About this topic
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. Problems of Evil.Marilyn McCord Adams - 1988 - 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 (...)
  2. A New Paradox of Omnipotence.Sarah Adams - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (3):759-785.
    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 (...)
  3. Descartes, Omnipotence, and Kinds of Modality.Lilli Alanen - 1988 - In Peter H. Hare (ed.), Doing Philosophy Historically. Prometheus Books. pp. 182--200.
  4. On Two Alleged Conflicts Between Divine Attributes.Torin Alter - 2002 - 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.
  5. “Kingdom of God” and Potentia Dei. An Interpretation of Divine Omnipotence in Hobbes’s Thought.Carlo Altini - 2013 - Hobbes Studies 26 (1):65-84.
  6. "Potentia Dei" and Divine Foreknowledge in Hobbes' Theology.Carlo Altini - 2009 - Rivista di Filosofia 100 (2):209-236.
  7. Omnipotence and the Vicious Circle Principle.Majid Amini - 2009 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 14 (2):247-258.
    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 (...)
  8. Divine Omnipotence and Impossible Tasks: An Intensional Analysis. [REVIEW]C. Anthony Anderson - 1984 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 15 (3):109 - 124.
  9. On Evil.Thomas Aquinas - 2003 - 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.
  10. Why Think of God as Omnipotent?Thomas Aquinas - 2000 - In Brian Davies (ed.), Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
  11. Divine Power in Chester Cycle and Late Medieval Thought.Kathleen M. Ashley - 1978 - Journal of the History of Ideas 39 (3):387.
  12. L'impuissance de Dieu - Une Solution Théologique?Hans-Christoph Askani - 2010 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 135 (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 (...)
  13. L'impuissance de Dieu? une solution théologique?Hans-Christoph Askani - 2010 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 135 (3):339.
    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 (...)
  14. L'impuissance de dieu (présentation).Gwenaëlle Aubry - 2010 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 135 (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 (...)
  15. L'impuissance de Dieu.Gwenaëlle Aubry - 2010 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 135 (3):307.
    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 (...)
  16. There Cannot Be Two Omnipotent Beings.James Baillie & Jason Hagen - 2008 - 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. (...)
  17. Omnipotence and Moral Goodness.J. E. Barnhart - 1971 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1):107.
  18. Divine Power in Process Theism: A Philosophical Critique.David Basinger - 1992 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 32 (2):120-121.
  19. Divine Power in Process Theism: A Philosophical Critique.David Basinger - 1988 - 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.
  20. Evil and a Finite God.David Basinger - 1987 - 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 (...)
  21. Griffin and Pike on Divine Power: Some Clarifications.David Basinger - 1984 - 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 (...)
  22. Griffin and Pike on Divine Power.David Basinger - 1984 - 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 (...)
  23. Divine Omnipotence.David Basinger & Randall Basinger - 1981 - Process Studies 11 (1):11-24.
  24. Divine Omnipotence: Plantinga Vs. Griffin.David Basinger & Randall Basinger - 1981 - Process Studies 11 (1):11-24.
  25. Teologia depois da Shoah: A Crítica de Hans Jonas à Teodiceia.Cristina Beckert - 2001 - 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 (...)
  26. Logical Problem of Evil.James R. Beebe - 2003 - 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 (...)
  27. Misunderstanding the Talk of the Divine: Theodicy in the Wittgensteinian Tradition.Ondřej Beran - 2017 - Sophia 56 (2):183-205.
    The paper discusses the unique approach to the problem of evil employed by the Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion and ethics that is primarily represented by D. Z. Phillips. Unlike traditional solutions to the problem, Phillips’ solution consists in questioning its meaningfulness—he attacks the very ideas of God’s omnipotence, of His perfect goodness and of the need to ‘calculate’ God’s goodness against the evil within the world. A possible weakness of Phillips’ approach is his unreflected use of what he calls ‘our (...)
  28. Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes.Peter A. Bertocci - 1986 - Idealistic Studies 16 (3):266-267.
  29. The Normatively Relativised Logical Argument From Evil.John Bishop & Ken Perszyk - 2011 - 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 (...)
  30. From Divine Omnipotence to Operative Power.Olivier Boulnois - 2012 - Divus Thomas 115 (2):83-97.
  31. Conceptions of Power and God.Noel E. Boulting - 2005 - Process Studies 34 (1):10-32.
  32. Non-Moral Evil and the Free Will Defense.Kenneth Boyce - 2011 - 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 (...)
  33. Schleiermacher on the Divine Causality: BRUCE L. BOYER.Bruce L. Boyer - 1986 - 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 (...)
  34. The Free Will Defense Refuted and God's Existence Disproved.Raymond D. Bradley - 2007 - 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 (...)
  35. Omnipotence, Timelessness, and the Restoration of Virgins.Alan Brinton - 1985 - Diálogos. Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad de Puerto Rico 20 (45):149-156.
  36. Divine-Power-Aquinas and Hegel.E. Brito - 1988 - Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 80 (4):549-579.
  37. God's Power.Rita Nakashima Brock - 1993 - Process Studies 22 (1):58-60.
  38. The "Ratio Omnipotentiae" in Aquinas.Stephen L. Brock - 1993 - Acta Philosophica 2 (1):17-42.
    Aquinas says that omnipotence means power for everything possible, which is everything not self-contradictory. This view faces various objections; to many of them, it seems that one could respond more easily by saying that omnipotence is God's power for everything that is not self-contradictory for Him to do. But this is a weak answer, and Thomas's support for it is only apparent. A more satisfactory solution is found in a fundamental restriction on the term "power" that Thomas thinks necessary when (...)
  39. Anything You Can Do, God Can Do Better.Campbell Brown & Yujin Nagasawa - 2005 - American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3):221 - 227.
  40. Omnipotence, omnisciencia y libertad.Eugenio Bulygin - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):33 - 55.
  41. Divine Practical Knowing: How an Eternal God Acts in Time.David Burrell - 1990 - In B. Hebblethwaite & E. Henderson (eds.), Divine Action. T Clark. pp. 93--102.
  42. The All-Powerful, Perfectly Good and Free God.T. Ryan Byerly - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 8.
  43. Do God's Beliefs About the Future Depend on the Future?T. Ryan Byerly - 2015 - Journal of Analytic Theology 3:124-9.
  44. Omnipotence, Feminism and God.Peter Byrne - 1995 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 37 (3):145 - 165.
  45. On Omnipotence.James Cargile - 1967 - Noûs 1 (2):201-205.
  46. God's Omnipotence and Immutability.Robert Carr-Wiggin - 1984 - The Thomist 48 (1):44.
  47. Divine Agency, Contemporary Physics, and the Autonomy of Nature.William E. Carroll - 2008 - Heythrop Journal 49 (4):582-602.
  48. Omnipotence and Sin.W. R. Carter - 1982 - Analysis 42 (2):102 - 105.
  49. Freedom and Necessity: St. Augustine’s Teaching on Divine Power and Human Freedom. [REVIEW]Phillip Cary - 2008 - Augustinian Studies 39 (2):295-297.
  50. Disentangling Potestas in the Works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.Alice Chapman - 2004 - 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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