Deconstructing the Omnipotence of God in View of Persisting Evil in the Contemporary World

By Vishwanth Jeyaraj V.[1]


Understanding infinite God with our finite knowledge is always complicated, that too understanding God amid persisting evil is even more complicated. Whenever there is a crisis or any evil that is happening in our Contemporary world, immediately a question arises in the hearts of many, Does God exist or not? If God exists, why God is so silent toward the evil things that are happening in society? If God is Omnipotent, why God is not doing anything in the world? Right from the Medieval period till date explaining the existence and the nature of God has been very difficult and this paper tries to deconstruct the “Omnipotence” of God given Persisting Evil in the Contemporary World and to reconstruct with “Amipotence,” suggested by Thomas Jay Oord.

 The paper divides into three parts: the first discusses the understanding of God biblically and historically right from the early church theologians to the contemporary discussions on God; the second part analyses a few persisting evils in the contemporary world. The paper’s concluding part deals with Deconstruction of “Omnipotence” and reconstructing with Thomas Jay Oord’s understanding of “Amipotence.”


  • Deconstruction

            Deconstruction is the process of dismantling something to identify its components. The French philosopher Jacques Derrida is credited with creating the deconstruction approach. In the 1960s, Derrida presented the idea of deconstruction for the first time. The Deconstruction method applies linguistics to epistemology in turn. Language creates and constructs notions of reality, according to the linguistic turn, which departs from the idea that language corresponds to reality. In this case, language serves as the medium for understanding and creating meaning from human experiences. Additionally, it highlights how language is formed in a variety of settings, including politics, religion, culture, music, art, science, and sports. The idea of a largely permanent, autonomous, unchanging, hegemonic subject is undermined by deconstructive postmodernism. Therefore, deconstruction looks for and liberates those differences. The goal of deconstruction is to reveal the author’s prejudices and privileged positions through a thorough, in-depth text analysis.[2]

  • Omnipotent

God can do whatever God wants because God is “all-powerful.” All that aligns with God’s perfections is within God’s power. All things are said to be possible for the Lord, who is referred as “Almighty” (Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8). All things are possible for God (Matthew 19:26), and nothing is insurmountable (Jeremiah 32:17).[3]   


             For several reasons, the possibility of knowing God has been rejected or restricted. Although it is true that humans will never be able to fully understand God, this does not mean that they cannot know anything about God at all. Even though he or she only has partial knowledge of God, that knowledge can occasionally be real and accurate. This is feasible because God has partially revealed who God is.[4]

  1. Biblical Understanding of God

            Only revelation can fully inform our understanding of God (I Cor. 2:11). Because of the natural light within them (John 1:9; Rom. 2:14-15) and the natural revelation about them (Psalm 19:1; Rom. 1:20), all people are aware of some aspect of God’s nature; however, because of their fallen state, they repress this knowledge and distort its meaning (Rom. 1:18, 23, 25, 28). Therefore, God’s revelation of Godself in Holy Scripture is the only source from which humans can truly learn about God. Scripture reveals God’s character through both God’s actions and God’s words about Godself.[5]

            There are numerous names and titles are given to God in the Bible. They are as follows, God as el (to be strong or Might One), eloah (Revered One), elohim (Mighty One), el elyon (Most High), adonai (my Lord, Yahweh), el shaddai (God All-Sufficient), Yahweh (God is, God exists or God is present), Yahweh Sabaoth (God of Hosts), Kurios (Lord).[6] God is a substance. But God is a spiritual substance rather than a material one. According to Jesus, “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). This definition of God’s nature, which lacks an article in Greek, describes God as spiritual. God is incorporeal and immaterial because God is spirit. God has no boundaries when it comes to space. Space does not define or confine God. Different from the substance and essence of God, the attributes of God are those characteristics that are inherent in the substance and provide a more in-depth and analytical description of it. God’s non-moral characteristics include omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, and immutability; God’s moral characteristics include holiness, righteousness, goodness, love, and truthfulness.[7]

