Saturday, October 4, 2014

Things God Cannot (Will Not) Do?

Omnipotent (according to many) is the quality of having unlimited power and is considered an attribute of Diety;1 BUT what does unlimited power mean?

To tyrants, it seems to mean they can do anything they want PERIOD. No restraints, no moral imperatives, no adverse consequences. But, according to revealed Word, such does not reflect God’s view—even concerning His own power. He and His prophets have declared that the Almighty does not have unlimited power as defined by tyrants.

So what is it that God cannot (will not) do?
Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such [that wilfully rebel against God and die in their sins]; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim. (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 15:27. includes 26)

And I say unto you again that he [God] cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins. (Book of Mormon | Alma 11:37)

That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. … (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:35)

... the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. (Book of Mormon | Alma 45:16)

... I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:31)

 Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God. (Book of Mormon | Alma 12:32)

 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: (New Testament | James 1:13)

I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round. (Book of Mormon | Alma 7:20)

For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith. (Book of Mormon | Ether 12:12)

And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. (Book of Mormon | Mormon 9:19)

And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying he came again to the disciples, and said unto them: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief. (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 19:35)

... I [God] cannot deny my word. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 39:16)

 ... thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie. (Book of Mormon | Ether 3:12)

I, the Lord, promise the faithful and cannot lie. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 62:6)

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (New Testament | Titus 1:2)

And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 105:5)

Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that the people in Ohio call upon me in much faith, thinking I will stay my hand in judgment upon the nations, but I cannot deny my word. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 39:16)

Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 84:40-41)
So, to those who think that God is a tyrant, or is sociopathic or psychopathic (as some allege), perhaps our mortal, rational perspective is not all there is. Perhaps we don’t have access to the whole truth of why God does what He does; of the purposes of His “will and pleasure.” Perhaps God is God because He manifests all that is good2 from a vantage point beyond our highest comprehension.
HEAR, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior. Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out. His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand. From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:1-4)
What stays His hand is an inner compass of self-regulation, integrity, goodness, and all the other virtues that He honors. So, despite what some mean when they say “my work and my glory,” this is what God means:
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 1:39)

He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:24)

And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; … (Book of Mormon | Ether 3:4)
Is this not the scope of divine omnipotence—all power self-limiting by virtue of purpose (the benefit of mankind) and integrity?

Oh, that such were the case with humans exercising power!

1. For an expanded discussion, see
2. (with all its attendants like justice, judgment, righteousness, mercy, truth, goodness, knowledge, understanding, discernment, etc.)