“The concept of God is incoherent. Discuss”
God is conceived of as a (supernatural) being that is eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, all good, all just and all merciful. These attributions appear to create logical difficulties, sometimes singly, sometimes when taken together, though it is in some cases necessary to add facts about the world (such as the existence of evil) to create the incoherence. In such cases, it is the whole picture of the nature of God plus aspects of reality that is held to be incoherence.
Firstly God is Omnipotence. Omnipotence by definition means that God is all powerful. If God were all powerful, he would be able to do anything, which would include any act which he can overcome with his own power. For example; creating a stone so heavy, that he could not lift it. However the suggestion that God makes a stone so heavy that he himself cannot lift it is actually a contradiction and so logically this makes it impossible. One might react to this by saying that God is indeed so powerful that he can defy the laws of logic.
However, a better response, in my view, is that ‘being unable to do what is logically impossible’ is not a genuine limitation on God’s power, since any proposition that purports to say that some logically impossible act has been performed is in fact nonsense. In such a proposition, no act has really been described. Omnipotence does create problems in other areas.
In addition another problematic attribute of God is his omniscience. Omniscience means all knowing. The claim is that if God is all knowing. However this creates a problem, if God knows everything then surely that must indicted that we as human do not have ‘free will.’ For example suppose I am going to be going on holiday in March God would know that this was going to happen. (God’s foreknowledge)
In some way God had already planned what would happen next. Therefore it hardly seems to be ‘my’ act. However on the other hand if I was to commit a bad act that I am planning to carry out surely in this case we can apply the same method as the first illustration. It seems not fair to blame me for what God knew I was going to do anyway. He could have stopped me! Some people claim that surely we shouldn’t be blamed also for our ‘sins’ Basically in other words, God’s omniscience seems to prevent us having free will.
However, I think the theist can give a plausible answer to this particular accusation of Incoherence. If I am free, my doing a particular action X makes it the case that God knows that I have done it, so that the causal relation runs the opposite way from that claimed in the objection. This does not imply that I can make it the case that God knew it before the time when I did X, and therefore that I can affect the past. For God is usually thought of as existing outside of time. (It is perhaps only in this sense that he can correctly be described as ‘eternal’-he never begins or ceases to exist.) Of course, it must be God’s decision to give us freedom to perform one act rather than another.