If God is All-Powerful Can He Do Anything?
The Islamic theological position regarding God’s ability is eloquently summed up in the following creedal statement found in The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi. It states,
“He is Omnipotent. Everything is dependent on Him, and every affair is effortless for Him.”
A common contention or question regarding God’s power and ability is that if God is omnipotent then can He create a stone He cannot move? A key point to make in answering this question is to highlight that ‘Omnipotence’ is misconstrued as ‘all powerful’. What omnipotence really implies is the ability to actualise every affair, rather than raw power. So God being able to “create a stone He cannot move” actually describes an affair that is impossible and meaningless, just like if we were to say “a white black crow” or “a circle triangle” or even an “amphibian mammal”.
Such statements describe nothing at all and have no informative value, they are meaningless. So why should we even answer a question that has no meaning? To put it bluntly the question is not even a question.
Another way of looking at this is that since God is all powerful it means that He will always be able to do what He wills, as the creedal statement above mentions “and every affair is effortless for Him.” Therefore omnipotence also includes the impossibility of failure. The questioner however is saying that since God is all powerful He can do anything which includes failure! This is irrational and absurd as it is equivalent to saying “an all powerful being cannot be an all powerful being”!
To conclude, God can create stone that is heavier than anything we can imagine, but He will always be able to move the stone, what must be understood is that failure is not an aspect of omnipotence.