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Summary Omnipotence is the property of being  all-powerful, and is one of the traditional divine attributes. Philosophical discussion has centered on the project of giving an analysis of omnipotence which is both self-consistent and consistent with the other traditional divine attributes, such as necessary moral perfection. The most discussed objection to omnipotence is the Stone Paradox, also known as the Paradox of Omnipotence: could an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy the being couldn't lift it?
Key works The contemporary debate on the coherence of omnipotence was launched by the brief discussion in Mackie 1955. For a more detailed rendition of the Stone Paradox, see Cowan 1965. Further difficulties for definitions of omnipotence are raised by La Croix 1977. Leading theories of omnipotence include Hoffman and Rosenkrantz 1980, Flint and Freddoso 1983, Wierenga 1983 and Wielenberg 2000.
Introductions Handbook and encyclopedia articles include Hoffman and Rosenkrantz 1997, 2008, Leftow 2009, and Pearce 2011.
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  1. Marilyn McCord Adams (1988). Problems of Evil. Faith and Philosophy 5 (2):121-143.
    The argument that(1) God exists, and is omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly goodand(2) Evil existsare logically incompatible, can be construed aporetically (as generating a puzzle and posing the constructive challenge of finding a solution that displays their compatibility) or atheologically (as a positive proof of the non-existence of God). I note that analytic philosophers of religion over the last thirty years or so have focused on the atheological deployment of the argument from evil, and have met its onslaughts from the posture (...)
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  2. Sarah Adams (forthcoming). A New Paradox of Omnipotence. Philosophia:1-27.
    In this paper, I argue that the supposition of divine omnipotence entails a contradiction: omnipotence both must and must not be intrinsic to God. Hence, traditional theism must be rejected. To begin, I separate out some theoretical distinctions needed to inform the discussion. I then advance two different arguments for the conclusion that omnipotence must be intrinsic to God; these utilise the notions of essence and aseity. Next, I argue that some necessary conditions on being omnipotent are extrinsic, and that (...)
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  3. Lilli Alanen (1988). Descartes, Omnipotence, and Kinds of Modality. In Peter H. Hare (ed.), Doing Philosophy Historically. Prometheus Books. 182--200.
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  4. Torin Alter (2002). On Two Alleged Conflicts Between Divine Attributes. Faith and Philosophy 19 (1):47-57.
    Some argue that God’s omnipotence and moral perfection prevent God from being afraid and having evil desires and thus from understanding such states—which contradicts God’s omniscience. But, I argue, God could acquire such understanding indirectly, either by (i) perceiving the mental states of imperfect creatures, (ii) imaginatively combining the components of mental states with which God could be acquainted, or (iii) having false memory traces of such states. (i)–(iii) are consistent with the principal divine attributes.
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  5. Carlo Altini (2013). “Kingdom of God” and Potentia Dei. An Interpretation of Divine Omnipotence in Hobbes's Thought. Hobbes Studies 26 (1):65-84.
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  6. Carlo Altini (2009). "Potentia Dei" and Divine Foreknowledge in Hobbes' Theology. Rivista di Filosofia 2 (2):209-236.
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  7. Majid Amini (2009). Omnipotence and the Vicious Circle Principle. Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 14 (2).
    The classical paradox of the stone, namely, whether an omnipotent being can create a stone that the being itself cannot lift is traditionally circumvented by a response propounded by Thomas Aquinas, that even omnipotent beings cannot accomplish the logically impossible. However, in their paper 'The New Paradox of the Stone', Alfred R. Mele and M.P. Smith attempt to reinstate the paradox without falling foul of the Thomistic logical constraint. According to Mele and Smith, instead of interpreting the paradox as posing (...)
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  8. C. Anthony Anderson (1984). Divine Omnipotence and Impossible Tasks: An Intensional Analysis. [REVIEW] International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 15 (3):109 - 124.
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  9. Thomas Aquinas (2003). On Evil. Oup Usa.
    The De Malo represents some of Aquinas' most mature thinking on goodness, badness, and human agency. In it he examines the full range of questions associated with evil: its origin, its nature, its relation to good, and its compatability with the existence of an omnipotent, benevolent God. This edition offers Richard Regan's new, clear readable English translation, based on the Leonine Commission's authoritative edition of the Latin text. Brian Davies has provided an extensive introduction and notes.
