Summary: This continues part 1 and deals with some very specific things the Bible says that God cannot do because of his nature and will.
GOD IN OMNIPOTENT PART 2
By Pastor Glenn Pease
It is a great paradox, but the fact is, the real test of omnipotence is what it can do when it limits itself, and gives up absolute and total control. Absolute and total control means the power is not shared with other being. All is just as you will, and there can be no freedom of choice made by any other will. That is one concept of omnipotence, and it is a powerful picture, for there is no power other than the one with this kind of omnipotence. This would seem, on the surface of things, to be the ultimate in power. To have all power so completely that there is no other source of power in existence. It would seem that you could go no higher, or could there be a higher way?
Yes there could be! Just do as God does in the Bible. He creates other beings who also have power. Some of them have very great power, like the angels and archangels. Satan had enough power to challenge his creator, and even take a vast host of other beings with him in rebellion. Then God created man with the power of free will, and it is also capable of choices that are not His will. This is all so risky, for it puts God’s omnipotence to the test. The God who takes no much risk, but keeps all in His own control, is no where near as powerful as the God of the Bible, who can take these kinds of risks, and still be able to have ultimate control, and victory in achieving His purpose.
The God of the Bible has the ability to give up control, and still win and achieve His goal. God takes on enormous limitations to His power. He cannot let men be free to choose, and at the same time force them to choose only good. He could have, had He made them mere machines, but He made them persons in His own image, and so they are free. This puts a limit on His power. God says that they are not to steal, but gives them the power to steal. They will have to pay for their disobedience, but they are free to choose. Cannot God stop people from stealing? Yes He can, but He will not, for His purpose is not to force people into obedience, but to persuade them to choose obedience.
If God has really created beings who can choose, then there is a multiplicity of power sources in the world. He can no longer then be the only cause for all that is. There are now other power sources who can cause things to be that He does not will to be. Since He chose this sharing of power, He can also freely change it if He chooses. His limiting of His own power does not in any change His sovereignty, He is still the source of all power, and He can make all other sources of power cease to be. But by going through with the plan to the end, God will demonstrate a far greater omnipotence than a God who fears to take a chance, and holds onto all power for Himself. That would be taking the easy way out, but the God of the Bible is a risk taker.
If love, justice, holiness, truth, and beauty are the end result for all eternity after the risk of evil, hate, war, injustice, and all the ugliness of sin, then God will have demonstrated an omnipotence that is not a mere victory of power, but of love and wisdom, and this is the kind of omnipotence that is worthy of our love, worship, and praise.
So now we have a logical answer to all of the why questions. Why doesn’t God do something to stop or prevent all the evil? All such questions are based on the omnipotent God concept which we have shown is a philosophical illusion, and is not the God of biblical revelation. All such questions imply that God can do whatever He wants. This leads to all sorts of false conclusions. God can do whatever He wants, but He does not want to take full control of all power and end His experiment of giving freedom to other powers. Those who condemn God for doing so would not want the alternative of all humans being mere robots programmed to do everything as God wills. We do not like the evil that freedom produces, but we also would not want to give up our freedom, and so we live in a world where much is evil, and not what God wills.
The biblical concept of omnipotence reveals a God who not only cares about the suffering that evil produces, He enters into the suffering Himself. We seldom think of it, but God has problems that He must solve also. The problem He had was in how to save fallen man, and the only He could justly do it was to enter the world of suffering Himself. The cross was the price that God had to pay for allowing man to be free. It was that important to God to keep men free. Jesus was the only one who could pay the price to redeem man, and He did it with joy because of the eternal fellowship He would have with all of those who would receive His salvation by faith.