To understand why Jesus had to die, we need to answer the question, who is God?
Now I can only do this very briefly in several minutes.
We basically know God through His attributes. Our minds cannot discover who God is. God is so great, and our minds are so finite, so God must reveal Himself to us – Who He is. And He has done that in the Christian scriptures, the Word of God, the Bible. Now he has revealed Himself through his attributes. Now you have heard of the attributes of God. Probably your pastor, or someone on radio or TV has spoken about the attributes of God.
For example, we would say, God is love. That is an attribute of God.
God is truth. God is holy.
God is righteous.
God is all powerful.
God is omnipotent.
God is pure.
God is holy.
These are all attributes of who God is.
But here is the problem.
I have noticed this when I was in seminary and since then. When I went to seminary, I was a brand new Christian so I was questioning everything. Do you know what I found out about most people in the world? They believe you take all the different attributes of God, add them together, and the sum total equals God. That is not true.
You see, most people think an attribute is a part of God. It is not.
We say “God is love”. We do not mean a part of God is love. We say, “God is Holy”. We do not mean a part of God is holy; a part of God is truth. No. And you do not add all the attributes together and the sum total equal God. Then who is God? What is an attribute?
This is what helped me. An attribute is a different glance of who God is in His basic nature. You say, “What?” Yes, when we say love we do not mean this part of God is love but we mean that is what is true of God in His very nature. Therefore each attribute is that which is true of God.
So you cannot add all the attributes up and say that equals God because each one is true of who God is in His very nature.
And this brings up another issue. I remember in seminary, students used to sit around arguing, “Is there anything too big that God cannot do?” Have you ever had someone ask that? I remember one, “Is there anything so big or something that God cannot do? Can He build a stone so big that He cannot move it?”
Aha…I bet you never thought about that, did you? Can God build a stone so big that He cannot move it? But He is all powerful.
With the attributes it is a different glance at who God is. And I will say there are many things God cannot do. “What? How can you limit God?”
When I debated the head of the Islamic propagation center in Africa, Dr. Ahmed Deedat, I made this statement and the crowd just kind of exploded with it and then immediately they calmed down when I gave them the answer. I said, “There are many things God cannot do.” And they said, “No, no, no.” and I said, “Yes.”
God cannot perform, now listen carefully, God cannot perform any reality inconsistent with His basic nature.
In other words, God cannot act unlovingly. Why, because God is love. He cannot set aside one of His attributes and exercise the others. He cannot exercise His holiness without exercising His love. He cannot exercise His all-powerfulness without exercising His righteousness.
And so God, you might say, in the way He has revealed Himself in the Word of God, He is limited by His very nature. He cannot perform any reality inconsistent with His basic nature.
That is why there are many things that God cannot do in reality inconsistent with His basic nature.
1. Can God build a stone so big that He cannot move it?
2. What are some attributes of God?
3. What happened when Josh debated Dr. Deedat and said that God is limited?
4. How is God limited?
5. What limits God?
Over 4 billion people utilize the Internet each year. That means that online initiatives provides the perfect platform to meets the spiritual needs of people globally — by reaching into any geographic or political region in the world — going where missionaries can’t go — and sharing truth with those who may otherwise seem inaccessible. [More info]
Please join us in our online ministry so we can provide many more resources to people where they are.
Find resources to live, defend and share your faith in our online store. Our favorite ones for this topic of Resurrection are:
The Resurrection and You Booklet (10-pack) ($29.90) — When Jesus died on the cross and was buried, all seemed lost. But everything changed three days later when he rose from the dead! Then Jesus made some amazing promises. His resurrection would change every aspect of our lives and futures
This 64-page booklet is ideal for initiating conversations with neighbors, friends, and family about the death and resurrection of Christ.
Evidence for the Resurrection ($14.44) — Josh and Sean McDowell will lead you through God’s original intention in creation, how that intention suffered a damaging blow, and his incredible solution for once again restoring relationship with man and woman. They present a thorough but accessible exploration of the many compelling and abundant evidences that Christ conquered death and the grave.
And they challenge you to answer the question: If Jesus rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, what does it mean for me today?
Evidence that Demands a Verdict ($22.49) — Bringing historical documentation and the best modern scholarship to bear on the trustworthiness of the Bible and its teachings, this extensive volume has encouraged and strengthened millions. Now, with his son Sean McDowell, PhD, Josh McDowell has updated and expanded this classic resource for a new generation. This is a book that invites readers to bring their doubts and doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.