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'Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."'

There are many quotes of this kind in the Bible- but how do we know the above (and others like it) aren't just hyperbole and descriptive? He might mean a 'great many' things. How do these quotes justify a belief that god truly can do anything He wishes? Or does a belief in this version of God arise from elsewhere?

Answers will of necessity be in regard to the Translation quoted.

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I've got a fairly solid back record on this site for down votes...so I nervously await your feedback! –  Sehnsucht Jul 5 '14 at 13:31
    
I am not going to downvote. However, just a reminder, the Christianity.SE does not allow "truth questions". Your question would be considered a "truth question", because you are asking for a "biblical basis", which may vary from denomination to denomination. You may want to narrow your scope to a specific point-of-view. It's best to ask a question with some knowledge that something exists than to ask a question about something that may not exist. –  Double U Jul 5 '14 at 13:46
    
I'm not going to down-vote either, but I would like to remind you that, based on how loosely you're willing to interpret passages and extrapolate meaning, you can find a Biblical basis for almost anything, AND if you go the other way, you can justify, rationalize, and explain away anything. An example of that is how many different takes there are on Man's origin and the origin of the universe within Christianity. Some take Genesis 1 completely literally, some think it's allegory, and some come up with day-age theory, gap theory, etc. So "Biblical Basis" is shaky ground. –  David Jul 5 '14 at 15:21
    
As long as you don't insist on being personally convinced that the basis is valid, and it doesn't turn into a "yeah, but" comment-fest, you can sometimes get away with them, but this type of question tends to be problematic. –  David Jul 5 '14 at 15:24
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Do you mean to ask "Is omnipotence so absolute that God can create a boulder even he can't lift? versus omnipotence being relative to all created things, i.e. God is so way more powerful than everything created that he might as well be said to be all-powerful even if he really isn't in the absolute sense?" –  david brainerd Jul 5 '14 at 23:53

4 Answers 4

From the King James translation; There are several Scriptures which tell us that God is Omnipotent, Not the least of which is creation itself.

Then the first time God brought rain upon the Earth He caused a flood which Killed all life except Those animals he saved and those eight people aboard the Ark.

Beyond that we see God parting the red sea, for Israel, and drowning Pharaoh's Army in it.

God stopped the Rain for three years, at the behest of Elijah.

He also caused wood soaked with massive amounts of water to burn when he sent fire from Heaven.

He took Elijah to Heaven in a whirlwind as Elisha watched.

He caused Elisha's mule to talk.

He caused the sun to retreat 10 hours.

And that is a few of the passages covered in only in the Old Testament.

So let's look at Jesus in the New Testament.

Matthew 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

Jesus not only claimed to have the power of God but he also demonstrated it, in that passage.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

In the above passage Jesus is telling us His power is given to him by the Father.

Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Here Jesus is telling us that one day we will see him sitting next to the Father who is Power.

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Here we find the Angel Gabriel telling Mary that It is God's power that will cause her to become pregnant yet remain a virgin.

I could go on citing Scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments attesting to God's omnipotence, but either you believe that the Bible is true or you do not, but in answer as to whether there is Biblical backup for God's omnipotence the answer is a resounding yes!

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@Sehnsucht- Bye is right. I'm deleting the comments on this because you're debating the validity of Truth here. Please see the second comment I put on this original answer. It's not valid to expect Bye, or anyone else to convince you of Truth. we're not here to convince you. –  David Jul 5 '14 at 16:36
    
@vWil the real question here is not whether or not He can, but does he have reason for not improvising. The Supreme God of all has devised his plan to accomplish his goal, and we have no right to question him. –  BYE Jul 5 '14 at 16:39

God revealed Himself as the Almighty God (Genesis 17:1, Exodus 6:3).

God Himself says that He can do anything He wishes (e.g. Isaiah 46:10). Also consider, e.g. Job 42:2, Psalm 135:6, Jeremiah 32:17, Daniel 4:35, Mark 14:36, Ephesus 1:11.

It is true that the Bible uses figures of speech, including hyperbole, but I believe there is no need to try to understand a passage in a figurative way, unless the passage does not make any sense literally.

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Is there a biblical basis for God's omnipotence or have we mistaken 'symbolism'?

The only limitation the Bible gives for God is an inability to lie.

Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

We have an example of God being able to raise up and get rid of nations.

Numbers 14:11-12 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

God of course created our world.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

God removed all people from the earth except eight.

Genesis 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

God can give peace or evil (calamity).

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

God has power over the stars.

Job 38:31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

God controls the weather.

Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

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Is there a biblical basis for God's omnipotence or have we mistaken 'symbolism'?

I see no consistent basis in the Bible for God's omnipotence, but some evidence to the contrary. On that basis, I say we have mistaken 'symbolism'.

The first creation story, Genesis 1:1-2:4a, widely attributed to the Priestly Source does attribute omnipotence to El Shaddai (God Almighty) and God simply speaks things into existence. This is biblical evidence of omnipotence, but this is not a motif we see consistently throughout the Bible.

Looking at the often-overlooked creation story in Genesis 2:4b-25, we find that God does not create living things out of nothing. In Genesis 2:7: "the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground ...", then in Genesis 2:19: " And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam..." Finally, in verse 22, God made Eve out of a rib taken from Adam: "And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." God was supremely powerful in that he could create life, but nevertheless aware that there were limits to his power, because he had to fashion living things out of existing matter. There is no suggestion in this creation story (widely attributed to the Yahwist) that God created the world.

The contrast between the apparent omnipotence of God in the first and his apparent lack of omnipotence in the second, along with other differences in the two accounts, suggests that these should not be read literally but symbolically.

Even the Flood story is at least suggestive of limits to God's powers. An omnipotent God could have destroyed the unrighteous humans without risking damage to the environment, but the God of Genesis had to bring down rain to achieve the destruction he intended.

In Isaiah 46:10, God says he will do everything he wishes, but this is not a biblical claim to omnipotence, only that what God wishes to do he can achieve. Mark 10:27 (Matthew 19:26, Luke 18:27) does say, "... for with God all things are possible," but this is in the context of salvation, not of performing feats of great power.

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God using existing matter or judging the world along with mankind isn't evidence against his omnipotence! It's perfectly consistent with God doing exactly as he wants to do. Of course that's the case with most passages which makes the question difficult. –  curiousdannii Feb 24 at 3:46
    
@curiousdannii I agree that God could have wished to do it the hard way, using existing matter, but the question does not ask me to prove his non-omnipotence. It asks whether the Bible would justify a belief that God truly can do anything He wishes. The second creation story and the flood story do not justify such a belief, even if they do not disprove it. I do present both sides of the story, showing that the first creation account, on the other hand, could justify such a belief. –  Dick Harfield Feb 24 at 5:52

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