Friday, November 14, 2014

"With God All Things Are Possible." Is that true?

Matthew 19:25-26 reads:
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

What does "all things" refer to?  All actual things?  All possible things?  All impossible things?  Some take this verse to entail that God can do anything logically impossible.  God is such that he could have made it the case that he never existed.  For to make it the case that one never existed is to be such that one can both exist and do something such that one has never existed which would be to do the logically impossible.  God could make a square circle. He could make a perfect triangle the sum of the interior angels being zero degrees and fluffy.  Moreover, God could make it the case that he's always been a square circle and never been a square circle.  I fail to find such a view coherent.

To someone who holds such a view, I ask, "Has God done such a thing? Has God made it the case that he's an evil square circle?"

Answer: "No, for that's not in the Bible."

Me: "Has God made it the case that you can learn about him in the Bible?"

Answer: "Yes."

Me: "How do you know that he didn't commit theocide after inspiring the Bible and no longer exists?"

Answer: "Because he lives within my heart."

Me: "How do you know that he didn't create a quite powerful and deceptive pseudo-God which just makes it SEEM like God lives in your heart?  After all, he could do that, presumably, according to you."

Answer: "Because he wouldn't do that."

Me: "AHA!  And why wouldn't he do that?"

Answer: "Because he is good."

Me: "So God has a a good nature such that he couldn't be evil."

Answer: "Well, he could be evil but he wouldn't."

Me: "Why wouldn't he?"

Answer: "              ."

A better way, I think, to understand the passage is that it entails that there are some logically possible states of affairs (such as attaining salvation) which humans cannot bring about with their own power (states of affairs which are physically or humanly impossible) that God can bring about with his power.

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