[The following blogpost was originally published on 9/10/05
Perhaps we would do well to listen to the likes of Rabbi Harold Kushner, who contends that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God is omnipotent. Kushner points out that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, but it is not in his Bible. Instead, the Hebrew Bible contends that God is mighty. That means that God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined. [Tony Campolo, "Katrina: Not God's Wrath- or His Will"]
Like the preacher quoted at the head of my last entry on this subject
, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina did not motivate Tony Campolo to glorify God, as did Job
, but rather to deny God's sovereignty over this event. Campolo and others would have us to believe that there are limits to God's control and that some events occur simply by Natural Law or according to Chance.
But there are no truly random events, "nothing happens by chance" [Martin Luther, Defense of All the Articles of Martin Luther Condemned by the Latest Bull of Leo X, "Article 36," cf. Prov. 16:33], or according to fortune or fate, or mere coincidence.
There is no Mother Nature or Natural Law that has been established that can operate outside of the loving, just, willful power of God (Ps. 104:14).
Likewise, there is no power in the spiritual realm, whether angel or devil, that acts apart from the sovereign will of God "because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and by Him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:16-17 HCSB)
And so when king Ahab of Israel purposed to conquer Ramoth-gilead with the assurance of victory by 400 of his false prophets and with the LORD's prophet Micaiah as the sole dissenting voice prophecying the death of Ahab and the scattering of Israel's army, God is glorified for His sovereign command of the lying spirit that deceived the false prophets as well as His revelation of truth through Micaiah. As the true prophet proclaimed to Ahab, "Now you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit into the mouth of these false prophets of yours, and the LORD has pronounced disaster against you." (II Chronicles 18:22 HCSB)
And as even the angels must depend upon the sovereign will of God for all of their activity, it is obvious that Man, who has been created a little lower than the angels (cf. Ps 8:5 LXX) is also dependent upon God's will in all things, "For it is God who is enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose" (Philippians 2:13 HCSB).
And so the statement "that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed" is shown to be unbiblical and blasphemous. For there is no limit to the power of God "in whom we live and move and have our being" (cf. Acts 17:28) who created all things out of nothing by His Word (cf. Genesis 1:1, John 1:1, Acts 17:24, etc.), holds all things together every instant (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3), who will destroy all material things with fire (II Peter 3:10-12), and will create a new heaven and new earth (II Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-4).
At this time, please pray about how you can glorify God more in answering those who question His goodness and power following tragic events.
Labels: Christian worldview, Reformation Theology