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  10. Thomas Aquinas (2000). Why Think of God as Omnipotent? In Brian Davies (ed.), Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology. Oup Oxford.
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  11. Kathleen Ashley (1978). Divine Power in Chester Cycle and Late Medieval Thought. Journal of the History of Ideas 39 (3):387.
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  12. Hans-Christoph Askani (2010). L'impuissance de Dieu - Une Solution Théologique ? Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 200 (3):339 - 356.
    Pendant presque deux millénaires, la toute-puissance a été un attribut inséparable de Dieu et de la foi en Dieu. Depuis un certain temps, et en particulier au XXe siècle, cette toute-puissance est contestée aussi bien depuis l'extérieur que depuis l'intérieur de la théologie. À l'intérieur de la théologie, on lui substitue volontiers une impuissance que Dieu assumerait délibérément. La question est de savoir si l'affirmation et la négation de cet attribut ne relèvent pas du même type de discours ; d'un (...)
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  13. Gwenaëlle Aubry (2010). L'impuissance de dieu (présentation). Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 200 (3):307 - 320.
    Les études ici réunies visent à explorer la résurgence, dans la philosophie et la théologie contemporaines, du motif de l'impuissance de Dieu. La question n'est plus seulement celle, comme dans la pensée médiévale, de la limitation de la toute-puissance divine, mais bien de son complet abandon. Elle est étroitement liée à l'interrogation sur ce que peut être une théologie d'après la Shoah, et elle préside aussi, chez des penseurs comme Hans Jonas, Gianni Vattimo, ou Giorgio Agamben, au redéploiement des problèmes (...)
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  14. James Baillie & Jason Hagen (2008). There Cannot Be Two Omnipotent Beings. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 64 (1):21 - 33.
    We argue that there is no metaphysically possible world with two or more omnipotent beings, due to the potential for conflicts of will between them. We reject the objection that omnipotent beings could exist in the same world when their wills could not conflict. We then turn to Alfred Mele and M.P. Smith’s argument that two coexisting beings could remain omnipotent even if, on some occasions, their wills cancel each other out so that neither can bring about what they intend. (...)
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  15. J. E. Barnhart (1971). Omnipotence and Moral Goodness. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1):107.
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  16. David Basinger (1988). Divine Power in Process Theism: A Philosophical Critique. State University of New York Press.
    Process theology likes to compare itself favorably to what it calls classical theism. This book takes that comparison seriously and examines process theology's claim to do better than classical theism.
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  17. David Basinger (1987). Evil and a Finite God. Philosophy Research Archives 13:285-287.
    P.J. McGrath has recently challenged the standard claim that to escape the problem of evil one need only alter one’s conception of God by limiting his power or his goodness. If we assume that God is infinitely good but not omnipotent, then God can scarcely be a proper object of worship. And if we assume that if God is omnipotent but limited in goodness, he becomes a moral monster. Either way evil remains a problem for theistic belief. I argue that (...)
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  18. David Basinger (1984). Griffin and Pike on Divine Power. Philosophy Research Archives 10:347-352.
    David Griffin and Nelson Pike recently had a spirited discussion on divine power. The essence of the discussion centered around what was labelled Premise X: “It is possible for one actual being's condition to be completely determined by a being or beings other than itself.” Pike maintains that ‘traditional’ theists have affirmed Premise X but denies that this entails that God has all the power there is and thus denies that Premise X can be considered incoherent for this reason. Griffin (...)
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  19. David Basinger & Randall Basinger (1981). Divine Omnipotence. Process Studies 11 (1):11-24.
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  20. David Basinger & Randall Basinger (1981). Divine Omnipotence: Plantinga Vs. Griffin. Process Studies 11 (1):11-24.
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  21. Cristina Beckert (2001). Teologia depois da Shoah: A Crítica de Hans Jonas à Teodiceia. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 57 (4):733 - 744.
