Good to know what God can’t – yes, can’t – do

Published 12:00am Saturday, August 10, 2013

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but several years ago I saw a small book with an unusual title that seemed to contradict what I believe.

Author Maisie Sparks had written 101 Things God Cannot Do, and I wondered how in the world she could come up with even one. The thought of it goes against everything my Sunday school teachers taught me, not to mention what the Bible says.

God can do anything.  “For with God nothing will be impossible,” the angel Gabriel announced to Mary (Luke 1:37). The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah wrote these divinely-inspired words about Him, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

God knows everything, according to 1 John 3:20. He’s omnipresent, meaning everywhere at the same time. Psalm 137 tells us we cannot go anywhere that He isn’t there. What is it that God – who is infinite, eternal, good, holy, just, longsuffering, righteous, perfect and powerful – could not do? Knowing all these things about God made a book about what He couldn’t do seem theologically incorrect.

It only took reading a few pages to realize what the author was trying to say. I had to admit she was right. For instance, page one stated, “God cannot lie,” because Hebrews 6:18 declares it’s impossible for God to lie. Another verse tells us, “God is not a man that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2).

God can’t get weary.  Isaiah 40:28 reads, “Have you not known? Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.” And, God cannot sleep, according to Psalm 121:4.

God’s mercy cannot end. “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1). God cannot give us a spirit of fear, the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7.

The prophet Isaiah also tells us God cannot stand sin, and thankfully, doesn’t even remember sins He’s forgotten. Read Isaiah 59:2 and 43:25. And, God can’t be fooled, the writer of Hebrews says in chapter four, verse 12; nor can He be tempted by evil, according to James 1:3.

Luke reminds us God cannot be prejudice, “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.   But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35).

Did you know God can’t break His promises?  That means He cannot fail, nor will He change because He’s always the same. Romans 8:32 says God cannot be selfish for He “did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

God cannot be unforgiving. He assures those who ask for forgiveness, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Isn’t it good to know what God cannot do?

 

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Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist.  Her email address is jwhite@andycable.com.

 

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