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THEOLOGY > God > God's Essence > God is Omnipotent    


God is omnipotent; He is all powerful—He is God Almighty (Gen. 17:1; 18:13-14; Ps. 62:11; 115:3; 135:6; Jer. 32:17; Matt. 19:26; Mk. 14:36, 62; Lu. 1:37; II Cor. 6:18; Eph. 3:20; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 1:8; 4:8). No created person nor any existing thing can harm Him or remove Him and nothing against Him will stand. God’s power is supreme. Jesus is said to be sitting “at the right hand of the Power” (Mk. 14:62).

God’s omnipotence focuses upon His ability to accomplish His eternal purpose—His will cannot be thwarted.  He is never bound nor restrained; He performs all His pleasure, and when He acts, His power is not diminished. God said: “Let there be light, and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). Repeatedly in the first chapter of Genesis God spoke expressing His will, and what He spoke came to pass. It came to pass for God is able to cause it to come to pass. What He wills He does, because He is able. The question is asked: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:28), and the answer is that with God nothing is impossible.

But He does not do all He could do. From stones He could have raised up children to Abraham (Matt. 3:9), but He didn’t. Nor did He send twelve legions of angels to assist the Son in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:53). There is the possible with God and there is the actual with God. “In fact, God is able to do more than he actually does” (Grudem, ST, 217). Omnipotence is consistent with wisdom, because the exercise of His power is always consistent with Deity. His power is not exercised in a manner contrary to His holiness, His righteousness, His love; always the exercise of omnipotence is constant with the Divine Essence.

What is true of the exercise of omnipotence is true of each of the attributes, for the exercise by God of any of His attributes never violates the Divine Essence—God does not deny Himself. No act of God is inconsistent with God being God; that is, no act of God contradicts God.

God’s power is the assurance that His purpose will be fulfilled; He will not be turned aside from His plan. All He wills will take place. Through Isaiah God speaks: “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand” (14:24; see: God is Sovereign). Two questions are then raised: “For YHWH of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (v. 27). God’s omnipotence assures that His purpose will not be annulled or turned back from accomplishing its intent. Omnipotence gives actuality to God’s will, causing it to come to pass. It is impossible for God to think what will be and it not happen. What God wills, He is able to do. “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115:3).

Omnipotence does not imply the absolute power to do anything or to do everything. God never wills to do what is wrong. God cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2). Would the ability to lie make God more powerful? God cannot commit adultery. Would the ability to commit adultery make God more powerful? God cannot covet. Would the ability to covet make God more powerful? “No” is the obvious answer to these questions. Lying, immorality, and covetousness are all sins; and sins do not make one stronger but weaker. God cannot act contrary to His nature, for “He cannot deny Himself” (II Tim. 2:13).

Behind the seemingly triumph of sin in the world is the omnipotent God who will ultimately and finally exercise His power by judging sin. If God is all powerful, then there cannot be another who is all powerful, for two cannot possess all power, only One. There cannot be two superlatives. Thus, dualism which asserts the equal power and existence of two opposing realities, good and evil, cannot be accepted. Evil is less powerful than Good; Satan is not on the same plane with God. Evil and evil men will not be victorious, for their glory is but for a moment. God is able to subject all things to Himself, and in the consummation He will.

The believer who feels weak and frail, exposed to and at the mercy of sinful men, can find security and a sense of protection in His knowledge that God is able to keep him safe if He so chooses. Our well-being is not in our hands but in His omnipotent hands. Our security is in Him. We are to rest in Him, trusting Him, knowing that our fragile existence is maintained, according to His purpose for us, by His omnipotence.

Ah, Lord Yahweh!
Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth
by Your great power and outstretched arm.
There is nothing too hard for You.
Jer. 32:17

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