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Every Christian knows the saying that "With God all things are possible." But is this actually a fact?

I listened recently to a speaker, who said, that God cannot come in contact with anything unclean, or commit any sin.

Also, everyone knows the question asked by Believers and non-believers alike, "Since God can do everything, can he make a rock that he can't lift?" Obviously, this is a little bit hard to answer, for Yes or No, will both conclude that God cannot do everything.

So my question is, are all things possible with God, and what reasons do you have if they are/are not? As a little supplement, maybe you could tell me how we are supposed to answer that one question?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

First of all, the assertion that "With God, all things are possible" is valid and scriptural.

Matthew 19:26 (NIV)
26  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

However, it would be a mistake to assume that God's omnipotence means he can act against his nature. Hebrews tells us:

Hebrews 6:18 (NIV)
18  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.

This is not a contradiction. When Jesus says that "with God all things are possible", he does not intend to suggest that God can act outside of His nature - and His nature is righteousness. Similarly I, as a physical creature, am by nature bound to operate within the confines of a physical universe (i.e., I am bound by physical laws).

As to the other part of your question, no - God cannot make a rock so big that he can't lift it. That doesn't contradict His omnipotence. The question itself is silly and irrational. Another thing God can't do is make a circle with four corners. If he did, then it would no longer be a circle would it? By definition, it would be a square. C.S. Lewis addresses this eloquently:

His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. There is no limit to His power.

If you choose to say, 'God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,' you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words, 'God can.'

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Very good answer. I love the C.S.Lewis quote at the end. –  Byzantine Aug 13 '12 at 16:29
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so then, your answer is, "No, all things are not possible with God." –  user1054 Aug 13 '12 at 16:39
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@DanAndrews ...this comment brought to you by the Department of Oversimplification. –  DJClayworth Aug 13 '12 at 17:49
    
@DJClayworth My answer (-3 before I deleted it) agreed with this (+3) answer. However it was stamped by the Department of Oversimplification's seal of approval. :) I have since made it a comment –  user1054 Aug 13 '12 at 18:19
    
An argument could be made that logic itself is a creation of God, and so what is "intrinsically impossible" could become more a matter of violating the character of God than what is normally meant by 'intrinsic'. Even though it is a difficult philosophical matter which I do not understand, I am disinclined to place logic above God or equal in power but distinct from God but rather I am inclined to believe such flows from God's character (I would call such an aspect of Goodness). Yes, I am peculiar (and exceedingly ignorant of math and philosophy among other things). –  Paul A. Clayton Dec 11 '12 at 13:38
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When Jesus says "with God all things are possible" , he means all things that exist or or is possible to exist or is possible to happen. All other things do not exist, has not existed or will not happen.

So instead of saying that it is not possible for God to be not strong enough to lift any stone in this Universe, it will be simpler and equally logical to say that there was, is and will be no stone that God cannot lift.

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Welcome to C.SE. This answer would benefit from citing Matthew 19:26 or even Phillippians 4:13. –  Affable Geek Oct 5 '12 at 3:26
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