On Tue, 18 Feb 2003, Matthew Hunter wrote: @> > Really, and you're contending that something can be omnipotent without @> > additionally ending up being God? I'd be quite interested to see that one. @> @> Sure. Consider an omnipotent Satan. @> @> Omnipotent is an attribute that can be attached to just about @> anything. It's not limited to judeo-christian divinity, except @> in that judeo-christian divinity is the major source of attempts @> to resolve the logical contradictions inherent in the concept. Well, you'll notice I said "God" rather than "The Judeo-Christian God". But let's assume that that's really what I meant. The primary attributes of JHVH are as follows: 1) Omnipotence 2) Omniscience 3) Omnipresence 4) Incomprehensibility 5) Unity 6) Perfect morality 7) Responsible for the creation of the world If something has all of these attributes, it's the Judeo-Christian God. Lots of individual sects tack on other requirements, but these are the ones to which everyone agrees. The first three are generally taken as a cluster, for good reason: if something is omnipotent, there is no way it can be prevented from being omniscient and omnipresent without drastic replumbing of the concept of omnipotence (that is, the ability to accomplish any task that does not represent a logical impossibility). The power to do anything represents both the power to know anything and the power to be anywhere (since these are both things that can be done). Incomprehensibility is pretty simple. If someone else knows everything, and you don't, you will never fully understand that other person, because you don't know everything. Unity is a hotly-debated topic. It's not as contraversial as it seems, though, if you posit the other qualities; if two things possess exactly the same knowledge and sense of morality, they will always act in exactly the same way at any given time. If they are both omnipresent, they will always act at every available time and in every possible situation. If they both possess the same amount of power, their actions will be limited in the same way in the same situations (that is, they will not be limited). All these things being the case, what we're actually dealing with is one being by any yardstick which can meaningfully be used. The relevant analogy would be human: you're really two people, since you have two entirely functional brain-halves, each of which has its own personality and abilities. You don't generally notice this, though, unless the two are rendered unable to communicate with each other, and we don't tend to actually think of you as being two different people, since you and yourself are always acting in concert. The creation of the world one works in a similar way. Time and space aren't seperate entities (as far as we know), so something that's omnipresent in one would have to be omnipresent in the other. If something has perfect morality and the power to alter the universe in any conceivable way, it must be the case that that being does in fact alter the universe in such a way as to make it better. That being the case, this being can easily be said to be responsible for the disposition of all matter in the universe, of which our planet and its inhabitants are a subset. So, the only difficult one is the moral quality: can it be guaranteed that an omnipotent being would also be perfectly moral? Tricky, which is presumably why you mentioned omnipotent Satans. Try this one on, then: one of the common methods of playing infinities against each other to disprove the existance of God involves this very quality. The argument runs, roughly, that if God can make anything moral, then the only ultimate moral quantity is power (specifically, the power to make your wishes the override morality). If God can't make anything moral, then there must be some power that overrides God's (by creating morality), and therefore God isn't omnipotent. The only way out of this difficulty is to assume that there is a logical reason for moral actions; then you can raise the same objections that can be raised for the unliftable stone argument; that is, that the concept of a being that knows everything and yet still acts in an immoral way is logically impossible, because immorality is only a fallacy of logic or assumptions neither of which can apply to an omniscient being. Heh. Alright, that's a bit thin, but what the hell. I have a limited time to do this stuff here at work.