A friend around 2 years ago first got me interested in ‘pop’ atheistic arguments. Of course, this is one usually employed by laymen. Because people who are unfamiliar with philosophy are often stumped with this easy question.
Can God make a stone so heavy that even He Himself cannot lift?
Of course, at first thought(to someone who is not familiar with the argument) it seems like a devastating criticism. It attempts to show that God is not able to do everything. If God can do it, then He creates something that even He cannot lift. But if He can’t do it, then there is something which He is not able to do.
However, this popular objection is easily defeated. Because God is not able to do the logically impossible. This includes making something more powerful than Himself. Since He is the greatest possible being, He cannot make something that is greater than Himself. This is considered a logical contradiction. It is the equivalent of God making square circles, or married bachelors.
Omipotence is maximal power. Some philosophers, notably Descates, have thought that omnipotence requires the ability to do absolutely anything, including the logically impossible. Most classical theists, however, understood omnipotence as involving vast powers, while nevertheless being subject to a range of limitations of ability, including the inability to do what is logically impossible, the inability to change the past or to do things incompatible with what has happened, and the inability to do things that cannot be done by a being who has other divine attributes, e.g., to sin or to lie.
– Audi, The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, s.v. “Divine Attributes”
Lets say, for the sake of argument, God could do the logically impossible. Lets say He was able to create square circles. This is also self defeating. Because God would just create square circles and the paradox would not exist.