God Doesn’t Do Nonsense

This is an old one. “Can God create a rock too big for Him to lift?” If you answer, “No, He can’t,” the response is “I thought God could do anything.” If you answer, “Yes, He can,” then the response would be about how the wit thought God was infinitely strong.

I propose to answer the question definitively (and I’m not the first to do so by a long shot).  The answer is “no.” God cannot create a rock so big that He cannot lift it.

And here’s the reason: God cannot do nonsensical things, not because God is limited, but because nonsense can’t exist except in the abstract. (And even then we have a difficult time picturing it.) Could God create a man who was simultaneously both six feet tall and five feet tall? No, and not because God is not all-powerful, but simply because such a man cannot exist.

Back to creation. To create something, by definition, is to limit it. Nothing exists in the real, in the concrete, that does not have limits. In order for God to create ANYTHING, that thing, in the real world, must have a defined nature, composition, and mass. God, Who is unlimited, must by necessity surpass all created things.

Yes, but couldn’t God create an infinitely large rock? Once again you’re attempting to attribute nonsense to God. How could there be any such thing as an infinitely large rock?  Can you picture one?  I can’t.

Could God, if He so chose, create a rock that was greater in size than the visible universe? I haven’t the slightest doubt that He could, if it suited His purposes. But the act of creation is also the act of limitation, and He could then pick it up, again if He so chose.

Hope this is of some help when you run across that question again. It used to bug me.

God bless, friends.

Examining Presuppositions

We have to have our presuppositions, our basic assumptions.   We can’t start every thought process with Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” and work our way up from there.  I can’t sit down to a bill-paying session and have to reason through “one plus one equals two” before I get my checkbook out, and I can’t question whether gravity is going to work before turning my alarm off and getting out of bed in the morning.

Presuppositions save us time.

However, it’s good to be aware that we, all of us, have presuppositions, and to be aware that sometimes those assumptions are unfounded or unsupportable.  I may assume without checking that my bookmark is where I left it in my latest library read, to the extent that I might tell someone I have my place marked.  However, that would prove to be an unfounded belief if one of my children picked it up off the table out of curiosity and the Walmart receipt I’d used to keep my place had then slipped out.  My presupposition would then not correspond with reality and I would need to be open to examining it, and changing it, in light of the evidence.

Great danger lies in unexamined presuppositions, and even greater peril lies in the fact that many of us have basic assumptions of which we are essentially unaware.  The most honest thing to do is to own and admit to our presuppositions, but this is trickier than you might think.  I am sure that there are things I take for granted which may or not be in line with “how things really are,” but I may very well be blind to them.

I require honest friends, and honest dialogue, to help me examine my assumptions, and I require the courage and integrity to admit when some foundational belief I hold does not correspond with how things are.  We’ll never be free of presuppositions, but may we all have the grace and the wit and the will to acknowledge them and know them for what they are.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

 

At The Writers’ Conference

Man, that was fun.

As you know, I’m a fairly active writer and a semi-author.  (You’re an author when someone else says you’re an author, and I can legitimately claim that.  I joke that I’m a rich and famous author except for the “rich and famous” part.  But I’m not much of an author, at least not yet.)

But I went to my first ever writers’ conference, and I was challenged, and inspired, and encouraged, and, yeah, a little overwhelmed.  I met some very nice people and had some great conversations.  It was just….cool….to be with so many other people who have such similar interests; I don’t hang around with a lot of writers on a regular basis.

I made some good contacts and got some great ideas.  Will anything tangible come of it?  Maybe, maybe not.  It’s okay if it doesn’t.  This was a learning experience for me.

But, yeah, I had a blast.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Letting God’s Choices Prevail

I’m reading in the early chapters of Deuteronomy, and one of the things that leaped out at me this morning was God’s direction to the Israelites as they traveled NOT to conquer this land or that land because God had not given that particular property to them.

In heading to the land of promise God had selected for them, they were going to be passing through lots of appealing territory that wasn’t meant for them.

And it struck me that it would be a good way to view my own life, to understand that God has certain (and plentiful) blessings in store for me, if I but set my heart to seek and do His will.  But there are plenty of attractive and distracting things along the journey that can, if I let them, turn my heart away from God’s best for me.

It’s as though God is saying to me “I know that particular goal or pleasure or achievement or possession or activity appeals to you.  But it’s not what I have in mind for you, and it’s not as good as what I have in mind for you.  Leave it be, and trust My wisdom and guidance.”

So, as I journey and adventure, I need to be careful to keep my own desires from diverting me away from what God has chosen as best for me.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.