It is often claimed by believers, and sometimes by nonbelievers as well, that we can't prove the nonexistence of God. While the inability to disprove a claim is true in some cases, disproof can be achieved by a logical method. For instance, if a claim is specific enough (supplying enough detail), we can examine those details, and we can determine that the claim is false if the description of it contradicts itself.
For example, if someone claimed he had discovered a "square circle", we could examine the claim through logic, without ever having to view the circle. Both circles and squares are well-defined in geometry. We know that it is a tenet of geometry that circles have no angles. Therefore it is clear that there can be no such thing as a square circle, because the description refutes itself.
The idea of the biblical God can be destroyed in a similar manner.
It is claimed that the God of the bible is omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (in all places at the same time), omniscient (He knows everything), and omnibenevolent (He only does things that are all good). As you shall soon see, not only are these concepts utterly impossible from a logical standpoint, but for the God of the Judeo-Christian bible, they are mutually exclusive with each other, and therefore no such being as the Christian God can possibly exist. Before I get to the logic behind these statements, first you should know that each of those concepts is refuted in the bible. That's right. The bible, our ONLY source of information about God, does not support these strange notions.
The bible says "With God, all things are possible." But there are instances in the bible where God cannot in fact do everything. In Judges 1:19 we read: "And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron." So, if you want to triumph over God, get yourselves some chariots of iron-- that's the way.
Can God destroy the Devil? Then why doesn't He? If God is the most compassionate of any entity, then why doesn't He release people from the hell that He created, the hell that He sent people to? Is it because He is unable to do so? Or unwilling? Or not completely merciful?
Epicurus posed the following problem in the Second Century BCE.
Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot.
Or he can, but does not want to.
Or he cannot, and does not want to.
If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent.
If he can, but does not want to, then he is wicked.
If he neither can, nor wants to, he is both powerless and wicked.
If He is all powerful, why is He unable to release humanity from the penalty of Original Sin? If you say that He is able to, but that He chooses not to, then how can you claim that He is all-good? Or the most compassionate? If He were all-powerful and all-good, He would have simply erased the Original Sin, and let people be judged on their own actions, not those of someone they never knew. He would have simply eliminated Adam and Eve, and started again (and this time, take the Tree out of the Garden), thus releasing all the other people who would ever live from the sin supposedly committed by the first man and woman.
Why did God need to "rest" on the 7th day? Did He grow fatigued? Did He have a body that got tired? What did He do on the 8th day? How was it different than what He did on the 7th day? Why would someone who is "all-powerful" need to "rest"? He wouldn't. Some suggest that he simply "ceased" what he was doing. But the bible does not say "And on the 7th day the Lord ceased" or "was finished". It says he "rested". Does it mean that he abstained from all activity? Could that even be possible for God, without whose constant attention the world would cease?
Christians claim that there God is everywhere, all places, at the same time. He fills the universe with his presence. But there are biblical passages which refute this bizarre notion. Let us first consider Deuteronomy 23:12-14.
"Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:
And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:
For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee."
Christians should be embarrassed that this absurd passage is in their holy book. It is one of the most absurd things I have ever had the misfortune to read. It is apparent that God is too easily offended by a natural process which he knows all humans are subject to, even Jesus Christ. He himself designed the process, as claimed by his believers. Yet the Almighty seems awful squeamish-- perhaps he is afraid he might step in something.
A walking god? But He was omnipresent, everywhere anyway, even in the "place abroad" where they "eased themselves". Why must God have to walk anywhere? It claims that He walked in the camp to a) "deliver thee" and b) "to give up thine enemies before thee". Was He unable to do these things from any other place? Was He unable to do them from His Kingdom of Heaven? Walking somewhere explicitly implies a localized physical presence. It implies feet. It implies physical locomotion. In implies being in one place, and not in any other, and therefore going from where you are to where you are not. This problem is unavoidable, and it contradicts the idea of an omnipresent god.
