But first, we must add one last OMNI: omnipotence.
This may be the most well-known and most obvious divine attribute. Whatever God is, he must be the most powerful being imaginable, right?
In light of its familiarity - and also out of a desire to avoid a stylistic rut with this series - I think I will just raise a classic question about divine omnipotence and sketch some possible answers. You may have heard it before, but here goes:
Can God create an object too large to move?
Here are some classic answers to this classic question:
1) No. God's power extends to that which is logically possible. Omnipotence properly defined means that God is able to do anything that is not logically impossible. God cannot do something and also not do it. That's just logically impossible. God's power is not diminished by limiting it in this way.
2) Yes. God's power is exhibited precisely in his ability to limit himself in relationship to other creatures. God is able to create not only powerful forces but also free agents whom he cannot control. God's power is not limited but rather displayed by his free engagement with a free world. God need not coerce to be powerful.
3) Yes and No. The question reveals an absolute paradox that cannot be solved. If God is genuinely omnipotent, then he must be able both to create an object to heavy for him and to lift every possible object. This paradox may lead to three different conclusions: (a) God is not omnipotent because it would introduce contradiction into God's perfect being, (b) there is no God because the concept "God" requires omnipotence by definition, or (c) the contemplation of this paradox draws us into the mystery of the unknowable God, teaching us to affirm both his power and his weakness.
4) No comment. The question begins with a false premise and therefore should not be dignified with an answer. This false assumption is that God's power can be thought of in quantitative terms based on the analogy of created power dynamics. God is not human power multiplied to the nth degree. God's power is utterly unlike created power, as is shown by the Cross of Christ as the power of God. If we begin from the correct starting point (the revelation of God), we will avoid such speculative questions.
What answer would you give to this question?
Do you agree with any of the above answers?
How might you tweak them to fit more nearly your thoughts on God's power?
Is there an alternative answer that is not listed above?