Why God Can’t Lie (Or Sin) [Akin]

http://jimmyakin.com/wp-content/uploads/no-lies1-300x300.jpgScripture repeatedly affirms the truthfulness of God. As early as the book of Numbers, we read:

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it? (Num. 23:19).

The same view is expressed in multiple other passages (e.g., 1 Sam. 15:29, 2 Tim. 2:13, Tit. 1:2). Jesus even declares himself to be “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).

But Hebrews goes a step further, saying not only that God does not lie, but speaking of it being *impossible *for God to lie:

God, because he wanted to show even more to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his resolve, guaranteed it with an oath, in order that through two unchangeable things, in which** it is impossible for God to lie**, we who have taken refuge may have powerful encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us (Heb. 6:17-18, LEB)

How does this square with the fact God is omnipotent—that he can “do anything”?

If he can do anything, wouldn’t that mean he can lie?

No, and here’s why . . .

Talking Nonsense

In my latest book, A Daily Defense, I take up the question of whether God could make up a stone too heavy for him to lift, which poses the same kind of challenge to divine omnipotence that we are considering here.

In response, I point out that theologians do not understand omnipotence to mean that God can do anything you can say.

You can say all sorts of things that amount to gibberish. For example:

God can the helium the the an a five wooden the the the next.

That doesn’t mean anything. It’s just gibberish—nonsense. It doesn’t even obey the laws of English grammar.

And even if something obeys the laws of grammar, that doesn’t mean it makes sense, either.

Linguists have identified sentences like “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously,” which obeys the laws of English grammar but doesn’t mean anything—as long as you give the words their normal meanings.

Taking the terms in their normal senses, this sentence is also jibberish:

God can make colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

But you might not notice that it’s meaningless unless you stopped to carefully parse it. The same is true of sentences like:

God can make four-sided triangles.

God can make square circles.

At first glance, those might sound sensible, but if you think about them, these statements also fall apart.

By definition, a triangle has three sides, not four. And by definition, a circle is not square.

Same thing goes for married bachelors, two-horned unicorns, and colorless green ideas.

None of these things can exist because they all involve logical contradictions. That is, the terms used contradict each other. Philosophers thus classify these entities as logically impossible.

Of course, it is possible to play games with words by taking the terms in non-normal senses, like saying that a four-sided pyramid is a “four-sided triangle” or that a unicorn that later grows a second horn is a “two-horned unicorn,” but that’s not what we’re talking about.

These things are logically impossible if you take the terms in their intended, normal senses.

What Omnipotence Means

This gets us to the issue of omnipotence. It isn’t the ability to do anything you can say—because you can say a lot of things that amount to gibberish—it’s the ability to do anything that is logically possible.

See I:25:3-4Summa Theologiae.

This gives us the answer to whether God can make a stone too heavy for him to lift. The answer is no.

God’s omnipotence gives him unlimited—or infinite—lifting power, and a stone too heavy to be moved with infinite lifting power would have to have more than infinite weight.

And there is no such thing as “more than infinite.”

Even appealing to the different kinds of infinity proposed by mathematicians won’t help, because—as an All-Perfect Being—God’s power comprehends them all, and there is no such thing as a weight that transcends all possible infinities.

A stone too heavy for God to lift thus involves a logical contradiction, meaning it is not logically possible and thus not something an omnipotent Being could create.

But what about lying? Why can’t an omnipotent Being do that? After all, we can!

jimmyakin.com/wp-content/uploads/a-daily-defense_1-200x300.jpgWhy We Can Lie (And God Can’t)

If you think about it a moment, the reason why we can lie becomes clear: It’s because we’re imperfect.

Lying is a sin. Sins are morally imperfect actions. And so a being capable of lying is a morally imperfect being.

That gives us the reason why God can’t sin: He’s All-Perfect, possessing all possible perfections. That means he possesses moral perfection. Moral perfection implies sinlessness. It therefore precludes lying.

