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Omnipotence in Question

God is omnipotent… or so we are told.

Dictionary.com defines “omnipotent” as:

1. almighty or infinite in power, as God.
2. having very great or unlimited authority or power.

I’m going to go with the first definition since this is the one that would undoubtedly apply to “God” of Christianity and Catholicism and to “Allah” in Islam. I’ve never heard a religious person say that their god has only limited power, so I think it’s a fair assumption that the first definition is applicable.

The question is often posed to theists, “If God (from here on, also meaning Allah) is all-powerful, why is there disease (or imperfection or evil or disbelief, etc)?” The answer invariably boils down to a “free will” argument. Summarized, God created everything in a state of perfection, but gave man free will to choose his own actions. Man then chose the “wrong” path (eating the apple) and that was pretty much the end of perfection. After that, we basically drove off the genetic cliff which explains why some people wear glasses, some get cancer, some need braces, etc.

(I’m going to leave aside the argument that perhaps Adam wasn’t perfect if he was capable of choosing the wrong path, therefore God didn’t make a perfect creation, therefore God isn’t perfect… or omnipotent.)

I’m sure there are some theists who don’t believe in free will. In that case, God’s omnipotence can be dismissed out of hand since he created and pre-destined everything to be just as it is. I doubt there are many people who would claim that our world and everything in it is perfect in its current state. Argument over.

As for free will, the very existence of free will presupposes a non-omnipotent God. An omnipotent God is “almighty and infinite in power” and therefore knows all, which means he would clearly see all future events and know the outcome of every action (if he couldn’t, he wouldn’t be omnipotent). That is contrary to free will. If God already knows what’s going to happen, then the future is pre-destined and there is no free will.

If, on the other hand, there actually is true free will, then God doesn’t know what will happen and is therefore not omnipotent.

Any claim that “God is omnipotent” immediately eliminates the possibility of free will, thereby showing that God created imperfect things and is, therefore, not omnipotent.

I’ve never heard a refutation of this, but counter-arguments are welcome.


  1. Steve says:

    Great post.
    As far as god goes, maybe he IS perfect, but he’s just a giant douchebag. I mean, what kind of mean spirited jerk would set up two people incapable of knowing right from wrong who of COURSE would eat something they weren’t supposed to because they didn’t know any better, then blame them AND their descendants for all eternity all the while knowing that this is EXACTLY what they were going to do because you are omnipotent?

    Well, if there was such a creature, we’d call him the god of the bible.

    What a cretin.

  2. Witches hammer says:

    “if god is omnipontent and knows all
    then free will is noneexistant because
    its already known”

    the classic athiest statement which ive heard many times

    FUCKIN GARBAGE,thats the most retarded thing ive heard and people still spew this this shit out
    and countless
    people fall for it

    quantum physics shows we may be able to time travel
    eat this logic
    I went back in time to the day you are born and recorded every move you made to the time you died

    does that negate your free will….FUCK NO!!!

    sure I played voyeur and watched everything you did
    and knew what was coming everywaking second
    durin my second watch
    but I
    didnt have a hand in the choices you made
    for I was just an observer
    let you live your life with no manipulation

    since god is beyond time he sees past,prescant and future as “now”

    he is able to determine your everymove
    timetraveler who watches the same person more then once….and doesnt pull strings

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