Q & A: Explaining the “Mustahil” or “Rationally Impossible”

Question: I am a novice in regards to hard `aqida and `ilm al-kalam. Could you explain to me the issue of Imkan al-Kidhb in a very simple manner (and could you also tell me what Muhal, mumkin, jayiz-`aqli , jayiz-dhati, and Mustahil means)?

Answer: You should learn the following from my commentary on what Al Sanusi said (Arabic followed by translation bolded in brackets):

اعلم أن الحكم العقلي ينحصر في ثلاثة أقسام الوجوب والاستحالة والجواز

{Know that the judgments of the intellect are limited to 3 categories:
1)    what absolutely must be,
2)    what absolutely cannot be, and
3)    what may be.}

That is, if we propose something to exist in itself, or in relation to something else, then our minds will judge that this existence is absolutely necessary, absolutely impossible, or possible. For example, if someone said, “`Umar exists,” a listener would immediately consider this proposition as possible, without knowing more about this `Umar.

The judgment of the mind may be immediately obvious, or it may require some thinking. Note that these categories refer to purely intellectual judgments, regardless of any physical evidences or other information. These intellectual judgments are not the only sources of certitude of knowledge. There are two other ways.

First, we may gain certainty of knowledge through sound sensory organs by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching. For example, we become certain of our own existence and that of our families through our senses.

Second, we may gain certitude about a fact by hearing about something from other people in a way that precludes the possibility of a mistake. For example, we are certain about the historical occurrence of World War II and the existence of Hitler, because we have received consistent information from masses of people about these facts. The way we received this information eliminates the  possibility that they could all be mistaken, or have conspired to lie.

In short, the causes of knowledge for creations are three: sound senses, true information and the mind. What Al Sanusi is concerned with here, however, are the pure judgments of the mind, regardless of sensory input or information from others. This is because the pure judgments of the mind are essential to proving the Islamic creed regarding Allah to be correct. After all, Allah is not something one captures with one’s senses, as He is not something physical.

فالواجب ما لا يتصور في العقل عدمه

1)    {What absolutely must be is what the mind absolutely does not accept the non-existence of.} That is, to propose its non-existence would be irrational. It is thus labeled as necessarily existing, required to exist, impossible not to exist, or the like. In Arabic the expression for this is wajib.

That which must be does not need anything for its existence. This is because if it did, then it would depend on that other thing to exist. Thereby its existence would be a possibility, not a must. Allah’s existence, and His attributes, absolutely must be.

There is another type of must be, which is not absolute, but dependent on the existence of something else that is not a must. For example, when a body exists, we know it must be in a location. The body itself, however, is only possible in existence to begin with.

والمستحيل ما لا يتصور في العقل وجوده
2)    {What absolutely cannot be is what the mind does not accept the potential existence of under any circumstance.} That is, the proposition of its possible existence is absolutely irrational and logically incongruent. The impossible is expressed as “necessarily non-existing,” or “required not to exist,” “rationally impossible” or “impossible to exist.” In Arabic the expression for impossibleis muhaal or mustahil.

This does not meant that it is impossible to propose the idea of its existence. This is because the proposal only requires putting words together to form a descriptive sentence, such as: “the spherical ball is perfectly cubical.” It is just that when one analyzes the meaning behind the words, one ends up with an absurdity. For example, the expression: “The round circle is a perfect square” is a grammatically sound sentence. It does not, however, have a sound meaning. Its proposition is impossible, because it expresses a contradiction of terms.

Note that what absolutely cannot be does not refer to what is merely practically or normally impossible, such as rivers flowing up a mountain, replacing the Atlantic Ocean with orange juice, walking to the moon, or awaking the dead.

والجائز ما يصح في العقل وجوده وعدمه
3)    {What may be is that which the mind alone can accept the existence or non-existence of.} All created things fall into this category. Note that we are only speaking of the mind’s judgment, without reference to any other information or evidence. In Arabic the expression for this is jaa’iz (`aqliyy or dhaati).

