Date of Award

5-21-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Jeffrey Engelhardt

Language

English

Abstract

The aim of this project is to answer the following question: “is omnipotence possible?” I am not concerned with questions addressing the existence of this being, but rather if a being can possess the property of omnipotence in a physically possible world. Aquinas was determined to understand God is a way that was compatible with the physics of his time. However, in this thesis I have shown that the conception of God which Aquinas defends in his Summa Theologica is not compatible with today’s fundamental physics. Once the incompatibility was made clear, I formulated a set of necessary conditions for omnipotence and set out to reconcile Aquinas’ understanding of an omnipotent being with fundamental physics. The rest of the paper works through ways a physical being could exit in a physically possible world such that they could possess the property of omnipotence. I concluded that it is possible for a physical entity to be omnipotent when we take the tentative hypothesis that the aforementioned conditions are jointly sufficient for omnipotence. The solution I prefer is one which suggests that if God is the aggregate of all the simples, They could be omnipotent. This thesis works through different kinds of possibilities, treats questions concerning how the physical world can manifest, and ultimately shifts the conversation about omnipotence from the realm of theology to that of metaphysics.

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