What God Cannot Do

Around the dinner table one evening my nine-year-old said, “God can do anything.”

“That’s technically wrong.” I told him.

There is one thing God cannot do. He cannot contradict himself. Because, in doing so, He would cease to be God. I don’t write these words without reverence for our Creator; this is no jest.

I bring this up to remind you and me of the stability and security of God — His changelessness. Because God is a perfect being, it is impossible for Him to lie. Doing so would render God imperfect — a contradiction in terms.

Simon Wijers

We tend to think of God in human terms, since humanity is our point of reference. But, as imperfect beings with a limited sense of agency, we fall. All the time. Our starting point is Adam and Eve. The forbidden fruit. The shame.

God, though, has no starting point. He is timeless, the great I AM.

We humans are walking contradictions. As Paul wrote:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15

Has there ever been a more relatable verse for the man or woman trying to live for Jesus? We live in this ever-present tension between worshiping God and wanting to play God. So, since contradiction has been part of who we are ever since the fall in the garden, we tend to extrapolate that reality and apply it to the Creator. We have no firsthand knowledge of any other reality.

What if God goes back on His promises? What if He changes His mind?

Rest assured, that’s impossible. As Numbers 23:19 reads, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”

Though we may be duplicitous, God is not. As the intro to the Greatest Commandment says:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deuteronomy 6:4

God cannot lie or cheat, and He always keeps His promises. As a result we should strive to live out that commandment, by whatever means possible:

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

The recognition that we are imperfect and God is pure drives us to worship and love Him. Yet this “limitation” does not damper God’s omnipotence by any means. In fact, it enhances it. God is inviolable, the source of good and the vigor of life. Anything contrary is not of Him.

And even though we are imperfect creatures, God still desires a relationship with us. Perhaps the best way to pursue that relationship is by spending time daily with Him through reading the Bible and prayer.

If you do not regularly do so or struggle with the process in general, you might find my guide, How to Establish a Daily Habit of Quiet Time with God, useful. It’s absolutely free to you, just give me your email address. You’ll be subscribed to my list to which I send out blog and book updates, but you can unsubscribe at any time. I promise I won’t take it personally. Click here to get the guide.