So he has a different definition of omnipotence that is very convoluted and very philosophically dense that I am not going to try to unpack in this class. I just wanted to hear your answer to that. That was the reason for the clause. That was the point of universalizing it to any agent. You can see that this can get very complicated the minute you scratch beneath the surface, but I think it gives us, as I say, a kind of rough-and-ready idea of what omnipotence is. Let me say something now about what practical application the attribute of divine omnipotence has to our lives.
I have three that I wanted to mention. Paul says,. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels [our frail, weak, mortal bodies], to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
Our bodies are frail, mortal, and wasting away.
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It gives us strength to endure every affliction and trial such as Paul describes. Just as in 2 Corinthians, Paul says it is the God who spoke the world into being whose transcendent power is in work in us. Here in Ephesians Paul says it is the immeasurable greatness of the power of him who raised Jesus from the dead that is now at work in us. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever.
I firmly believe that we limit God through our reduced vision of what he can do in our lives.
Lesson 25: The Christian’s Thought Life (Philippians 4:8)
Paul says the power of God at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. We need to ask and think for greater things from God — for him to do great works through us and not to limit him because of our limited vision of what he can do through his power within us. Even though we ourselves may be weak and impotent, Christ living in us gives us tremendous power. Look at the interesting contrast between John and Philippians Apart from Christ you can do nothing, but I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Guide to the Attributes of God
Paul, as you may know, suffered from some sort of debilitating chronic disease or disability that hindered him in his travels and ministries. He speaks about this in 2 Corinthians ,. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
He rejoices in his weakness because in his weakness the power of God is made all the more manifest.
- Incommunicable attributes of God.
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- Im Dunkel unser Gesang: Ein Bericht (German Edition).
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I imagine you have seen, as we have, Christians in whom this is exemplified. I think, for example, of our friends, Fred and Elaine. Fred was a vibrant Christian man, active in his church and in his apartment community that he helped to manage.
Doctrine of God (Part 17): Practical Application of Divine Omnipotence | Reasonable Faith
Then he suffered a massive stroke that left him half-paralyzed, seriously debilitated. He had to go into a nursing home and then into an assisted living facility where he still lives today. He cannot be at home. He cannot care for himself.
Yet, in the midst of this assisted living care facility, Fred and Elaine have begun to minister to other people in that facility. Today they have a Bible study going where they are leading other people in the home through Bible study and prayer and being a bright light for Christ in the midst of that condition. Yet the power of God in Fred and Elaine shines through all the more brightly because of the terrible weakness that he now suffers.
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- The Attributes of God and Application (Van Mastricht);
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I have to say even this morning, sitting in the balcony during the morning worship service, as I was waiting for the service to begin, my eye was caught by a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair down the front aisle of the sanctuary and back to the pew where they would sit. As I watched them I noticed that this elderly woman was crumpled over in the wheelchair. Her head was hanging over her chest.
She was slumped down. He finally got her to the pew. She was able to stand and shift herself into the pew. Then he took the chair away. Then she sort of crumpled again into the pew as she sat in the service. As I watched her, I noticed her gray hair was beautifully quaffed.
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- Ibn Rushd (Averroes) | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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She had on her finest Sunday clothes, beautifully dressed. She had a Bible on her lap that the man picked up off of her lap and then handed back to her as she sat in the morning service. I thought to myself, think of the effort that this woman has to exert in order to come to church this morning compared to me. It would be so much easier just to stay home and watch the service on live stream. But she makes the effort to get dressed up and to come with her Bible. She wants to be in the pew in the service live.
I thought it is the power of God that is manifest in this woman that I was looking at. That is the first point that I wanted to share. The power of God is at work within us, and we must not underestimate that.
When we are weak, when we go through afflictions and hard times, those are the times when that power can be most manifest in our lives. If God wants something for you, you will get it. If he wants you to accomplish something then as you trust in him and rely upon his power you will accomplish it. You can see this, for example, in the life of a biblical character like Joseph.