God, in the form of Jesus, said to "love thine enemies". But here, in the form of God the Father, he is going to "give up thine enemies before thee." Why this change in an unchanging God?
Now let us look at Exodus 33:20-23
"And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen."
This biblical passage is as absurd as the last one. This one implies body parts for God... a physical presence. A front part and a back part. Some parts of him could be seen safely, others could not. His rump was safe to look at, but his face was not. Personally, I'd rather see his face. These verses not only deny His omnipresence, they impose physical limitations on him and his attributes. God should not have to walk anywhere-- He should not have to go from one place to another if He is in all places at once. This shows that the ancient Hebrews thought that their god looked exactly like them, with a male face, body, and hands.
If you could not see His face and live, then it was by His choice, for He is "omnipotent" and with Him "all things are possible." Therefore, if you see His face and expire, it is because he wanted it to be so, and therefore it is hardly appropriate to call Him omnibenevolent, or "all-good".
In addition, this verse is contradicted by other bible passages. Some men did see his face and live...
- Genesis 32:30 "For I have seen God face to face."
- Exodus 33:11 "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend."
- Isaiah 6:1 "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple."
- Job 42:5 "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee."
Has anyone seen Him and lived? Or not? It says both. Both statements can't be true.
There is another passage in the Old Testament in which the Lord has to "come down" to a city in order to see it. Why should he have to do this? The mere inclusion of passages like these belittle the god of the Israelites.
Now let's examine Genesis 3:8-10.
"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Here again we have a "Walking God", going from one place where He is to another place where he is not. Here we see Him not being able to find Adam and Eve who were able to hide from Him. He could not have been in all places at once, if this verse be true. Some Christians use the excuse that God was playing some "hide and seek" game with Adam, even claiming that this passage shows God's "sense of humor". God's sense of humor! Tell that to the 42 children he slaughtered for making fun of one of His prophets. The idea that God was playing some kind of "hide and seek" is rather pathetic, especially considering the magnitude of the judgment God was about to pass upon Humanity; such an explanation is inconsistent with His character. Adam and Eve heard His voice and THEN hid themselves... was God talking to himself while he walked in the garden? Or was He talking to some of those "other gods" that the bible eludes to?
If God is omnipresent, he would not have to walk anywhere. The same for if he is omnipotent. If he was omniscient he would not have had to ask their whereabouts.
If God was omnipresent (and omnibenevolent), why then did He not appear in ALL nations equally at once? Why did He only appear to the Jews? Why was He their tribal god?
There are real problems with this idea. If God is omniscient, he should NEVER change his mind. Think about that carefully. How could someone who knows the future change his mind? Changing his mind means that he did not know what he was going to do or what was going to happen, and shows his uncertainty. But the bible is full of instances where God changes his mind. For example, first is Exodus 32:14. After the incident when God's Chosen People worshipped the Golden Calf, God decided that He would destroy them all, and raise up some other nation, but Moses begged and pleaded on their behalf, "and the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people." Now consider this for a moment. God knows all things, past and present, including His own future decisions. Therefore, did He really intend to destroy the Israelites? Or did He just bear false witness?
There is also Jonah 3:10 ". . . and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not." If He "did it not", then He knew from the beginning that He would not do it, and if He told someone that He was going to do it, then He was lying.
Of course, the most spectacular instance of God flip-flopping on an issue is when He changed His mind about Humanity, and killed everyone on the planet with a Great Flood. Genesis 6:6,7-- "And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth . . . And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth . . . for it repenteth me that I have made him." But when He created humans, He saw that it was good. If he saw that it was good, then he must have forgotten, or not known about, the evil nature of man.
Didn't He know 'the beginning from the end', as we are led to believe? Didn't He know when he made them that Humanity would become so utterly evil that all men, women and children, millions of them, would have to be drowned? Of course. How then, could He regret that He had made them, if He knew perfectly well from the beginning that He would have to destroy them? That is illogical. Someone who knows the future cannot regret something he did. If he regrets something, that means he did not know the future in the first place.
