Things God Cannot Do

“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).

When we think of God’s omnipotence, we think of all the things He has done—creation of the universe and everything in it come immediately to mind. We have verses in the Bible that tell us He does “all that He pleases” (Psalm 115:3), that nothing is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14), that when He speaks, everything in creation obeys Him (Isaiah 55:1), that “with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).

But there are some things God cannot and/or will not do.

  • God cannot lie (Titus 1:2)
  • God cannot sin (perform any immoral acts) (Habakkuk 1:13)
  • God cannot die (He is eternal, Romans 1:20; Deuteronomy 33:27)
  • God cannot ignore sin (Romans 1:18)

But, a bit humorously, there’s something else that God cannot do: He cannot create a rock so big that He can’t move it. Why not? R.C. Sproul explains it this way:

“Oh, if I say yes, He can build a rock so big that He can’t move it, then there’s something that’s not possible for Him to do, and He’s not really omnipotent. And if I say no, He can’t build a rock so big that He can’t move it, then again, I’m skewered on the horns of this dilemma. And I’m left with saying that God is not omnipotent, that there are certain things that He can’t do.

“Well, there is a right answer to that question, and it’s very simple. Can God build a rock so big that He can’t move it? Of course not. Why not? Because He’s omnipotent. Why not? Because nothing is impossible with God. And to be omnipotent does not mean that God can do anything. God can’t die, God can’t lie, God can’t be God and not be God at the same time and in the same relationship. He can’t stop being God. And as long as He’s God, whatever He makes, whatever He creates, He controls.”[1]

And there’s one more thing to add here, not something that God cannot do, but something that He is unwilling to do: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

And that’s why God, who cannot die, sent His Son Jesus, in the form of a man, who was able to die, to go to the cross and die to pay the penalty for our sin, and “not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). 

Share that good news to everyone you know so they will come to know that God who offers us eternal life and who promises “no one shall snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28)!

  1. https://www.ligonier.org/podcasts/ultimately-with-rc-sproul/what-god-cannot-do

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