The Omnipotence of God

By Tim Stratton

One of my primary goals is to help others comprehend God accurately. I have previously written about the attribute of God’s perfect love for all people (See The Omnibenevolence of God). I spend much time on this specific attribute because so many people (Christians and non-Christians) have a faulty and low view of God. While understanding God’s perfect love is vital, it is also of importance to grasp other truths about the Maximally Great Being! The next attribute of God that is vital to comprehend is called omnipotence. This is referring to the power of God. If you do not like the word “omnipotence,” you can simply say, God is “all powerful!”
God Omnipotence

What do we mean when we say that God is “all powerful”? Does this mean that God can do anything and everything?

Many people in the church today think that is the case, but they are wrong! In fact, it was not until just a few years ago that I realized that although God is omnipotent, this does not mean that God can do ALL things!

Allow me to clarify by offering some questions for you to consider: Can God create a married bachelor? Can God create a triangle with four corners? Can God create a stone that is so big that even He cannot lift it? Can God create something that is not contingent upon Him? Can God sin?

In Titus 1:2 the Bible indicates that God cannot lie.

What about this: Can God force someone to freely choose to love Him? Of course not — that is logically impossible!

So, if there are clearly things that God cannot do, then why do we say He is all-powerful or omnipotent? Let me give you a good definition of omnipotence:

God can do all things that are logically possible.

So, if a being can do all things that are logically possible, that would include many things that are scientifically impossible (these are different categories) – like creating a universe from nothing and raising a man from the dead. These are called miracles (See Are Miracles Metaphysically Impossible?)!

The Bible teaches that God is All-Mighty. It says,

“Oh, Lord God, it is you who made the heavens and the Earth by Your great power! Nothing is too hard for You” (Jeremiah 32:17).

The Bible is clear that “nothing is too hard for God.” But when you contemplate and study “triangles with four corners” and “married bachelors,” they are not really things at all. As William Lane Craig states, “they are nothing but an inconsistent combination of words.”

So, when thinking about it *that way*, then, God can do ALL things, but if it helps, just remember that God can do all things that are logically possible.

Do you know what is exciting about God’s omnipotence? If you have a personal love relationship with God then the omnipotence of God lives within you too! Think about that — this means you practically have super-powers! As my parents used to teach me:

“The same power that created the universe and raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that lives in you through the Holy Spirit! That is the ultimate Force.”

With God’s power working in you and through you, you can do “all things” that are logically possible too (Philippians 4:13)!

This passage of Philippians is often taken out of context (for a short and humorous example click here). However, the truth of my prior statement remains: If an omnipotent God chooses to use you — and you do not choose to resist His will — then God can use you to do all things that are logically possible.

It is important to realize that this is only in regards to the things that God wants you to accomplish. For example, you cannot choose to use God’s power to rob the bank, but if God desired you to walk on water or to simply love an unlovable neighbor then God’s power is available for you, and He wants you to choose to use it!

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18).

 


Tim Stratton (The FreeThinking Theist) Tim pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (B.A. 1997) and after working in full-time ministry for several years went on to attain his graduate degree from Biola University (M.A. 2014). Tim was recently accepted at North-West University to pursue his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics.

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16 replies
  1. jcb says:

    Nothing shows that there probably is a being who is “all powerful”. Nothing shows that there probably is a person/being who can lift 100 trillion tons.
    1. The Bible says there is a being who can raise the dead (such as reconstituting a body that had turned to ashes 3 days previously). Those claims are false/not probable.
    2. Even if there were such a being, it wouldn’t follow that such a being is “all powerful”. (Perhaps the author meant to say, such a being would be quite or very powerful, or more powerful than many humans, in some ways).

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      Yet there hangs the sun, moon, the planets and the rest of the Universe…………….

      What is 100 trillion tons to an infinite being ? It is as nothing. I would say that your ignorance of the TRUE ESSENCE and EXISTENCE of GOD is showing but as you have been informed of this previously it is something other than ignorance.
      .
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      Romans 1:20-21 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts.

      Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “1. The Bible says there is a being who can raise the dead (such as reconstituting a body that had turned to ashes 3 days previously). Those claims are false/not probable.”
      .
      .
      Miracles are by definition rare and may appear to be NOT probable. However; this does NOT by in anyway make them impossible. If they happened all the time they would NOT be miracles just everyday occurrences. Jesus’ miracles fall into 4 distinct categories : 1. power over nature, 2. power over sickness, 3. power over death, and 4. power over demons. I will not go and find the verses that prove these 4 points but they are in the Bible in multiple spots.

