A rock too big to move is an “oldie-goldie” apologetics question. Be ready with an answer.
The challenge inherent in this question is whether there is something God cannot do. Either God can make a rock so big He cannot lift it or God cannot make a rock big enough that He can’t lift it. On the surface, this presents a seemingly insolvable conundrum. However, God is never put in checkmate. In fact, this problem in no way proves that there’s something God cannot do. It simply asks a meaningless question that contradicts itself in many ways.
Restating the Question
Essentially, the question asks, “Is there any way that God— who can make all things— can create a rock so big, that the God who can lift all things cannot lift it?” Worded this way, the inconsistency and meaningless nature of the question is underscored. It actually makes no sense. The question itself has no truth value in order to be evaluated as either true or false. Trying to answer this question is much like trying to answer “What does the color blue smell like?” Or telling someone to think about two boys, each shorter than the other. Or asking, can God make a square circle or a one-ended stick? Such questions propose impossible conditions that can never be met.
The “rock” question also reveals false ideas about the biblical concept of omnipotence. Omnipotence does not mean God has the power to do anything at all. God has the power to do anything that is consistent with His character and who He is. The question is not really one of power as much as it is of logic and consistency. Something that is logically contradictory cannot be done, nor can God do anything that is inconsistent with His nature. For example, He cannot lie or learn anything new. Those things that are true about His character will always be true, and He cannot do anything contrary.
Does it mean the Lord is not powerful because there are things He cannot do? Not at all. It simply means He is a perfect and unchangeable God. Just like He cannot do things that contradict His perfect nature, He also cannot do those things that are logically impossible, such as creating an immovable rock, a square circle or one-ended stick.
The Intent of the Question
Asking the question “Can God make a rock so big He can’t lift it?” is yet another attempt by mankind to trap or outsmart God. However, God tells us in Isaiah 55:8, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” We cannot ever fully know His thoughts, nor comprehend His ways. But God has been gracious to us and He has revealed all that we need to know about Him in His Word. He desires that we continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him (Phil. 1:9), but He also wants us to treat Him with the reverence and awe He deserves, remembering that His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. (Isa 55:9)
Always remember, our God is logical and coherent. He is the all-knowing and all-powerful God. There is nothing that limits God’s omnipotence. There is nothing that surpasses the perfect plan of our loving Creator.
Christian apologists Alex McFarland and Shari Abbott answer some of life's many questions concerning the gospel, faith, and the Bible by sharing Truth for a New Generation and Reasons for Hope found only in Jesus. For more information about apologist, evangelist, author, and religion and culture analyst, Alex McFarland, visit www.alexmcfarland.com. For more information about Shari Abbott, executive director of Reasons for Hope* Jesus, click here.
Truth for a New Generation (TNG) serves nationwide, featuring a multi-year conference tour and student-led club program to equip teenagers, parents, grandparents, and others who lead them to live for God. TNG's mission is to creatively communicate a compelling Christian worldview to the next generation by giving answers to tough questions, based on the truths of Scripture, and to build up the Body of Christ to stand strong and boldly proclaim the gospel in the world. For more information and resources visit www.truthforanewgeneration.com.
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