Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Limitations of God?

After having read the last to post on Reuben's blog I was wondering what are God's limitations (I've thought about this before)?

Does God actually have limitations?
Does he have limitations in his abilities?
Are any “limitations” only really decisions that God has made and decided to abide by?

What do you think?

Thinking about it at various times I've come to think that God does have some “limitations” that result from his very Nature or at least appears to based on our perceptions of his Nature. Most of you probably wouldn't call these “limitations” most likely advantages and I guess many of them are what are things that would seem to be limitations in a human but in God are only advantages.

Any way these are the ones think he may have.

He is can only be truthful and follow his word exactly. He is unable to lie in any form or manner, i.e. he can not conceal “emotions”, shade the truth, tell only part of the truth (might be some exceptions) pretend to be what he is not . He may decide not to revel something but can not easily tell partial truths.

He can not change, his word or mind. Once he says something he will do it.

He is unable to completely force a human to do something he may set things up so that there is only a 1x10^100 or less chance that we will not do what he wants but in the end the final choice is ours, even if it only comes down to the random firing of one neuron or something.

Really most of these are not truly “limitations” for god but would be if applied to a human in the world as it is today.

Any way what do people think?

Does God actually have limitations, can he be limited?

Does he have limitations in his abilities?

Are any “limitations” only really decisions that God has made and decided to abide by?


Fraser Dron said...

I think the whole question of God's being limited is a result of our own finite nature. I find it impossible to even begin to contemplate a person of limitless power, limitless knowledge and limitless wisdom... I'm sure you'd be right in stating that any limitations on God are deliberate: after all, who could impose any restriction on God but himself?

As to the nature of these limitations, I agree that the first one is fundamental to God's very nature. He can't lie, because he is the ultimate truth and lying would never serve his purpose.

The second one I have to disagree with. The Bible contains examples of times God changed his mind. As far as I know - I may be wrong - there were times when God gave clear conditions, like, "Jonah, go and tell the Assyrians that if they don't repent of all their sick, sick practices, I'll wipe them from the face of the earth". As we know, the people of Nineveh humbled themselves and turned to the God of Israel, and he saw this and didn't destroy them (much to Jonah's annoyance).

The whole free will debate has been well and truly blogged I feel ;) But let me just say that to me, it definitely looks like a decision God's made rather than an innate limit to his power.

EONsim said...

You'll note though that he usually used "if" in most of his statements. Which would allow one to change there mind or stated actions if the conditions are met.

Fraser Dron said...

Okay, I was kind of trying to say something about conditional promises there but it didn't really come across... maybe I was being too pedantic about the meaning of 'God can't change his mind'. If I re-analyse that as meaning that God has a plan that he sticks to, I guess it works.

Nathan said...

In Malachi, God says "I do not change, therefore you are not consumed" I've always understood God's immutability\changelessness as to be consistency of character, and hence reliability of promises.

Does God never decieve?
What about the people of Ai, where he commands Joshua to trick them in a battle?
What about in 1 kings 22 where God sends out a lying spirit?