A Big RockCan God build a rock big enough that even He can’t lift it?  This is a foolish question tempters and amateur atheists ask.  Their intent is not to ask whether “omnipotent” is the best theological term to describe God’s power, but to tempt believers to question God’s existence.   

This is not an existence-of-God problem.  It is really just a “trick question” of the same sort when one asks a righteous man if he has stopped beating his wife.  That question contains an unproved premise and therefore cannot be answered “logically”.

Another example from philosophy illustrates the real problem.   Suppose a barber in a small town makes the claim that he will cut the hair of everyone in town who cannot cut it themselves and nobody else.  Deciding whose hair he cuts and whose he does not is not a problem, except for as it pertains to himself.  If he can cut his own hair (ability), then he cannot cut his own hair (his claim) for he said he only cuts the hair of those who cannot cut their own.  On the other hand, if he cannot cut his own hair (ability), then he must cut his own hair (his claim) for he promised to cut the hair of everyone who cannot cut his own hair.

The key phrase in the second example is “except for as it pertains to himself”.   The problem is not the ability of the barber, nor the pledge of the barber.   The problem is language and assumptions.  The creator of this classic logical conundrum nearly pulls a fast one.  But it wonderfully illustrates the folly of those who trust their own wisdom.  By the use of Tom-Foolery alone, it appears the barber’s claim is false.   But his claim is only limited in this way:  He cannot both cut his hair and not cut his hair.  This is called the law of non-contradiction.  It should have been obvious that such a man did not include himself in the claim.

When Christians make the claim God is all-powerful, it is obvious they are no fools.   Just as the barber can do what he claims pertaining to every other person in the town, God is able to exert his Power over every person and object in the Universe which he made.  But He cannot be more powerful than Himself, which is the foolish challenge skeptics make in asking the original question.  But they cloak it by hiding it behind a big rock.  

God’s relation to rocks is intriguing, nonetheless. When the people of Israel murmured against God because they were thirsty, God changed the nature of rocks.  At God’s command, Moses struck the rock and water came out to provide for sinners (Exodus 17).  On another occasion, though he got a glimpse of God, Moses was protected from the splendor of Jehovah’s full glory by his being placed by God in a cut out area of a rock (Exodus 33). 

God frequently compares Himself to a Rock (Deut. 32:4), but this is for the benefit of our understanding, and is a metaphor. Therefore we recognize that no rock is powerful in and of itself to protect or provide:  For God made the rocks.

God has shown himself more powerful than rocks {I Kings 19:11}:  

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD.” 

Wicked men will someday call upon created rocks, but it will be to no avail:

Revelation 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Matthew 21:42-45  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

The only rock of provision and safety is Christ.  

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

But, Praise be to God! This One Rock can save us still:

 Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

I Corinthians 10:4  And they did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

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