Can God Do Anything?
I was raised a Lutheran and in my catechism class I learned about God’s attributes. Two of them are God is omniscient (Job 21:22 Psalm 147:4-5) and omnipotent (Job 11:7-11 Job 37:23). If God is all knowing and all powerful then of course He can do anything……..or can He? This is a common idea most Christians believe but can God really do anything?
I think we must first define what we mean when we say ‘omnipotent’. As Christians we need to be careful about what ‘all powerful’ really means. It’s easy to think that God can do everything because He is, well, an all powerful God. Right? Let’s approach this with the following example. One of the more popular questions I get on the Internet is “Can God create a rock so big He can’t lift it?” If you’ve never heard that question before just stop and ponder that for a second. On the surface this can be quite a head scratcher. Whether you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ puts God in a precarious position. If He can’t create a boulder that big he’s not all powerful. If he can create a boulder so big that He can’t lift it then, once again, it shows God is not all powerful. Do you see the sneaky ‘gotcha’ to this question?
Here’s what most people miss. It’s a nonsensical question. God has limitless power but this question asks if God can use his limitless power to somehow limit his power. This is logically impossible. It would be like asking God to make a square circle or create a married bachelor. Both of these are logically impossible and therefore not something even God himself could do. Keep in mind this doesn’t, in any way, affect his omnipotence since what’s being asked of God is simply a logical impossibility.
In addition to not being able to do things that are logically impossible is there anything else God can’t do? For that let’s crack open our Bibles and see what His own words have to say.
In 1 John 3:5 it says “and there is no sin in Him”. This is found as well in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He made the One who did not know sin”. God’s nature is morally perfect and because of that He cannot sin. This is explored further In Titus 1:2 where it states “in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began”. Lying would be a sin and therefore would contradict His morally perfect nature.
Can God do anything? He can but only as long as it’s logically possible and doesn’t conflict with God’s morally perfect nature.