Religious Studies

Articles

Understanding omnipotence

KENNETH L. PEARCEa1 and ALEXANDER R. PRUSSa2

a1 School of Philosophy, University of Southern California, Mudd Hall of Philosophy, 3709 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0451, USA e-mail: kpearce@usc.edu

a2 Department of Philosophy, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97273, Waco, TX 76798-7273, USA e-mail: Alexander_Pruss@baylor.edu

Abstract

An omnipotent being would be a being whose power was unlimited. The power of human beings is limited in two distinct ways: we are limited with respect to our freedom of will, and we are limited in our ability to execute what we have willed. These two distinct sources of limitation suggest a simple definition of omnipotence: an omnipotent being is one that has both perfect freedom of will and perfect efficacy of will. In this article we further explicate this definition and show that it escapes the standard objections to divine omnipotence.