THINGS GOD CANNOT
When we consider God, a being that is almighty who
created everything that existed we don't usually think that there are things God
cannot do. There are many things man canít do, but there are also things God
canít do. Thatís right God canít do all things. It is not because He is unable to, that He is limited in
power in any way. It is because of who He is in nature. There are
guidelines that even God cannot step over. For example God cannot be God
and not be God at the same time. He cannot create another God from
a creature that would be made equal with Him-self. The secondary God
would be derived from and dependent on the first so it would be finite.
Since he had a beginning it could not be as powerful as its originator.
One of the first requirements for being God is to be uncreated, infinite,
eternal, omnipotent and omniscient. So a created god does not qualify for the job
description of being God.
There are those who use the Scripture out of context and say God
can do anything, that he is not withstrained by his nature. Two scriptures used
out off context Matt 19:26 "With men this is impossible, but with God all
things are possible." Jesus was addressing their question on people being
saved that what seems impossible with man is not with God. Luke 1:37 In
addressing Mary the angel tells her she will be with child and she responds, how
is this possible. The angel says "For with God nothing will be impossible." In
other words what Mary heard from the angel had never occurred in mankind's
history and she is asking to understand how this can be.
So What Can't God Do?
1. It is impossible for God to lie. It is impossible
for God to lie, so he is consistent with truth, which has absolutes. His
standard of right and wrong does not change.
Heb.6:18 tells us He canít lie = he canít break a unconditional
promise. What he says He will fulfill. He is the truth and there is no
darkness in him. He cannot go back on His Word.
When he told Abraham to take his only son and put him on the
altar, Abraham knew that if God allowed him to have Isaac killed he would
have had to raise him up back to life. This is because he already
promised Abraham that through Isaac the promise of his Covenant would
God can never send another flood over the whole earth like he did in
Noah's day. Itís not that he doesn't possess the ability; He canít do it
because He promised He would never do it again (the rainbow is there to
remind us of this truth). Godís nature is inclined to truth, which means
He keeps His promises. If God could lie then what would make him any
different than any sinful human being? The creator would not be superior
in ethics or better in any sense.
2.Can God make a rock so big that even he canít lift it? Some think he
can, however if he canít lift it then He is not all-powerful. If God can
make a rock that he canít move then what He created becomes more powerful
than the creator. Then God is no longer the most powerful thing in the
universe, the rock has become more powerful than God. And whatever
is more powerful than God is God, for there is nothing greater. God has
infinite qualities, not finite. God can only do things that are possible;
he canít make square circles (it wouldnít be called a circle) or a two
sided triangle. It is asking God to bring about a
logically contradictory state to His own nature.
This is what is called a category mistake to say He can make something
he canít lift. Itís like asking a bachelor what his wifeís name is? What
does the color yellow taste like, color doesnít taste, so it is not a
relevant question. Itís not possible for God to make a rock so big that
even he canít lift it. If he can make it He can lift it. If he can create
it, he can destroy it. God does not have any limit to His power,
but everything he created has a limit. Just because He does not show His
unlimited power does not mean he does not possess infinite power.
Nothing God makes can be more powerful than Him, creation is never more
powerful than its creator. Whatever He created is
under his jurisdiction, under His control, but it can never have equality
or become superior.
ďWhatever implies being and nonbeing simultaneously is incompatible
with the absolute possibility which falls under divine omnipotence. Such
a contradiction is not subject to it, not from any impotence in God, but
because it simply does not have the nature of being feasible or possible.
Whatever, then, does not involve a contradiction is in the realm of the
possible with respect to which God is omnipotent. Whatever involves a
contradiction is not within the scope of omnipotence because it cannot
qualify for possibility. Better, however, to say that it cannot be done,
rather than God cannot do it.Ē (T. Aquinas Summa Theologica p. 163-164 ,
Volume I, ques. 15 ans. 3)
3.Can God stop being God or stop existing? The nature of God is
infinite- meaning no end, He is from everlasting to everlasting. God's
unchanging moral character is a moral absolute, he changes not. This
includes holiness, justice, love, mercy and truth. God is who He is
forever and is the only constant thing (being) in the universe. Only
created things subject to time and space which are of a non-eternal
substance can change. God could not change if He wanted to (which He
would not). Because He exists in the highest and ultimate state of
perfection. Words fail to describe at this point the state God is in.
However we do know God became a man, in that he added another nature to
his deity, so He came in human flesh, we know him as Jesus Christ.
He is not free to act contrary to his nature that is permanent,
that does not change. Does this mean he is not all-powerful? No- it means
that as a perfect and unchangeable being His commands and actions are
rooted in the ultimate good, which flow from his nature. God's moral
character does not change. ďI the Lord change not ď(Mal.3:6). ďThere is
no shadow of change with GodĒ (Jm.1:17).
His nature is eternal. He cannot say tomorrow Iíll act like the devil
for a while or sin as man does. What God has been, He will always be,
(the I Am). He is completely self sufficient within himself and unchanging.
4. In the same vein, If God "almighty" can do
anything as some claim then can he make another God? Can He give Godhood
to a man, or angel? No creature can ever become that which is uncreated.
The point is God cannot duplicate Himself in a creature and change them
to a nature such as His. Because no creature formed is eternal God alone
is from eternity, there are no others in this category.
5.God cannot sin, Holiness is part of his intrinsic nature, He
cannot do otherwise. What God is, He forever exists as. He cannot break his
commands of holiness that reflect his nature.
6. God cannot learn anything new. Before He created anything He knew
all about it. This is why He is able to predict the future with perfect
accuracy. There is no progression in knowledge for God as there is with
man. He knew the end before the beginning, before he even began to
7. God cannot answer every prayer you want but only those that are in
accordance to His will being done on earth. He cannot answer prayers that
would do the very opposite of His purposes or go against His good. That
is why he tells us to pray according to His will.
8. God is always right- He is never wrong. When God does something; it
is not right because He did it, it is right because it is right. God is
perfect in judgment and in all His ways. It is not good because God chose it, therefore
it must be good! God chose it because it is good, God wills it because it
is good, itís not good simply because he wills it or chose it to be. God
is not arbitrary or capricious. He knows the greater good because He
alone possesses all knowledge. All of nature shows this to be true. Order
is of the greater design and objective, chaos is not. To preserve life is
the greater good, to take life is not, (exceptions are the rarity). This
is because all morals and ethics flow from His moral nature. So while God
is all-powerful he cannot act or think contrary to His perfect eternal
unlimited nature, which is the ultimate standard of moral good. as Jesus
said - there is none good but God.
We should not show our ignorance and make God to be as us human beings. God
has expressed his nature by the Scripture and he says his word cannot be broken.
It is eternal and settled in the heavens.
Isn't it good to know there is a being in charge of the whole universe
that is perfect in His judgments and choices, and ways. Who keeps
His promises and never does wrong. That He is wanting to do good toward
those who repent and please Him by exercising faith in Him. That is a
comfort for those who are for Him instead of against Him. For those
against him this may bring fear, knowing that they will get justice in
the end. He is the ONLY one You can fully trust in.