My fellow Oldey, Ye Olde Theologian (aka Theo) has been in deep shock ever since he learned that there are Jews who openly defy the divine will by eating vegetables at the Passover meal instead of the divinely mandated lamb. (“Even rabbis have left behind lamb”, “Veggies as kosher as you can get”, Have Your Say, June 30.) But he has authorised me to issue this statement on his behalf.
First of all, he answers Dr Frank’s conundrum (If God is omnipotent, can he create a rock too heavy for him to pick up?) by saying of course he can. He can do it through a simple act of self-limitation. If he is omnipotent, he can limit, or hold in abeyance, his own omnipotence. According to Christian theology, he already did that when he granted free will to human beings. But he can also withdraw that self-limitation, and restore his own omnipotence, whenever he likes. You can do a lot of fun stuff when you’re omnipotent.
As for the main issue – the debate between theism and atheism – Theo says there is a middle ground, a compromise solution that may satisfy moderates on both sides of the divide, but probably not the true fanatics. That is the view that there used to be a God who intervened in human affairs (kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, saved Noah from the flood, parted the Red Sea, etc), as is believed by traditional Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But eventually he got fed up with human cussedness, gave up on us, and either (a) retired to sulk in a quiet corner of the omniverse or (b) died of disappointment or (c) committed suicide.
Theo commends this theory to the contenders in the theism-atheism brawl and offers his personal hope. He hopes the deity is still alive and well, and is now busy in a far corner of the omniverse working on the creation of a species that will turn out a lot better than we did.
Ye Olde Peacemaker