One may argue that He knew that He would change His mind, and that He knew He would regret these things, but then you have to admit that He did not truly change his mind, and His regret was not real regret-- in other words the bible becomes deceitful and you cannot trust what it says.
Was God being less than truthful? He can't have been, for Proverbs 30:5 tell us that "Every word of God proves true." Also, Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord."
Wait a minute... if lying is something that God CANNOT do, is He still "all-powerful"?
Hold on... he "hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee." 1 Kings, 22:23. And "for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." 2 Thess. 2:11
Well then, He does lie after all... that sounds like the bible is contradicting itself yet again. Does He, or doesn't He? Why does the bible say both?
In fact, the bible tells us explicitly that God CANNOT lie or change his mind, in direct contradiction to to those verses above which say that He does:
Malachi 3:6 "For I am the Lord; I change not."
Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent."
Ezekiel 24:14 "I the Lord have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent."
James 1:17 " . . . the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
The bible also says that God knows all things from the beginning unto the end... if this is the case, then there can NOT be a situation where God changes his mind. For if God changed his mind, that can ONLY mean that he did not know the future-- that some event or circumstance altered his knowledge and caused him to change his plan... but this would be impossible. If God is omniscient (knows all things), then he cannot change his mind, for there could be no unknown circumstance or event. Plus, the bible clearly tells us in absolute terms that God DOES NOT change his mind, or repent.
Now this raises even more problems for the idea of a god. This situation implies that God is not "all powerful", or omnipotent. If he was all powerful, then nothing-- nothing at all-- would be impossible for him, including changing his own mind. But clearly, He cannot change his mind if He knows the future. Thus He is robbed of his omnipotence by his own omniscience. In other words, the terms "all-knowing" and "all-powerful" are contradictory terms. They both can't be true at the same time.
Here is another example: Is God powerful enough to create something that He Himself cannot understand? If yes, then he is not all-knowing. If no, then he is not all-powerful. God, as described as both all-knowing and all-powerful, is a contradictory entity and cannot exist.
Another problem for the god idea is that the bible is FULL of accounts of God changing his mind, in direct contradiction to the verses listed above that say he doesn't.
Exodus 32:14 "And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people."
Jonah 3:10 ". . . and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."
Jeremiah 15:6 "Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary of repenting."
Does God change his mind or not? Does He "regret"? If He does, why does the bible say He doesn't? If He doesn't, why does He admit that He does?
There are several places in the bible where it is clear that God does not know what is going on. After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they realized they were naked and hid themselves in the Garden. God could not find them, and had to wander around calling for them!
Omnibenevolent means that God only does things that are good. Period. Is everything in this world good? He Himself will let you know that He is not omnibenevolent. Isaiah 45:7 "I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things." Jeremiah 18:11 "Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you." I Kings 22:23 "The Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee." Why would He do these things if He only does that which is good? The bible is filled with examples of god doing evil deeds.
If God is omniscient, He knows that in a week a tornado is going to rip through Kansas and kill a hundred people, wipe out twenty-thousand homes, and destroy three churches. He is omnipotent, and is therefore able to prevent it. If He was omnibenevolent, He would. Why doesn't He? Many Christians will claim that the destruction, death and misery is God's Will. Is then His Will omnibenevolent? Apparently not. They say that it must work out to some good end that we cannot understand... it works into his Divine Plan. And yet, these same Christians are the first ones to pray to God for him NOT TO INSTITUTE His Divine Plan! They are the ones to pray that the tornado ceases, or turns a mile to the west, or skips over their house. They should not presume to know better than their god, and to try to alter His plan. And then if their house was not destroyed, they get down on their knees amid all the destruction and death and thank their god. What an obscene gesture. They say their prayers were answered. But what of their neighbor, whose house was destroyed, who was just as devout a Christian, who prayed and wailed just as loudly? Well, that's God's Will again. If you believe Ezekiel 24:14 "I the Lord have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent", then you must accept that your house was saved and your neighbor's house was destroyed all in accordance with an unchanging plan. Therefore, why waste your breath praying? If it is going to happen according to the plan, you can't change anything by praying.