To put this in terms of divine omnipotence, the reason God can’t lie—or commit any other sin—is because he’s All-Perfect. If he were able to lie, he would be imperfect, like we are.

The idea of an All-Perfect Being lying thus involves a logical contradiction, just like the idea of a square circle or a married bachelor.

God can’t bring about a situation in which he, an All-Perfect Being, lies any more than he can bring about a situation in which there is a four-sided triangle or a stone too heavy for him to lift.

Such situations are logically impossible because the terms involved contain logical contradictions.

The reason God can’t lie is thus because it’s inconsistent with his nature as an All-Perfect Being.

This idea is reflected in 2 Timothy 2:13, where Paul says that even “if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”

God’s own nature—his complete holiness—prevents him from sinning.

By the way, if you haven’t already gotten a copy, be sure to check out my book A Daily Defense, where I go into all kinds of interesting things like this!

feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/jimmyakin/HPRf?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/jimmyakin/HPRf/~4/vnwfDlWqO7I

More…

HI,

I agree with the truths Jimmy Akin proclaims, but I believe his final conclusion that “God cannot lie” is an inadequate way of summarizing what Christians believe in today’s world.

Although he sets out to explain this does not deny God’s omnipotence, Muslims will conclude that it does. Many Muslims will not bother reading his explanations.

Many battles of belief are mostly won or lost on how one expresses himself. For example, consider the abortion debates.

It is much better to say, God freely chooses to be all Loving and Truthful. He freely chooses to create a world where order and truth have meaning.

See more at

God’s Omnipotence : “Can God Lie?”

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Let me try to defend my position using another approach.
Consider the following question :

Do you agree that the above statement is false?

If you do, than you must believe that this statement contrary to its claim is really true. But, if it is true then it must be false since it claims to be lie. But, if…. (What a mess.)

However, what if you believe that the original statement is true ?
Then, you must believe that what it claims is true, but then it must be false since that is what it claims. But, if it is really a lie, then the opposite must be true and so it is a true statement. But if is true… (Same mess as before)

If a statement contains a self-contradiction then we should not label it as true or false, but rather we should just point out that it is nonsense. Similarly this is true for questions like :

“Can an all-powerful and Holy God cannot lie?”
“Can all-powerful God cannot make a stone too heavy for Him to lift?”

God freely choses to be Who He is, all Good, all Powerful, and all Holy.

These seemingly perplexing questions reminds me of my youth. When I was a little kid someone asked me, “John, is it true that you are as stupid as you look?”

I knew they were wanting to insult me. Without thinking, I retorted, “No.” But, as I said that I realized that was not the correct answer, and so immediately after saying no, I corrected myself and said, “Yes.” But as I was claiming the affirmative I realized that answer was worse than the first. Of course the other person was just laughing their head off.

It reminds me of end of the Movie, “War Games.”
A super computer was calculating the various scenarios of thermal nuclear war and it arrives at the conclusion,

“The only way to win is to not play the game.”

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And it also affirms the opposite:

1 Kings 22:23 Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

2 Chronicles 18:22 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.

Jeremiah 4:10 Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.

Jeremiah 20:7 O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.

Ezekiel 14:9 And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

That is the problem with an inconsistent document, it is sometimes inconsistent.

rossum

Okay, Okay. So, I know what you all, or Ya’ll as we say here, are thinking. Anybody who would answer No, and then Yes to that question is probably more stupid than he looks.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Now that everybody has had a good laugh, can we
P … L … E … A … S … E
get back to apologetics.

THANK YOU ! https://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon10.gif

Who decided which books belong in the Bible ?
Answer : The Catholic Church (guided by the Holy Spirit of course.)
defendingthebride.com/bb/deuterocanonical.html

If these verses taught anything contrary to the One True Catholic faith, then why didn’t she just exclude these verses ?
That question is the fatal flaw to any argument using any Sacred Scripture to attack the teachings of the Catholic Church, whether it be the Book of Romans on Justification or the Book of Revelation and what it teaches.

