The Trinity – Omnipotence

OMNIPOTENCE, or the possession of power or energy of personality without limitation, is a natural attribute of the Godhead: Ge. 17:1; Ex. 6:1-3, 6-7; Job 33:4; Ps. 91:1; Jer. 32:17-19; Eze. 10:4-5; Joel 1:14-15 (“Almighty” used 47 times in the Old Testament); II Co. 6:16-18; Re. 1:8; 4:8; 11:15-17; 15:2-4; 19:5-9, 14-16; 21:22.

Thus the Bible inspires the concept that God is all-powerful, or possesses power or energy of personality without limitation as far as force is concerned. Nothing shall fail to be done for lack of Divine energy. This, however, does not mean that there are no limitations imposed upon Divine omnipotence. God has power (control) over His power.

  1. Natural impossibilities are limitations in the operation of Divine omnipotence. For example, God “cannot deny Himself” (II Tim. 2:13); cannot modify His natural attributes (He. 11:6); cannot make a thing to be and not to be at the same time; cannot abolish the laws of mathematics, two and two can never equal five in any realm.
  2. God’s nature and moral character impose penal limitations. God is able to do whatever He wills (except with moral beings), but His will is limited to doing those things which are in harmony with His wise and holy and perfect character. God cannot do things contrary to Himself. This is not a defect in Divine omnipotence but a perfection of the Divine Being.
  3. God’s will limits His abounding energy, in that God simply has not chosen to bring to pass everything that is possible. God has not exhausted Himself in what He has purposed to bring into existence.
  4. Man as an endowed moral being has been given the ability to limit the omnipotence of God in his sphere of Mankind by their rebellion against God and their obstinacy in refusing the mercy and forgiveness through the atoning death of Christ have imposed very great limitations upon God’s will and happiness (II Kgs. 17:12- 15; Is. 1:2-4; 63:10; Zech. 1:2-4; Mt. 23:37). God in creating moral creatures with the power of contrary choice made this a possibility. Evidently the achievement of a moral world of beings who would voluntarily choose to live intelligently was deemed of greater value than an unlimited display of omnipotence.

God is now choosing to live with a restrained sovereignty. The only way to assert His total sovereignty would be to eliminate all disobedient moral beings from the universe, or to keep them continually under pressure of absolute control by an intruding mental causation. But to compel moral beings to act is to eliminate the reason for their creation. The power of contrary choice establishes the moral worth of voluntary worship. When the Lord Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10), He was affirming that man was limiting the will of God on earth.’

Source: Gordon Olson, The Truth Shall Make You Free, The Truth About The Nature and Character of God, p. 31-32 (Illinois, Bible Research Fellowship Inc., 1980).

‘The consensus of Christian thinkers ranging from Thomas Aquinas to C. S. Lewis is that imnipotence, or perfect power, does not mean simply that God can do anything. [1] We cannot put just any combination of words after the expression “God can” and make a coherent statement. We cannot say, for example, that God can make a square circle or add two and two and get five or make a rock so big that He cannot lift it. This does not mean that there is something that God cannot do. Making square circles and the like is not doing something. It is literally nonsense. It implies no deficiency in divine power to say that God cannot do the logically impossible, not because the logically impossible lies beyond God’s power but because it is not anythind “doable.”‘

Source: Richard Rice, God’s Foreknowledge & Man’s Free Will, p. 54 (Minneapolis, Bethany House Publishers, 1985).

Footnote:

[1] “Nothing which implies contradiction falls under the omnipotence of God” (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, la, Question 25, Article 4, quoted in C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain [New York: The Macmillan Company, 1962], p. 26). According to Lewis himself, “Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible” (Ibid., p. 28).

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