Omnipotence

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For He is called omnipotent on account of His doing what He wills, not on account of His suffering what He wills not; for if that should befall Him, He would by no means be omnipotent. Wherefore, He cannot do some things for the very reason that He is omnipotent. - Augustine of Hippo.

Omnipotence is the quality of having unlimited power. Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence to only the deity of their faith. In the monotheistic philosophies of Abrahamic religions, omnipotence is often listed as one of a deity's characteristics among many, including omniscience, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence. The presence of all these properties in a single entity has given rise to considerable theological debate, prominently including the problem of theodicy, the question of why such a deity would permit the manifestation of evil.

Quotes[edit]

  • Those who desire to rise as high as our human condition allows, must renounce intellectual pride, the omnipotence of clear thinking, belief in the absolute power of logic.
  • It is with men as with wheat; the light heads are erect even in the presence of Omnipotence, but the full heads bow in reverence before Him.
    • Joseph Cook; reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 484.
  • Who is all-powerful should fear everything.
  • And we must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient—that we are only 6 percent of the world's population—that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind—that we cannot right every wrong or reverse every adversity—and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.
    • John F. Kennedy, address at the University of Washington's 100th anniversary program, Seattle, Washington (November 16, 1961); in The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 726.
  • Disbelief is the only possible revenge for omnipotence.
    • Chris Lawson, Written in Blood (Originally published in Asimov’s Science Fiction [1] June, 1999)
  • 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. This 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.'... It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of his creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because his power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.
  • Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
  • If you get into these spaces [non-ordinary states of consciousness] at all, you must forget about them when you come back. You must forget you're omnipotent and omniscient and take the game seriously so you'll engage in sex, have children, and participate in the whole human scenario. When you come back from a deep tank session — or a coma or psychosis —there's always this extraterrestrial feeling. You have to read the directions in the glove compartment so you can run the human vehicle once more.
    • John C. Lilly Tanks for the Memories : Floatation Tank Talks (1995)
  • A work of skill, surpassing sense,
    A labor of Omnipotence;
    Though frail as dust it meet thine eye,
    He form'd this gnat who built the sky.
    • James Montgomery, The Gnat; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 315.
  • Can omniscient God, who
    Knows the future, find
    The Omnipotence to
    Change His future mind?
  • If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts.
  • There is the instance of the Gadarene swine, where it certainly was not very kind to the pigs to put the devils into them and make them rush down the hill into the sea. You must remember that He was omnipotent, and He could have made the devils simply go away; but He chose to send them into the pigs. Then there is the curious story of the fig-tree, which always rather puzzled me. You remember what happened about the fig-tree. "He was hungry; and seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, He came if haply He might find anything thereon; and when he came to it He found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it: 'No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever'.... and Peter.... saith unto Him: 'Master, behold the fig-tree which thou cursedst is withered away.'" This is a very curious story, because it was not the right time of year for figs, and you really could not blame the tree. I cannot myself feel that either in the matter of wisdom or in the matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other people known to History. I think I should put Buddha and Socrates above Him in those respects.
  • A child's cry touches a father's heart, and our King is the Father of his people. If we can do no more than cry it will bring omnipotence to our aid. A cry is the native language of a spiritually needy soul; it has done with fine phrases and long orations, and it takes to sobs and moans; and so, indeed, it grasps the most potent of all weapons, for heaven always yields to such artillery.
  • It is the final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.

External links[edit]

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