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#41 Mike Summers

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:25 PM

Oh no... I was clarifying a different point.  :)  Everything that happens is not God's will, not every detail of every matter. He allows things that He would rather not happen. I see this thought often, so wanted to add it to the discussion, that is all.

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Yes, and that is the dilemma of a relationship as you know since you are married. It is very much give and take. At this point if God wants us to be his children and since we sin, He had to make a way to forgive us or be childless. As Jesus said. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." But, notice, Jesus never sinned so He would have certainly been qualified to throw stones until the woman was dead. He chose instead to forgive the woman's sins. He wanted a relationship with the woman. Therefore, it would serve no purpose to kill her for her sins.

#42 MamaElephant

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:59 PM

Thanks for opening it back up, Ikester. I thought that your post did a good job of showing that foreknowledge and predestination are separate things. God can know about something ahead of time without being the one to make it happen.

Here is an example: “I shall bring them [the nation of Israel] to the ground that I have sworn about to their forefathers, which flows with milk and honey, and they will certainly eat and be satisfied and grow fat and turn to other gods, and they will indeed serve them and treat me with disrespect and break my covenant. . . . for I well know their inclination that they are developing today before I bring them into the land about which I have sworn.” --Deut. 31:20, 21

God’s ability to discern the outcome of their course did not mean that God was responsible for their actions nor was it what he wanted for them, but he could foresee the outcome because he could discern the bad attitude that was developing in their hearts.

#43 Mike Summers

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 09:03 PM

Thanks for opening it back up, Ikester. I thought that your post did a good job of showing that foreknowledge and predestination are separate things. God can know about something ahead of time without being the one to make it happen.

Here is an example: “I shall bring them [the nation of Israel] to the ground that I have sworn about to their forefathers, which flows with milk and honey, and they will certainly eat and be satisfied and grow fat and turn to other gods, and they will indeed serve them and treat me with disrespect and break my covenant.  . . . for I well know their inclination that they are developing today before I bring them into the land about which I have sworn.” --Deut. 31:20, 21

God’s ability to discern the outcome of their course did not mean that God was responsible for their actions nor was it what he wanted for them, but he could foresee the outcome because he could discern the bad attitude that was developing in their hearts.

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Though God may allow something that he would not want to exist forever if it served a purpose, He would want it to happen. Take hate for instance. We know God to be the complete opposite of a hateful being. Why would he allow it? I think essentially because we can learn from it what the results of hate actually is.

If I may use myself as an example, I have been a victim of hate (who hasn’t?). I have in the past hated also, I learned that God, I and others don’t like hate,. So, why use my free moral agency to create hate? The point is I learned that it’s best not to create hate. So, while I can create it as a free moral agent, I have decided against it. If we can “learn” from hate being created, God seems to allow it with the aforementioned caveats. I like to call it being reverse engineered. Essentially in this life we are learning what not to create. :)

Obviously, Satan used his creativity to create evil. Now, we can see what the fruit of it is. Therefore, we can learn that it’s best not to create hate. Unfortunately 6.7 billion other potential brothers and sisters have to learn what we are now learning. Only God is up to the task of teaching them. I don’t know but, we may be being trained to help with teaching others not to create hate either. What a job!.

#44 Fred Williams

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 08:15 AM

All, I am TEMPORARILY closing this thread, please stay tuned. It will be re-opened in short order as we discuss a few things behind the scenes.

#45 Fred Williams

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:38 AM

This thread has been re-opened, and all of 'The Ark' posts and other's responses to him have been restored. His posting privileges have also been restored. I do not believe there was a strong enough case that Ark was a "troll" looking simply to cause trouble. We have had plenty of trolls come through these parts, we've even had an impostor who worked his way to mode status only to be discovered later to be an evolutionist, and we've had two hacks bring down the board back in a prior less-secure version of our forum software. So while we've been a little more diligent in watching for these things, I think the filter was too high on this one. Even if it turns out his questions and objections were not genuine, I found them reasonable, in fact they reminded me of the same questions I and many others have struggled with while studying pre-destination. Some of his responses would be the same you would hear from the likes of fellow Christians such as D James Kennedy, John MacAurthor, Spurgeon, and many other Calvinists, and in that regard he was helping demonstrate from a common-sense point of view why Calvinism is an irrational theology.