  1. Selected Historical Understanding of God from Early Church to Contemporary Discussions on GodIrenaeus[8]: In contrast to the Gnostics, the central tenet of Irenaeus’ philosophy is the unity of God. Gnosticism holds that there are several divine “Aeons,”[9] and that they distinguish between the supremely transcendent “High God” and the lesser “Demiurge,”[10] who is said to have created the world. Irenaeus created the logos theology to emphasize salvation history in line with the unity of God. Irenaeus emphasized that everything that has occurred is a part of God’s plan for humanity and that God created the world and has been watching over it ever since this creative act. This plan’s central idea is a maturation process. Irenaeus thought that God intended for the creatures to take a very long time to mature and to be in the divine likeness.[11]Augustine of Hippo[12]: He believed God is an infinite and perfect being who illuminates human beings. In the same way that God illuminates the mind and God acts in human minds. This idea served as Augustine’s justification for the existence of God. The Augustinian theory of divine illumination establishes God’s existence. Augustine believed that human freedom is the cause of all evil and God is not the reason for evil that happens in the world. He believed that everything in the universe is created by God not in seven days like a creation account which is mentioned in Genesis. Augustine emphasized that God is the sole creator and sustainer of all creations.[13]Anselm of Canterbury[14]:

            It is believed that Anselm was the first academic philosopher of Christian theology. Two things dominate Anselm’s reputation in the history of philosophy. Firstly, his original work on the atonement, Why God Became Man, in which he attempted to delineate the reasoning behind the atonement. Anselm is also recognized for his ontological defense. Here, he attempted to lay out a reasoned case for God’s existence. According to him, there is nothing that can be thought of being greater than God. If God were non-existent, God would not qualify as “that beyond which no greater being could possibly exist.” Thus, the existence of God. Another way, it basically says that God is perfect in every way. God is the source of existence because God has created good. God is the pinnacle of perfection in his eyes. Anselm did not hesitate to move the idea of God to reality, from mental content (the logical) to reality (the ontic).[15]

  1. Thomas Aquinas[16]: According to Aquinas, there is no way to prove that God exists. He thoroughly examined five rational arguments for God’s existence in Summa Theologica[17]. They are commonly referred to as the “Five Ways.” He put forth five affirmations regarding God’s divine attributes. 1. God is Simple, God does not consist of separate elements like body and soul or matter and form. 2. God is perfect and flawless. 3. God is infinite, meaning that God is not limited in the same ways that created beings are limited in the physical, intellectual, or emotional domains. 4. God is immutable; neither God’s essence nor God’s character can be altered. 5.  God is one. There is no diversity within God’s self.[18]
  2. John Duns Scotus[19]: According to Duns, evidence of God’s existence can only be established after the fact by God’s actions. As the totality of caused things that are essentially caused is itself caused, it is caused by some cause which is not a part of the totality, for then it would be the cause of itself; for the whole totality dependent things is dependent and not on anything belonging to that totality. This is the causal argument he uses to support the existence of God. The argument pertains to Scotus’ idea of a metaphysical investigation into existence through an examination of the relationships between entities. Duns thought that logic and philosophy could demonstrate the existence of God and some of God’s characteristics, like God’s infinite nature. However, there are many things that Duns maintained can only be known by revelation and Thomas Aquinas thought can be proven by reason. Christian doctrines such as predestination, justice, goodness, and mercy are accepted only by faith and cannot be supported by logic.[20]
  3. Martin Luther[21]: Luther found philosophy to be unsatisfying because it provided comfort regarding the application of reason but not about the significance of loving God. He believed that reason could not lead people to God. Luther believed that reason could be used to challenge authorities and individuals, but not God. Scripture and divine revelation were the only sources of information available to humans about God.[22]                  Luther does not consider God’s hiddenness or Hidden God to be one of God’s attributes. It isn’t as though he says that God is good, omnipotent, and loving, and then says that God is also hidden. In that case, “hiddenness” would just be an adjective that describes the noun “God.” Luther’s use of hiddenness would only serve to emphasize how evident it is that God is invisible. Hiding is an activity of God. Thus, according to Hebrews 10:31 (NRSV), “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” When God is not discernible, it is because God literally hides from those who would seek out. The act of God hiding affects us as well. It isn’t true that God waits for us to understand God through analogy or speculation while God kindly slumbers in heaven with a substance of some high and spiritual kind that is ultimately beyond the reach of human minds.[23]
  4. John Calvin[24]: Calvin emphasized more on what the Bible says about God’s nature and avoided talking about the hidden essence of God. He believed God as omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient which is emphasized in the Bible.
  1. Modern Christian Philosophical View

Most people believe that the origin of modern physical science and the resurgence of skepticism marked the beginning of modern philosophy. Kant, Berkeley, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, and Hume are examples of significant figures of the Modern Philosophy. The sixteenth-century reformers were primarily motivated by a devotion to God. They began by considering Scripture to be the proof of God’s activity in Christ and then they started to contemplate the world. The world, rather than God, was what absorbed by the seventeenth-century rationalists. Leibniz’s theory states that the universe is composed of an infinite number of monads[25], or “simple substances,” that have neither “parts” nor “windows” through which anything can enter or exit. They never stop working and cannot be divided. All existence is reflected in each monad. From God, the highest monad, to the lowest, practically nothing, the monads form an ascending series. Leibniz concluded that there must be a God, “a necessary being,” or the “original simple substance” from which all monads, both created and derived, are derived, using the ontological argument.[26]