The Arabic expression Imkan al-Kidhb means “possibility of lying”. Some ignorant non-Muslims (that claim to be Muslims) say that it is possible that Aļļaah could lie, i.e. that it belongs in category 3 above. To lie is to say something that is not true. This is a flaw, and it is impossible that Aļļaah should have flaws. This is the simple answer. There are longer answers on this website under “Refutations” if you feel you want more details.

Question: Also, one of my non-Muslim friends asked me this question: Is it possible for Allah (Subhan wa Ta`ala) to create a stone so large that he (Subhan wa Ta`ala) can not lift it? Could you answer that rationally and Islamically (according to the books of `aqeeda) ?
This is the typical Satanic question, where a kaafir asks “Can Allah <insert impossible proposition>?” The answer to this particular question is that Allah is not a body, so the idea of lifting in the sense that Christians would think of it does not befit Allah, because He is not a body, unlike what those idiots think. The question then is non-sensical, because Allah does not need a body to move something from a low place to a higher place. If the Christian means by lifting simply having something moved from one place to another, then the answer is that the inability to move something is a weakness, and since what is weak cannot be god, the question he asked is actually “Is it possible for Allah, who is not Aļļaah, to create a stone so large that he can not lift it?” This is because whatever is weak is not god, and whatever is not god is not Allah, so it is a meaningless question.

21 Responses to Q & A: Explaining the “Mustahil” or “Rationally Impossible”

  1. Irfan Qureshi says:

    Is it really necessary to refer to Christians as “those idiots”? Do you have any idea how rude and arrogant you sound or any idea what sort of disastrous impression this might give a non-Muslim seeking to learn something about Islam?

  2. The Sħaafiˆiyys made the fatwa that it is recommended to wipe on the khuff, the reason being that the Muˆtazilah denied the validity of such wiping. They feared that this deviant contention would take foothold and spread, thus judged that it is a sunnah to wipe, since it helps prevent spreading the idea that wiping the khuff is invalid or somewhat bad.

    All ages have their peculiar circumstances. Today a lot of people have reached the belief that christians and jews (as known today, not the true followers of Jesus and Moses) are not called blasphemers, or that their religions need to be respected. These are blasphemous assertions, clearly against the religion, because Islam teaches that these are religions that take one to eternal Hellfire. Accordingly, having any respect for them is blasphemy. ˆAliy Al-Qaariy in his explanation of Abu Ĥaniifah’s Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar narrates from the fatwa book Al-Kħulaaşah and says, “Who says ‘Christianity is better than Judaism,’ or says the opposite of that, has committed blasphemy. One should instead say, ‘Judaism is worse than Christianity,’ because there is no good in any of them, but one of them is worse than the other.” Ibn ˆAabidiin said in his Ĥaasħiyah about this fatwa, “The judgment of blasphemy is based on attributing good to Christianity.”

    Allah said (48,13):
    “وَمَنْ لَمْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَإِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ سَعِيرًا”
    which’s meaning might be translated as, “Whoever did not believe in Allah and His Messenger – Verily Allah has prepared for the blasphemers a fire.”

    It is stated in Al-Quran, Al-Bayyinah, 98:
    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أُولَئِكَ هُمْ شَرُّ الْبَرِيَّةِ
    This may be interpreted as: “Those who blaspheme, among the People of the Book and the Pagans, will be in the Hell-Fire and dwell there endlessly. They are the worst of creation.” Since we have established above that anyone that does not accept the prophethood of Muhammad is a blasphemer, we know that no non-Muslim deserves to be treated with respect.

    This does not mean that one cannot be nice to them, by giving gifts, or receiving them, or saying nice words to them. This is provided, however, that one does not cross the line and start showing them respect. Examples would be opening doors for them, letting them enter before you through a door, standing up to greet them and the like. Likewise one must watch one’s words so as not to cross the lines provided by Islam. One may for example ask Allah to guide them, but not to forgive them, because Allah does not forgive blasphemy.

    It was narrated that the Prophet Muhammad once said to a Jew, “May Allah make your face beautiful.” The wisdom in being permitted to be nice is that one hopes that this will let them like Islam, but again, one may not exaggerate in this to the extent of showing respect. A good criteria is to think, “If I was to be nice to a cat, would I do this?” If not, then you have probably reached the point of showing respect, and should avoid it.

