What does it mean to worship an all-powerful God?
These times call into question the nature and morality of power.
Every Sunday, I pray the Lord’s Prayer and try to mean it. Lately, though, I’ve been pausing over the word power. What does it mean to celebrate power as a divine attribute?
The hymns I sang so eagerly as a young adult offered up a superhero God who holds unshakable sway over people, places, and events. Many of the miracle stories in the Bible literalize this muscled version of power: a God who curses snakes, parts the sea, rains down bread, slaughters firstborns.
As a child, I watched the adults in my life engage in all sorts of theological gymnastics to square this brand of omnipotence with God’s other most abiding and essential trait: goodness. “God allows it” is the explanation I heard most often: nothing happens without God’s permission. God is perfectly capable of conquering evil and suffering but exercises restraint to accomplish a higher purpose.