So, you Think that God is All-Powerful?

Previously published on my Tumblr page,

If God is all powerful, then He cannot be all good. If God is all good, then he cannot be all powerful. -Unknown

So you think that God is all-powerful, do you? You think that He is in control of every single thing that happens on this earth, that, as Jesus said, “Not a sparrow can fall to the ground outside of Your Father’s Will”?

I was “arguing” with my brother over the topic of abortion. I won’t go into the details of the “argument” because he didn’t really want to argue in the first place- his wife and I are both pro-choice and I think she wanted to see if I could stand up to his anti-abortion arguments when she had been unable to get him to see her point of view. We both kept the conversation very civil.

My brother said something interesting- he said, “You cannot think God is happy about abortion- not when He says that He forms these children in the womb, when He knows them before they are born. He has a plan for these children and anyone who aborts a child is completely disregarding that plan.”

Then I made my point- “If God formed these children in the womb and knew about their destinies, how could He allow human beings to get into the way of His plan? How can you tell where God’s Will begins and when human choice and responsibility ends?”

I could tell that this kind of threw him for a loop- he really struggled with coming up with an adequate answer. That is because Predestination doctrine doesn’t give any answers- it just causes a lot of questions, and a lot of internal struggle about the nature of God, and how or why He seems to just allow evil to persist in the world.

I had another question for my brother- if God is really in control of birth and death in the world, what about the children that are born by IVF? These pregnancies seem to have come about by the express will of the doctors and parties involved, with these people seeming to “create” life. My brother pointed out that these doctors didn’t really “create” anything- they just kind of used materials that were already there and I conceded him that point.

So if God “forms the light and creates darkness” and “makes peace and creates evil” (Isaiah 45:7) then how are we supposed to tell when we are to intervene against evil, as sometimes evil can be His will?

Let’s look at this in a more practical way. If we take literally that Jesus could turn water into wine and multiply bread and fish, it is obvious that God is not against intervening in this way in the world. If he rained manna down from heaven on His chosen people, why don’t we see bread coming down to feed the hungry today? Do you think that most people in starving nations aren’t devout, don’t pray, don’t cry to the heavens for help that never comes?

So maybe God can’t do that.

I understand your shock- the idea that God can’t do something may seem foreign to you, but it’s either that He can’t or that He won’t and neither are very good prospects. At least, in one instance, there may be good will within him- be He is limited to what He can do through human hands- but allowing infants to die of starvation (what about the plan He had for their lives?) deliberately doesn’t seem like anything but malicious to me.

So then, you’ll argue against me still. God isn’t just omnipotent, but He’s omniscient. He knows everything, sees everything, and is not immune to the pain of anyone on the planet (that is, he’s omnipresent as well, ever with those who suffer). The only thing is that “His ways are higher than our ways” and “He knows about a future that we can’t foresee”. If that is the case, He foresaw my disbelief and turning away, He foresaw you reading this blog, and He knows what is going to come out of all of it.

Christians argue that God made us in His own image, but if He did so- why would He have a morality that is in such stark contrast to our own? Wouldn’t we see Him reflected in us?

The problem is, we don’t see Him reflected in us- we see us reflected on Him. How often do we say we “hear God speak” and it is often so in line with our own desires and perceptions? Even at times when we “hear God tell me to do something difficult” that difficult thing is based on our interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. If I’ve experienced brokenness in my life, it’s easy for me to want to paint a God who is near to the suffering and the broken. If the pastors and teachers I had were domineering and authoritative, I may picture a God that is strict and hot-tempered.

The fact that there are hundreds of different cultures around the world, and each has a different set of creation myths, stories, and perspectives on the divine, leads me to believe that all religion is man-made. If there is a god, I believe that he/she/it is too vast to be fully encompassed by one religion or culture.

I choose to believe that God is a positive life-giving force, an undercurrent of energy flowing in and around each of us. I don’t even know if it can be said that God has a “personality” so to speak, but rather that God guides and follows each of us when we pray and seek to do what is right (and I definitely do believe that there’s a such thing as “right” and “wrong”). I think that God’s powers to act are limited, and that it is up to us as responsible human beings to be the change that we want to see on this planet. If I’m concerned about orphans, elderly people, the starving, the needy, the downtrodden and the dying then I must rise up from where I am and go and help those people. God isn’t going to do it for me.

So no, I don’t believe in your interpretation of the “Almighty God”, sitting down on His throne in heaven and casually deciding the fate of every human being. I can’t really prove that that’s not real- I just choose not to believe in an unfeeling God like that.


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