Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine you are God—imagine you are the Hebrew god known as Elohim, Yahweh, Allah or just plain God.
In an effort to make you the one “true” god and therefore, maximally great, your creators made you super-intelligent, omniscient, omnipotent, eternal and unchanging.
They had to make you eternal—they didn’t want other religions claiming their god created you. And they had to make you super-intelligent—how else could you have created humans and everything in the universe?
But they chose to make you omniscient, omnipotent and unchanging. And this is where their problems began. Omnipotent means you can do anything it is logically possible to do. Now imagine being omniscient.
Omniscient means you know everything past, present and future. This means you know everything you will do and every decision you will make forever, and you know everything that will happen in the universe forever.
But that means there are things you cannot do:
- You cannot change your mind.
- You cannot make a decision (all decisions you will ever make are pre-determined so you just have to do exactly what you know you will do).
- You can never have an original or creative thought.
- You cannot learn anything (you already know everything) .
- You can never be surprised (which probably means you can never find a joke funny—you already know the ending of every joke).
- Being omniscient means you are robbed of your free will.
Some might say, “Not so, God created his plan and exercised his free will at that time.” But God cannot have created his plan—it’s impossible. If he had created his plan, there would have been a time before he created it, when he was not omniscient. But God is unchanging, so he must have always been omniscient. Now think about it. What will your life as God be like? Unspeakably boring. We can all take boredom for a while but I feel for God who has to put up with maximal boredom forever.
If you were 100% bored and could do nothing about it, you might think about ending it all. You might think you’d be better off dead. But you cannot—you’re God and God is eternal (and, anyway, you could only kill yourself if that is in the plan you didn’t write).
In their efforts to create a maximally great god, those who created and fine-tuned the characteristics of the Hebrew god messed up. They created a maximally impotent god and they created a god who, if he was real, would wish he wasn’t.
This all so perverse that our credibility is stretched to breaking point. The story is incoherent and incredible, making it infinitely more likely to be a story written by superstitious, human quasi-philosophers than to be a reliable description of reality.