      Reply
      • jcb says:

        Yes, I didn’t claim them to be impossible. We can agree: such things are possible. As I stated though: they are improbable. Citing the Bible doesn’t thereby make them probable.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          “1. The Bible says there is a being who can raise the dead (such as reconstituting a body that had turned to ashes 3 days previously). Those claims are false/not probable.”
          .
          .
          “Yes, I didn’t claim them to be impossible.”
          .
          .
          Maybe you would care to define what you mean by the word “false” then ????

          Reply
          • jcb says:

            I already defined it above. You seemed to have missed it. I said “Those claims are false/not probable.”
            The claim “unicorns exist” is not probable. It is false. It is not true. As far as we know. But it could be true. It is possibly true. It is just not probably true.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Again, you appear to be confusing the definition of ” false” and “not probable”.
            .
            They are NOT equivalent.
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            .
            From http://www.dictionary.com:
            “false”
            adjective, falser, falsest.
            1. not true or correct; erroneous:
            a false statement.
            2. uttering or declaring what is untrue:
            a false witness.
            3. not faithful or loyal; treacherous:
            a false friend.
            4. tending to deceive or mislead; deceptive:
            a false impression.
            5. not genuine; counterfeit.
            6. based on mistaken, erroneous, or inconsistent impressions, ideas, or facts:
            false pride.
            7. used as a substitute or supplement, especially temporarily:
            false supports for a bridge.
            8. Biology. having a superficial resemblance to something that properly bears the name:
            the false acacia.
            9. not properly, accurately, or honestly made, done, or adjusted:
            a false balance.
            10. inaccurate in pitch, as a musical note.
            adverb
            11. dishonestly; faithlessly; treacherously:
            Did he speak false against me?
            .
            Also from http://www.dictionary.com:
            “probable”
            adjective
            1. likely to occur or prove true:
            He foresaw a probable business loss. He is the probable writer of the article.
            2. having more evidence for than against, or evidence that inclines the mind to belief but leaves some room for doubt.
            3. affording ground for belief.
            .
            .
            Therefore “not probable” would be the negative of the 3 definitions from directly above.
            .
            .
            This could possibly be because of your continued use of convoluted language and bad examples. However, it appears to be more probable that it is bad reasoning.

          • jcb says:

            So I said “unicorns exist” is false. It is not true, it is not probably the case.
            Nothing you said shows this to be otherwise. In fact, your dictionary definition shows that my usage is similar to its usage of the word “false”.
            That it will rain sausages tomorrow is not probable. The assertion “it will rain sausages tomorrow” is false: not true, not likely to happen, improbable, etc.
            Again, nothing you said above falsifies anything I said above.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “So I said “unicorns exist” is false. ”
            .
            Yep and that is all that needs to be said about the existence of unicorns.
            .
            “It is not true, it is not probably the case. Nothing you said shows this to be otherwise.”
            .
            This is all just superfluous fluff.
            .
            “In fact, your dictionary definition shows that my usage is similar to its usage of the word “false”.”
            .
            No. No it does not.
            .
            .
            This conversation can not continue until you stop confusing yourself. Your last example is just another example of how you continue to confuse yourself by conflating multiple logical ideas into one group. The first two comments are erroneous and one of the last two is redundant.
            .
            Namely the following:
            .
            “The assertion “it will rain sausages tomorrow” is false.” NO. NO it is NOT false. It is an assertion about what will happen in the future. Until the future happens it is NOT false.
            .
            “The assertion “it will rain sausages tomorrow” is not true” NO. NO it is NOT not true. It is an assertion about what will happen in the future. Until the future happens it is NOT not true.
            .
            “The assertion “it will rain sausages tomorrow” is not likely to happen”. Yes, that is true.
            .
            “The assertion “it will rain sausages tomorrow” is improbable”. Yes, that is true.

        • Mark Heavlin says:

          Jesus’ miracles fall into 4 distinct categories : 1. power over nature, 2. power over sickness, 3. power over death, and 4. power over demons. I will not go and find the verses that prove these 4 points but they are in the Bible in multiple spots.

          Reply
  2. Susan Tan says:

    Sorry to disagree with you Tim but I agree with the majority. That is the high view of God.