According to Locke, logic and intuition alone could lead one to the knowledge of God. Locke distinguished between two sources of human ideas: reflection and sensation. Simple and complex ideas are distinguished in both situations. He contrasts reason and faith. According to his definition, reason is “the mind’s discovery of certainty or probability of such proportions or truths, which it arrives at by deduction made for such ideas, which it has got by the use of its natural faculties by sensation or reflection.” Contrarily, faith is the acceptance of any claim that is not supported by reason alone but rather by the proponent’s credibility as coming from God through a miraculous channel of communication.[27]

George Berkeley concludes that when humans are not present, God perceives on their behalf. Berkeley argues in Alciphron[28] that any order that people can perceive in the natural world is God’s handwriting or language. Since God is all-knowing and all-present, all of these concepts of God will essentially be based on common sense.[29]

Immanuel Kant said in his Critique of Pure Reason that faith in God is practically necessary. Kant believed that the relationship between happiness and morality as the standard of the highest good could not be separated from the concept of God as an idea of pure reason. Subsequently, he maintained that the concept of God can only be demonstrated by the moral code and by actually intending “to act as if there is a God.” In regards to the teleological and cosmological proofs of God’s existence, Kant concludes that they are inadmissible as proofs because they are unable to persuade. For Kant, morality is rounded off, completed, and fulfilled by God. He makes it abundantly evident that a metaphysical vision of a cosmos created and governed by God is not possible to construct from our scientific understanding of the universe and our moral awareness of God. He makes a careful distinction between knowledge obtained from an empirical study of nature in space and time (which he refers to as theoretical knowledge) and the application of morality to freedom, immortality, and God what Kant refers to as “postulates” or practical implications of morality. According to Kant, we have to believe in God and immortality because, in the struggle for a moral life, we have a deep-seated need for confirmation that we are capable of achieving moral perfection and that nature is such that we are not negatively prevented from doing so. The moral challenge is that we need something to unite and strengthen our dispersed moral tendencies and point them in the right direction, according to Kant, this is God.[30]

  1. Postmodern Christian Philosophical View

       It is generally accepted that Immanuel Kant’s philosophy, which emerged at the start of the 19th century, came before postmodern philosophy. The simple binary oppositions that characterize much of Western metaphysics and humanism are questioned by postmodern philosophy, which emphasizes the problem of the philosopher and makes clear distinctions between knowledge and ignorance, social progress and reversion, dominance and submission, and presence and absence.[31]

       According to Soren Kierkegaard, there is no other option for salvation except for making an irrational leap to God. Christianity, according to Kierkegaard’s teachings, is a message to live by rather than a doctrine to know or a creed to recite. According to him, God is an infinitely compelling subjectivity.[32]

       For Paul Tillich, the experience of being itself is rife with anxiety about non-being. In other words, people fear dying themselves. According to Tillich, when we are at our most reflective, we confront the fear of being nothing at all. In other words, we acknowledge that we are mortal and limited entities. According to Tillich, other finite or existing beings cannot sustain or cause radically finite beings. The “ground of being,” or being itself, is what can support finite beings. Tillich says that this is God. He asserts that God is invisible and exists outside of this world. God is greater than all that is in this world.[33]

       Prominent American philosopher William James discussed God’s existence in his book The Will to Believe. This upper region of the universe is best known as God, according to William James, who also holds that the name God is the most appropriate designation for the ultimate reality. Our innermost desires are realized when we allow God to influence us. God and we have business together. Each of us fulfills or disobeys God’s demands in proportion to how the universe, in those parts of it that constitute our personal being, truly changes for the better or worse. Proof of an ideal order that will always be maintained comes from the existence of God.[34]

       In Karl Barth’s view, God is wholly transcendent. Not even the words of Scripture should be used to directly associate God with anything in the world. According to Barth, the message of Jesus Christ and the knowledge of God are intertwined. People cannot arrive at this conclusion exactly how they would like by adhering to certain nuanced philosophical arguments. Because Christ is the revealed Word of God to humans, knowledge of God is the outcome of encountering God, which is the outcome of encountering Christ.[35]

  1. Contemporary Discussions about God

            In discussing Asian theology, Sebastian Kappen states that “Asian theology, or any genuine theology, has to express the mute longing of the downtrodden and unwanted of the earth.” He goes on to say that encountering God in the historical context of the present and in the individual and societal realities of everyday life ought to be the primary goal of theological contemplation.[36]  Development of Contextual theology in the Third World countries focused to explain God in terms of their experience in a particular context and in a particular culture. God is understood as a Dalit God, Feminist God, Tribal/Adivasi God, Queer God etc. Those understanding about God developed out of their context and the experience of the particular community.

