• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A being is omnipotent if and only if it has every power that it is logically possible to possess (Kenny). Is this a satisfactory definition of omnipotence?

Extracts from this document...


200713355 ?A being is omnipotent if and only if it has every power that it is logically possible to possess? (Kenny). Is this a satisfactory definition of omnipotence? The term ?omnipotence?, upon Philosophical reflection, raises problems in the quest to define what is actually meant by the term. It is quite clear that the majority of the human race would agree that there is a God and hardly anybody would refute the fact that this God is ?omnipotent?. However, the exact definition of this term has been a cause of great Philosophical debate. In recent Philosophical discussion, omnipotence has been defined as: the power to bring about certain states of affair?s and therefore implies that God is ?all-powerful?. However, many Philosophers have claimed that this definition is in fact incoherent. One definition of omnipotence is that God can do all things, another is that God can do some things. However, arguments have been raised showing that this is not the case and that he cannot do these things. Kenny?s definition that ?A being is omnipotent if and only if it has every power that it is logically possible to possess? (Kenny 1987, pg 131) seems to avoid the criticisms raised against the above. ...read more.


However, God?s power has to be more divine than this. For if it is not then we are simply stating that God can do all that he is able to do, just like humans. But then we are limiting God?s power to the power in which he hold, which seems demeaning. Therefore Aquinas argues that God is omnipotent due to the fact that he can do all things that are ?possible absolutely?. (Aquinas 2007, pg 144). Up until now, it seems that God?s omnipotence implies that God can do anything. However, St.Thomas claims that anything should refer to ?only objects, actions or states of affairs whose descriptions are not contradictory? (Pojman & Rea 2007, pg 268). My failure to draw a square in an may indicate my lack of geometrical skill however my failure to draw a square circle does not indicate this lack, because the concept of a square circle is contradictory and St.Thomas, as mentioned above, has argued that we should not determine God?s omnipotence based on contradictory states of affairs, objects and actions. The question ?Can God create a stone too heavy for him to lift?? poses a problem which many Philosophers have tried to overcome as this goes beyond simply stating that God cannot draw a square circle, which does no damage to the concept of His omnipotence as it is a contradictory claim. ...read more.


Kenny argues for this definition of omnipotence: ?a being is omnipotent if it has every power which it is logically possible to possess?. (Kenny 1987, pg 131). However this still does not overcome some issues as it is logically possible for us to change something or create something that God did not make therefore Kenny has revised this and has arrived at this definition of omnipotence: God?s omnipotence consists in his possessing all powers that it is logically possible for a being with his attributes as God to possess. This account seems to avoid the problems raised for God not being able to, for example, create a stone in which he cannot lift. For this power to create a stone in which he cannot lift does not seem plausible as it is not a logically possible power for God to possess because within the description of this power poses a hidden contradiction. Therefore, it is clear that there has been much debate about the definition of the term ?omnipotence? up until Kenny?s definition was formulated the paradox of the stone created huge difficulties in arguing for what God can do. Kenny?s revised definition seems to tackle this problem by focusing on not on what God is capable of doing but rather the powers that he possesses and therefore seems a plausible in accounting for the definition of omnipotence. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Philosophy and Theology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Philosophy and Theology essays

  1. Kant's Philosophy

    The fact that we can choose between alternate courses of actions (we are not determined to act by instinct or reason) introduces the possibility that there can be better or worse ways of achieving our ends and better or worse ends, depending upon the criteria we adopt.

  2. Russell and Definate Descriptions

    exist the present King of France. Russell does not accept the above argument because it necessitates the existence of a present King of France, who does not exist. As he says himself in On Denoting : "Logic is concerned with the real world just as truly as zoology, though with its more abstract and general features...There

  1. Difficulties of giving a single definition of war

    However, political-rationalist theories do not deal well with pre-state or non-state people and their warfare. There are also separate schools of thought on war other than the political account. Up till now, if war is defined as something that happens only between states, then the wars between roaming groups should

  2. The Ravens Paradox

    immediately disproves the hypothesis that all ravens are black, so let us assume that all the ravens we find are black. i.e. let us take the important case of B = N. Now we have: Probability of finding B black ravens = Which, fortunately is less than or equal to one as .

  1. Paradox of the Stone

    Nor the impossible, such as make a spherical cube, draw a triangular square or travel in time. Both of these definitions are brought about through different thought processes. Descartes theory came from his belief in his 'God`. He believed that 'God` could do absolutely everything, he could do the impossible,

  2. It is possible to clone mammals. Is it morally acceptable to clone a human ...

    Imagine a thousand clones of Einstein. Some of the moral questions raised in this scenario would be: are we diminishing the worth of a human life by making hundreds of copies, would we begin to see the clones as dispensable, as a commodity, would this violate or diminish their dignity?

  1. Post-Atheism: from Apophatic Theology to "Minimal Religion"

    However, this does not lead to the conclusion that atheism, in developing apophaticism to extremes, completely annihilates the religious principle. The paradox lies in the very fact that while apophaticism contained the seeds of atheism, atheism retains the seed of apophaticism.

  2. Compare St Augstine and Rousseau's view of justifying authority and power.

    Then, he theorised that the social contract is the transformation from individual interests into common well-beings, which legitimises the Sovereign with true justice. During this process, it appears to be indispensable for a citizen to surrender his power to the general will (Grimsley, 1973).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work