Fred

#46 Mike Summers

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:48 AM

Well I will be the first to Comment and say glad I was wrong. Cool

#47 Fred Williams

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:03 AM

Some here know I support some form of Open Theology, and this is the perfect thread for me to try to make another case for it. Ark not only provided points that show the irrationality of Calvinism, he also helped prove a point I've long made about pre-destination, that the traditional views are very difficult to sell as logically consistent, not just to the un-believing world, but to other Christians as well. I believe the Open View answers Ark's objections without limiting God's power, and it provides not only a logically consistent answer, it is strongly supported by the plain rendering of many scripture. So please bear with me...

A few things first before diving into some of my fellow Christian's responses to Ark. I think we all agree that God is All Powerful and All Knowing, but we have to define what we mean. God is All powerful in the realm of reality, he is not powerful in the realm of non-reality, since its illogical and irrational. For example, God is not powerful enough to make rock too big he can't move, because it's an irrational supposition. He also can't make Jesus hate him, since Jesus is Love. God also can only know things that are knowable and in the realm of reality. The primary point of contention that comes into play is "what is knowable". He can't know who the tooth fairy is because its fiction, it's in the realm of non-reality. But what about the future?

Herein lies the crux of the matter. Christians have long made an ASSUMPTION about time and the future. They assume the future already exists for all eternity for God, they often make the argument that he is "outside-of-time". This is an ASSUMPTION that is contradicted by FAR MORE scripture than is used to support it. It is why, after many years, I finally stopped resisting the plain language in Bible and sought out a better explanation over man's philosophical and pseudo-metaphysical science musings. Sorry friends, but to claim God is "outside-of-time" is a metaphysical statement void of any tangible scientific evidence, and this pagan Greek idea only has indirect, questionable support in the Bible. Remove this assumption, and many scriptural problems go away!

If the future does not exist until it happens, if it is in the realm of non-reality, it's therefore not irrational to claim God does not know such an unknowable. But does this mean that God does not "know" the future? No! Confused? Let me explain. God knows everything knowable, including certain aspects of the future because God says:

Isaiah 46:11 Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass

So God knows what he will carve out in history and declare it before it happens. He can declare next year's Super Bowl winner, the exact score, the exact temperature at kick off, every aspect of the game, because he can "bring it to pass". If someone made such predictions and they came true, we would say, that person knows the future! But does God know before you were conceived that you would come to faith in Christ? I'll reiterate the two main assumptions to answer this question:

ASSUMPTION #1: The future exists as reality before it happens, or God is outside-of-time. With this assumption you can answer YES to the question.

ASSUMPTION #2: The future does NOT exist as reality before it happens. With this assumption you can answer NO to the question.


OK, now to some scripture to further support my point that Assumption #2 is the correct assumption. I'll start with Ark's reasonable objection, and Ron's response that I ask him to defend with scripture:

Ark: Before I was born God knew all the decisions I would make, correct?
Ron: Absolutely! And yet, those decisions are YOURS! You cannot pin the responsibility of YOUR decisions on anyone but yourself...


I disagree with Ron's initial answer, which holds to ASSUMPTION #1, but agree with his qualifier, that the "decision" is Ark's (in the sense that he can accept or reject the free gift of God). Plain scripture contradicts Assumption #1, in many places throughout the Bible. The first example I'll use is from a righteous man making the right choice:

Gen 22:12 And He said,"Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

The plain rendering says that God knew once the knowable entered the realm of reality.

I will provide another example, but in this case of an unrighteous man, where God, according to the plain rendering of scripture, did not know something because it was not in the realm of reality, any more than Santa Claus is:

Jer 19:5 "they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind".


Most if not all Christians participating in this thread are already disagreeing with me. They will say I am limiting God's power and omniscience. Yet in the realm of REALITY, God retains FULL power and omniscience! I look forward to their rejection of these plain renderings of scripture. :D The problem is, I literally have over 100 more to throw at them. They will explain away more verses than an old earther will to support his view! Just watch and see.