    So why did I use the word “idiot” when I could have been nicer? The reason is what I indicated above, I do not want to contribute to the idea that one must be nice, or that one cannot be disrespectful to non-Muslims, especially when they show enmity towards Islam. The fact that you are blaming me for what I said stresses the importance of me doing this, and you have encouraged me to do it more. So in this regard, let me say something about the Pope also:

    Unreasonable cries the Pope,
    for those on his path there is no hope.

    He says that logic is the way to go,
    but then that God is both one and three
    so it simply does not show.

    Yet what to expect from him and his ilk,
    they are after all, like drag queens,
    all dressed in silk.

    His followers and admirers duped by lies in decoration,
    that he now makes a claim to reason
    is a mind numbing sensation.

    As an unholy father of lies he has little competition,
    only Lucifer and Pharaoh can reach his deprivation.

    Jesus is God he says, in slander so absurd.
    It makes you really wonder if in his head
    he hears the singing of a bird.

    Cuckoo-land or Vatican, it makes little difference to me.
    In reason they are both the same
    as you can so clearly see.
    What makes the latter worse though,
    is his endowment with accountability.

    He had the potential to be clever.
    His problem is he did not use it and for this
    there is shame and punishment forever.

    He claims that Adam made a sin
    and that all mankind carry it
    for they are of his kin.

    But even if for Adam that was the case,
    it certainly was not committed
    by the entire human race.

    Even God himself gets a papal utterance of this kind,
    another plain example of his utter lack of mind.

    For though he is right when saying there is a creator in his opinion,
    stating, “there must be someone controlling this dominion.”

    He also says that the humans are in God’s image,
    with limited features, such as place, direction
    and even relations that are carnage!

    If the dominion is the proof of the Creator’s existence,
    is it not exactly these features
    that gives this evidence its brilliance?

    Does he not see,
    that the conclusion to his claim can only be,
    there is a number of creators going back to eternity?

    His arrogance of power made its full expression
    when he said that God must only act
    after human mind permission.
    In his world of religion then,
    the word “god” has no clear definition.
    With such outrageous fumbling one wonders:
    how did he reach to such a position?

    As an example of claimed high stature,
    he makes one lose faith in most humans’ nature.

    A guiding light and inspiration his followers claim without tire.
    Little do they realize that for them there is only Fire.

    Disrespectful! Cries the hypocrite, “his opinion should be free.”
    But this is just another lie, as you shall shortly see.

    For as Hell is inevitable for those that follow his atrocity,
    silence to his raving is no less than a crime against humanity.

    “His holiness” they called the Pope in total humiliation,
    finally clarifying to whom they devote submission.

    This world, the Devil, fame, money or women;
    anything but manhood or Islam this is now a given.

    Where are the knights, true scholars – or just a person of integrity,
    or even someone who will not glorify a leader of kufr openly,
    not the least after cussing Islam and its Prophet blatantly.

    From the direction that they are going
    and the attitude that they are showing
    next expected is that priestly sodoming

    Do not tell me that “the great one of the Romans” is to this equivalent
    For as the Romans said “How dare he name you like this? He is impertinent!”

    The great Prophet of Islam put it the best, as narrations always show:
    whoever dissents from me will be put down so very low.

    To Allah is the efforts of the Hanafis when they said as should:
    He is a kaafir the one who says there is in Christianity some good.

    For the Quran plainly states that their works are invalid at best.
    This is because worship from them is by default dishonest.

  3. Attari says:

    Salam Aleikum Sheikh

    What about Muslims who respect non-Muslims only so that they don’t disrespect Islam, as, if we insult their religion, they will insult ours, and we will become responsible for a kafir hating/insulting Islam?

    What about people who respect them for dawah and to show them the niceness of Islam and Muslims?

    What do we say to people who say things like, “We respect the person, not the religion” or “we respect them as people, but not on religious matters” which is really a misplacement of words on their part as they don’t ponder over the definition of respect and its distinction from being nice as you have described it?

