God’s omnipotence is perhaps His best known and least understood attribute. God, if He were not omnipotent would not be God. He could be a powerful being, more powerful than humankind, but He would not be God anymore than we are God as compared to insects. With insects, certainly we are capable of killing or destroying their habitat. We can capture them. But we can’t control them. We can’t decide where a fly will fly. We would hold the power of life and death, but that would not make us God to them. Likewise, God without omnipotence is not God at all.
So we say that God can do everything. And we’re safe in saying that if we do not think further about this. However, even God has limits. We’ll see in later studies that God cannot lie. He cannot change. He cannot sin. And most people have no problem believing these things as well. But is it a contradiction to God’s omnipotence? Is God capable of change but simply does not? Did God place limits on Himself with regard to humanity (or all of creation) or is the limitation simply part of His nature?
We’ll discuss freewill more in regards to God’s sovereignty but the issue must be addressed here as well. Is God free to do with humanity as he pleases? Are limitations He has placed on Himself guaranteed by virtue of His word or is He bound to them because of His nature. For example, God said he would never again flood the earth. Is His power in that regard now limited, thus making Him incapable of flooding the earth, or is He still capable of flooding the earth but He simply will not because of His word?
Contradictions in definition
Can God create a rock so big that He cannot move it? Can He create a square circle? By definition a circle can’t be a square, but God is not bound by human definitions. By man’s definition God cannot be Three-in-One either, but yet He is.
In our discussion of omnipotence, we must at least mention that Jesus as God is not bound by the same rules of omnipotence as God as we normally think of Him. While fully God, Jesus still had the limitations of humanity on Him – like when angels attended to Him after 40 days in the wilderness.