When we consider God, a being that is almighty who created everything that existed we don’t usually think that there are things God cannot do. There are many things man can’t do, but there are also things God can’t do. That’s right God can’t do all things. It is not because He is unable to, that He is limited in power in any way. It is because of who He is in nature. There are guidelines that even God cannot step over. For example God cannot be God and not be God at the same time. He cannot create another God from a creature that would be made equal with Him-self. The secondary God would be derived from and dependent on the first so it would be finite. Since he had a beginning it could not be as powerful as its originator. One of the first requirements for being God is to be uncreated, infinite, eternal, and omniscient. So a created god does not qualify for the job description of being God.
So What Can’t He Do?
1. It is impossible for God to lie. It is impossible for God to lie, so he is consistent with truth, which has absolutes. His standard of right and wrong does not change.
Heb.6:18 tells us He can’t lie = he can’t break a unconditional promise what he says He will fulfill. He is the truth and there is no darkness in him. He cannot go back on His Word.
When he told Abraham to take his only son and put him on the altar, Abraham knew that if God allowed him to have Isaac killed he would have had to raise him up back to life. This is because he already promised Abraham that through Isaac the promise of his Covenant would come.
God can never send another flood over the whole earth like he did in Noah’s day. It’s not that he doesn’t possess the ability; He can’t do it because He promised He would never do it again (the rainbow is there to remind us of this truth). God’s nature is inclined to truth, which means He keeps His promises. If God could lie then what would make him any different than any sinful human being? The creator would not be superior in ethics or better in any sense.
2.Can God make a rock so big that even he can’t lift it? Some think he can, however if he can’t lift it then He is not all-powerful. If God can make a rock that he can’t move then what He created becomes more powerful than the creator. Then God is no longer the most powerful thing in the universe, the rock has become more powerful than God. And whatever is more powerful than God is God, for there is nothing greater. God has infinite qualities, not finite. God can only do things that are possible; he can’t make square circles (it wouldn’t be called a circle) or a two sided triangle. It is asking God to bring about a logically contradictory state to His own nature.
This is what is called a category mistake to say He can make something he can’t lift. It’s like asking a bachelor what his wife’s name is? What does the color yellow taste like, color doesn’t taste, so it is not a relevant question. It’s not possible for God to make a rock so big that even he can’t lift it. If he can make it He can lift it. If he can create it, he can destroy it. God does not have any limit to His power, but everything he created has a limit. Just because He does not show His unlimited power does not mean he does not possess infinite power. Nothing God makes can be more powerful than Him, creation is never more powerful than its creator. Whatever He created is under his jurisdiction, under His control, but it can never have equality or become superior.
“Whatever implies being and nonbeing simultaneously is incompatible with the absolute possibility which falls under divine omnipotence. Such a contradiction is not subject to it, not from any impotence in God, but because it simply does not have the nature of being feasible or possible. Whatever, then, does not involve a contradiction is in the realm of the possible with respect to which God is omnipotent. Whatever involves a contradiction is not within the scope of omnipotence because it cannot qualify for possibility. Better, however, to say that it cannot be done, rather than God cannot do it.” (T. Aquinas Summa Theologica p. 163-164 , Volume I, ques. 15 ans. 3)
3.Can God stop being God or stop existing? The nature of God is infinite- meaning no end, He is from everlasting to everlasting. God’s unchanging moral character is a moral absolute, he changes not. This includes holiness, justice, love, mercy and truth. God is who He is forever and is the only constant thing (being) in the universe. Only created things subject to time and space which are of a non-eternal substance can change. God could not change if He wanted to (which He would not). Because He exists in the highest and ultimate state of perfection. Words fail to describe at this point the state God is in. However we do know God became a man, in that he added another nature to his deity, so He came in human flesh, we know him as Jesus Christ.
He is not free to act contrary to his nature that is permanent, that does not change. Does this mean he is not all-powerful? No- it means that as a perfect and unchangeable being His commands and actions are rooted in the ultimate good, which flow from his nature. God’s moral character does not change. “I the Lord change not “(Mal.3:6). “There is no shadow of change with God” (Jm.1:17).
His nature is eternal. He cannot say tomorrow I’ll act like the devil for a while or sin as man does. What God has been, He will always be, (the I Am). He is completely self sufficient within himself.
4. In the same vein, If God “almighty” can do anything as some claim then can he make another God? Can He give Godhood to a man, or angel? No creature can ever become that which is uncreated. The point is God cannot duplicate Himself in a creature and change them to a nature such as His. Because no creature formed is eternal God alone is from eternity, there are no others in this category.
5.God cannot sin, Holiness is part of his intrinsic nature, He cannot do otherwise. What God is, He forever exists as. He cannot break his commands of holiness that reflect his nature.
6. God cannot learn anything new. Before He created anything He knew all about it. This is why He is able to predict the future with perfect accuracy. There is no progression in knowledge for God as there is with man. He knew the end before the beginning, before he even began to create.
7. God cannot answer every prayer you want but only those that are in accordance to His will being done on earth. He cannot answer prayers that would do the very opposite of His purposes or go against His good. That is why he tells us to pray according to His will.
8. God is always right- He is never wrong. When God does something; it is not right because He did it, it is right because it is right. God is perfect in all His ways. It is not good because God chose it, therefore it must be good! God chose it because it is good, God wills it because it is good, it’s not good simply because he wills it or chose it to be. God is not arbitrary or capricious. He knows the greater good because He alone possesses all knowledge. All of nature shows this to be true. Order is of the greater design and objective, chaos is not. To preserve life is the greater good, to take life is not, (exceptions are the rarity). This is because all morals and ethics flow from His moral nature. So while God is all-powerful he cannot act or think contrary to His perfect eternal unlimited nature, which is the ultimate standard of moral good. as Jesus said – there is none good but God.
Isn’t it good to know there is a being in charge of the whole universe that is perfect in His judgments and choices, and ways. Who keeps His promises and never does wrong. That He is wanting to do good toward those who repent and please Him by exercising faith in Him. That is a comfort for those who are for Him instead of against Him. For those against him this may bring fear, knowing that they will get justice in the end. He is the ONLY one You can fully trust in.