At our Agape meals, every Tuesday, we talk God over a meal.
Usually the brothers and sisters sit at separate tables in order to encourage deeper, more frank sharing. As one of those curious gender half-breeds, a married man, I get the privilege of sitting with the sisters and marshalling their discussion. It’s an experience!
The mystic mentor with an unusual line on most things. The new disciple, usually tired out but wanting God. The whimsical leaf-collector who likes curling up on God’s lap. The crossword whiz who cooks the meal and has a deep reservoir of thought. A recent-comer to our table who refreshingly refuses to let anything pass until she’s sure she understands fully. An elderly saint who comes out with some gems. A girl who went to a good school and was well taught (and hasn’t let it spoil her). The young marketing designer who, amusingly, pretends to be confused though she’s the most intelligent person at the table. My good lady wife (who likes the cut and thrust of debate). And me.
What a bunch. I love them all dearly.
Last Tuesday, our debate (as it sometimes does) veered off course and we wound up discussing what it meant to say that God can “do anything”. I mean – can He?
I maintained that God cannot, in fact, do anything. That to say that He can is to make a sweeping, seemingly devout, generalisation that actually gets us into trouble. I’m not denying that God is omnipotent - that is, possessing all power. But that’s not quite the same thing.
Here’s a quote from a Christian author:
Regarding His omnipotence, there are many things He can’t do, sometimes because they are logically incoherent (like drawing a square circle), but usually because they are morally incompatible with His character (like telling a lie). I once made a list of things that He can’t possibly do and quickly reached thirty. I was humbled, not puffed up, when I realised with a shock how many things I could do and had done which were beyond Him!
- David Pawson
We got into discussing what it means, then, that “nothing is impossible for God” (Luke ) or, conversely, that “all things are possible with God” (Mark ).
What do you think? Let the debate open! And in a day or three, I’ll post some more thoughts I’ve had on the topic... but first, let’s see what some of you may want to say.