Nothing is impossible with God. - Luke 1:37
During World War II, England’s Royal Navy commissioned three aircraft carriers called the “Illustrious” (renowned), the “Indefatigable” (tireless), and the “Indomitable” (unconquerable). Difficult as the names were, it is not difficult to catch the spirit behind them. These were the brave words the Royal Navy used to describe her pride and tradition even in the darkest days of the War.
Theologians use a trio of similarly difficult but noble words to describe God. They talk about him being omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere present).
In a startling conversation with Abraham, God claimed to be all-powerful. He announced, “About this time next year I will return, and your wife Sarah will have a son” (Gen. 18:10). We don’t know how Abraham reacted, but Sarah simply laughed at the ludicrous idea, because both she and her husband were well past childbearing age. Reading Sarah’s unspoken thoughts, God challenged the old man: “Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:13-14). The implied answer: No, nothing is too hard for the Lord. God was affirming his omnipotence.
A similar message was delivered loud and clear to a young woman called Mary in the city of Nazareth centuries later. She, too, was startled to hear the news. But there was a difference. Sarah reacted because of her antiquity, Mary because of her virginity! Mary’s questions were answered by the firm assuring statement, “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
The doctrine of divine omnipotence is not without its perplexities. Some people say, “If God was omnipotent he could destroy all evil. He doesn’t, so he must be either impotent or immoral.” And others wonder if the Bible is not contradicting itself when it says, on the one hand, “nothing is impossible with God,” but on the other hand, that it is impossible for him to lie (Heb. 6:18).
The statements to Sarah and Mary about divine omnipotence need to be seen in the context of the divine will. God was stating that nothing would hinder him from doing what he willed to do. And they needed to believe it!
There is a great challenge and wonderful comfort in these words. The challenge lies in the fact that resistance to God is little short of suicidal. The comfort inherent in God’s omnipotence means that he will come through in the end. Like a majestic ship sailing through storm, tempest, and battle, God is Illustrious, Indefatigable, Indomitable—and Omnipotent!
For Further Study: Luke 1:26-38