The more interesting question, is what truth is in these passages that made the Catholic Church to want to include them in the Bible ( other than it was God’s will of course) ?

Life is hard.

Suffering is all around. We all live in the veil (and valley) of tears.

How can we continue to hope in life, in God, or even in ourselves ?

Jesus (God) says He is the truth and the truth will set us free.

Truth of God speaks not just to the head, but to the heart and the heart knows it is true.

Please read Luke chapter 15 verses 10 – 24.

Fr. Robert Spitzler told how one atheist after hearing this passage say,
“If that is who God is, then count me in.”

Truth is more than just facts. A person might memorize a whole set of an encyclopedia but those facts are not going to satisfy the longing of his heart. They are not going to help him make sense of the tragic sufferings that everyone experiences at one time or another.

Truth and Love are two sides of the same coin.

The verses of Sacred Scripture above cannot be understood outside of their context.
And we should look at the whole context of the teachings of Catholic Church.

God always wants what is best for us. When we are very obstinate and reject God in a serious way He sometimes gives us a most severe punishment of giving us what we ask for, a life without Him.

To see God’s truth, to embrace God’s truth we must be humble and reject sin. When we become more wicked, we become more stupid. Conversely, we grow in virtue, in God’s grace and love our hearts are opened to greater truths.

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2 Thessalonians 2:3-12
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition,
4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god—
…
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord (Jesus) will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming,
9 the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie,
10 and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved.
11 Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie,
12 that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.”
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This is a most serious warning about the end of the world when those following the anti-christ will go to hell. We need to be warned about such serious things so that we might avoid it.

We can see that God’s primary will was that they go to heaven.
“for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved.”

We can understand “cause” in several ways. God can directly cause something that is His primary will, or allow something to happen in an indirect way by Divine Providence. God has chosen to create a world that has consequences.

We could suppose that if God had wanted to create a world without consequences or a world without meaning where on one day the good people get rewarded and on the next day the good people get condemned,
that God could have created that type of world, BUT that is not the type of world God chose to create.

This will be hard for some people to understand because they have not trained their minds to think in philosophical terms, and I am very limited in explaining them, but I will try.

Our world, the real world, the world God did chose to create does have meaning. And how we chose to live does have consequences. So, if I jump off a tall building I will die because God created a world with gravity. My body’s impact was caused by the gravity would cause my death. Gravity is part of God’s Divine Providence. God caused the gravity to exist by creating it. So, if we use the term “cause” in its indirect meaning we could say God indirectly caused me to die under these circumstances. Using the term “cause” in this indirect sense cannot be used to determine guilt. God caused mother nature, the gravity, and His Divine Providence, but God is not “guilty” of my death.

The people in verse 11 rejected God’s desire and help that He offered so that they might be saved. They wanted evil. They deserved to die and be condemned.

God created our human nature. If we approach things in the right way with a humble desire to believe in the good, to act according to the good, this – by God’s Divine Providence - will help us to believe in the good and to do the good.

However, if a person desires evil and if that person bends his predisposition to do evil he can manipulate his human nature to deceive himself into believing the evil is good, to believing in the lie.

Perhaps by God
“sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie”- this “sending” being understood not as God’s primary will, but rather as his indirect will of Divine Providence of allowing the evil person to arrive at the conclusion his evil desires wanted –
God was limiting the final effects of their evil. Perhaps their actions were so evil that others noticed just how evil the first set of people were so that the second set of people woke up and took noticed and repented of their sins so that the second set of people got saved.

I hope this helps.

Always pray, be humble, and repent of sin so that we might see God.

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I agree god can’t lie,but how do we explain God saying he enticed prophets?

