All Powerful or All Good?

Valerie Williams — Intern Student Pastor

Yesterday my husband and I went to see the new Hollywood Blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeIt was a pretty average super hero movie (and CLEARLY DC is trying to catch the wave created by Marvel’s Avengers series) and I found it to be pretty entertaining.

There was one conversation, though, that struck me as… well… thought-provoking. Let me set the scene briefly and then hit you with the quote that hit me.

To minimize the amount of spoilers I’m going to jump into the scene without context: Superman is confronting Lex Luthor (suprise surprise) on top of a helipad overlooking the city, and Luthor has just entered into the typical bad guy monologue where he talks about his own experience with “God”, or what he thought he knew to be true about God. He talks of the horrors he experienced at the hands of his father while growing up and he drives it all home by saying this:

God is tribal, God takes sides! If God is all-powerful He can not be good, if God is good He can not be all-powerful!

I wish I could find more of the monologue to drop here but this gets to the heart of it well enough. Can God be all good if he is all powerful, and vice versa? In the movie you can see clearly here the pain and hatred in Luthor’s voice– side note, Jesse Eisenberg plays a very interesting Lex Luthor– for the being that was absent while he experienced his worst pains. Superman was an embodiment of that being for him.

So let’s pull this off of the silver screen and talk about real life.

How true is this statement for you?

I think for some of us, Luthor’s words ring true. Maybe you have experienced your own pain and wondered where God was in that moment. Maybe you read about the God of the Old Testament and it just doesn’t match up with the loving portrayal of him in the New Testament and you are left confused and afraid– possibly angry. Then for others of us there is absolutely no truth in those words. We’ve experienced the all powerful AND the all good and it is not a contradiction in terms.

I know I am not going to convince you in one short blog post that God is both of these things if you don’t already believe it. What I do know is so many people in this world ask that question: how can he be both? I’m going to leave you with a verse that has possibly become cliche in today’s culture but one that I think accurately depicts God’s love and power :

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:6-8 (NIV)

There is something powerful in sacrifice, isn’t there? When someone sacrifices themselves, they are not relinquishing power but exerting it and this sacrifice, the one Jesus made on our behalf… is there any greater love than that? I don’t think so.

How do you feel about this subject? Let’s dialogue! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

All Powerful or All Good?

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