Now consider the following exchange in post #9:

Ark: Thus my destiny is set.
Ron: Yes, set by YOU and the decisions you make during YOUR lifetime.
Ark: God knows my decisions before I am born thus they can't be changed and thus the end game is locked in.
Ron: Yes, set by YOU and the decisions you make during YOUR lifetime.
Ark: I am sitting here typing and God knows the end game for me.
Ron: Yes, the end game set by YOU and the decisions you make during YOUR lifetime.
Ark: Since He is all knowing there is nothing I can do to change my end game.
Ron: His omniscience has absolutely nothing to do with the decisions you make during YOUR lifetime. Only you do... Therefore you cannot pass the buck, and blame your decisions on God, or anyone else.


Basically what happened here is that Ark essentially went through the progression of what leads a Christian to become a Calvinist! Not that Ark is heading that way, for starters he's not even a Christian. He's basically agreeing with us that Calvinism is irrational! What ultimately leads a Christian into Calvinism? The assumption that the future is fixed and in the realm of reality. So while this progression is the logical result when starting with assumption #1, many well-versed Christians such as Ron will rightly reject it because when they check the Bible, such Calvinistic ideas are sharply contradicted (ie. that God ordains all things, including those who go to heaven, and those who go to hell). So, Ron answers yes to the question, then immediately qualifies it with a response to cancel out the Calvinistic aspect of his YES answer. But, IMO, sorry Ron, while I don't necessarily disagree with the later part of each of your answers (the cancelling out Calvinism answers), it will leave the Calvinist or non-believer unfulfilled. Why? For starters, answering in the affirmative to each of Ark's questions before giving the qualifying response, aside from an appearance of inconsistency, could easily give the impression, whether you intended to or not, that the future is settled, it is not changeable, which especially serves Ark's point. It's a position that many, many Christians, including many who reject Calvinism, believe. Such a view is falsified by plenty of scripture, including the following:

Isa 38:1-6 In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD:'Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'" Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, and said,"Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, "Go and tell Hezekiah , 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.

On the other hand, Ron, correct me if I'm wrong, but my guess is you believe that God can and does change the future. If that is the case, then in order for your rebuttal to be logical you have to assume God is outside-of-time, a concept that has numerous scriptural problems. First a definition of time: Time is simply the progression from one moment to the next.

I submit a few facts about God outside-of-time:

1) the idea is easily traceable to Greek pagan philosophy,

2) there is no trace whatsoever of such an idea in the early church or OT Rabbis, in fact we find the opposite, especially with OT Rabbis. I will also offer the following tests: a) There are numerous scriptures, when taken in their plain, straightforward rendering, that falsify God "outside-of-time". Some I have already mentioned above. B) There is not a single verse in all of scripture that falsifies God inside-of-time. All examples I have been shown in the past are easily accommodated by the Open View without having to ignore the plain rendering of the text.

To conclude, the Open View theology I presented above satisfies Ark's objections, while also completely fitting the plain rendering of scripture where God retains omnipotence and omniscience. If we assume that reality consists of only those things in the past up to the present moment, then such questions that were raised in this thread never happen. The Ark can be certain that what he does now, or down the road, impacts his eternal destiny, and he'll never have to intertwine himself in such a self-fulfilling quandary about pre-destination and God already knowing his fate. We as Christians can know that our prayers really can impact our future.

That's it for now... Fire away!

Fred
PS. Like many theologies, the Open View has variants, some that I do not agree with. So please do not go out on the internet and research Open View theology, then come back here and make me argue against something I disagree with (aka strawmen). Please be sure to argue against the points I presented above.

#48 Mike Summers

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:32 AM

Fred,

In all my years, believe it or not, I never knew what Calvinism was. Thanks for the explanation. I am grateful you explained it because after I started thinking for myself, I knew I couldn’t support God knowing the future in the sense you said. Here is how I heard it explained to me. Consider our life as a video tape recording. Everything we have done from birth has been recorded. If we stop the tape now or died the tape would only have what has transpire up ‘til now. If we were to fast forward the tape (representing the future) there would nothing on the tape.

I read a book in 7 grade by Eleanor Roosevelt. The name of the book was Tomorrow Is Now. Wearing my hat as a therapist I often do therapy on people with anxiety problems. Anxiety is caused by negatively predicting the future which allows us to be miserable in the present.

