Summary: God had the power to win, and His omnipotence is established forever. He can do anything that He wills to do. Thank God there is much He does not will to do, and thank God He is not compelled by His power to do anything contrary to His nature.
Alfred North Whitehead, one of the philosophical giants of
the 20th century, said, "The glorification of power has broken
more hearts than it has healed." He warns against the glorifying
of even God's power. For the abuse of power all through history
makes this attribute produce fear rather than faith.
If the authority figures in one's life have been people who
abused power, than power will be seen as negative. For people
who have lived with a tyrant father, or under a political tyrant,
the concept of an all-powerful God is frightening. Whitehead
points out that power is not good or evil in itself. It can be used
for both, and so it is not worthy of worship in itself. Satan too has
great power, but he is not worthy of worship because of that
power, for his power is devoted to evil, and the destruction of all
that is good.
Back in ancient Greek history men knew that power was
dangerous, and that it was not a good thing even in the hands of
the gods. Aesclyus wrote Prometheus Bound, and in it he tells of
how Prometheus helped Zeus dethrone the Titans, and become
the supreme God. But soon Prometheus was disillusioned, for Zeus
used his power to rule lawlessly. He cared not for what was
good for man, but only about sheer power. He was nothing but a
big bully abusing his power. Prometheus loved man, and he saw
sought to help men by giving him fire and general help in the use
of his gifts and reason.
Zeus despised him for his love of man, and he chained him and
tortured him. Prometheus would not bow to the power of Zeus.
He became the hero of all who fight and resist tyranny. He said,
"Worship, adore, court him who is now in power, But I, for Zeus
less than naught do I care." He predicted that the chief God was
doomed to fall in spite of his power, for power corrupts and leads
to weakness. He said again,
"Then bravely there
Let him sit trusting in his heavenly thunders,
With hands that brandish his fire-breathing blot.
Naught shall avail these to prevent his falling
Ignoble with a fall intolerable."
Here is a pagan poet teaching us that power is not worthy of
worship. If the pagan mind can come to this conclusion, then we
need to be extremely careful in how we promote the omnipotence
of God. It has often been so portrayed that it stimulates rebellion
toward God rather than attraction. That which makes God
attractive and worthy of worship is not His power, but His
goodness. The Bible does not exalt power for power's sake, but,
rather, exalts the moral qualities of God. It is the goodness,
holiness, righteousness, and love that control the power of God.
His power is always devoted to overcoming evil with good.
He has the power to judge and condemn, but that is always the
last choice after He has exhausted every avenue to prevent it by
His grace and mercy. He is not willing that any should perish, but that
all should come to repentance. In His grace He has made
it possible for all to repent and be forgiven. His first use of power
is always positive. It is used to prevent the negative use of power.
The primary task of the prophets was to warn Israel and the
other nations round about, so they could respond in repentance
and obedience and not have to endure the power of God's
The whole Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the
story of God's power in providing a Savior, and God's power in
overcoming Satan and death that there might be adequate
provision for every sinner to become a child of God, and escape
the judgment of God. God's power is directed toward a positive
purpose, and it is limited by love. In other words, although God
is all powerful, He cannot use that power for that which is
inconsistent with His moral attributes. He cannot be unloving
and unholy, and in any way be inconsistent with those attributes
that make Him honorable, admirable, and worthy of our worship.
The God of the Bible cannot be a Zeus, who arbitrarily uses
power to achieve selfish ends regardless of who gets hurt, and
how unjust and immoral it might be. God cannot be a tyrant. All
of His power must enhance the goals of love, and this is what
makes the God of the Bible the God who alone is worthy of our
love and worship. We only love God because He first loved us. If
we do not present to men a God whom they can love, they will not
love Him. That is why it is so important for us to understand the