omni (all) + potent (powerful)
All red herrings about making rocks too heavy to lift or making a 5-sided triangle aside, the notion of God’s omnipotence at least implies that God has the potential to do literally anything.
Now, I’m sure that the writers of the Bible would agree that the Creator is ‘all-potent’ in this way, yet they don’t seem the least bit concerned with splitting philosophical hairs about whether or not God is able to do every literal conceivable thing. Quite clearly, there are lots of conceivable things that God would be free/able to do, but doesn’t.
Rather than speculating about God’s hypothetical actions, they seem infinitely more concerned with what God’s actual actions (note the grammatical redundancy).
The picture of God and his actions gets fuller and fuller over time and in Scripture. First monotheism is distinguished from polytheism, then child-sacrifice gets a firm ‘no’, and so on… all giant leaps of understanding for those people at those times. The New Testament writers believed that the picture of God had fully come into focus with Jesus. To know Jesus equals knowing what God is like.
Paul speaks of the cross of Christ as a stumbling block to the Jews. A Messiah who was crucified and killed? Not the Messiah we’re looking for… and hanging on a tree = cursed by God. He then says the cross of Christ is foolishness to the Greeks. A saviour? Killed? He certainly cannot have any kind of favourable dealings with the gods. What a silly notion!
But then Paul then speaks of the cross – this audacious and foolish looking spectacle; this scandal – as the power of God.
The writer of Revelation has a slain lamb on the throne of God.
How’s that for an omnipotent God?
I recently heard someone speak of God’s power as always being “Lamb power”, which resonates fully with the New Testament picture of a Creator who redemptively suffers with and for the Created.
For Paul, Christ is known through the Spirit who is (of course) the Spirit of Christ – who is the Lamb. The fruits of that Spirit can be seen to describe this kind of “Lamb power”…
Love power. Joy power. Peace power. Patience power. Kindness power. Goodness power. Trustfulness power. Gentleness power. Self-control power.
Paul gives a one-word summary of God: Love.
He later describes Love to the divisive, elitist and arrogant Corinthians. His description of Love is often used to describe the Lamb who is Love.
The Lamb has patience, The Lamb is kind; The Lamb is not envious; The Lamb is not vain, The Lamb is not puffed up; The Lamb does not behave indecently, The Lamb does not pursue [his] own things, The Lamb is not easily provoked, The Lamb thinks no evil; The Lamb does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. The Lamb quietly covers all things, The Lamb believes all things, The Lamb hopes all things, The Lamb endures all things. The Lamb never fails.
The Biblical picture of the omnipotent God comes into clearest focus here.