       It is crystal clear that from the early church theologians till the contemporary discussions a paradigm shift happened in the understanding of God. Where we can see faith, reason, and experience of the people are considered as a requisite to formulate an understanding of God as per their context and culture.

    • Pandemic – COVID – 19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented global upheaval, affecting every aspect of human existence, including caste/class, religion communities, and racial and social groups. The entire fabric of social, economic, political, and religious life is completely upended. The entire social and economic life was upended, but the religious beliefs and customs were also destroyed. It seems accurate to say that prayer, healing, and miraculous powers are no longer effective. More than any other cause, the pandemic has made people realise their limitations as well as the darker side of religion and religiosity, which is characterized by an overwhelming sense of disorder, confusion, anxiety, dread of death, and feelings of meaninglessness and uncertainty about life. It has undoubtedly disrupted human civilization. In fact, it is one of the deadliest existential crises in the recorded history, driving people to the brink of extinction. The pandemic’s effects are incredibly contradictory. It is depressing enough that the most vulnerable groups in society migrant laborers, daily wage earners, and many others who depend on ordinary life circumstances for their livelihood were severely affected.[37] Many questioned the existence of God, it includes the Christians doubting the all-powerful (Omnipotence) nature of God.

  • Russia-Ukraine War

                     Following months of deceptive negotiations and menacing military actions, Russia finally launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Strongest condemnation of this unwarranted and unjustified military aggression has come from European leaders and the European Parliament, who see it as a flagrant breach of international law that jeopardizes both European and global security. On February 28, Ukraine applied to join the EU[38], and on March 3, Moldova submitted a similar application. On June 23, 2022, the European Council awarded both nations candidate country status. In the first month of hostilities, Ukrainians launched counter offensives, drove back numerous Russian attacks, and liberated a number of areas, chiefly those surrounding the nation’s capital, Kyiv. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution on March 2nd, reiterating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Thousands of civilians in Ukraine have died and been injured as a result of the conflict, and some cities have been partially destroyed. Over 5.2 million refugees mostly women and children have been reported to have fled to nearby nations, according to the UNHCR[39]. Furthermore, even though 5.5 million internally displaced people have already returned to their homes, as of June 23, the International Organization for Migration estimates that over 6.2 million people have been internally displaced. Resolutions passed by the European Parliament have drawn attention to the plight of women and children escaping the conflict. Strict sanctions have been implemented by the EU and its allies, both inside and outside of NATO[40], with the goal of seriously harming the Russian economy. It is largely unknown how the war will affect economies in the future, both inside and outside of the EU. This will depend on a number of factors, including how long it lasts and the measures taken by nations and businesses worldwide to find alternate sources of food, raw materials, and energy. Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports is severely hurting the country’s exports of oil-seeds and cereals, in addition to the ongoing conflict.[41]

  • Israel and Palestine War

Since the end of the nineteenth century, Zionist (now Israel) Jews and Palestinian Arabs have been at likeliness and this conflict is not a contemporary phenomenon. The source of the conflict is not religious differences between the two groups, despite the fact that Muslims, Christians are among the Palestinians. Land was the initial source of conflict. The region that both groups claimed was known internationally as Palestine from the end of World War I until 1948. The three monotheistic religions also designated a less clearly defined “Holy Land” with the same name. This territory was split into three sections after the 1948-1949 war: the Gaza Strip, the West Bank (along the Jordan River), and the State of Israel. It’s a small area, roughly 10,000 square miles, or roughly the size of Maryland. If one group has complete political control over the territory, then the conflicting claims to it cannot be resolved. Jewish claims to this land stem from the biblical promise made to Abraham and his offspring, the land’s historical significance as the location of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judea, and the necessity for Jews to have a safe haven from anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe. The Palestinian Arab population’s claims to the land are founded on their centuries-long residency in the nation and their status as the majority demographic up until 1948. They disagree that a kingdom from the Bible can serve as the foundation for a legitimate claim in the present era. If Arabs discuss the biblical argument at all, they contend that since the Arabs are descended from Abraham through his son Ishmael, Arabs are also included in God’s promise of land to Abraham’s offspring.[42] The Israel-Hamas conflict has claimed the lives of over 15,000 people as of November 21, 2023. 2,187 women and 3,648 children and the 8,805 Palestinians who have died. When innocent women and children are dying, what is God actually doing? Siting in the heavens and watching? God does not has the potential to stop the war?

