The Omnipotence of God
This was written for my podcast I thought I would update to the blog without revising the whole doc.
I remember growing up and watching my dad work and live. The way he handled life’s affairs gave the impression he was in control and had all the answers – The perspective of youthful innocence. As I got older I became more reflective and began to ask questions about control particularly about our destiny and exactly how much control I have over that. Was our life and destiny in the hands of fate, chance or gods? The answers to these and many other questions were answered when I was converted back in 1994. As I went to church and read my Bible I began to realize that there was one God and that is was in control. This was the message of my pastor and my Sunday School Teacher Kevin O’ Malley. While there is still much to learn it is comforting to know that we worship a sovereign God who is not like man.
What is the Omnipotence of God?
The word omni breaks down in the Latin – Omni (All Directional).
* Omni – Word Origin and History for Omni-. Word- forming element meaning “all,” from Latin Omni, combining form of Omnis “all, every, the whole, of every kind,”
* Potent – Meaning all power, so when applied to God it means he has all power.
In my last episode, I stated that God has all-around knowledge. He knows the past, present and future he is Omniscience and likewise Omnipotence, with regards to God means he has all-around power.
Pink – “The Sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of his supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, he is the most High Lord of heaven and earth, subject to no one, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as he pleases, only, only as he pleases, always as he pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder him.
A.W Tozer – Sovereignty and omnipotence must go together. One cannot exist without the other. To reign, God must have power, and to reign sovereignly, He must have all power. And that is what omnipotent means, having all power. The word derives from the Latin and is identical in meaning with the more familiar almighty which we have from the Anglo-Saxon. This latter word occurs fifty-six times in our English Bible and is never used of anyone but God. He alone is almighty.
God possesses what no creature can: an incomprehensible plenitude of power, a potency that is absolute. This we know by divine revelation, but once known, it is recognized as being in full accord with reason. Grant that God is infinite and self-existent and we see at once that He must be all-powerful as well, and reason kneels to worship before the divine omnipotence. “
Opposing View Point
When it comes to understanding God’s Sovereignty and many of His other attributes man will try to comprehend in its entirety the nature and character of God. My response to this would be to say it is impossible. God is incomprehensible. Man is finite and limited in terms of understanding, In other words, if we could understand EVERYTHING about him then HE would be no greater than us and that would assuredly produce some devastating results – We would never grow great than our concept of God. The business of the Christian is to search out the deep things of God, in other words, to give ourselves to the study and meditation of them.
There are many who (because they cannot and will not understand the Sovereignty of God) will change the glory of an incorruptible God made like unto corruptible man. It is important for us to remember that although saved we still bear about the shortcomings of the flesh which includes limits in our understanding.
One author makes this great point – “We are not to accept a doctrine because it is the most easily understood. When we speak of God, it is my conviction that we can in no way exhaust any of his attributes. God is eternal. That statement is beyond human comprehension. If we adopt the idea that we MUST understand completely everything we accept, there will be very little if anything received”
The opposing viewpoint isn’t necessarily summed up in one system of theology (World Religions oppose the sovereignty of God) to put it simply it is the man himself. While we often hear the words – God is in control – it is often said in a trite or trivial way. In other words it’s said but not believed or applied.
We seldom realize what we really mean when we say this, is that God is control when allowing him to be, thereby robbing him of his sovereignty. It doesn’t matter what man’s position is in terms of his salvation – saved or lost there is this constant tug of war between man’s desire to be autonomous and God’s sovereignty. While reading the Bible we see both truths’s laid out but many err when they pit both of them against each other.
God has delegated power to His creatures, but being self-sufficient, He cannot relinquish anything of His perfections, sovereignty being one of them, He has never surrendered the least iota of His power. He gives but He does not give away. All that He gives remains His own and returns to Him again. Forever He must remain what He has forever been, the Lord God omnipotent.
A. W. Tozer attempts to reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s free will: An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty. On board, the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port. Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history.”
The doctrine of the Sovereignty of God is taught/implied throughout the Bible. It is hard to read the scripture and not come across some references.
1) Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”
2) Genesis 17:1 In addressing Abraham he refers to himself as El Shaddai which means Almighty. This is the first occurrence of the word. The Law of first mention would apply here for sure.
3) Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
4) Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with God”
5) Hebrews 1:3 God upholds all things by the word of his power. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Here are some considerations with regard to God’s limitations. Please remember that God cannot do anything that is outside the boundaries of his nature. Some speak foolishly in a philosophical sense and ask if God can create something big he can’t move it. This line of reason doesn’t our present study or within the confines of reason. Please consider some things God cannot do:
1) He cannot look upon iniquity – Habakkuk 1:13
2) He cannot deny himself – 2 Timothy 2:13
3) He cannot lie – Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2
4) He cannot sin – James 1:13
In showing the Sovereignty of Christ we learn that:
1) While Jesus did much while in his earthly tabernacle he was still God manifest in the flesh, meaning that he was still in control.
2) Ephesians 1:17-23 Christ is the head over all as a Sovereign decree of God.
3) Colossians 1:15-20 He is the first-born ( In all authority ) of all creation
4) Revelation 17:14 Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
What it Means for the Believer
1) Since God is Sovereign NOTHING can separate you from his love in Christ. Nothing can or will ever steal that which God has promised and reserved for you in eternity. Romans 8:35-39
2) Since God is Sovereign we know that he upholdeth all things by the word of his power. Hebrews 1:3
3) God’s omnipotence – Means that his care for us is secure for he will uphold us by his right hand – Isaiah 40:10
4) God’s omnipotence means I will never slip from his grace as the scripture states that we “Kept by the power of God through faith” 1 Peter 1:5
5) Psalms 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
6) God’s omnipotence means that we can run to him in a time of trouble – Psalm 46:1
What it means for the Unregenerate
Man wants to be autonomous and yet as hard as he tries he cannot get away from a Sovereign God. When it comes to matters of salvation man flees in the opposite direction they want a god they can come to on their own terms with very little if any thought for a holy God who created the universe.
1) God will judge the wicked in righteousness – Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
2) Because God is Sovereign he determines the best punishment for sin and rebellion
3) Because God is Sovereign he sits on the throne of judgment and because of his holiness his judgments are righteous and true
4) Because God is Sovereign he has the final say and because God is eternal, his condemnation and wrath for sin is eternal
a. The sinner has a predisposition against God and his holiness and that represent it including the Son of God Jesus Christ and his word.
b. Hell and its torments will never cease, never be tempered.
c. There is no peace saith our God unto to the wicked.
Jonathan Edwards – “Man Naturally God’s Enemy” He stated that there are five reasons why the natural man hates God:
1) God’s holiness – We are not holy
2) God’s Omniscience – – He knows we are not holy
3) God’s Omnipotence – Because this offends our autonomy
4) God’s Mercy – Because it is a holy mercy
5) God’s Immutability – Because God will never be less than what he is