Works of Love Newsletter
The Death of Omnipotence
Omnipotence is dead.
At least it should be. It has no biblical support. And it dies a death of a thousand qualifications in philosophy.
Those harmed and hurting wonder why an omnipotent God doesn't prevent their pointless pain. The problem of evil buries omnipotence six feet under.
But the death of omnipotence is not the death of God.
Thomas Jay Oord recently published his ground-breaking book, The Death of Omnipotence... and Birth of Amipotence. Oord argues that the classic idea that God is all-powerful should be rejected on biblical, philosophical, and experiential grounds. Biblical scholars mistranslated Hebrew and Greek words as "almighty" or "omnipotent" in scripture. But neither the word nor the concept of omnipotence are well supported by the Bible. Conservative and progressive theologians in the past and present qualify what they mean by "omnipotent." Because of countless provisos, says Oord, the word dies a death of a thousand qualifications. And evil ends omnipotence. Personal, natural, and political evils cannot be well explained if one embraces omnipotence. But traditional responses to evil can be salvaged if we drop the idea God is or can be all-powerful. Oord concludes by recommending a new doctrine of divine power he calls "amipotence." He argues we should understand God's power (and other attributes) through the lens of uncontrolling love.
"Finally God's love has been saved from God's control - faithfully, definitively, attractively! In this vibrantly accessible work, Thomas Jay Oord puts to rest the demoralizing, incoherent, and by the way nonbiblical notion of controlling omnipotence, used to justify endless injustice. In its stead, he unleashes 'amipotence' - code for the power of love. Its time has come: preach it, teach it, live it!"
"Omnipotence has long been considered a basic, non-negotiable, characteristic of God. But is it actually biblical? And does it push us toward hidden theological landmines that can blow up our faith? In this book, Oord, with his typical gentle candor, lays out the complex issues in clear and readable chunks. In the end, Oord points to the beauty and comfort of a God who is uncontrolling love."
"Omnipotence is widely believed to be one of the most important attributes of God. In this book, Thomas Jay Oord proposes a highly original and thought-provoking thesis: instead of omnipotent, God should be considered 'amipotent.' This is an important book which can radically change the way we approach central problems in philosophy of religion and philosophical theology."
"Thomas Jay Oord challenges one of the most fundamental attributes of God - omnipotence - and discloses that a narrow view of God as 'Almighty' is neither biblical nor adequately describes the God of Jesus Christ. Instead, he offers a new view of God as 'amipotent.' The power of God is the power of love, and the power of unconditional love is our strength. Oord has made an important contribution to restoring the biblical God, a God who is ever faithful in love, not a power over us but the power beneath our wings."
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