The first puzzle he presents about omniscience purportedly shows that the divine attribute of omniscience is incoherent. The second puzzle about omnibenevolence and omnipotence shows that these two divine attributes are logically incompatible. The third puzzle about perfect rationality and omnipotence shows that these two divine attributes are logically incompatible. See what you think:
Before we jump into the puzzles, I wonder if Mizrahi understands what the Bible says about omnibenevolence, omnipotence, and omniscience.
Could an omniscient being know what it is like to be finite?
1. Either God can know what it is like to be finite or God cannot know what it is like to be finite.Good start and I don' t see anything wrong at this point.
2. If God can know what it is like to be finite, then God is not omniscient (since to know what it is like to be finite, God must be finite).Off the rails here. Who says that knowing what it means to be finite means that you are finite? Finiteness is part of being a human being. We all agree that no human being is omniscient so how do we know what an omniscient being does know and does not know. Mizrahi is sloppy here IT seems that he is conflating two types of knowledge: know of something versus experiencing something. God knows everything - that is what being "omniscient" means. If you wanna be picky and say that God does not know what it is like to be finite because God does not experience finiteness but this is fallacious. God did experience finiteness - it's called the incarnation - God became man without loosing his divinity. Surely an omnipotent God can do that.
3. If God cannot know what it is like to be finite, then God is not omniscient (since there is something that God cannot know, namely, what it is like to be finite).Nope. Again Mizrahi does not explain what he means by "knowledge" - what kind of knowledge? He also has not proven that God cannot know what it is like to finite.
4.(Therefore) Either way, God is not omniscient.Not even close.
Could a being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent choose the lesser of two evils?
1. Either God can choose the lesser of two evils or God cannot choose the lesser of two evils.This one is flawed from the first premise and devolves from there. God does not make decisions based on "the lesser of two evils". That is how human being do things and not the way God does because God is sovereign over everything and is not restricted by options presented to God God determines God's options. For example look at the story of Joseph in Genesis. How did God get Joseph into position as the second most power man in the world at that time? Joseph was betrayed and sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison! Could God have done things differently? Sure but Joseph recognized that God was behind everything that happened to him and summed it up when he told his brothers:
2.If God can choose the lesser of two evils, then God is not omnibenevolent (since God can choose evil).
3. If God cannot choose the lesser of two evils, then God is not omnipotent (since there is a possible state of affairs that God cannot bring about).
4.(Therefore) Either God is not omnibenevolent or God is not omnipotent.
15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. - Genesis 50:15-21
Could a being that is both omnipotent and perfectly rational form a belief on the basis of
1. Either God can form a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning or God cannot form a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning.LINK.
2. If God can form a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning, then God is not perfectly
rational (since God can reason fallaciously).
3. If God cannot form a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning, then God is not omnipotent (since there is a possible state of affairs that God cannot bring about).
4. (Therefore) Either God is not perfectly rational or God is not omnipotent.
Now this is truly funny. God is not rational because God cannot believe something that is not true and cannot reason wrongly? So God is not rational or omnipotent because God does not share our limitations. Now that is an example forming a belief on the basis of fallacious reasoning. I would not serve a God that would do anything on the basis of fallacious reasoning. That means that God would be fallible and not omnipotent or omniscient. The God of the Bible does not move on belief. Why would he? He knows everything. There is nothing He does not know. That means that this reasoning is completely silly
My problems with this whole line of reasoning is that 1) we need to first ask what kind of evidence there is for such a being out of the many others that supposedly exist, 2) why such a being isn't to be found in the Bible since that's the raison d'etre of their faith, and 3) theists will simply gerrymander around these puzzles by changing what they believe about the divine attributes (which, if that happens is at least something).
Loftus should have more problems than these. He seems to have missed the fact that Mizrahi is granting that God exists for the sake of argument and then tries to argue against a god that's not present in Judaism or Christianity. Well, I have to give Loftus some credit: the god Mizrah is discussing is not in the Bible.
Debunking Christianity: New Puzzles About the Divine Attributes by Moti Mizrahi