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An Attribute of God Alone

An attribute of God alone. It is the quality of having all power (Ps. 115:3). He can do all things that do not conflict with His holy nature. God has the power to do anything He wants to.

Does omnipotence mean that God can do literally anything? No, that is not the meaning. There are many things God cannot do. He cannot do what is self-contradictory or nonsensical, like squaring the circle. Nor (and this is vital) can he act out of character. God has a perfect moral character, and it is not in him to deny it. He cannot be capricious, unloving, random, unjust, or inconsistent. Just as he cannot pardon sin without atonement because that would not be right, so he cannot fail to be faithful and just in forgiving sins that are confessed in faith and in keeping all the other promises he has made. Moral instability, vacillation, and unreliability are marks of weakness, not of strength: but God’s omnipotence is supreme strength, making is impossible that he should lapse into imperfection of this sort.

The positive way to say this is: though there are things which a holy, rational God is incapable of intending, all that he intends to do he actually does. “Whatever the Lord pleases he does” (Ps. 135:6). As when he planned the make the world, “he spoke, and it came to be” (Ps. 33:9), so it is with everything that he wills. With people “there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip,” but not with him.

Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, page for May 7