Theologian admits "God can't lift a rock he created to be too heavy for him to lift"
Dr Robert E. Southerton, professor of theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, has admitted that "God cannot lift a rock that he created to be too heavy for him to lift."
The debate, which has been running for weeks amongst students and professors at Fuller alike, was raised by an unknown student who scrawled a question on a classroom blackboard. The question "Can God create a rock too heavy for him to lift?" was immediately the subject of classroom discussions all over the seminary.
Southerton, who has been a professor at the college for 15 years, spent considerable time in open debate with his students and fellow teaching staff in order to work out the question. "On one side" Southerton said "there was a group that said that, for God, nothing was impossible. Yet this seemed to contradict the nature of God's omnipotence in relation to the relevant question. On the other side was a group that said that God's own nature, while perfect, is limited. While this group appears just as wrong, we have to remember that any limits that God has are part of his divine nature. God cannot sin, for example, yet this does not mean he is not all-powerful."
While Southerton has effectively solved the question, some students are quick to denounce him. Aaron Richards, studying for his Masters of Divinity in Church Planting, says "To say that God can't lift a simple rock is like saying that God is not in charge of his creation. To say that he can create a rock specifically so he can't lift it, and then fail to lift it, shows that God is weak. I'm sorry, but that is not the God I believe in." When asked what the alternative is, Richards states that "God can lift anything he wants, even something he created to be too heavy for him to lift".
Southerton is in the process of writing a paper for the theological journal Bibliotheca Sacra, which outlines the nature of the question itself, the possible positions people have taken, and the position that makes the most theological and philosophical sense. In this paper he critiques those who hold to Aaron Richards' position. "To say that God can lift such a rock goes against God's creative ability. If God can lift a rock he created to be too heavy for him to lift, then it destroys the very fabric of the universe. If God has chosen to make such a heavy rock, then who are we to deny God?"
From the Department of Attempted Humour
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/
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