The limits of power - Hope 103.2

The limits of power

We have to question the belief that God is all-powerful. It seems an obvious article of faith that he is omnipotent. Yet while that may be true in principle, it works out differently in practice. There is much suffering in our world because God chooses not to exercise his ultimate power. He could wipe out poverty, child abuse, injustice, and war in an instant.

By David ReayWednesday 25 Apr 2018LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 2 minutes

Read Psalm 68:34-35

34           Tell everyone about God’s power.
                   His majesty shines down on Israel;
                   his strength is mighty in the heavens.
35           God is awesome in his sanctuary.
                   The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

               Praise be to God! (NLT)

There is a children’s song sung in many churches which speaks of our God being so strong and so mighty that there is nothing he cannot do. Like lots of lyrics of lots of songs, it expresses a certain truth without allowing for subtleties.

Of course in a logical sense God can’t do ‘everything’. He can’t cease to be good, he can’t make a square circle, he can’t refuse to forgive a penitent sinner. A God who can do everything including denying himself is literally nonsensical.

But we also have to question the belief that God is all-powerful. It seems an obvious article of faith that he is omnipotent. Yet while that may be true in principle, it works out differently in practice. There is much suffering in our world because God chooses not to exercise his ultimate power. He could wipe out poverty, child abuse, injustice, and war in an instant.

He chooses not to. He chooses to limit his power in order for us to live as free human beings. He allows us to bear the consequences of our wrong choices and allows evil to flourish. He has the power to do otherwise, but apparently voluntarily limits his power.

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And even as he gives power to his people, we are aware that this power can come in the form of apparent human weakness. So by all means let’s sing of his power and believe in it. But be aware that the way he exercises his power is anything but brute force.

Blessings
David Reay