    O presente artigo pretende mostrar até que ponto a teologia judaica – aqui protagonizada por Hans Jonas–é obrigada a rever os atributos divinos depois da Shoah, evento onde o mal eclode em toda a sua positividade e excessividade. Através de uma narrativa mítica, de uma argumentação racional por um lado, e teológico-religiosa, por outro, Jonas conclui com uma afirmação da impossibilidade de conciliar a omnipotência divina com o mal, optando antes pela imagem de um Deus impotente, entregue ao devir mundano (...)
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  22. James R. Beebe, Logical Problem of Evil. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The existence of evil and suffering in our world seems to pose a serious challenge to belief in the existence of a perfect God. If God were all-knowing, it seems that God would know about all of the horrible things that happen in our world. If God were all-powerful, God would be able to do something about all of the evil and suffering. Furthermore, if God were morally perfect, then surely God would want to do something about it. And yet (...)
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  23. Peter A. Bertocci (1986). Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes. Idealistic Studies 16 (3):266-267.
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  24. John Bishop & Ken Perszyk (2011). The Normatively Relativised Logical Argument From Evil. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (2):109-126.
    It is widely agreed that the ‘Logical’ Argument from Evil (LAFE) is bankrupt. We aim to rehabilitate the LAFE, in the form of what we call the Normatively Relativised Logical Argument from Evil (NRLAFE). There are many different versions of a NRLAFE. We aim to show that one version, what we call the ‘right relationship’ NRLAFE, poses a significant threat to personal-omniGod-theism—understood as requiring the belief that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good person who has created our world—because it (...)
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  25. Olivier Boulnois (2012). From Divine Omnipotence to Operative Power. Divus Thomas 115 (2):83-97.
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  26. Noel E. Boulting (2005). Conceptions of Power and God. Process Studies 34 (1):10-32.
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  27. Kenneth Boyce (2011). Non-Moral Evil and the Free Will Defense. Faith and Philosophy 28 (4):371-384.
    Paradigmatic examples of logical arguments from evil are attempts to establish that the following claims are inconsistent with one another: (1) God is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good. (2) There is evil in the world. Alvin Plantinga’s free will defense resists such arguments by providing a positive case that (1) and (2) are consistent. A weakness in Plantinga’s free will defense, however, is that it does not show that theism is consistent with the proposition that there are non-moral evils in (...)
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  28. Bruce L. Boyer (1986). Schleiermacher on the Divine Causality: BRUCE L. BOYER. Religious Studies 22 (1):113-123.
    In chapter 6 of God and Timelessness , Nelson Pike cites Schleiermacher as saying that ‘eternity is an “inactive attribute”’.1 An inactive attribute is an attribute that God has by virtue of being what he is, as opposed to an attribute which he has by virtue of what he does. Omnipotence is an active attribute, as Pike says, because, ‘To think of God as omnipotent is to think of Him as vital and effective’ . Roughly, then, an inactive attribute is (...)
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  29. Raymond D. Bradley, The Free Will Defense Refuted and God's Existence Disproved. Internet Infidels Modern Library.
    1. The Down Under Logical Disproof of the Theist's God 1.1 Plantinga's Attempted Refutation of the Logical Disproof 1.2 Plantinga Refuted and God Disproved: A Preview 2. Plantinga's Formal Presentation of his Free Will Defense 3. First Formal Flaw: A Non Sequitur Regarding the Consistency of (3) with (1) 4. Further Flaws Regarding the Joint Conditions of Consistency and Entailment 4.1 A Non Sequitur Regarding the Entailment Condition 4.2 Telling the Full Story in Order to Satisfy the Entailment Condition 4.3 (...)
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  30. Alan Brinton (1985). Omnipotence, Timelessness, and the Restoration of Virgins. Dialogos 20 (45):149-156.
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  31. E. Brito (1988). Divine-Power-Aquinas and Hegel. Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 80 (4):549-579.
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  32. Rita Nakashima Brock (1993). God's Power. Process Studies 22 (1):58-60.
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  33. Stephen L. Brock, The Ratio Omnipotentiae in Aquinas.