Some say that we cannot understand His Will, and therefore some things appear bad that are good, simply because it is a mystery to us. Well to quote Thomas Paine: "But though every created thing is, in [a] sense, a mystery, the word mystery cannot be applied to moral truth, any more than obscurity can be applied to light... Mystery is the antagonist of truth. It is a fog of human invention that obscures truth and represents it in distortion. Truth never envelops itself in mystery; and the mystery in which it is enveloped is the work of its antagonist, and never of itself. Religion, therefore, being the belief of a God, and the practice of moral truth, cannot have connection with mystery."
The kind of destruction brought about by a tornado is not what falls into my definition of "all good." If God is all-good, then perhaps he is not all-powerful, and could not prevent the tornado. If he is all-powerful and all-good, maybe he is not omniscient, and he just didn't know the tornado was coming. But if he is omnipresent, in all places at once, he must have known it was coming. Or maybe the simplest answer is correct, that he just doesn't exist and was made up by humans to ease their fears and provide explanations of those things of which they are ignorant.
Consider the Titanic, as illustrated in the recent popular movie. If God did not in fact put the iceberg in the ship's path, he at least knew about it. He had the power to move it, or melt it. But he chose not to. It was all part of God's plan, presumably. All those dead men, women and children were part of God's great scheme. Men left without wives, women left without husbands, children left without parents, and fifteen hundred people dying a painful, terrifying, sorrowful and completely unnecessary death. I guess it was just their time. God "called them home". All 1500 of them-- 1500 people who just happened to all be scheduled for the Pearly Gates on April 15th, 1914... 1500 people condemned to death that just happened to all be on the same ship at the same time. What a fortunate coincidence-- for God. He must have said to himself: “I can kill 1500 birds with one stone! Hey, its my lucky day!” Why kill them peacefully and painlessly in their sleep in their old age when you can kill them in a torrent of pain and misery, making a spectacular show of your power by sinking the unsinkable ship! That will teach them!
There are logical reasons why omnipotence is impossible. The old joke spoken by atheist comedian George Carlin: “Could God make a rock so big that He Himself could not move it?” is a real illustration of how omnipotence is impossible. Can God make something so complex that he himself cannot understand it? Can God make something greater than himself? If he can't, he is not all-powerful. Can omnipotence exist with omniscience? No. If God cannot change his mind, then he is not all powerful. If he does change his mind, then he did not know the future. Saying that there is an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent and omnipresent god is like saying there are such things as square circles-- such a thing cannot and does not exist: it is a contradiction.
The conclusion from looking at the bible objectively, not assuming the truth of it, is that the God which it describes does not know everything, there are things He cannot do, and that He is not all good all the time, and He is not in all places at the same time. It shows that the Christian God is a contradictory entity, and cannot exist. But the bible, after all, is just a book. It is words on paper, written out by human hands and printed on ordinary printing presses. The books it contains, the books declared to be "inspired", were included by vote. There is no external evidence that it is anything other than just an ordinary book. Most Christians say that they know god is real because the bible says so. They also say that the bible is true because it is the word of god. Most of them are unaware that that is a circular argument, and irrational.
Some people insist that I take verses out of context and twist them to my meaning. The only people I have ever encountered who twist scripture around are those who seek to defend it. It is I who use scripture word for word, omitting or changing nothing, giving the complete context, and it is the biblical defender who tries to change the verse into something it does not say, to lessen the horror and absurdity of it.
This is solid logical evidence that shows absolutely that such a being proposed as the Judeo-Christian God (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and omnibenevolent) is utterly impossible. Okay, let's see some believer start twisting those verses, and show us why they mean something other than what they really say...
The Freewill Argument for the Nonexistence of God
by Dan Barker