    What about people who say that since they are nice enough to wish us happy Ramadan, happy Hajj etc. we can wish them merry christmas or hanukkah, etc just to return a favor and even it out?

    What about those ‘scholars’ who patently allow and recommend participating in their celebrations of christmas and wishing them a merry christmas?

    What about people who adopt a simplistic view and say that they’re just wishing a happy birthday to Seyyidina Eisa alaihis salam (albeit on an unproven date), nothing more, or say that modern christmas has no meaning, its just a consumerist festival?

    I apologize humbly if my questions are too long. Insha Allah I wish to learn and benefit from the knowledge Allah gave you.

  4. Muhammad Rashid Subhani says:

    Dear Shaikh

    You said in your poem: “He is a kaafir the one who says there is in Christianity some good.”

    Does that means we cannot say that there is even a single good teaching contained in the Bible or else we will become Kaafir (having in heart that Bible is basically corrupted and Christianity is a corrupted faith)?

    So, are you saying that there is not even a single good teaching in bible? Like giving charity, being nice with people and etc.

    OR you mean to say that that person becomes Kaafir who has even a little soft corner for Christian-beliefs?

    I will be waiting for your reply!

  5. Assalaamu^alaykum,

    I did not say that you have to be tough, I said there is nothing wrong with it. This is the point. I also said that it is ĥaraam to respect a kaafir, but this is not the same as being disrespectful. You can be nice, if the situation calls for it, but not the point of showing respect, such as by standing up for them, opening doors for them, and such.

    In many cases you need to be nice, and especially when you are dealing with someone who seems genuinely interested in Islam.

    As for people who say things like, “We respect the person, not the religion,” this is a mistake. The religion only exists because people embrace it. Allah said (48,13):
    “وَمَنْ لَمْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَإِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ سَعِيرًا”
    Meaning: “Whoever did not believe in Allah and His Messenger – Verily Allah has prepared for the blasphemers a fire.” Clearly Aļļaah blames them for their religions.

    One wisdom in not being allowed to show respect, is that a Muslim is a representative of Allah’s religion. He must therefore work to ensure that Islam is held above all other religions, to prevent it from being looked at as equal to other belief systems. It is a general principle of the religion, and mentioned in a ĥadith by the Prophet that “Islam is uplifted, and is not put under.” Allah said in the Quran (4,141)
    “وَلَنْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلاً”
    Meaning: “Allah does not make a way for the blasphemers to get to the Muslims.”

    As for participating in the celebrations of other religions, this depends on the degree of participation. To do something only a kaafir would do is kufr. Moreover, to show acceptance for another religion than Islam is kufr. These are the rules the scholars go by in these cases. The great Sħaafiˆiy scholar Taqiy Al-Diin Al-Ĥuşniy in his book “Kifaayatu-l-Akħyaar”, said in the chapter on marriage, in the section on nusħuuz (a wife’s rebellion):

    “The most sinful Muslims are the evil jurisprudents and the corrupt ascetics. Those that frequent the unjust, in desire of their dirt despite knowing that they drink wine, commit various kinds of heinous sins, collect taxes, force people to do things according to their desire, shed blood, and suppress those that call them to what the books from Heaven and God’s Messengers were sent with. One must not be fooled by what those lowlifes among the jurisprudents and ascetics do. Instead one must follow what the Prophet Muhammad brought – may Allah raise his rank.

    Some of the jurisprudents in this time have studied the case of the one that deals in something that makes others believe that something actually forbidden by Allah is permitted, by keeping silent about it when it happens. His silence leads to this belief , because the Islamic Law is upheld by the jurisprudents speaking out and being models. They said, “Whoever throws a written copy of the Quran in the dirt has committed blasphemy, even if he claims to be a believer, because he has shown scorn towards Islam. Accordingly, is not the one that deals with something that leads to destroying the Islamic Law more deserving of being labeled a blasphemer?” They made this more deserving, because something like this may deceive many average Muslims, unlike throwing the Quran in the dirt – may Allah honor it. In addition, what causes the deterioration of Islam, and the annihilation of what is true and right, is among the clearest indicators of an evil conscience of the one behind the cause.” This is what Al-Ĥuşniy said about those who keep silent about wrong, never mind those who willfully try to pervert the religion.