    The reply, quoted above, is remarkable on several accounts: the scope that it assigns to the first article of the faith3; its sweeping pronouncement on the limits never surpassed by “the philosophers” in the knowledge of God4; and its implicit classification of three specific divine attributes as objects of faith. It is this last point which bears especially on the matter of the present study, the notion of omnipotence.
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  34. Campbell Brown & Yujin Nagasawa (2005). Anything You Can Do, God Can Do Better. American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3):221 - 227.
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  35. Eugenio Bulygin (1978). Omnipotence, omnisciencia y libertad. Critica 10 (28):33 - 55.
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  36. David Burrell (1990). Divine Practical Knowing: How an Eternal God Acts in Time. In B. Hebblethwaite & E. Henderson (eds.), Divine Action. T Clark. 93--102.
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  37. Peter Byrne (1995). Omnipotence, Feminism and God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 37 (3):145 - 165.
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  38. James Cargile (1967). On Omnipotence. Noûs 1 (2):201-205.
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  39. Robert Carr-Wiggin (1984). God's Omnipotence and Immutability. The Thomist 48 (1):44.
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  40. William E. Carroll (2008). Divine Agency, Contemporary Physics, and the Autonomy of Nature. Heythrop Journal 49 (4):582-602.
  41. W. R. Carter (1982). Omnipotence and Sin. Analysis 42 (2):102 - 105.
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  42. Alice Chapman (2004). Disentangling Potestas in the Works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 60 (3):587 - 600.
    Focus of this article is Bernard's definitions and ideas surrounding power (potestas). The first section will outline terminology drawing a distinction between Bernard's use of the terms potestas and auctoritas. Auctoritas is used less frequently by Bernard and is limited to descriptions of ecclesiastical matters; it is not predicated to the functions of a secular ruler whether king or emperor. Conversely, potestas has a wide variety of uses and applications including descriptions of the power of God, the secular power and (...)
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  43. Kelly James Clark (1995). I Believe in God the Father, Almighty. International Philosophical Quarterly 35 (1):59-69.
    The theist affirms God's paternal care and his unsurpassable ability. If God is Father, he is obliged to prevent harms in a manner similar to earthly fathers; but he has not. This essay refutes the claim that God has obligations closely analogous to those of earthly parents. The essay is a conceptual analysis of what the father/ child relationship entails with respect to moral obligations and permissions. The dissimilarities between the divine and human parent create differences in obligation so great (...)
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  44. Paul Clavier (2011). Hans Jonas' Feeble Theodicy: How on Earth Could God Retire? European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (2):305 - 322.
    In this paper, we criticize Hans Jonas’s analogy between God’s power and the operation of physical forces. We wonder why, if omnipotence had proved to be "a self-contradictory concept", does Jonas still need to invoke the occurrence of horrendous evils to support the view that "God is not all powerful". We suggest that "God’s retreating into himself in order to give room to the world, renouncing his being and divesting himself of his deity" are beautiful but inconsistent metaphors of creation. (...)
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  45. George W. Coats (1975). The God of Death Power and Obedience in the Primeval History. Interpretation 29 (3):227-239.
    To have dominion over the world is heady power, and the temptation to extend that world power into divine power can be unbearable. What happens then?
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  46. Catherine Conybeare, Oxford Early Christian Studies Oxford, George E. Demacopoulos, Hubertus R. Drobner, Simon Harrison, Peter Iver Kaufman & Yoon Kyung Kim (2007). Gerald Bonner, Freedom and Necessity: St. Augustine's Teaching on Divine Power and Human Freedom. Washington, DC: Catholic University Press of America, 2007. John D. Caputo, Philosophy and Theology. Horizons in Theology. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006. [REVIEW] Augustinian Studies 38 (1):331-332.
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  47. Antoine Cote (2008). Siger of Brabant and Thomas Aquinas on Divine Power and the Separability of Accidents. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (4):681 – 700.
  48. J. L. Cowan (1974). The Paradox of Omnipotence Revisited. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):435-445.
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  49. J. L. Cowan (1965). The Paradox of Omnipotence. Analysis 25 (Suppl-3):102-108.
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  50. Richard R. Croix (1978). Failing to Define 'Omnipotence'. Philosophical Studies 34 (2):219-222.
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