The Omnipotence Paradox

The omnipotence paradox originates from problems and misunderstandings that some people have with the nature of God. A majority of the omnipotence paradox difficulties have to do with contradictions that some people imagine for God, limiting His abilities though He claims to be without limit in his power:

  • Can God create a rock so big that He cannot lift it?
  • Is human free will cancelled by God’s omnipotence?

The problem with these questions is obvious. It assumes that God can do anything and if he cannot, He is not omnipotent. The premise is wrong. There are things that God cannot do.

  1. God cannot learn.
  2. God cannot sin.
  3. God cannot die.
  4. God cannot lie.
  5. God cannot change.
  6. God cannot violate His unity.
  7. God cannot allow sin to go unpunished.

God cannot do anything that is contrary to His nature; Holiness, righteousness, Justice, Grace, Mercy, Power, or Eternality.

We can add to this list: God cannot do anything that is superfluous. Demanding that God try to create a rock so big He cannot lift, is equal to demanding that God learn. The God of the Bible has known all things for eternity and there is nothing that He must learn. Therefore, He would not do anything that is unneeded.

The question of God’s omnipotence in determining all events in advance is seen as a paradox alongside God allowing the free will of human beings.

God Is Omnipotent, Omniscient; It’s All His Fault

The Premise Of This Argument:

God alone determines all that will happen, therefore, human beings cannot change what God has determined. In spite of this, God punishes people with hell for not doing what He has already determined.

Again, errors of assumptions are made in arriving at these conclusions.

First, God knowing everything that will happen is not the same as God making everything turn out in a way that removes the choices of people. We do not find this anywhere in the Bible. What we find is that God knows what will happen, but He also holds each person individually responsible for the decisions they make. God knows the decisions that every person will make and He makes His choices about who will live with Him, based upon His knowledge of all things.

We see an example of this in the Book of Acts, 2:22-23. In this text, Peter is describing what the Jews and Romans did to Jesus is arresting Him, accusing Him of crimes worthy of death, and crucifying Him.

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 1. Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, 2. you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death. ~Acts 2:22-23

Notice That We See Two Things Acting Together In The Death Of Jesus:

  1. He was delivered to be crucified by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God.
  2. Human beings acted on their own to take Jesus and crucify Him.

We see both the sovereign will of God acting to deliver His Son so that all human beings could have the penalty for their sins paid and receive eternal life. We also see that men exercised their own choice and took Jesus, crucified Him, and put Him to death. God neither forced these men to do these things, nor compelled them to do so.

Here we see that although God is all powerful and can do anything, He also allows all of us to make our own choices. Either we can do what is right, or we can do what is wrong. God does not interfere in our choices, but He does hold us accountable for the consequences of our choices.

We see an example of this in the Gospels where a rich young ruler comes to Jesus in Matthew 19:16-22, and asks what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. The rich young ruler says that he has kept all these requirements. Jesus said that if he wants to be perfect, he should go and sell all that he owns and give the money to the poor. Although the rich young ruler had kept all the laws of God, his material wealth was more important to him than his relationship with God. In doing this, he had broken the first commandment, to have no other gods before the Lord. When we make wealth or possessions more important to us than God, these things become a god to us. In doing this, we also break the law of covetousness.

The rich young ruler turned away and did not do what Jesus said. Jesus did not try to force him to do what he should. He allowed this young man to make his own choice, walk away and not receive the eternal life he had asked for.

There is no paradox in the omnipotence of God. We each have choices, and God allows us to make our own choices. God knows all things and can do all things, but He does not interfere with our right to decide our own eternal destiny. God did not choose some people for heaven and others for hell. He knows who will make this choice for themselves and He makes His own choices about who He wants to live with Him, based upon what He knows about our choices.

God chooses people for eternal life who choose Jesus and do what they should in receiving Him. All of God’s plans and purposes are based upon His knowledge of all things, before the universe was created. Jesus volunteered to die for our sins before the universe was created (Revelation 13:8). God knew who would receive Christ beforehand, but Jesus still died for the sins of every person, even those who would reject Him. He did this because He wanted to demonstrate that he loved us before He created us, and He wanted all of us to be saved. God works out His plans alongside what He knows that people will do, and causes all things to turn out for the good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Categories: Common objections by Atheists, God knows all things, God's Sovereignty, Omnipotence Paradox, Robert Clifton Robinson, The Laws of God, The Nature of God, Why God Permits Evil

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