Contradicting God’s Power?

all things possible 1

Q. Jesus dying on the cross is the only way to take us from our punishment for our sins. If there is any another way, God would have answered Jesus prayer of taking this cup away from Him. But doesn’t this contradict the fact that with God, everything is possible?

A. No it does not. We need to be careful how we interpret theological statements:
Mt 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Also Mk 10:27, Lk 18:27)
• Lk 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.

When the Bible says with God all things are possible, and nothing will be impossible with God, it was contrasting what’s humanly very hard, to the point of being almost impossible, namely for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, or a barren woman to conceive a son in her old age, with what’s divinely possible. It does not mean absolute impossibility, since rich people like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in God’s kingdom (Mt 8:11; Lk 13:28).

What it means is that anything that can be accomplished with power is possible with God, as God’s power is unlimited, and nothing is too difficult for Him:
Gen 18:14 Is anything too difficult for the LORD?
• Num 11:23 The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”
• Jer 32:17 ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,
• Jer 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?

But doesn’t God’s omnipotence means He can do anything and everything without limitation? The answer is both yes and no. Yes He can do anything achievable with power, but no He cannot act against His own nature:
2 Tim 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
• Tit 1:12 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
• Heb 6:18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
• Jas 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

There is no external limit to His power; but His power is subject to His nature of being absolutely holy and utterly opposed to evil. As such He is faithful, cannot lie, and cannot be tempted, because He cannot deny His nature. His divine being, who He is, demands this, and He can never change (immutable). Therefore it is more theologically correct to qualify the statement “with God all things are possible” with the clause “consistent with His nature“, which the biblical narrative omits as it is not a theology textbook.

Now back to the question “does Jesus’ death on the cross being the only way to save us contradict with God all things are possible?”. No it does not. Humanly speaking it is impossible to save mankind any other way. Only the perfect Son of God becoming our substitute can atone for our sins, and Jesus did exactly that. What’s impossible with people is possible with God.

In classical logic, the law of non-contradiction states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time i.e. something cannot be both true and not true at the same time in the same sense. Here the statements “Jesus’ death is the only way” and “with God all things are possible” are not mutually exclusive. There is no contradiction.

Disproving God?

rock 5

Q. My junior highs asked “Can God create a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it?” If He can such that He can’t lift it, then He’s not omnipotent. If He can’t, then He’s not omnipotent as well. Either way God is not omnipotent. How would you answer them?

A. Elementary. This is a common question posed by skeptics who think they can disprove God’s omnipotence or His existence, but it only betrays their ignorance.

The Bible asserts that all things are possible with God:
Mt 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
• Mk 10:27 Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
• Lk 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.
• Lk 18:27 But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”

But the same Bible also asserts that there are some things which are impossible for God:
Lk 6:18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, …
• Tit 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
• 2 Tim 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

So it is impossible for God to lie, and for Him to deny Himself. The superficial would claim that the Bible is self-contradictory, but the correct understanding is that with God all things that are consistent with His nature are possible. God cannot act against His nature. Because God is the “God of truth” (Ps 31:5; Is 65:16), therefore He cannot lie. Because God is the “faithful God” (Deut 7:9), He is faithful (1 Co 1:9, 10:13; 2 Co 1:18) and cannot deny Himself.

God gave us the ability to reason (Is 1:18), to use logic, therefore He will not do something that is self-contradictory, because that would be against His nature. Just as God will not draw a square circle, or make a two-sided triangle, He will not create a stone too heavy for Him to lift, because these things are non-sensible, contrary to His nature. God does not do things that are absurd to Him, though some things may be enigmatic to us who know so little.

So the short answer is “No”. God does not do self-contradictory things, because to do so would be to deny His nature. The issue is not a matter of power, His omnipotence, which is infinite because God is infinite. The issue is a matter of man’s limited knowledge, who thinks he can stump God with illogical contradictions when God gave him the ability to think in the first place. Such is the arrogance of man.