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Argument from incompatible attributes

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Argument from incompatible attributes could use some help. Please research the article's assertions. Whatever is credible should be sourced, and what is not should be removed.

The argument from incompatible attributes attempts to show that some ideas of god are as logically contradictory as a round square, therefore being impossible. An example would be a god being all merciful and all just: since mercy is a suspension of justice. Since there are infinitely many possible gods, there are infinitely many possible variations to this argument.

Generic examples[edit]

Immutability and emotion[edit]

  1. If god exists, then god is immutable.
  2. If god exists, then god can have emotion.
  3. An immutable being cannot be affected by events.
  4. To have emotion, it must be possible for a being to be affected by events. Hence, it is impossible for an immutable being have emotion (from 3 and 4).
  5. Therefore, it is impossible for a god with emotion to exist (from 1, 2, and 5).

Mercy and justice[edit]

A god cannot be all merciful and all just, since mercy is a suspension of justice.

Biblical examples[edit]

Does God tempt people?[edit]

  • James 1:13: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
  • Genesis 22:1: And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

Thou Shall Not Kill[edit]

  • Exodus 20:13: Thou shalt not kill.
  • Leviticus 24:17: And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
  • Exodus 32:27: And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.
  • 1 Samuel 6:19: And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.

God of peace[edit]

Was Jesus peaceful?[edit]

  • John 14:27: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
  • Matthew 10:34: Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
  • Luke 19:27: But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them — bring them here and kill them in front of me.

Has man seen the face of God?[edit]

  • John 1:18: No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
  • Genesis 32:30: So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared."
  • Exodus 33:11: The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.

God's omnipotence[edit]

  • Matthew 19:26: Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
  • Judges 1:19: And the LORD was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.

Does God accept human sacrifice?[edit]

  • Genesis 22:1-24: Binding of Isaac.
  • Judges 11:31: Then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”


Several apologists say that you can't quite define god. Yet at the same time, they define god by saying he is undefinable. Most apologists also define god as being real. In most cases God is also defined as all-good, all-wise etc. So to make use of this defense, they can't ascribe God any characteristics, making it unclear what the word even means.

See also[edit]