That’s quite a question. And a question that is often asked by atheists and those outside of the Christian faith in attempts at creating a paradox that would seem to suggest the concept of God is impossible. It is also sometimes asked by those who are Christian because it does appear to have a paradoxical answer.
The answer seems to be either God can create such a stone or he can’t.
If we answer “he can’t”, then we have to admit that there is something that God cannot do. Therefore how can we call him omnipotent?
If we answer “he can”, then we also have to admit that there is something that God cannot do. In this case lifting the stone. Again we have to then admit that God is not omnipotent.
The argument would then continue that if God is not omnipotent, is he God?;
The crux of the matter lies with the word ‘omnipotent’. The compelling problem before us is only a problem if we make the assumption that God’s omnipotence means that he can do absolutely anything no matter what. If we use this concept of omnipotence in our arguments then it is logically impossible to prove God’s existence or non existence based upon this argument, because God can both make the heavy stone, and then make himself more powerful to lift it.
To put it another way. If we assume that God can do absolutely anything then we have no concrete rules to define God by and therefore the concept becomes unimportant. For if God can do anything, then He can make a rock he Cannot lift. But then (because he can do anything) he could simply make himself more powerful to lift the rock. And thereby we create an endless circular argument.
But to what end would our argument continue? You see testing the omnipotence of God under this situation, cannot be used as an argument for or against the existence of God, because we cannot qualify the result. If God can break any rule or law he wants to, you cannot prove to me he doesn''t exist, and I can''t prove to you that he does just based upon the omnipotence argument.
For this reason, and due to my schooling, I prefer a different method. As my schooling has all been centered around the concept of logic, I prefer to take the logical approach. An approach that does not violate the concept of omnipotence, or violate the laws of logical thinking.
You see, what many people don’t consider is that in reality there are some things that God cannot do. And these ''Can nots'' do not affect God’s omnipotence.
For example here is a list of things God cannot do:
1. Sin (Lie, Cheat, Steal)
2. Learn (He is all knowing and the source of all wisdom)
3. Force you to love Him
4. Break His own laws, rules and boundaries.
All these items have one common denominator. You see God has himself put boundaries on Himself in how he acts and reacts to the world we live in. Even when He came to earth as a man, he gave up his God hood to feel what it was like to be man. He suffered hunger, temptation, pain, and suffering, and even death… as a man. True he was always God, but none the less he set boundaries for Himself while on earth and did not violate those boundaries. He chose to live as a man and never once violated this.
God can do anything BUT be less than perfect. To violate one of His laws or boundaries, would cause imperfection.
God has the power to do anything. However, He CAN''T break his own laws and his own rules because it would make him less than perfect, which is an impossibility.
For the question at hand about the rock then - God cannot create something that would make him less than perfect. He cannot violate the rule of His perfection.
Deu 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
To take it to a level of absurdity, can God sprain his ankle? Of course not. For we know that God is perfect. Is God crippled by the fact that He can''t cripple Himself? Or that he chooses to live within His own Boundaries? ‘No’, again remains our answer.
"But," you may persist, "If He can''t do it, does that make Him less perfect?"
Let me answer with an analogy.
Let’s say that an average doctor works 9 hours a day. If a doctor cuts back his hours of to only 7 hours does that mean he is no longer a doctor? Of course not. God restricting himself does not make him less God either. (take for a good example, the life of Christ and how the Son restricted his Godhood while in human form.
You see the question before us becomes quite easy to answer..
God cannot do anything that would violate His own rules, boundaries and perfection. This does not remove God’s Omnipotence from our point of view, because everything impossible for us - is possible for God. It is impossible for us to be perfect…. But for God… it’s possible.- J.R. Hall