A friend emailed me today, wondering about something I said at the late night theological discussion at the Austin National Youth Workers Convention. I said, “Human beings should not make meaningless statements like, ‘God cannot lie,’ or ask meaningless questions like, ‘Can God create a rock so big that even God cannot move it?'”
Len wrote that he must have misheard me, because Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
“God cannot lie” is a meaningless statement, I replied. It shouldn’t be uttered. Look more closely at Numbers — it doesn’t say that God cannot lie, but that he should not lie. The point is ethical, not ontological. That is, it’s a statement about God’s trustworthiness, not about his being. As a human, I should never start a sentence with “God cannot….,” because, “God can…” is the only accurate statement.
I believe, ontologically, that God is capable of all things. Thus, human statements that attempt to retard the agency of God are nonsensical and should not be uttered.
Wanna have some fun conversations like this? Come to the late night convo in Anaheim or Charlotte!
(See, Marko, I blogged about the Convention!)