Monday, January 14, 2013

Ezekiel and the Omnipotence of God

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:1-10 ESV)
At the time of creation, God spoke all things into existence. He did not work through any human agent. But after the creation God often chooses to work incarnationally through sinful man. However, we are often told that to believe that God works in this manner is superstitious by both "liberals" and "conservatives" in the church. After all, the pastor is just a man and we know from observing him that he is a sinful man. But we see from this passage in Ezekiel that when God commands man to speak as his mouthpiece, what the man says actually comes to pass. When man invents his own words to speak on behalf of God they are powerless and idolatrous but when man speaks what he is commanded to speak by God they are powerful, effectual, and performative.

When the minister speaks the words of absolution they actually forgive sins because God has commanded Him to speak those words. After the minister consecrates the elements the body and blood of Christ are received. To say that this is impossible because a human body cannot be in more than one place at any given time is to deny God's omnipotence. Despite the pious language that might surround such a denial, the denial is the result of unbelief and a mind plagued by doubt sown by Satan.

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