  • Ethnic Holocaust in Manipur

The ethnic violence that erupted in Manipur on May 3, 2023, was one of the deadliest since the state’s origin in 1972. The native Kukis, who fought bravely against the British in the Anglo-Kuki War of 1917-1919, continue to face ethnic persecution. The majority Meiteis are now razing the Kukis to the ground as the scars from the three-decade-old ethnic cleansing led by the NSCN[43] against the Kukis in their attempt to Greater Nagalim[44] begin to fade. All of the good things the Kukis had accumulated over the previous 30 years through their hard work have now been destroyed by this violence and arson. It is disturbing and heartbreaking to see how the media portrays Kukis as perpetrators and Meiteis as victims, and how stories are twisted to favor the Meiteis. The development of these narratives in their favor demonstrates their dominance in every field. The people are now putting the trust in God and the legal system to find the truth in this difficult crisis.[45] The question automatically arises  What God is actually doing when the innocent suffers?  Is God omnipotent?


Theology is a discourse on God, or God talk. The discourse is predicated on a metaphorical and symbolic vocabulary. Christian traditions have produced many dominant images of God, including those of Ruler, Lord, Master, and Warrior. All these images are military, political, and patriarchal. Christianity is portrayed in these images as the religion of and for the aristocracy, the ruler, and the upper class. Since they are unable to free the impoverished and oppressed, such as Indigenous people, from unfair systems and customs and the careless destruction of God’s creation, the theological conceptions of God that we uphold today are in crisis. The religion of such a ruler encouraged war, invasion, colonial administrations, and unparalleled resource exploitation.[46]Today, the world must face the reality that the prevalent understanding of God will not be able to free the oppressed people and natural world.

In formal terms, Omnipotence is the belief that God is all-powerful. A god endowed with omnipotence (all power) is capable of anything we can dream up and beyond. Of the qualities that believers attribute to God, omnipotence is the most well-known. It is often used interchangeably with the term “deity” and “the Omnipotent.” While there may be differences in meaning, omnipotent is generally understood to be synonymous with terms like “sovereign,” “all-powerful,” and “almighty.” Most of our Christian Creeds affirms God as “Almighty.” While some people are led to doubt and hopelessness by omnipotence, not everyone is inspired with hope by it. To those who endure great suffering, a God capable of removing suffering is not awake at work? Does this God not have the compassion to save the suffering from atrocities and annihilation? While children are not protected, fervent prayers for healing are un-answered and the cries of the abused are rarely answered by divine intervention. As such, many people don’t want to spend eternity with a God who permits evil in the here and now, assuming that God even exists. Thomas Jay Oord[47] insists that the Bible does not teach omnipotence. It makes clear that God is not all-powerful, stating that there are many things beyond God’s control and that no verse implies that God is in charge or in control.[48]

  • Deconstructing the “Omnipotence” of God

            Biblical writers discuss divine intervention and affirm God’s omnipotence. However, neither popular nor scholarly conceptions of omnipotence are supported by the Hebrew and Greek terms translated as “almighty.” Scripture writers actually recognize the boundaries of divine power and emphasize the part that creation plays in the results. Scripture does not create Omnipotent. There is much evidence to support the claim that referring to God as “the Almighty” is appropriate. The same level of scrutiny that we apply to words of worship in systematic theology, biblical exegesis, and philosophy should not be applied to them here. The mystery of omnipotence transcends weak speech, and poetry expresses desires that go beyond words.[49]

Worshipping God as all-powerful, however, is harmful, perplexing, and dis-empowered. When believers find it difficult to make sense of suffering whether it be suffering they have personally experienced or suffering they have seen in friends, family, or the most defenseless that injury is most evident. Furthermore, omnipotence either directly or indirectly defends political figures and their repressive logical argument. It makes sense that every ruler and authoritarian system is either installed by or allowed by an all-powerful God. It’s reasonable for believers to question why an all-powerful God allows evil to exist. The typical “answers” assert that suffering is a form of divine retribution, that evil exists to teach us, that suffering serves a higher purpose, and so forth. However, such explanations fall short of providing a satisfactory explanation for why an all-powerful God does not intervene to save those whom God claims to love (John 3:16).[50]