His moral nature imposes on him a sense of obligation to do that which is right, and this necessarily implies the existence of a supreme Lawgiver. Moreover, his religious nature constantly prompts him to seek personal communion with some higher Being; and all the elements and activities of religion demand a personal God as their object and final end. Even so-called pantheistic religions often testify unconsciously to belief in a personal God.
The fact is that all such things as penitence, faith and obedience, fellowship and love, loyalty in service and sacrifice, trust in life and death, are meaningless unless they find their appropriate object in a personal God. But while all these considerations are true and have some value as testimonia , they are not the proofs on which theology depends in its doctrine of the personality of God. At the same time Scripture testifies to the personality of God in more than one way.
The presence of God, as described by Old and New Testament writers, is clearly a personal presence. And the anthropomorphic and anthropopathic representations of God in Scripture, while they must be interpreted so as not to militate against the pure spirituality and holiness of God, can hardly be justified, except on the assumption that the Being to whom they apply is a real person, with personal attributes, even though it be without human limitations.
God is represented throughout as a personal God, with whom men can and may converse, whom they can trust, who sustains them in their trials, and fills their hearts with the joy of deliverance and victory. And, finally, the highest revelation of God to which the Bible testifies is a personal revelation.
More detailed proofs will appear in the discussion of the communicable attributes. The Bible does not give us a definition of God. This is at least a statement purporting to tell us in a single word what God is. The Lord does not merely say that God is a spirit, but that He is Spirit. And because of this clear statement it is but fitting that we should discuss first of all the spirituality of God. By teaching the spirituality of God theology stresses the fact that God has a substantial Being all His own and distinct from the world, and that this substantial Being is immaterial, invisible, and without composition or extension.
It includes the thought that all the essential qualities which belong to the perfect idea of Spirit are found in Him: that He is a self-conscious and self-determining Being. Since He is Spirit in the most absolute, and in the purest sense of the word, there is in Him no composition of parts. The idea of spirituality of necessity excludes the ascription of anything like corporeity to God, and thus condemns the fancies of some of the early Gnostics and medieval Mystics, and of all those sectarians of our own day who ascribe a body to God.
It is true that the Bible speaks of the hands and feet, the eyes and ears, the mouth and nose of God, but in doing this it is speaking anthropomorphically or figuratively of Him who far transcends our human knowledge, and of whom we can only speak in a stammering fashion after the manner of men. By ascribing spirituality to God we also affirm that He has none of the properties belonging to matter, and that He cannot be discerned by the bodily senses. God is represented in Scripture as Light, and therefore as perfect in His intellectual life.
This category comprises two of the divine perfections, namely, the knowledge and the wisdom of God. The knowledge of God may be defined as that perfection of God whereby He , in an entirely unique manner , knows Himself and all things possible and actual in one eternal and most simple act.
The Bible testifies to the knowledge of God abundantly, as, for instance, in I Sam.
The Attributes of God
In connection with the knowledge of God several points call for consideration. Its nature. The knowledge of God differs in some important points from that of men. It is archetypal , which means that He knows the universe as it exists in His own eternal idea previous to its existence as a finite reality in time and space; and that His knowledge is not, like ours, obtained from without. It is a knowledge that is characterized by absolute perfection.
As such it is intuitive rather than demonstrative or discursive. It is innate and immediate , and does not result from observation or from a process of reasoning. Being perfect, it is also simultaneous and not successive, so that He sees things at once in their totality, and not piecemeal one after another.
A distinction is made between the necessary and free knowledge of God. The former is the knowledge which God has of Himself and of all things possible, a knowledge resting on the consciousness of His omnipotence. It is called necessary knowledge , because it is not determined by an action of the divine will. It is also known as the knowledge of simple intelligence , in view of the fact that it is purely an act of the divine intellect, without any concurrent action of the divine will.