Jesus-watches-his-disciplesI am intrigued about the assumptions that often seem to be lurking behind discussions about God’s power (omnipotence = all powerful) and God’s responsibility for the evils in this world (theodicy). There is a vast difference between enforcement (power taking) and empowerment (power giving). From what I understand of God through Jesus, God is more interested in the latter than the former.

2 thoughts on “Have we understood omnipotence correctly?

  1. I agree and in my experience I have noticed that individuals think a God that is all powerful should “control” everything and this is the meaning of “power.” This is the human idea of power as this can be witnessed by attending most fellowships or observing the government. People in positions of power use it to control the masses. I grew up in fellowships where the pastor controlled every facet of the fellowship. I see it much like you do, a truly powerful Being would demonstrate this power by giving us the ability to “choose” to love Him. When I blog with atheists they always try to make the point that an all powerful God would intervene in everything and control. In reality an all powerful being will do the opposite. He already created everything else, the Earth and everything in nature, why would an all powerful being create just to control? I am not God but this seems quite exhausting to me. The fellowship I attend now is one where the leaders empower the believers to “go” and flow in the area that God is instructing them to flow.


  2. Theodicy is the defence of God’s justice.
    Creating a humanity that can and does exercise free will suggests that the Creator is far less controlling than many people presume.
    Being born into humanity as a highly vulnerable baby, living under conditions of often fairly gross poverty, being a socially-marginised Nazarene born near Galilee to a working class family, enduring periods of homelessness and finally suffering the humiliation and indignity and weakness of an unjust execution on a Roman cross, all suggest that some of the most defining moments of the divine-human Son of God is far less controlling of things than many people presume.
    It is out of the vulnerability and weakness of the cross, which is not the final say in things for Jesus because it culminates in a Resurrection which represents new hope overcoming the tyrannical power of human evil – that the nature of divine power becomes utterly redefined power in ways that so many today still do not understand. It is this mystery of humble surrender Jesus to the cross, which perplexed those who had previously wrongly expected and interpreted Jesus to a Military Messiah wielding a sword to set Israel free by violent retribution upon Roman invaders and their Jewish religious institutional collaborators for past wrongs. His rather peaceful submission to death perplexed, frustrated and mystified both his close followers and his enemies who expected something rather more militant from him as an all-powerful Messianic figure.
    As if symbollising his redefining of power, Jesus cries out from the cross “father forgive them, for they don’t have a clue about what they are doing or who they are doing it to!”
    Whilst that outpouring of love from the cross should have disarmed them from a focus on normal displays of human power and control through military might and force, it was only after the resurrection that many who had thought that way discovered a different script to their previously held ones about the nature of God’s power. Jesus’ power was demonstrated through his love for others on the cross as well as through his life and teachings throughout the Gospels.


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