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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. 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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  3. 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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  4. Carlo Altini (2009). "Potentia Dei" and Divine Foreknowledge in Hobbes' Theology. Rivista di Filosofia 2 (2):209-236.
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  5. 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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  6. 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. (Please note: this edition (...)
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  7. 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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  8. David Basinger (1988). Divine Power in Process Theism: A Philosophical Critique. State University of New York Press.
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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. David Basinger & Randall Basinger (1981). Divine Omnipotence. Process Studies 11 (1):11-24.
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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. Olivier Boulnois (2012). From Divine Omnipotence to Operative Power. Divus Thomas 115 (2):83-97.
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  15. Noel E. Boulting (2005). Conceptions of Power and God. Process Studies 34 (1):10-32.
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. E. Brito (1988). Divine-Power-Aquinas and Hegel. Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 80 (4):549-579.
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  19. Rita Nakashima Brock (1993). God's Power. Process Studies 22 (1):58-60.
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  20. 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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  21. Campbell Brown & Yujin Nagasawa (2005). Anything You Can Do, God Can Do Better. American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3):221 - 227.
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  22. Peter Byrne (1995). Omnipotence, Feminism and God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 37 (3):145 - 165.
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  23. James Cargile (1967). On Omnipotence. Noûs 1 (2):201-205.
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  24. William E. Carroll (2008). Divine Agency, Contemporary Physics, and the Autonomy of Nature. Heythrop Journal 49 (4):582-602.
  25. W. R. Carter (1982). Omnipotence and Sin. Analysis 42 (2):102 - 105.
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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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.
  30. J. L. Cowan (1974). The Paradox of Omnipotence Revisited. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):435-445.
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  31. J. L. Cowan (1965). The Paradox of Omnipotence. Analysis 25 (Suppl-3):102-108.
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  32. Richard R. Croix (1978). Failing to Define 'Omnipotence'. Philosophical Studies 34 (2):219-222.
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  33. Richard R. La Croix (1984). Descartes on Gods Ability to Do the Logically Impossible. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):455 - 475.
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  34. Richard R. La Croix (1973). Omnipotence, Omniscience and Necessity. Analysis 34 (2):63 - 64.
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  35. Richard R. La Croix (1973). The Incompatibility of Omnipotence and Omniscience. Analysis 33 (5):176 -.
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  36. Leonard A. Kennedy Csb (1990). Early Fourteenth-Century Franciscans and Divine Absolute Power. Franciscan Studies 50 (1):197-233.
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  37. Leonard A. Kennedy Csb & Margaret E. Romano (1987). John Went, OFM, and Divine Omnipotence. Franciscan Studies 47 (1):138-170.
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  38. Peter Damian, Selections From His Letter on Divine Omnipotence.
    Translated from the edition in Pierre Damien: Lettre sur la toute-puissance divine. Introduction, texte critique, traduction et notes, André Cantin, ed. & tr., (“Sources Chrétiennes,” vol. 191; Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1972.
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  39. Jack Davidson (2004). Omnipotence: The Real Power Behind Descartes' Proofs for God's Existence. Modern Schoolman 81 (4):275-294.
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  40. Manlio Della Serra (2011). Note sull'onnipotenza divina nell'Opera di Agostino. Augustinianum 51 (1):147-160.
    The notion of ‘omnipotence’ (potentia dei) runs through the history of medieval philosophy especially after the contribution of Augustine’s thought. Augustine thus traces ethical developments from the idea of God’s sovereignty to the construction of an order of things comparable with his power of creation. Augustine was the first Christian thinker to introduce and document the notion of potentia dei in an ethical context, proving at the same time that the ambivalence of God’s power results either from the activity of (...)
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  41. Sherry Deveaux (2003). The Divine Essence and the Conception of God in Spinoza. Synthese 135 (3):329 - 338.
    I argue against a prevailing view that the essence of Godis identical with the attributes. I show that given what Spinoza says in 2d2 – Spinoza'spurported definition of the essence of a thing – the attributes cannot be identical withthe essence of God (whether the essence of God is understood as the distinct attributesor as a totality of indistinct attributes). I argue that while the attributes do notsatisfy the stipulations of 2d2 relative to God, absolutely infinite and eternal power does (...)
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  42. James C. Doig (1997). Divine Power. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 71 (1):130-133.
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  43. Theodore M. Drange (2003). Gale on Omnipotence. Philo 6 (1):23-26.
    This is a brief critical assessment of Richard Gale’s treatment of arguments for God’s non-existence which make appeal to the concept of omnipotence. I mostly agree with what Gale says, but have found some additional issues worth exploring.
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  44. Andrew Eshleman (1997). Alternative Possibilities and the Free Will Defence. Religious Studies 33 (3):267-286.
    The free will defence attempts to show that belief in an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient God may be rational, despite the existence of evil. At the heart of the free will defence is the claim that it may be impossible, even for an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient God, to bring about certain goods without the accompanying inevitability, or at least overwhelming probability, of evil. The good in question is the existence of free agents, in particular, agents who are sometimes free (...)
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  45. Leonard J. Eslick (1991). Divine Power in Process Theism: A Philosophical Critique. By David Basinger. Modern Schoolman 68 (4):343-345.
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  46. P. M. Farrell (1958). Evil and Omnipotence. Mind 67 (267):399-403.
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  47. Gene Fendt (1995). God Is Love, Therefore There Is Evil. Philosophy and Theology 9 (1/2):3-12.
    This paper attempts to explicate the philosophical and theological premisses involved in Fr. Paneloux’s second sermon in Camus’ The Plague. In that sermon Fr. Paneloux says that the suffering of children is our bread of affliction. The article shows where one must start in order to get to that point, and what follows from it. Whether or not the argument given should be called a theodicy or a reductio ad absurdum of religious belief is an open question for a philosopher, (...)
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  48. Antony Flew (1964). Divine Omnipotence and Human Freedom. In , New Essays in Philosophical Theology. New York, Macmillan. 195.
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  49. Thomas P. Flint & Alfred J. Freddoso (1983). Maximal Power. In Alfred J. Freddoso (ed.), The Existence and Nature of God. University of Notre Dame Press. 81--114.
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  50. Jacques Follon (1995). Lawrence Moonan, Divine Power. The Medieval Power Distinction Up to its Adoption by Albert, Bonaventure, and Aquinas. Revue Philosophique De Louvain 93 (4):632-633.
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