(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c); Project Genesis

Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 12:41:44 -0500
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: Re: Understanding G*d

Stuart Campbell in Torah Forum Vol 4 number 43 brings up the issue of
whether G-d can do the impossible.

I generally don't like to get involved in such discussions but in another
email group, BaisTefila, I suggested about a half a year ago the following

1) Can G-d commit suicide? Obviously not--the point here is that it would
be a DEFICIENCY in any being if they could commit suicide (Since natural
preservation instincts usually make the suicide attempt fail--thus only a
deficient being--someone deficient in these protective instincts--would

2) Can G-d do the impossible (make a rock so big he can't lift it) By
analogy with (1) I suggest that it would be a deficiency if a being could
do the impossible. It is lack of impossibility that gives reality its
consistency and if G-d could do the impossible the world (which HE created)
would lose its value. Indeed, existence of impossibilities is exactly what
prevents mental patients from coping with the real world

3) From a halachik point of view I suggested that we are only obligated to
believe that G-d can perform any physical act or psychological act. (See
Rambam Chap 1, Foundations of Torah for an overview of our obligations)
Thus halachically there is nothing wrong with it.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Rhendel @ mcs drexel edu