A personality trait that seems to run like a thread through the lives of many people I admire is the trait of being a "high capacity" person. I'm often impressed by people who seem skilled at juggling multiple things without becoming excessively bogged down or easily discouraged. Some of my favorite historical figures were high capacity leaders. Some of the people I allow to influence me presently are high capacity leaders. I'm trying to learn from them and implement some of their attitudes, approaches, and strategies.
But no matter how "high capacity" someone might be, we need to realize that we all have our limits. Even if we don't require a lot of sleep, we still require some sleep. Even if we know many things, we don't know everything (and let's be honest... some of the most irritating people on this earth are those who think they know everything.) The strongest, wisest, and most gifted people on this earth can only do so much.
That being the case, let's consider God's capacity for just a moment. He's not only "high capacity", He's "infinite capacity." He never sleeps or slumbers. He is perfect in all His abilities. There isn't a single thing that He doesn't know, and there is no one more powerful than Him. And unlike humans who can only be in one place at one time, He is everywhere at the same time. This is amazing, and just like the Psalmist said in Psalm 113, "Who is like the Lord our God?" The answer, very simply, is no one.
I. God is Omnipotent
One of the words that theologians often use to describe God is "omnipotent." When you take a close look at that word, it's makes a lot of sense to use that term in regard to the Lord. Broken down into parts, the prefix omni means "all" and the suffix potent means "powerful." So when we use this term to describe God, we're saying that He is all-powerful. There is no greater power in existence than the power of God, and there is nothing in existence that God doesn't have power over.
A great example of that is given to us in the opening chapter of the book of Genesis. That chapter begins by describing the work of God in creation. We're told, as we look at these verses, that God spoke creation into existence. In contemporary society, I often hear people appeal to the universe itself as if it is the guiding power over our lives, but when you look at what is revealed to us in Genesis, we're shown that God Himself has power over the universe. He spoke it into existence.
Just consider that for a moment. It's one thing to fashion or make something out of something that already exists. But God is so powerful that He can speak something into existence that didn't exist a moment earlier. He didn't just shape what we see, He spoke it into existence out of nothing. He created the heavens and the earth. He created light. He created water. He gave specific borders to the water. He also created land and vegetation. Our God is all-powerful.
And there is no greater power than the power of God, Consider for just a moment what that means for you and me. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." Our all-powerful God who has made us part of His eternal family when we trusted in Jesus Christ, is working His power through us. He has not left us powerless to face the challenges, griefs, or adversities of this life. The very same power that spoke creation into existence is accessible and at work in all who believe. Are you convinced of this? What difference will this make in the life of a believer who becomes fully convinced of this truth?
Likewise, Scripture also reveals to us that since we are recipients of new life and a new birth through Jesus Christ, we can be confident that the same power that created life on this earth will also raise us to life again after our bodies experience natural death. In 1 Corinthians 6:14 we read, "And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power." Our omnipotent, all-powerful God has already revealed what's in store for us. Just as Jesus rose from death, so too will we be raised by the power of God. What a blessing it is to realize that our God has chosen to use His power in such a gracious and merciful way toward us.
II. God is Omniscient
Another word theologians use to describe God is "omniscient." The term omniscient can likewise be split into two parts. "Omni" means "all", and "scient” means "knowing". So when we refer to God as being omniscient, we're describing the fact that He is all-knowing. God knows everything. There isn't a single thing that can be known, past, present, or future, that God isn't intricately aware of.
In 1 John 3, the Apostle John explicitly stated that God knows everything, but Scripture gives several specific examples of God's omniscience for us to ponder.
Matthew 10:29-30 - Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
Psalm 139:1-4 - O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
Often in life, we can mistakenly begin to believe that God isn't aware of us or what we're experiencing. One of the great mistakes humanity has historically made is to adopt the belief that God is distant and unaware of the details of our day-to-day experiences. But God isn't distant and He certainly isn't unaware. He knows everything about us including the number of hairs on our head, pores in our skin, words we will ever say, and breaths we will ever take. There isn't anything He doesn't know.
God is all-knowing, but in our vanity and self-worship, mankind often makes the mistake of usurping this attribute of God. Every time we go our own way instead of heeding God's voice, we're essentially questioning His omniscience and falsely claiming that we possess that attribute.
In His omniscience, God also knows what is to come. A large percentage of Scripture is dedicated to prophesy. Prophesy is a gift from the Lord to us that He uses to confirm that what He is saying is true when His promises are fulfilled. He also gives us prophesy to encourage our hearts to be hopeful.
Revelation 21:3 - And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God."
No matter how difficult today might be, we can be confident that the joyful future our all-knowing God has revealed to us is going to come to pass.
III. God is Omnipresent
One additional term theologians use to describe God is "omnipresent." It's a term that means God is "all-present" or present everywhere at once. There isn't a location I could travel to where I could escape His presence. This is what David was expressing in Psalm 139. This is also a lesson the Lord taught Jonah and many others who mistakenly believed they could successfully flee from His presence.
It's wise, healthy, and a sign of spiritual maturity, to become gradually more conscious of the presence of God. I believe we make much healthier decisions in life when our awareness of God's presence with us is heightened. Typically, as we foster the spiritual discipline of prayer, our awareness of God's presence with us grows. We talk to Him, because He's near. We listen to Him, because He's near. We visibly observe His miraculous intervention in our lives, because He's near. Our hearts find peace, because He's near.
God made His presence quite clear when He took on flesh and walked among us. Jesus Christ, God the Son, walked our streets, ate our food, felt our pain, died our death, and rose to life as the first fruits of the coming resurrection for all who believe in Him. We aren't worshipping a God who is aloof and distant from us. We worship the Lord who is intimately acquainted with all aspects of our experience.
Hebrews 4:14-16 - Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
One final thing I'd like to say about God's omnipresence is this... Don't make the mistake of applying this attribute to anyone else. Only God can be all places at once. No one else has this capacity. I mention this because I have often heard well-meaning believers mistakenly assume that Satan also possesses this capacity. Like us, Satan is a created being. And like us, he can only be in one place at one time. He is not all-powerful. He is not all-knowing, and he is not all-present. Mistakenly assuming that Satan possesses attributes that only God possesses can cause us to live in fear when God's desire for us is that we live with a confident faith that isn't easily shaken due to misinformation or lack of knowledge.
It's fascinating to consider the nature and the attributes of our God, particularly as we consider the implications of His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.
How are you experiencing His power right now?
How are you trusting in His will and His wisdom?
How conscious have you become of His presence?
At the end of the day, our Lord's attributes inspire awe within us, and like the psalmist said in Psalm 113, we can also marvel at the question, "Who is like the Lord our God?"
© John Stange, 2018