A couple of weeks ago we began our theological journey and I hope I was able to convince you that you are, indeed, theologians. We looked at what it means that God is holy, then last week at the essential childlikeness of our God. Today I shift gears a bit and look at what it means that God is omnipotent. It literally means that God is all-powerful. I’m going to begin by looking at the Biblical evidence and then ask the question of what it means to apply the adjective holy to our description of His omnipotence.
At least twice in the gospels we encounter the phrase that with God all things are possible, or that nothing is impossible with God. In the first instance the words came from the archangel Gabriel addressing the virgin Mary when he told her that she would have a baby. She rightly objects, asking the question of how that could be possible, never having had sexual relations with a man. Gabriel responded, Luke 1:37 (NIV) “For nothing is impossible with God.” The laws of nature state that for a pregnancy to take place there must be a union of a male sperm with a female ovum. That’s just what happens. If you drop an object, the law of gravity says that the object will fall and not rise.
Let’s look at another instance of how an insurmountable barrier was overcome by the omnipotence of God – the resurrection. Romans 1:4 (NLT) “He was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.” Over my forty years of vocational ministry, I have conducted many funerals and never have they been interrupted by the corpse sitting up in their casket, alive again. Death is final. Once you are dead, you are dead. Even those people who have had so-called “near death experiences”, eventually died and were buried. Only the power of God can resurrect someone who has died.
One last example of the power of God at work – creation. The Old Testament begins with the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We are told that there was nothing there, it was empty and void. Creation came from nothing. Theologians, use the Latin phrase creatio ex nihilo, meaning creation out of nothing, to describe God’s act of creation. It wasn’t that all the materials were there, and God had to rearrange them to accomplish creation. He didn’t go to Ikea and purchase a “Make your own universe” kit, some assembly required. Out of nothing He created, and He did it with the power of His word. He said, “Let there be light” and there was light. In his beautiful allegory, The Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis describes the creation of Narnia poetically as arising from the singing of Aslan.
The virgin birth, Jesus’ resurrection and creation all testify to the omnipotence of God. That’s the broad outline. Let me fill in some of the details. When Iona and I spent an afternoon playing with our grandsons, we were tired at the end of the day, and we slept that night. God doesn’t get tired. In Psalm 122 we read that God neither slumbers nor sleeps. He doesn’t need to rejuvenate. His power does not diminish. It isn’t that God used to be all-powerful, but now, well, He’s older and sometimes isn’t quite up to the task. In the book of Hebrews, we’re told that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn’t age, He doesn’t change, He doesn’t need rest and His power doesn’t diminish. He is now, He has always been, and He will always be omnipotent.
One last thought – His omnipotence is holy. Think for a minute of what it would be like if God were all-powerful, but not holy, not good. By definition, omnipotence says that nothing is impossible with God. There is nothing that is so difficult that God’s power is overmatched, but there is a limit to what God can do – He cannot do anything that is contrary to His essential quality of goodness or holiness. God cannot do anything that is evil. While He may not always do what we would like Him to, He will never use His power for evil.
So, till the next time, Keep the Son in Your Eyes.