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DEFENDING  THE  BRIDE

 

 
 

God’s Omnipotence

“Can God Lie?”

Can God Contradict Himself?”

 

It is never wise to begin a sentence with the words,
“God cannot    _____  (fill in the blank) .

God is Omnipotent, that is He is all powerful.  He can do whatever He wills to do.  There is a better and clearer way to say that God never lies than to say “God cannot  lie..  The above lack of clarity opens the door to misunderstandings.

For example, Muslims will claim that because some Christians claim:

“(The Christian) God cannot lie.”

that this proves that their God Allah is greater than the (One and Only True) God of Christianity because their God Allah can lie and that he can contradict himself.

In order to show that the One True and only God, the Christian understanding of God, is greater than the Muslim view of God we need to be careful how we phrase our expressions.

Clearly God, the One True God of Christianity, never lies or contradicts Himself, but saying
“God cannot lie.”
 implies, at least in the minds of many, that God is limited and is NOT all powerful. When we do speak that way others, especially Muslims, are inclined to misinterpret us and think that we are either denying God’s omnipotence or describing a God who is somehow less than the Muslim view of God.

For example, if we choose to use the following words :

“God is limited by the laws of logic and therefore a Holy God cannot lie”

the Muslim will be inclined to misinterpret us and think that we believe in the heretical opinion that God is somehow restricted by something outside of Himself.  And perhaps even more importantly, the Muslim will mistakenly think his (version or understanding of) God is greater than the Christian God.

Instead, we need to point out that language and human thought have limitations.  By analogy consider mathematics.  If we attempt to divide by zero we end up with all kinds of contradictions.  Therefore, we cannot divide by zero.  It is undefined nonsense if we do. 

When confronted with questions like, 

“Can God do evil?” or
“Can God make a stone too heavy for Him to lift?” or 
“Can God lie?” 

we should not answer the question in the affirmative or the negative.  Neither a “Yes” nor a “No” is really adequate.  The problem is with the question itself.  The question contains a self-contradiction.  The impossibility lies not within the capabilities of God’s omnipotence, but within the self contradictory nature of thing proposed. 

And God freely chose to make a world that is ordered to logic and truth where those concepts have actual meaning for us. 

Just as trying to divide by zero produces nonsensical results, the questions above are proposing meaningless nonsense. 

Just because some people can put words together that doesn’t mean their words make sense.

Consider the following statement :

 


This statement is a lie.

 

Do you agree that the above statement is false?

If you do, than you must believe that this statement contrary to its claim is really true. But, if it is true then it must be false since it claims to be lie. But, if….  (What a mess.)

However, what if you believe that the original statement is true ?

Then, you must believe that what it claims is true, but then it must be false since that is what it claims.  But, if it is really a lie, then the opposite must be true and so it is a true statement.  But if is true…  (Same mess as before)

If a statement contains a self-contradiction then we should not label it as true or false, but rather we should just point out that it is nonsense.  Similarly this is also the case for statements like :

 

“An all-Powerful and all-Holy God cannot lie.”

“An all-Powerful God cannot make a stone too heavy for Him to lift.”

 

God freely chooses to be Who He is, all Good, all Powerful, and all Holy.

We can see another limitation in language when it is asked,
“What did God do before He created time?” 
The word before is inherently dependent on time.  So, the question is meaningless nonsense.  Just because people can put words together that doesn’t mean that their question is valid.

God’s nature is to love.  Yet, He is not forced to love as if He has no free will in the matter.  He freely chooses to love.  If someone was forced to love, it probably wouldn’t be true love as the nature of love is to give freely.  In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was tempted.  He had a choice.  He chose to remain true to Who He is, a Loving, Perfect, Holy God.  God is Love, Truth, and Goodness, and He has existed from all eternity.  Apparently, unlike us, He has chosen from all eternity to be Who He is.

He freely choose to create a reality that is governed by the laws of science and He is the author and creator of those laws.  He freely choose to create this reality that is governed by the laws of logic which He also created.

If someone asks, “Can God choose to be illogical?” then we again point out that the question is a meaningless self-contradiction.

The Question for the Muslim

So, now the Muslim is faced to choose between two different notions of God.  The Muslim view believes God sometimes chooses to contradict Himself and sometimes to be irrational.  And the second option, is the Christian one.  We profess faith in a God who freely chooses to be Good, and to be rational and logical.  And sometimes He chooses to go beyond human logic by being loving.  He chooses to be from all eternity to be who He is, an infinitely Loving God.  Goodness is not some outside force that imposes itself upon God.

Unlike before, the Muslim now has a reason to convert to the Christian concept of God because a Good, Consistent, and Ordered God is more beautiful and greater than the Muslim view of God who is not those things.  It should be easy to see that order is better than disorder.  Compare the sounds that are made by someone who is playing the violin for the first time with someone who is a maestro.

It also might be helpful to show the Muslim that God in the Old Testament is always loving and consistent as this is not always obvious to the casual reader.  Scott Hahn's teachings are most helpful in this regard. 

 
 
 

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Can God lie?

God's Nature is Always Truthful.   And, there can be a temptation to think and speak about God and His Nature from the same perspective as our own.  And, so many say, "God cannot lie"  but that response is at best inadequate and sometimes confusing.

God's nature is neither finite or created.  While our nature does constrict us God is all powerful.  He cannot be bound or restricted by anything. Or else that law, principle, or force would have to be greater than God.  And that would contradict the very definition of who God is.

He purposefully always chooses to be Good, Honest, and Loving, etc.

God is Love.  It is His Nature to love.  However, if God was forced to be honest or to love because it is His Nature then His love would not be true love.  Love is freely chosen.  God freely chooses to be loving and to always be honest. 

He freely chooses that His Nature be as it is.  Since His Nature is so unlike ours we cannot use the same words or types of thinking that would apply to ourselves.