Thursday, January 16, 2014

Can God Destroy our Immortal Souls?

Yesterday, we looked at some problems with the theory of the total destruction of wicked souls after death, annihilationism. Today, I want to look at a more specific sub-question of that conversation - Given that we have immortal souls, can God destroy them?

ARGUMENT: God is omnipotent, all-powerful. He, therefore, doesn't lack that power to destroy immortal souls. Thus, God could, if He so chose, destroy even immortal souls.

This understanding of omnipotence is incorrect, in as far as it assumes that "all-powerful" equals "can do anything." A better understanding of omnipotence equates "all-powerful" with "can do any possible thing." It is true that an all-powerful being (i.e. God) doesn't lack the power to do anything, but some things still can't be done even by God, not because He lacks the power (He lacks nothing), but because they are not doable things.

Logical contradictions are a prime example. It can't both rain and not rain at the same time in the same place in the same way. It's either 'x' or 'not x', it can't be both. Even an all-powerful being can't make both 'x' and 'not x' true simultaneous. Again, this isn't because the Almighty lacks the power to do it, but because it isn't a doable thing - it's sheer nonsense.

From the above, we can see why the answer is clearly "no." Immortal souls, by definition, cannot be destroyed. Therefore, saying immortal souls can be destroyed is the same as saying "souls that cannot be destroyed can be destroyed," an obviously meaningless contradiction. Such a meaningless statement isn't given meaning by adding the words "God can" in front of it. Thus, if people have immortal souls, and according to Christianity they do, then those souls can't be destroyed, even by God.

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