Are There “Limits” to God’s Power? What Can God Not Do?

by J Warner Wallace

Christians claim God is “all-powerful.” Does this mean He can accomplish anything? Skeptics often test this notion by offering the following challenge: “Can the all-powerful Christian God create a stone so heavy he cannot lift it?” The question highlights an apparent dilemma: If God cannot create such a stone, or cannot lift what He has created, He is not all-powerful. Does this apparent paradox prove an all-powerful Being cannot exist in the first place?

It’s true the Bible describes God as an all-powerful Being and often uses language that suggests that “nothing” is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37). At the same time, there are many places in Scripture where certain behaviors or conditions are described as “impossible” for God to accomplish. This apparent contradiction is inexplicable until we examine the nature of the activities or behaviors described as “impossible” for God:

Moral “Impossibilities”
The Bible clearly indicates there are many things that God cannot do. Most of these are “moral” in nature. For example, it is impossible for God to sin (James 1:13). According to the Bible, God always acts and behaves with certain moral considerations in mind and it is impossible for Him to do otherwise. Our moral laws are not simply the decrees of God, as though He could have chosen otherwise, but are, instead, a reflection of his unchanging moral nature. God cannot violate His nature. For this reason, it is impossible for God to sin…

Are There “Limits” to God’s Power? What Can God Not Do?