Translating the Hebrew word el shaddai, “Almighty” is how it first appears in the Bible. Genesis 17 tells us about it when God says to Abraham, “I am el shaddai.” The phrase “I am God Almighty” is translated in many Bibles. The most likely and ancient meaning of shaddai is “breasts.” Perhaps a better translation would be “I am God of breasts” or “I am the breasted God,” which would fit the Genesis passage and other passages where God is associated with shaddai. The reference made by the Priestly writer to Abraham’s descendants makes sense in this context and they will be born, and their mother’s breast will provide them with nourishment, so they “greatly increase.” Shaddai is almost exclusively connected to fertility and breast-feeding in Genesis. Since shaddai and the Hebrew word sadu (mountain) are similar, shaddai can also refer to God as “the one of the mountain.” Mountains and breasts are also frequently compared for being nourished or protective, el shaddai translated as “God Almighty” deceives readers into believing that God is omnipotent. The meaning of shaddai changes to destructive or warring in the later books of the Bible. In this case, “Cry out because the day of Yahweh is close because destruction will come from Shaddai.” (Isaiah 13:6 and Joel 1:15).[51]

Another Hebrew word that is occasionally rendered as “almighty” is Sabaoth. Again, this translation is incorrect. Sabaoth does not mean “almighty,” but rather “forces,” “armies,” “hosts,” “ranks,” “congregation,” or “council.” The phrase “Lord of Hosts,” “Lord of Armies,” or “Head of council” is a better translation when Yahweh or Elohim come before it. Bible translators never translate Sabaoth as “almighty” when there is no preceding Hebrew word for God. In this instance, the translation of Sabaoth is “hosts” or a similar phrase.[52]

The authors of the Bible think that God works in mysterious ways. But the terms Shaddai and Sabaoth are mistranslated as “almighty” and do not mean “Omnipotent.” Pantokrator is the Greek word used by the Septuagint writers to translate Shaddai and Sabaoth. While the root krater, also known as krateo, can mean “hold,” “seize,” or “attain,” the prefix panto means “all.” As per John’s Revelation (1:16) in the New Testament, for example, God holds (krateo) the stars in his divine hands. It might be most appropriate to translate Pantokrator as “all-holding” or “all-sustaining.” A god with all power is not a god with all control. When translating the Latin term omnipotens into the Vulgate version of the Bible six centuries later (4th century CE), Jerome translated Pantokrator as such. The Septuagint Pantokrator, not Hebrew-language scriptures, is the source of his conclusion that God is omnipotent. Jerome probably would not have used omnipotens, and Christians would not have referred to God as “omnipotent” if he had adhered to the original texts. Scholars often lament that Greek metaphysics and Roman conceptions of sovereignty have had an excessive influence on Christian theology. Here, Greek thought impacted translators who selected Pantokrator, and Roman notions of kingly sovereignty influenced Jerome when he translated it as “omnipotent.” In turn, the mistranslation had an impact on the authors of the creeds that referred to God as “almighty.” Islam was even subjected to the incorrect translation. The two greatest religions in the world adopted a false conception of divine power as a result of Jerome’s inaccurate translation of Hebrew from an incorrect Greek translation. Mistranslations of Shaddai and Sabaoth as Pantokrator portray God as omnipotent.[53]

  • “Amipotence” – Thomas Jay Oord’s Understanding

Ami and potens, two Latin words, are combined to form Amipotence. First, there’s the word “love,” which appears in terms like “friendly,” “amiable,” etc. Potential and potency contain the second word, which is a Latin term for influence or power.  This word was created by Thomas Jay Oord to emphasize that God values love more than power. According to logic and philosophy, divine power comes after divine love. “God is love” (I John 4:8, 16) is interpreted by Amipotence as meaning that in order to comprehend God and what God does, we should start with love. Being loving is in God’s eternal, unchanging nature, so we would be wise to believe that God is necessarily loving. Amipotence concurs with the words of John Wesley: “God is often styled holy, righteous, wise….(but) he is said to be love; intimating that this…his reigning attribute, the attribute that sheds an amiable glory on all his other perfections.” Understanding love is vital to understanding Amipotence. Most theologians affirm that God is loving, and some even assert that divine love is strong. However, few provide a thorough definition of love or allow love to adequately characterize divine power. Consequently, most present God’s love as being drastically different from what we understand by love. Theologians such as Augustine and David Bentley Hart argue that God’s love is non-relational or impassible, in contrast to our understanding of love, which involves relationships based on giving and receiving. Thomas Aquinas and Paul Helm say God’s love is timeless. The best way to characterize love in Amipotence is as purposeful, relational action toward God and others to advance general well-being. Both divine and creature love fit this description. To put it another way, the loving God and creatures communicate, act with purpose, interact with others, and work to foster flourishing. Furthermore, neither divine nor creature love is in control because love is by its very nature uncontrollable. Because God is impacted by all beings, divine love is incredibly delicate and exposed. Most of the time, creatures are incapable of feeling empathy. Because it never ends and is unwavering, God’s love is more powerful than anything else. Amipotence is a powerful, responsive, empowering, emphatic, wooing, but persistent force to understand God more clearly.[54]

