7. Omnipotence

Omnipotence (Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, Victor Books, 1986,) p. 40.

  1. Meaning. Omnipotence means that God is all-powerful and able to do anything consistent with His own nature. In actuality He has not chosen to do even all the things that would be consistent with Himself for reasons known ultimately only to Himself.
  2. Scripture. The word “Almighty” is used only of God in the Bible, occurring fifty-six times, and is the basis for the concept of omnipotence. God revealed Himself as the Almighty One to Abraham (Gen. 17:1), to Moses (Ex. 6:3), to believers (2 Cor. 6:18), and to John several times in the Revelation (1:8; 19:6).
  3. A question. Does omnipotence have any limitations? The answer is yes, and in two areas: natural limitations and self-imposed limitations. The natural limitations include the things God cannot do because they are contrary to His nature. He cannot lie (Titus 1:2), He cannot be tempted to sin (James 1:13), He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). Self-imposed limitations include those things He has not chosen to include in His plan which He might have included as long as they were not contrary to His nature. He did not choose to spare His Son: He did not choose to save all people. He did not choose all nations in Old Testament times: He did not choose Esau: He did not choose to spare James (Acts 12:2). Though He could have done any of these things without being inconsistent with omnipotence. He did not choose to do so in His plan.

Questions like, Can God make 2 + 2= 6, do not imply any deficiency in His omnipotence. That particular question is I the realm of arithmetic, not power. One might as well ask if a nuclear explosion could make 2 + 2= 6. More importantly, God cannot ever make wrong right.

  1. Ramifications. In the past, God’s power was seen in Creation (Ps. 33:9), in preserving all things (Heb. 1:3), and in delivering Israel from Egypt (Ps. 114). But the greatest display of His power was the resurrection of Christ from the dead (2 Cor. 13:4). For the believer, God’s power relates to the Gospel (Rom. 1:16), to his security (1 Pet. 1:5), to his hope of bodily resurrection (1 Cor. 6:14), and to daily living (Eph. 1:9).