2. Omnipotence

By James M. Rochford

This word comes from “omni” meaning “all” and “potent” meaning “power.” This means that God is all-powerful. Consider several verses on this subject:

(Gen. 17:1) Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.

(Rev. 19:6) Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

(Gen. 1:1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

(Ps. 33:6, 9) By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host… For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

(Jer. 32:17) ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.

(Gen. 18:14) “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

(Job 42:1-2) Then Job answered the LORD and said, 2I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

Is God powerful enough to create a stone so heavy that he cannot move it?

This objection is what philosophers call a category error. That is, it is confusing subjects. Is God powerful enough to commit adultery? Is God powerful enough to create another God to bow down and worship? Is God powerful enough to make a square triangle? Is God powerful enough make a married bachelor? Each of these questions are category errors.

These questions are similar to saying, “Is God powerful enough to act contrary to his own character?” or “Is God powerful enough to do something logically contradictory?” However, God cannot create a logical contradiction. God cannot do the illogical, because these are not things at all. They are incoherent concepts. They aren’t achievements to be accomplished.[1]

All things are possible for God (Mt. 19:26; Mk. 14:36), but this refers to all logical possibilities. This means God can do whatever he wants. God’s power is unbounded except by his own nature (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17; 2 Tim. 2:13).

Moreover, if the critic really wants God to do something logically incoherent, then we don’t mind if the canons of logic can be broken. If logic can be broken, then there would be nothing wrong with God creating such a stone. Therefore, the critic cannot have it both ways: either logic exists and God cannot create this stone, or logic doesn’t exist and therefore there is no contradiction presented. Philosophers Taliaferro and Marty write, “Part of the problem with this argument, by the way, is that by insisting that omnipotence should include the ability to do the logically incoherent, it removes our ability to think about these matters at all.”[2]

Application

When we adopt a robust view of God’s omnipotence, a number of practical implications closely follow:

Miracles are not difficult for God. The miraculous is no more impossible for God than the non-miraculous. These are distinctions that we make—not God. Both are equally possible for him.

God is able (and willing) to transform our character. God is able to change and grow us. Specifically, God is able to change our characters, no matter how big our problems are (Eph. 1:18-20; 3:20). While we are impotent to make things happen (Jn. 15:5), God can do anything through us (Phil. 4:13).

God is able to use us in ministry. God is able to use you to accomplish his purposes (2 Cor. 3:6; 12:10). Jesus said, “The gates of Hades will not overpower [my church]” (Mt. 16:18).

God is infinitely more powerful than Satan and demons. God is more powerful than Satan (1 Jn. 4:4). Compare this with secular occult movies which portray God as coequal (e.g. “The Omen”).



[1] There is a difference between a logical impossibility and a feasible impossibility. It is logically impossible for God to force someone to make a free-willed decision. It is logically possible that Judas could have protected Christ (instead of betraying him), but it was not feasibly possible, because he chose not to.

[2] By Charles Taliaferro and Elsa J. Marty. Edited by Copan, Paul, and William Lane Craig. Contending with Christianity’s Critics: Answering New Atheists & Other Objectors. Nashville: B & H Academic, 2009. 196.