#49 The Ark

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 04:34 PM

I agree with Fred that God is not "outside-of-time". However, my reason is I don't think God is the all powerful and all knowing god.

I see God in the Bible as being very similar to the father and his child, that is, the father is all knowing and all powerful as far as the child is concerned.

For me personally the Bible portrays a god that would be a notch or two above man and of course those couple of extra rungs on the ladder can mean incredible differences between us and God. Just think of the differences between us and chimpanzees, differences that are a million times greater than the differences between the chimp and the insect.

If God wants a personal relationship with us then that suggests a god that is not infinitey above us.

#50 Mike Summers

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:21 PM

I agree with Fred that God is not "outside-of-time". However, my reason is I don't think God is the all powerful and all knowing god.

I see God in the Bible as being very similar to the father and his child, that is, the father is all knowing and all powerful as far as the child is concerned.

For me personally the Bible portrays a god that would be a notch or two above man and of course those couple of extra rungs on the ladder can mean incredible differences between us and God. Just think of the differences between us and chimpanzees, differences that are a million times greater than the differences between the chimp and the insect.

If God wants a personal relationship with us then that suggests a god that is not infinitey above us.

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I can see where you are coming from. However, let me throw in this idea. Jesus, in the scripture, said He and the Father are one. He also prayed that we would be one with Hum. I go along with what Fred said. I must confess I never realized consciously before that God was not outside of time. I think Fred is right because cause does seem to precede effect on a time continuum. All wise all knowing is simply another name for creativity.

#51 The Ark

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 05:46 PM

I can see where you are coming from. However, let me throw in this idea. Jesus, in the scripture, said He and the Father are one. He also prayed that we would be one with Hum.

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That suggests to me a god only a few rungs on the ladder above us.

Everlasting happiness (or Hell :) ) does not require a god with the infinite power and knowledge. A god of limited power and knowledge could fulfil what is in the Bible and the Bible makes a lot more sense if God is not the infinite power.

God's promise of the happiness might be no different to father and child. In either case it is promised within the context of either's power and in either case the child or us knows no different.

#52 Mike Summers

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 06:06 PM

That suggests to me a god only a few rungs on the ladder above us.

Everlasting happiness (or Hell :) ) does not require a god with the infinite power and knowledge. A god of limited power and knowledge could fulfil what is in the Bible and the Bible makes a lot more sense if God is not the infinite power.

God's promise of the happiness might be no different to father and child. In either case it is promised within the context of either's power and in either case the child or us knows no different.

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I am afraid I don’t understand your objection to infinite power as such a power is “controlled” by God. It is not random. Creativity, to exist, must have an infinite repertoire

#53 The Ark

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:36 PM

I am afraid I don’t understand your objection to infinite power as such a power is “controlled” by God.  It is not random.  Creativity, to exist, must have an infinite repertoire

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Explain Why.

To me, the evidence all adds up to "a god or outside force" that is limited.

But you explain Why.....Creativity, to exist, must have an infinite repertoire....

Do you 100% honestly believe the god of the Bible is the infinite power. If your answer is Yes.....then obviously lots of questions.....

Would you concede that the promise of ever lasting hapiness does not need a god of infinite power? Would you concede the Bible makes a lot more sense if God is not the infinite power.

My guess is that you (and others) are shaping their belief to match a requirement and that requirement is God is infinite power and knowledge. Do you seriously believe a god of infinite power needed to go through the whole Jesus deal etc and etc.

I suspect on this forum I am one of the few "true believers" of an outside force or a god. I think both the Christians and atheists share in common....proving a starting point....and neither believes it

If our God is limited in power then Genesis is easy. But if you are locked into our god is infinite power...then it all becomes too hard...

Lastly, is there anything you can tell me that demonstrates our god is the infinite power. I don't need evidence, you just tell me. All this stuff about providing evidence and links just wastes time and energy. It is easy to tell if someone is speaking from the heart or experience.

#54 Fred Williams

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 09:38 PM

A god of limited power and knowledge could fulfil what is in the Bible and the Bible makes a lot more sense if God is not the infinite power.

