Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | July 6, 2006

Almighty God

Since our last entry many things have happened in our world that can cause worry and distress.  A major event that is of concern is the recent test missile launches performed by North Korea.  This country is not only persecuted Christians and seeking to suppress Christ’s Church, but they are also seeking to be a nuclear power to assert their influence in the world.  It has been reported that this nation already has nuclear weapons and that they have the technology to fire missiles within a range of 6,000 miles (enough to hit the West Coast of the US).  As a matter of fact, the missile being tested was reportedly the ones that were supposed to have this range.  Fortunately, these tests were failures and did not remain in the air for more than a minute.  However, it proves their determination and ambition to obtain the capabilities of threatening our nation. 

This news is discouraging and if you also consider the similar ambition of the Iranians there is cause for great concern.  Nonetheless, the Christian need not be overwhelmed with despair since we are comforted with the knowledge that our God is more powerful than these rogue nations and is in control of all things.  Thus, today’s topic is timely indeed considering the realities confronting our world at this time.  We continue with our overview of Article 1 of the Belgic Confession by focusing on the fact that our God is Almighty (all powerful or omnipotent) and Sovereign.  

When we consider that our God is all powerful we can acknowledge that nothing is impossible or too difficult for Him.  He has power and the authority to do anything.  However, we must qualify what we mean by anything, which can be construed in such a way that is not within reason.  By this we concede that God can do anything that is reasonable or logical.  Francis Turretin elaborates on this in his Institutes:  

Now although his power is not extended to contradictories, its infinity must not therefore be considered as limited.  The power of every agent must be estimated from its proper object.  Now the proper object of divine power is that which is not repugnant.  Therefore when he is said to be omnipresent or able to do all things, the word “all things” distributes only entities, under which impossible and contradictory things are not contained.  God can indeed do things which are above man’s reason because he is able to do all we ask or think (Eph 3:20), but not things contrary to reason.  If he can do things which are impossible to men (i.e. surpassing human strength), it does not immediately follow that he can do things impossible with the reason (i.e. repugnant to reason).  3.21.8-9 

We acknowledge that nothing is impossible to God, however He cannot do things that are not possible.  For example, God cannot create a square circle, a married bachelor, or another God.  All of these are examples of things that are contradictory or repugnant to reason. 

God’s Sovereignty naturally flows from His omnipotence since He has the means and the right to do what He wants.  He is God, so it is prudent to assign Him with the license to do as He pleases.  Many people in our day, including Christians may not like to here this message.  However, this seems to necessarily not let God be who He is which is an independent and self-powerful being.  Francis Turretin describes this very well in the following section of his Institutes: 

The principal property of God’s dominion is that it is not only universal but also absolute and unlimited.  For as God is an independent and truly self-powerful (autoexousios) being, so he is evidently irresponsible (anypeuthynos), liable to no censure or judgment (Job 9:12; Dan 4:25) who can do with his own what he will (Mt 20:15) and with whom no one can contend or say to him, why hast thou done this? Although the reason of his works and judgments may be hidden from us (Job 33:13):  “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast made me thus? (Rom 9:20, 21).  3.22.4 

Turretin accurately characterizes that the testimony of Scripture proclaims that God is absolutely sovereign and His dominion extends to all things.  Whether we like it or not this is the case.   

Finally, it should be pointed out that the attribute under discussion is very clearly also ascribed to the Lord Jesus Christ.  In our review of the deity of Christ we did not consider this, however it should be factored into the discussion as an additional proof for our Savior’s deity.  Again we turn to Turretin in his Institutes who affirms this in the following:  

Omnipotence is ascribed to him in Rev 1:8 and 11:17 where he is called the Almighty (pantokrator).  In Jn 5:17 he is said to do all things which the Father does; and in Heb 1:3, to uphold all things by the word of his power.  Nor, if the Son can do nothing of himself by reason of order and origin, does it immediately follow that his power is limited and dependent.  For a diversity of order does not make a diversity of essence and virtue.  In Mt 28:18, all power is said to be given to him, which necessarily supposes omnipotence; for he could not have all power in heaven and earth as Mediator, unless he has omnipotence as God.  3.28.17 

Although there are many discouraging things that are occurring in our world, our comfort is in the knowledge that none of these events are outside of the control of our God.  He has ordained everything and has the authority to do so.  Thus, we need not be distressed when the ungodly seek to engage in harm or destruction.  God’s plan will prevail and we can be assured that His plan is good. 

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