    As for, “He is a kaafir the one who says there is in Christianity some good.” this is the reference to the Ĥanafiyy fatwaa I mentioned above. It applies if one thinks that the religion has some acceptability. You should read it in the light of the following line, which states, “For the Quran plainly states that their works are invalid at best.
    This is because worship from them is by default dishonest.” It does not mean that there is no rule in the Bible that is attractive.

  6. Ibn Yakub says:

    Assalamu Alaykum

    You mentioned :”Ibn ˆAabidiin said in his Ĥaasħiyah about this fatwa, “The judgment of blasphemy is based on attributing good to Christianity.”

    Didn’t ibn Abidin then oppose this view, by saying that the reliable view is that one does not become kafir?

  7. waˆalaykumussalaam,

    He does not oppose the view that attributing good to christianity as a religion is kufr,, he feels that simply saying “christianty is better than judaism” does not necessarily entail saying that christianity is good, like when someone says, “eye infection is better than blindness.” I.e. it may simply mean “not as bad as.” He says that the takfiir is based on the view that saying “better than” is like saying “good,” and that those who say it is not kufr based it on the fact that “better than” might simply mean “not as bad as.”

    But now we are getting into fiqh and linguistics….

  8. To clarify further, I am not encouraging people to be rude to non-Muslims. What I am saying is that in being nice one cannot do things that show respect, or taˆţħiim in Arabic, i.e. acts that show that this person is of high status. You can, however, smile to them, you can greet them, you can have a polite conversation with them, with the intention to perhaps be able to convince them that Islam is the correct religion.

    Someone asked me about my example of opening doors mentioned earlier, and said, “what if he is a cripple?” In this case you can open the door, because this is merely helping, and does not show respect. The problem comes when you open the door as in, “after you sir.”

    What started all of the above was a christian asked a question with the obvious purpose to mock, and I said that its premise is the belief of idiots. Consequently someone blamed me for using this word. My point is that using this word, especially in such a situation, is clearly justified.

    I deal with non-Muslims a lot, in fact, I was born a christian, and I do not recall ever calling a non-Muslim names to his face after my conversion to Islam. The reason being that it was not called for, and doing so would not lead to any good. I am not addressing non-Muslims here, however, and I feel it is important to stress the lowliness of other belief systems. This is not fashionable these days, I know, but one must not forget that these belief systems are nothing but keys to eternal Hellfire. There is nothing worse a person can do to himself than following the wrong religion. It is therefore crucial that one does not have any respect for these religions in one’s heart. Aļļaah only accepts Islam.

    One does not do anyone a favor by showing respect towards religions that lead to Hell. One must not be wishy washy about who is right and who is wrong. We must be clear in the message to non-Muslims that if they continue on this path they will go to Hell. Otherwise what will we have achieved? If we are not clear about the fact that they are harming themselves, what good have we done them?

    Put it this way, if I saw someone about to snort cocain, I might speak to him gently to convince him not to. However, if I was trying to convince others never to try, I might say that that the one who snorts it is a fool, because my purpose then is to keep them far away from it. Similarly, I will be nice to anyone asking relevant questions about Islam, or that is simply showing friendliness to me. If he shows the intent to mock my beliefs, or mock the Creator, however, I might do the same to him, depending on the situation, as was the case in the above post.

  9. Someone is wondering why their comment was not posted. The reason is that their e-mail was fake, which meant I couldn’t answer in private. Some things I answer privately, others publicly.

    Abu Adam

  10. yaser says:

    The cocaine analogy I think makes your point clear. And I think it’s also important for people to realize your translating ” ta’dhim ” as respect. Although this may not be perfect since what is implied in the word “respect” in English is not necessarily what is implied by “ta’dhim.”

    For those who have no clue what the word means or those who have a little grasp of Arabic, then realize this comes from the same root which the word ” ‘adhim ” comes from – ie Great/Magnficent/Awesome – ie how we often describe Allah. Ta’dhim is not simply being nice to a person or polite, or greeting them with a smile or helping them, but it implies a degree of raising them to a certain rank. Respect in most societies implies showing some sort of humility of one to another, but to some English audiences this may not be apparent and it may only mean – speaking softly.

