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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Nine aspects of God’s power (Eph. 3:20-21)

In this doxology, Paul refers to God’s power. What can be said about it? Here are nine details.

First, God’s power is an essential aspect of his nature. We should not think of God without thinking of his power. This attribute is seen in his names, such as Elohim which is translated as God in the Old Testament. The root ‘El’ means mighty, strong and prominent. This name can be used along with another word, such as El Shaddai which is translated as God Almighty, although it has the sense of his all-sufficiency and the power to gives his resources to us.

Second, God’s power is eternal, that is, it is unoriginated. He always possessed it, so when he decided to create the universe he was able to do so.

Third, God does things effortlessly. It is no more difficult for God to create the universe than to create a moth. If he had wanted to, he could have created a billion universes simultaneously.

Fourth, God does things earnestly, which means that he exercises his power for a purpose that he regards as important. He does not do anything indifferently. For example, this is the case whether he reveals his power in the resurrection to glory, which extols his love, or the resurrection to judgment, which extols his righteous judgment.

Fifth, God does things effectively. What he brings to pass occurs exactly as he planned it. He does not have to modify his plans to take account of pressures from other powers. This does not mean that he ignores what other powers do or that he is involved in what evil powers do. In a way that we cannot understand, the sovereign God rules over all events and actions, even those done against him.

Sixth, God does things excellently. What he does is for his glory. In his actions we see his wisdom, his desire to bless, his aim to enhance. His power never creates disharmony within the Trinity; rather it reveals its interaction with his other attributes.

Seventh, God’s power is revealed through his engagement or covenant dealings with his creatures. For example, the covenant he made with Noah after the flood guarantees that he will never again destroy the world with a flood (Gen. 9). With regard to his people, his response to their sins is not one of destruction but of forgiveness because of the terms of the new covenant.

Eighth, God cannot make anything that is as glorious or as powerful as himself. No matter what he makes, say a billion universes, it is always dependent upon him for its existence.

Ninth, there are some other things that God cannot do. For example, God cannot lie; the author of Hebrews says that it is impossible for God to lie (6:18). Nor can he be tempted with evil. Nor can he make three into two. 

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