Critical Remarks & Conclusion

God is made known through a variety of historical and experiential events in the life of every individual. Encountering God leads to knowledge of God. While blaming uncooperative creatures or the misalignment of creation’s conditions for God’s inability to rescue or put an end to evil, the synergy of Creator and creation explains God’s mighty acts in scripture and in history. A powerful God whose all-pervasive influence is unrelenting love is confirmed to exist by Amipotence. The problem of evil is resolved, which is the primary reason why many claim they find it difficult to believe in God’s existence. Without blaming God for evil, Amipotence explains what is true, good, loving, and beautiful in creation. It also inspires hope that good will ultimately triumph over evil, both now and down the road. Interpreting or explaining God to any individual or community without understanding the context and experience of the people is meaningless. To present God in an authentic manner making God relevant to the context is the need of the hour. God cannot be presented as a heavenly being who sits and watches from heavenly realms whatever happens to humanity. It will create a bitter experience for human beings to understand God. The understanding of God changes over the periods, one’s understanding of God can be different from another’s understanding of God. Mostly those understanding of God develops out of faith, reason, and experience with God. No understanding of God should be taken or considered as a Summum Bonum. It keeps changing from person to person and community to community. Deconstructing the monarchical terms used for God (as Omnipotent, Lord, King, etc.) and using terms such as Amipotent suggested by Thomas Jay, and God as Mother, Lover, and Friend suggested by Sallie McFague which will not distance God from the world but a closer entity to all the humankind.

[1] Mr. Vishwanth Jeyaraj is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Christian Theology at South India Biblical Seminary (Senate of Serampore University), Bangarapet, Karnataka, South India.

[2] K.G. Pothen, “Theological Methodological Issues,” in Methodological Issues in the Theological Research Vol.1 edited by H. Vanlalauva  (West Bengal: Department of Research/SATHRI, 2019), 87.

[3] Henry C. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979), 82.

[4] Louis Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine (Bangalore: Omega Book World, 2019), 23.

[5] Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 153.

[6] Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 154-160.

[7] Henry C. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, 75-87.

[8] Irenaeus was the Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now in Lyon, France. He followed the teachings of Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, who was purportedly a follower of the Apostle John. In the first part of the second century, he was born in Asia Minor into a Christian family. He showed contempt towards his opponents. Scripture and tradition and the latter the teachings of the churches founded by the Apostles were his main points of contention. (Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy (Delhi: ISPCK, 2013), 84).

[9] Aeons are considered as the  embodiments of the divine.

[10] Demiurge is considered as a heavenly being, which is subordinate to the Supreme Being.

[11] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 84-85.

[12] Augustine was born in Thagaste, Tunisia (Algeria), a small Roman city in North Africa, the eldest son of a other-faith father and a Catholic mother named Monica. Augustine synthesized Greek and Hebrew ideas to create a Classical Christian philosophy. He was especially influenced by the Greek philosopher Plato, Neo-Platonism, and Stoicism, which he modified and improved upon in the context of the Bible and divine revelation of Christian doctrine. It has frequently been asserted that Augustine is the stem of both Protestantism and Catholicism. (Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 96).

[13] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 98.

[14]Anselm was born in the Italian city of Aosta. He served as the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was an Italian mediaeval philosopher, theologian, and church official. Hailed as the father of Scholasticism, he is well-known for having developed the ontological argument for God’s existence and for being the first Archbishop to publicly oppose the Crusades. He was a monk of the Benedictines. He came to see the value of reason in theological understanding. He was the Western church’s first outstanding theologian in the Middle Ages.  (Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 98).

[15] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 105.

[16] In or around 1225 CE, Thomas Aquinas was born. He is influenced by Dominicans. He was a philosopher and theologian in the Scholastic tradition, as well as an Italian Catholic priest in the Order of Preachers. He is the founding father of the Thomistic school of philosophy and theology as well as the most prominent classical defender of natural theology. In the Roman Catholic Church, Thomas was revered as the ideal instructor for those aspiring to become priests. The cosmological argument was created by Thomas Aquinas, a well-known medieval religious philosopher, by adapting an argument from his reading of Aristotle. His theory of the first cause is that something that was not itself caused that is, he claimed God had created the universe. (Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 98).

