Attributes of God (Philosophy)

  • Created by: 15ras
  • Created on: 14-09-21 20:02


  • Omnipotent means all powerful. The Bible attributes omnipotence of God through miracles such as the parting of the Red Sea and feeding of the 5000.
  • Descartes - argued that God must be omnipotent in the sense of being able to do even the logically impossible, because God has all the perfections so therefore God has no limitations at all. This means that God can create a stone too heavy for himself to lift. Most scholars such as Mackie disagree with Descartes. Things that are logically impossible such as a square circle are not really 'things' at all, because they are impossible. They believe that God can do anything, but not the logically impossible. They also disagree because a God who could do anything at all would be able to do things that go against his loving nature, such acts of cruelty. Descartes' view of a totally powerful God who can do the logically impossible makes it difficult to find an acceptable theodicy.
  • Aquinas -  argued that God's omnipotence means God can do everything that is within his nature and does not imply a contradiction. So God cannot be cruel or fail or be unwise. Some people argue that if there are things that God cannot do and he is limited by his own nature, then he cannot be omnipotent.
  • Swinburne - argued that God can do everything, but logical impossibilities are not things. Square circles are not things- they could never exist. God can do anything possible.
  • Vardy - argues that God deliberately limits his own power. God created the world in such a way that his own power would have to be limited as a result. This does not reduce or undermine God because God chose to do this in order to create a world suitable for human beings. The letter to Philippians in the Bible supports this as it suggests that when God came to this world as Jesus, he deliberately limited his own power in order to be accessible to humanityKenosis is the idea that Gd deliberately empties himself of his own power.
  • Other ideas - there are discussions about whether omnipotence is compatible with other attributes traditionally ascribed to God. There are also discussions about whether omnipotence makes sense as a concept. Perhaps an all powerful being could not possibly exist.
  • Whitehead and Hartshorne - argue that a totally omnipotent God would not be as impressive as a God who could meet resistance.


  • Omniscient means all knowing.
  • Ideas about the omniscience of God raise issues about God's relationship with time and with human free will. If God knows with absolute certainty and is never mistaken, then God's knowledge of people's future actions could be seen to 'fix' those actions and remove freedom of choice.
  • Schleiermacher - argued that God can know us as close friends know us, so he can know what we will do without forcing our choices. But his critics


No comments have yet been made