    Sorry if I made any mistakes, I could be wrong and I hope this helps. wallahu a’lamu wa hasbiyahu wa ni’mal wakeel

  11. Yes, it is difficult to translate it exactly, but I repeatedly stated that there is nothing wrong with just being nice with a good intention. I also gave examples of what you cannot do, such as standing up to greet them, or opening doors in the “after you”sense.

  12. Sue Freed says:

    “Respect” in English does not mean what you are describing, but is simply a mode of polite exchange that can exist between individuals of any station.

    You are looking for the word “deference’.

  13. Whether we call it respect or deference, as long as I have made it clear what a kaafir should not be given in this regard….

  14. Abu Abbas al-Maliki says:

    Salam `alaykum dear Sidi Abu Adam al-Naruji:

    If I may explain the context, as I had asked the question. It was not a question that my non-Muslim friend asked but a question from a logic book that my friend had found. So, I apologize about that.

    Wassalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

    – Abi Abbas Ahmad ibn Yusuf

  15. Abu Abbas al-Maliki says:

    (i.e. my friend asked me a question he found from a logic book.)

  16. makc3d says:

    Hello there, I just happened to come across this post for some reason, and decided to answer this “unliftable stone” question from logical (not religious) point of view, as I was participating in its discussion some time ago.

    In the question, we have imaginary omnipotent entity referred to as “god”, which does not have to be actual muslim God. We might call it “Bob”, if you want; what matters for the question is that our imaginary Bob is omnipotent. Then we ask, can Bob create a stone that he will not be able to lift? As long as Bob is omnipotent, he obviously can create it. As soon as he does, however, he loses his omnipotence. There is no logical problem with the question this way.

    We can, however extend this question, by asking Bob to create such a stone AND remain omnipotent. In the language of logic, this is asking for A and B to be true at the same time, while we know that A makes B necessary false. This is clearly not possible, as far as logic is concerned.

    I hope it answers it for Abu Abbas al-Maliki’s friend, and sorry if it was not interesting for the rest of you.

    • Makc3d,

      There is no separation of logic and religion in this question or any other in Islam. I gave a logical AND religious answer.

      When you say that Bob was omnipotent and then became not omnipotent, then you are saying that his omnipotence is a possible attribute, not a necessary attribute, as it accepts non-existence. This means that Bob’s claimed omnipotence would have a beginning, because the possible in existence needs a “cause” to become existent, which means that it would need to be given to him by something else.

      This something else would have to be omnipotent without a beginning, or we would end up with another Bob in need of a cause (i.e. someone else to give him the omnipotence), and going down that path we would end up claiming an infinite past series of Bobs, which is impossible, because infinity cannot pass. Since this omnipotent being is necessarily omnipotent, as it is eternal and therefore not in need of preponderance to exist, it cannot end, because whatever ends is only intrinsically possible in existence (one moment it’s here, the next it’s not; so, it is not necessarily existing). This means again that Bob cannot become omnipotent, as you cannot have two omnipotent beings at the same time. After all, that would mean that they would have to agree to bring something into existence, as they are both of equal power, and this is a restricted power, not an absolute power, and would have meant that the necessary omnipotence prior to Bob’s, became restricted and would therefore be intrinsically possible, and not necessary in existence.

      Omnipotence cannot be a created attribute, because if we assumed that it had a beginning, then the one that gave it must have been either omnipotent before it, or not. If the one that supposedly gave it was omnipotent, then we have already shown that this means that it must be eternal and necessary in existence, and cannot be given away.

      On the other hand, if the one claimed to have given omnipotence was proposed to have power restricted to creating omnipotence, then this is refuted, because if it could create omnipotence, then anything less than that would definitely fall within its power. If not, then this would require someone to specify the restricted power of the proposed creator of omnipotence, which would mean he is not the true creator of omnipotence, and this way we are either ending up saying there is an infinite series of specified creators, or end up at a creator that is omnipotent, thus not in need of specification, and since his power would be necessary, he could not lose this power later, or part of it, or it would have to be intrinsically possible, and not necessary in existence.

