Is God omnipotent? What does it mean to be omnipotent?
Omnipotent is from the Latin omni- ("all") and potent- ("power"), and when the word is applied to God, it means He is "all-powerful." If God is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1), it follows that He must have power over all things at all times. God is free to do anything He wants, and He has the power to do it.
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The Bible refers to God as "Almighty" 66 times, and the term is used exclusively of God, never of another person or thing. God revealed Himself as almighty to Abraham (Genesis 17:1), Moses (Exodus 6:3), John (Revelation 1:8; 19:6), and all believers (2 Corinthians 6:18).
Many others places in the Bible speak of God's ultimate, all-powerful nature. Job noted, "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted" (Job 42:2).
The Psalms are especially insightful regarding God's omnipotence, offering poetic expressions of His great strength. For example, Psalm 33:6 states, "By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host." Imagine—the vast expanse of the universe created by a mere word.
Daniel saw God's power over the lions' mouths (Daniel 6:22). Daniel's three friends saw His power over the furnace's flames (Daniel 3:24-25). Isaiah's favorite title of God's is "Lord of hosts," i.e., the Lord of the heavenly armies (Isaiah 6:3, for example). The title implies a great, transcendent power.
God's omnipotence can be clearly seen in all three Persons of the one Triune God. God the Father can do all things (Job 42:2). God the Son holds power over all nature and was involved in its creation (John 1:2-3; Colossians 1:16-17). Jesus' earthly life was marked by numerous miracles that further revealed His power over nature, illness, and demons. God the Spirit was involved in creation (Genesis 1:2) and empowered believers to share the gospel (Acts 2:41) and perform miracles (Acts 3:6-10).
The Lord's omnipotence naturally extends over Satan and demons. Satan had to ask permission to harm Job (Job 1:9-12). Demons fear God (James 2:19).
We should probably state that there are some things that even an omnipotent God cannot do. Omnipotence does not mean that God has the power to lie, for example, or to be illogical. Hebrews 6:18 says plainly that God cannot lie. Why not? Because He is good. God cannot be forced to act in a manner contrary to His nature. Also, could God make 2+2=6 instead of 4? Yes, but He created our world in the way He saw fit, a world in which the natural laws dictate 2+2=4. God does not lack the power; He has used His power to establish a certain outcome.
God's power gives us everything we need for life and holy living (2 Peter 1:3). God doesn't just have power; He has all power. He created us, sustains us, and grants us power to live for Him. May we know "his incomparably great power for us who believe" (Ephesians 1:19 NIV).
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