“Can God make a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it?”

“Can God make a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it?” March 28, 2019

 

Triceratops and T-Rex, about to shake hands.
A friend was lucky enough to take this photograph from the window of my high school American history class. Dinosaurs were less common then, but they hadn’t yet died out altogether. You’ll notice, too, that southern California was slightly more humid and green at the time.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

First, some Brigham Young University news:

 

“BYU Law’s pipeline to the U.S. Supreme Court continues”

 

A somewhat older article:

 

“The seven most underrated law schools: Study that judges schools based on students says BYU is a Top 20 law school”

 

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Also from BYU:

 

New Testament Study Helps

 

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On a recent small BYU-related controversy:

 

“BYU responds to DPS notice of intent to decertify University Police”

 

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And now for some non-BYU news:

 

It’s not yet an actual design, but it’s good to know something about the new building:

 

“Preliminary Plans Released for First Temple in Virginia”

 

The new temple will be a bit smaller than the temples in Billings, Montana, and Atlanta, Georgia, and somewhat larger than the temple in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

 

***

 

Some recent developments in the Heartland — or, if you will, in Neville-Neville Land:

 

“It’s Hard to Give Neville the Benefit of the Doubt”

 

“Inventing History with Jonathan Neville”

 

“Illusory Truth, Straw Men, and Jonathan Neville”

 

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But don’t imagine that the unfortunate John Dehlin has received a free pass for his manifold errors:

 

Mormon Stories Essays: Reviewing John Dehlin’s “Truth Claims” Essays

 

It’s about time, say I.  My thanks to the anonymous folks who have taken it in hand to call attention to Dehlin’s mistakes and misrepresentation.  I don’t know who they are, but I admire their work thus far.

 

***

 

On the broader front:

 

“Bad Theology, Bad Atheism”

 

The hackneyed old question “Can God make a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it?” has been around for a very long time, of course.

 

Since at least the time, eons ago, when I was in high school.

 

The first time that I encountered it, though, it was formulated in a rather different way, but with the same general intent and meaning:

 

“What happens,” an atheistic classmate of mine asked me once in the cafeteria during our lunch break, “when the irresistible force meets the immovable object?”

 

His “irresistible force” was obviously a stand-in for God, and his “immovable object” was the legendary rock that is too heavy to lift.

 

So what does happen, when the irresistible force meets the immovable object?

 

I experienced a moment of inspiration:

 

“The indescribable event,” I replied.

 

I still consider it a fairly good answer.  Certainly on a high school level.

 

I rank it right up there with another one that I was once privileged to deliver:

 

I had left my coat in a long narrow seminar room, with a long and narrow seminar table, at UCLA.  I could see it through the window in the door.  A professor whom I didn’t know was holding forth at my end of the table, near the door, to a group of students in another seminar — and my coat was on the chair at the table’s opposite end.

 

I didn’t want to interrupt the seminar, but I also didn’t want to leave my coat.  I figured that this new seminar might be, like mine, three hours long.  And it was a cold and rainy day.  I paced back and forth for a while, but I finally determined to go for my coat.

 

I opened the door, said “Excuse me, I left my coat,” and went to the distant chair.  Having retrieved my coat, I passed the professor, who was glaring with quite surprising irritation and even anger at me for forcing him to pause in his eloquence.

 

“Oh.  My.  God,” he said, very coldly.

 

“No,” I responded.  “I’m just a graduate student.”

 

And I quietly closed the door behind me as I went out.

 

I felt pretty good about that one, too.

 

 


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