The question, “Can God make a rock bigger (or heavier) than He can lift?” is asked by skeptics and the willfully ignorant of Christians on a regular basis. It is intended to mock the existence of God, and the supposed lack of knowledge and understanding of believers. On the surface, the question appears unanswerable. However, with a little thought and a smidgen of reasoning, the answer(s) are apparent. We just have to remember there is more to God than creating and lifting.
First answer: Of course He can. Jesus only had the strength of His human body. There were lots of rocks around that He made yet couldn’t lift. This answer focuses on Jesus and His incarnation, and the fact that He gave up some of His abilities in order to be as we are. He even submitted to death, a death that was necessary to atone for sin.
Second answer: Let me clarify. What is the reason for lifting? Is it just to show off muscles? Or is it to show off creating ability? He is not in the habit of doing things just to show off. He has a lot more intelligence and wisdom than that. It would not make any sense to make a rock bigger than He could lift, anymore than it would make sense for me to try and lift a rock when I could go around. His creation obviously was put together with much more practicality and purpose than that.
Third answer: God could make a rock that would fill everything. Then what? Who would care if He could lift it? There wouldn’t be anyone left to care!
Fourth answer: God could make a big rock, but why lift it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply reduce the rock to gravel with a word? And if that was the case, wouldn’t it make more sense to make the gravel in the first place, if indeed gravel were needed? This puts the spotlight on His forethought and planning. His omniscience includes what we might call “common sense.” Indeed, He is the author of common sense.
Fifth answer: God made everything, including physical laws such as gravity. I have no doubt that He has many other laws we know nothing about. So would He make the rock without mass? Could it be physical yet not weigh anything? (As we think of weight with our current knowledge of physical laws.) So if the rock was large, yet had no mass, then He obviously could lift it. If it was heavy, how big would it have to be before He couldn’t lift it? Doesn’t He hold planets in the palm of His hand, or are held up by the word of His power? The rock would have to be really, really huge, and I don’t think we can even conceive of just how huge. This puts the spotlight on the ignorance of the questioner, especially since the average atheist (and it is mostly atheists who ask this question) worships science yet has very little understanding.
I’m sure there are other answers to this question too. In fact, it is a fun exercise for believers to use our wider and deeper understanding of God to see just how many ways this foolishness can easily be answered. I would also add this warning to the answers: “God is not mocked. Whatever one sows, that he shall also reap. Was I you I would be extremely careful about my questions. Because God might decide to answer you Himself.”