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The Bible itself claims that God is all-powerful (eg. Jer 32:27, Matt 19:26), therefore invalidating your claim that a not-all-powerful God makes more sense of the Bible. Regarding knowledge, let me reiterate what I am presenting above is that the Bible teaches that God is all powerful and all-knowing (1 John 3:20), in the realm of reality. He knows everything knowable. If the future is not reality until it happens, then God knows the future in the sense that he knows what he will "bring to pass", or what will transpire because of his knowledge of every thought and every molecule, but not because he looks into the magic mirror or crystal ball (the realm of non-reality). Only He knew Hezekiah had a condition that was going to bring about his death. He knew what the future held for Hezekiah, and Hezekiah changed this inevitability with his prayers. Hezekiah's future was radically altered by God. This is a pretty hard scripture to deal with for those who think the future is settled.

Fred

#55 The Ark

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 10:19 PM

The Bible itself claims that God is all-powerful (eg. Jer 32:27, Matt 19:26), therefore invalidating your claim that a not-all-powerful God makes more sense of the Bible.


You can't us the Bible to prove the Bible.

But even so the "all powerful" can still be in a certain context. The father can say to the child that he is all powerful and from the child's perspective that is true.

I think your "God is not outside time" is a view framed by being locked into an infinite power God but then trying to deal with the obvious problems.

Regarding knowledge, let me reiterate what I am presenting above is that the Bible teaches that God is all powerful and all-knowing (1 John 3:20), in the realm of reality. He knows everything knowable.


And that is limited power. What you are saying is he can't know what I will do and that is limited power. You can dress it up how you like but the end result is limited power BUT you can't bring yourself to say that He has limited power.

To me this is very simple. If God had unlimted power then we must have pre destiny. But all the evidence is a god of limited power. Why is a god of limited power a problem?

Everything about our god all adds up to being a couple of rungs above us on the ladder. To me that is the ideal. I can't see an infinite power worrying about me after I die.

#56 The Ark

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 10:31 PM

Can anyone show me or tell me where the indicators are that God is the infinite power.

If you believe God is the infinite power then how do you reconcile Him fiddling about with us.

Personally, I think a limited god is logical, believable, fits the Bible and in addition would want to worry about me.

#57 ikester7579

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 11:21 PM

Can anyone show me or tell me where the indicators are that God is the infinite power.

If you believe God is the infinite power then how do you reconcile Him fiddling about with us.

Personally, I think a limited god is logical, believable, fits the Bible and in addition would want to worry about me.

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Then what you want is a genie, not a God. Genie submits to what you want him to be, and does what you want him to do. You are basically in control. Basically, humanism.

#58 The Ark

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 11:32 PM

Then what you want is a genie, not a God. Genie submits to what you want him to be, and does what you want him to do. You are basically in control. Basically, humanism.

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That's not an answer to my post. Also, there is nothing in what I posted that suggests a genie.

Show me where God is the infinite power. The Bible won't give you that answer as it portrays a god of limited power and knowledge.

#59 Mike Summers

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 01:34 AM

That's not an answer to my post. Also, there is nothing in what I posted that suggests a genie.

Show me where God is the infinite power. The Bible won't give you that answer as it portrays a god of limited power and knowledge.

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You are a free moral agent with autonomy. You can open your moth and say anything you want. That you seem to be doing.Your statements are opinions and sayinng God is not all powerful does not make it so. The bottom line is you are going to validate anything you wish to believe. I disagree with you as Jesus said all power in heaven and earh was given to Him by His Father. That's what it says plain and simple.

#60 ikester7579

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 03:27 AM

That's not an answer to my post. Also, there is nothing in what I posted that suggests a genie.


Are you not dictating what God is with zero scripture? Then you believe that your words dictate the power of God. Not anything you have posted from the Bible.

Show me where God is the infinite power. The Bible won't give you that answer as it portrays a god of limited power and knowledge.

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2kings 17:36 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.

1chron 29:11 Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

ps 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

jer 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

2sam 14:20 To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.

ps 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

prov 3:19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

etc...

Great: remarkable or out of the ordinary in degree or magnitude or effect.

Infinite: having no limits or boundaries in time or space or extent or magnitude.




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