Is the Lord Just a God of the Hills?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One of the arguments used by some atheists is: 

Can God, an omnipotent being, create a stone so large that he cannot lift it?

They argue that if he is omnipotent, then he will be able to do it.  However, if he does create such a stone, then his omnipotence fails when he is unable to lift it.  Clever, eh? 

Well, there is a problem with this argument.  It is logically absurd.  Omnipotence is not thrown into question when we say that God cannot make a crayon so red that it is blue.  By definition, this is absurd.  In the end, the atheist is asking if, in God’s omnipotence, he can make himself not omnipotent.  What looked clever becomes absurd because “omnipotence” actually has a meaning.

Syrian king Ben-hadad made some demands of Ahab, the king of Israel (1 Kings 20).  When Ahab denied Ben-hadad his demands, the countries went to war.  We read,

“And the servants of the king of Syria said to him, ‘Their gods are gods of the hills, and so they were stronger than we.  But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.” (1 Kings 20:23)

Syria lost.  Ben-hadad was captured.  But why?

“And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “Yahweh is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Yahweh.’ ” (1 Kings 20:28)

The Syrians said minimizing things about Yahweh.  They called into question his sovereignty.  He is sovereign in the hills, but he is not sovereign in the plains.  For such a statement, they lost.

For many Christians, they would say that the Syrians had it coming.  How dare they call into question the absoluteness of Yahweh’s power and authority!  However, there are many Christians who do this very same thing.  They speak of such things as the Sovereignty of God.  “Oh, yes God is in control of all things.”  However, ask if God is in control of a person’s salvation.  “Well, no!  God gives us free will.”  This brings us back to the atheist at the beginning of the post.  For this Christian, God has sovereignly chosen not to be sovereign over something – an individual’s salvation.  Salvation is the stone that God created that is so heavy that he can’t lift it. 

This post is not meant merely to illustrate the logical absurdity of these Christians.  I want it to serve as a warning of saying or believing belittling things about God.  Is Yahweh just a god of the hills?