[17] The Summa Theologica is masterpiece work of Thomas Aquinas which covers topics related to religion that are important to the structure and teachings of the Catholic faith, including the nature of the Christian triune God and creation, virtues, and the Sacraments.

[18] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 111.

[19] About 1265 CE, Dun Scotus was born in Scotland. The “Subtle Doctor,” as he is nicknamed, made significant contributions to Scholastic philosophy and the contemporary advancement of logic with his razor-sharp distinctions. Additionally, Scotus held a professorship at the University of Paris. Dun Scotus, the creator of Scotism, a distinct branch of Scholasticism, is regarded as one of the most significant Franciscan theologians. (Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 114).

[20] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 115.

[21] On November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, Martin Luther was born to Hans and Margarethe Luther. Luther was a church reformer and Christian philosopher from Germany. Luther’s theology, which emphasized the church as a priesthood of all believers and the Bible as the only source of religious authority, questioned the papacy’s authority. Luther believed that the only way to be saved was to have unmediated faith in Jesus as the Messiah, independent of the church. The Protestant Reformation was partly motivated by these concepts. (Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 127).

[22] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 130.

[23] Steven D. Paulson, “Luther on the Hidden God,” in Word & World 9/4 (Fall, 1999): 363-364.

[24] John Calvin was born to Gerard Cauvin and Jeanne Lefranc, at Noyon, France in 1509. During the Protestant Reformation, he was a French Protestant Christian philosopher who played a key role in the development of the Calvinist or Reformed theological system. He rejected papal authority, instituted a new system of civil and ecclesiastical governance, and established a central hub from which the spread of reformed theology was coordinated in Geneva. His writings and teachings are well-known.  (Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 135).

[25] Monads means a fundamental, indivisible, and elementary being that is considered to reflect the order of the world.

[26] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 144.

[27] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 147-48.

[28] George Berkeley, an Irish philosopher from the eighteenth century, wrote a philosophical discourse known as Alciphron, or The Minute Philosopher.

[29] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 148.

[30] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 149-50.

[31] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 159-60.

[32] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 162.

[33] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 165.

[34] Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 170.

[35]  Bouvert Regulas, Christian Philosophy, 170.

[36] M. Azariah, “Doing Theology in India Today,” in Reading Christian Theology Vol. 1 (Delhi: ISPCK, 1993), 38.

[37] Songram Basumatary & Wilson Paluri, eds., Faith and Pandemic Covid-19 in Perspectives Towards Theo-Pandemology (Chennai: GLTC & CWI, 2021), ix.

[38] European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 European Countries.

[39]  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

[40] North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

[41] “Russia’s war on Ukraine: Background,” (27th November 2023).

[42] (27th November 2023).

[43] The National Socialist Council of Nagaland.

[44] The Greater Nagalim is the integration of Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Myanmar.

[45] (27th November 2023).

[46] Wati Longchar, “An Exploration of Indigenous Theological Framework,” in Methodological Issues in Theological Research An Exploration Vol. 2 edited by H. Vanlalauva (West Bengal: Department of Research/SATHRI, 2019), 51.

[47] Thomas Jay Oord is a multidisciplinary studies scholar, philosopher, and theologian. Best-selling and award winning writer. Oord has authored or edited over twenty-five books. He is regarded as one of the 21st-century most influential theologians for his Academic Influence. Oord is the director of the Centre for Open and Relational Theology and oversees a doctoral program at Northwind Theological Seminary. His writings and studies on love, science and religion, evil and power, open and relational theology, and the transformational implications of freedom and relationships are well known. ( – 28th November 2023).

[48] Thomas Jay Oord, The Death of Omnipotence and Birth of Amipotence (USA: SacraSage Press, 2023), 2-7.

[49] Thomas Jay Oord, The Death of Omnipotence and Birth of Amipotence, 2-7.

[50] Thomas Jay Oord, The Death of Omnipotence and Birth of Amipotence, 2-7.

[51] Thomas Jay Oord, The Death of Omnipotence and Birth of Amipotence, 12-15.

[52] Thomas Jay Oord, The Death of Omnipotence and Birth of Amipotence, 18-19.

[53] Thomas Jay Oord, The Death of Omnipotence and Birth of Amipotence, 20-23.

[54] Thomas Jay Oord, The Death of Omnipotence and Birth of Amipotence, 120-123.

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