Apostles’ Creed: Almighty

What does it mean when we say God is Almighty? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Almighty is one of those terms that is really misunderstood. There is this idea that if God is all-powerful, then that means that He can do anything. This is not the case. Scripture explicitly tells us that God cannot lie, for instance. There are a number of other things He cannot do. He cannot change. He cannot cease to exist. He cannot do evil. This is because those violate His nature.

He also cannot do nonsense. C.S. Lewis said years ago that nonsense does not cease to be nonsense simply because you add the words “God can” before it. God cannot make a square circle. God cannot make 2 + 2 = 5. God also cannot make a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it.

When it comes to something like the problem of evil also, God cannot make someone who is free and then have them be forced to choose Him either. Forced freedom is a contradiction in terms. If God is going to make creatures that are going to be free, then He is going to make them so that they are just as free to rebel as they are free to make the choice to love Him.

Here’s something else to consider. Just because God has all power it does not mean that He will always use it. God will allow some things to happen in order to bring about a good that could be unreachable through any other means. Like it or not, many times pain is the only way God has to reach us. We don’t really respond to pleasure. We like pleasure and we enjoy it and we want more of it, but we don’t really learn much of the good that we learn in life through pleasure.

It is in suffering that we learn the most. How many of us look back on a hard time in our life and say “That was horrible and I would never want to go through it again and I would not wish it on another, but in the long run, I am thankful that I went through it. It turned out to be a time in my life when I learned the most.”

Pain has a way of reminding us that we are not in charge and that we need to rely on someone greater than ourselves. It breaks into our world where we all attempt to be the god of our own universe and shows us that there are realities that are beyond our control and we need to rely on something greater than ourselves.

God is all-powerful, but He is also all-knowing and we must trust that if He does not do what we think He should be doing, that He has a greater good in mind beyond the pain. Note also that I am not saying either that all of this is directly caused by God. One of the last claims to make is that any natural disaster, for instance, is the wrath of God inflicted on a people. It could be, but we don’t have the right to make such a claim.

What we do have the right to do is to trust in God and in His power in the midst of our suffering. Let us also remember that by the resurrection, we know that He has conquered the ultimate enemy of death. God has the power to raise us all from the dead and bless us abundantly despite any suffering we endure in this lifetime. Let us make sure to rest easily. Our God is omnipotent.

In Christ,
Nick Peters