      If someone argued, on the other hand, that omnipotence was restricted by a hindrance or prerequisite before Bob, then this contradicts the concept of omnipotence. Moreover, this proposed restriction to create anything but omnipotence would either be eternal or having a beginning.

      A) If it was proposed eternal, then it would be universal, because it would not be specified, which would make it impossible for anyone to create anything but omnipotence, which is absurd, because omnipotence is not omnipotence if nothing other than omnipotence can be created, such as entities. After all, omnipotence is about creating other than omnipotence. Thus the proposed restriction cannot be eternal.

      B) If it was proposed not eternal, then it would need a creator to specify it. This creator would either be proposed omnipotent or not. If he was omnipotent, then we have shown that this omnipotence cannot be given away to Bob. If he was not, then we are dealing with someone with created power, which needs a creator, and he would be either omnipotent or not. This brings us into the problem of needing an infinite past series of specified creators, and this idea is rejected, because one cannot conclude an infinite series of past creating, or claiming there is a creator who’s necessary omnipotence ceased, which we have shown to be impossible.

  17. makc says:

    thanks for elaborating your pov,

    “the possible in existence needs a cause to become existent” – this is interesting; if that’s the case, you have a point, but I don’t really see why so? if that somehow follows from religious side of argument, I am not in position to discuss it, however.

    any way, your argument is only saying that only God is truly omnipotent. for the sake of this question, again, we would only need to ensure that lifting anything and creating any kind of stones both fall into scope of Bob’s abilities (referred to as “omnipotence”); i.e. we do not need Bob to be able to do irrelevant stuff like creating life or new kind of elementary particles, or be truly omnipotent to its fullest extent. I agree that stating the question in terms of “God” and “omnipotence” is truly satanic, because it is asking for religious argument, where there is no need in it.

    • On Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 2:25 PM, makc wrote:
      “the possible in existence needs a cause to become existent” – this is interesting; if that’s the case, you have a point, but I don’t really see why so? if that somehow follows from religious side of argument, I am not in position to discuss it, however.

      Comment: If it is only possible in existence, this means that it might exist and might not, none of them is more likely than the other in the mind’s eye. For this reason we need the non-existence possibility to be outweighed by existence. This cannot be without a reason, because if this was proposed, then the possible would not be just possible. Read the article above. BTW all modern science is based on this principle, namely that the possible in existence needs a cause, even if all scientists are able to truly get at is correlation, not cause.

      Maybe an example would make it clearer. Look at your own existence. If you look carefully, you will find that you are a set of possibilities in terms of size, shape, colors, etc. I think you have no doubt that the way you are is one existent out of many non-existent possibilities. This needs an explanation, as I am sure you agree; there must be something existing prior to your being the way you are right now that explains your specification. As Muslims we believe it is the Creator that specified you, while physical/chemical events are in reality no more than correlations. Atheists, on the other hand, will attempt to explain it as a multitude of physical/chemical events that are actual causes. We believe that cannot be, because, among other things, it leads to saying that past causes are infinite in number, and infinity cannot finish. This has been discussed in the article Foundations of the Religion.

      makc wrote: any way, your argument is only saying that only God is truly omnipotent. for the sake of this question, again, we would only need to ensure that lifting anything and creating any kind of stones both fall into scope of Bob’s abilities (referred to as “omnipotence”); i.e. we do not need Bob to be able to do irrelevant stuff like creating life or new kind of elementary particles, or be truly omnipotent to its fullest extent

      Comment: The word omnipotence means to have unlimited power. If it didn’t then there would be no contradiction in proposing that someone makes a stone heavier than he can lift and no point to this whole issue in the first place.

  18. makc says:

    “This cannot be without a reason, because if this was proposed, then the possible would not be just possible. Read the article above.”

    unfortunately cultural differences prevent me from understanding your article. I do understand your derivations, but the very need in cause seems to be axiomatic with you.

    • If something has a beginning, there must be something that made it come into existence, because it did not make itself exist. After all, it was not existing to make itself exist.

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