God is omnipotent; all-powerful, there is nothing He can’t do. The Bible is pretty clear on that.
After all, God created the heavens and the earth with just a word. “Let there be… and there was…” [see Gen 1]. And it didn’t deplete His reserves of energy in the slightest. Even though the creation account tells us that God rested on the 7th day, He didn’t rest because He was exhausted.
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” the Lord says in Jer 32:27. He does whatever He pleases [Ps 115:3]. With Him, all things are possible [Matt 19:26]. He is the Almighty who reigns [Rev 19:6].
God is so powerful that He can even turn the heart of a king in any direction He wants to. Who can stand before the Lord?
So then, can God create a rock so heavy that even He can’t lift it? If we say no, He can’t, then there is something God can’t do, thus He must not be omnipotent.
It the answer is yes, He can, then if God can’t lift the rock, He is not omnipotent. Ha, gotcha! Answer that one, Christians!
It’s not a new ‘gotcha question.’ In fact, it goes back at least to the 12th century. And there are other versions that predate it by several hundred years.
As a matter of fact, God is not entirely omnipotent, as Mike showed us on Sunday. There are some things God can’t do, besides the silly rock gotcha.
For starters, God can’t deny Himself [see 2Tim 2:11-13]. Then He can’t be tempted [Jas 1:13]. It is also impossible for God to lie [Heb 6:17-18].
The reason God can’t do these things is because they go against His nature. And God – to be God – must and will always act in accordance with His nature. His very nature as a rational and holy being means it is not just undesirable for God to lie or be tempted, but it is impossible for Him to lie or be tempted.
God is all of His nature and characteristics and attributes all of the time. At no time does He slip up and act contrary to His nature.
This is good news for us. For it means we have a God who is not only powerful enough to create the universe, but is powerful enough to provide for our needs and powerful enough to care for us through times of trouble.
And the fact that He never goes against His nature means that He is entirely reliable. When He sent His Son to defeat sin, death and the devil, He was powerful enough to ensure that Jesus did exactly that. It was never a gamble, never a coin toss whether that would be achieved.
And when He says that He has set His love on us and will bring us safely through life and into eternity, He is powerful enough and faithful enough to do exactly that too.
God is powerful enough and holy enough to wipe us out for our sin and rebellion against Him. And yet He doesn’t. His love towards us never fails, and His power brings us close to Him.
I can trust a God like that. Can you?