    Jesus said:

    Matthew 19:26 King James Version (KJV)

    26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    That is the contentually controlling verse in the whole Bible on this question.

    Just because God constructed arbitrary logical limits for a world in which He intends to bring up
    HIs children doesn’t mean He Himself is limited by the same logic that we operate under. Also the world isn’t only based on logical intelligence it is also based on intuition and as Sperry said logic is the servant of intuition.

    Well God is the master of all intuition and logic though He may chosen to serve His children in their infancy and decency period on Him.

    Ultimately God can create a whole new world and has promised to do that in the future with the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven.

    So He is not limited by the things that limit men. That is one of the reasons why He is God and people are merely mortals.

    God has control of all the goalposts but He has set everything up to serve His current purposes. it doesn’t mean He doesn’t have the power to change everything because He can.

    He is the bright and morning star. He is all enlightenment and all powerful.

    Man is the limited one and we need to be careful not to mistakenly limit God with our own mental limitations.

    Trust what Jesus said in that verse. I do believe it is the controlling interpretation on God’s power.

    If God can raise people from the dead and construct whole new kingdoms and worlds does it sound like anything limits Him.

    No. He is the lawgiver and He defines our limits. We don’t define His. I for one am grateful for that because He has gotten me out of more tough situations than I would care to admit to and he will you, too, Lord willing. Thanks be to God. Hallelujah!

    Reply
  3. Brent Hurst says:

    Dear Tim,

    The “Omni”, as they apply to God, speak of His transcendence, which BTW is also His holiness as He exists separate from the Creation. We tend always to project our own sense of reality onto God i.e. when we think of “power” we think of control, just as with the verse “we rule with Christ” we think in terms of earthly rule where by we might have control over people and or circumstances.

    I realize you are writing with the intent to edify the believers by speaking of the power that is within Christ is now also in us, but there is a possibility that this can tend to only feed the ego as we all desire power of a sort. Let me pose what is hopefully pure logic.

    Within the Creation we are finite, this includes even that heavenly realm above us which was also created along with the Earth. Now lets say we want to reach for the infinite, and so we begin to count, one, two, three, etc, but we soon find out we can never actually attain to the infinite, within our finitude infinity exists only as a “Potential”. Likewise from the Infinite’s POV, as if we might see this Creation through the eyes of God, where He is the sum and substance of infinity itself, one, without division, God remains the ONLY thing of infinite reality, and as He looks upon the finite it is the finite which exists only as a realm of potential.

    We can see that the Infinite and the finite are forever incompatible with each other. We might FEEL as if we exist but our reality in finitude is deceptive. We exist more like we are in a dream that God is having. Hence when Christ spoke to us He would, in truth, refer to us as dead, this “deadness” is not a metaphor as so many suppose referring to some lack of relationship, rather this deadness is the dearth of consistent Being within us. Adam possessed the “potential” for eternal existence as the Tree of Life was in the Garden, but it is not part of our innate creation. It was further exemplifies by the serpent that posed “surely you shall not die”, a lie which is propagated even within the church today as we assume that the Adamic soul, our souls, are immortal.

    There is nothing within this finite creation, angelic or otherwise that possesses Omni anything. The power of Omni is His own power of Being, not to DO something, but rather that He IS something, the only true something. As John the Baptist echoed, He must become more and I must become less. It is only when we see the utter Unreality of the Creation that we can see clearly God as the only true reality.

    But before I leave everyone in the dust, created from nothing, existing only potentially, and absolutely to return to said dust, there is one thing that can unite the infinite and the finite and that is the concept of “one” as in one and only. And so it is that the transcendent God has seeded Himself into the Creation as Yahweh who we know as Christ, to carry His divine nature so that we might, through His Spirit find oneness with God also, having been made one in Christ. A loving “relationship” as so often touted remains still under the “Law”, even as Jews before Christ had loving relationships with their God. The new covenant is based upon the Spirit as God has shared His own Being with us, at least those whom He has chosen, and we are then in “reality” Born anew but of the Spirit.

    The “Glory” of God, the “power” of God, the “allness” of God is in His Being, not HIs “doing”. Understand such things as this is what constitutes the renewal of our minds, we simply cannot understand God as the only reality unless we fully accept our own unreality. And then “in Christ” can we see the true Way which transcends even the highest Heavens.

    Reply

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