalize anything, right or wrong."

b) School of thought Two [e.g. The Hindu Uttara School] - Logic presumes a separation of subject from object. This again leads to two more subsets:

b.1) logic is wrong
b.2) separation is wrong

b.1) [eg: Hindu Dvaita schools] Separation of God and observer is real, therefore logic is not final wisdom. Logic is a human reconstruction of reality. It is not reality itself. Thus logically contradictory beliefs can be true at the same time.

b.2) [eg: Hindu Advaita schools] In this world, as the law of causality is real, logic too is real. The logical singularity can be overcome if the separation of subject and object is unreal and if the whole master set itself is singular in nature. Thus logic is real, so is the logical singularity. It is the separation which is unreal.

Moreover, all these problems of omnipotence, yet not able to do something come up when we deal god as a personal, different being. The statement "doing a task" presupposes a task to do (with its different initial and final states), a doer to do the task. Basically its demands a reality with multiple points. However, the other way to escape a logical singularity is when the whole set itself becomes one. When there is only one, there is no question of logical singularity.


Blogger Sandeep said...

Regarding the advaitic point of view : what you say sounds okay as far as nirguNa brahman, the pAramArthika dude, is concerned. But what about Ishvara/Adya-shakti as when looked from vyAvahArika?

7:40 AM  
Blogger Surya S said...

We can approach the Adviatic-vyavaharika in two ways:

1. If Brahman alone is true, then duality is unreal, so is everything in that duality, then so is the “contradiction” in that duality. Something which is part of a dream will also be a dream. In the same manner, something which is part of an illusion will also be an illusion.

2. Mahamaya is beyond the logic, for She is the very source of maya (and hence of duality and logic which is part of duality). She is not bound by logic, She is the maker of logic and hence though She appears to abide by logic in most cases, She is no way bound to follow logic. This explanation may be very close to the dualistic one- but then when we looking at things from the perspective of Mahamaya, we are actually looking at it in a more dualistic manner.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Sandeep said...

I don't think the first point offers any solution - the question is whether there exists a contradiction in the illusory vyAvahArika level or not. If we assume that there cannot be contradiction in vyAvahArika, illusory or otherwise, then any theory that implies a vyAvahArika-contradiction has to be wrong in the vyAvahArika sense, which is all we have access to.

Secondly the second point is not just similar, it is identical to the dualistic one; as long as we are in vyAvahArika plane we probably cannot get any better than dualistic theories.

What about this - the problem may be with the definition of omnipotence?

9:48 AM  
Blogger Vaibhav Khire said...

Nice post:)

Actually once you assume "God is Infinite", I think the rest follows as a corollary.
An Infinite being can be the only existence possible, and hence the 'duality' never exists. The only question which remains, 'Why this apparent duality, or Maya? And using Ramana Maharshi's logic, first answer "to whom is this apparent duality"? and you answer your own question. :)

11:36 PM  

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