King James Version
And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

Darby Bible Translation
And if the prophet be enticed and shall speak a word, I Jehovah have enticed that prophet; and I will stretch out my hand against him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

World English Bible
If the prophet is deceived and speak a word, I, Yahweh, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand on him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

Young’s Literal Translation
'And the prophet, when he is enticed, and hath spoken a word – I, Jehovah, I have enticed that prophet, and have stretched out My hand against him, and have destroyed him from the midst of My people Israel.
Ezekiel 14:9

Ezekiel 14:9
“And if the prophet be deceived and speak a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet …” RSVCE

Actually, when we study the context, we can see that these words are spoken by God out of His great love for these prophets and His love for His people Israel.

To begin, first look at the role of the prophet and how Israel was to tell true prophets from false prophets.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22
“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ — 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.”

Some evil men from Israel were wanting to pretend that having false idols did not interfere with their relationship with God. They wanted to go to God’s prophet and get good advice all the while without giving up their serious sin of false idols. A good prophet should reject their false pretense and tell them to first give up their false idols before coming to God’s prophet. If the prophet is deceived and receives such a sinner God is going to make sure that his advise turns out false so that it is obvious that the prophets complicity with the sinner and his false idols is completely unacceptable to God. God does this so they will all repent of these sins so they can be reconciled to God, verse 11.

Ezekiel 14:1-11
“Then came certain of the elders of Israel to me; and sat before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came to me: 3 “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces; should I let myself be inquired of at all by them? 4 Therefore speak to them, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Any man of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him myself because of the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols.
6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Repent and turn away from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. 7 For any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to inquire for himself of me, I the Lord will answer him myself; 8 and I will set my face against that man, I will make him a sign and a byword and cut him off from the midst of my people; and you shall know that I am the Lord. 9 And if the prophet be deceived and speak a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10 And they shall bear their punishment—the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike— 11 that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, nor defile themselves any more with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, says the Lord GOD.”

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Sorry,but thats not a good answer to me.it seems all the Catholic answers to passages where God says he '‘decieves’'or ‘‘entices’’ are lacking.

the official position of the catholic church rejects predestination regarding bad actions,but how does that square up with God hardening pharoah’s heart and sending a lying spirit on ahab’s prophets?

I want a good answer.Calvinists’’ seem ''to have more scriptural support in this regard.

I answered this question with the new thread
My God is Greater than your God. A Muslim, a Calvinist, and a Catholic

God bless,
John

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I have slightly changed my position on this .

“Can God Lie?”
[LEFT]

	Many people will often respond by saying, “God cannot lie.”
	That answer is wrong because it is an insult both to God’s Power and  		more importantly it is an insult to God’s love.
	
	What these people are intending to affirm is true. God never lies and it  		would be a contradiction of God’s perfect nature and the essence of  		Goodness and Love for Him to lie. The mistake however is that the above  		answer is based on the assumption that mankind’s relationship to his  		nature is similar to the God’s relationship with His Nature. As man we  		are restricted by the nature that was given to us when we were conceived  		in our mother’s womb. It determines and defines our abilities and our  		limits. But God is unlike us and unique.
	
	God is not Good and Loving because His Nature forces Him to be so. From  		all eternity God chooses for His nature to be Being Itself and to be  		infinitely consistent, good and holy. There is no outside force, fact,  		or quality that requires for Him to be this or that. God is  		all-powerful. He has no limits. There is no outside being or fact can  		force Him to be non-contradictory, loving or true. 
	
	There are several proofs that God chooses his Nature from all eternity  		to be as it is.
	
	God is Love. And for love to be true love it must be freely given.  		Therefore, God freely chooses to be loving, good and honest. These are  		not qualities that are forced upon Him by His Nature. If we say that God  		is honest, good or loving because He has no other choice in the matter  		then we would be insulting His Goodness and His Love. It would not be  		true love if it was not freely chosen. Therefore, He freely choses to be  		who He Is, True Love.
	
	A God who freely choses to Love is greater than a God who is loving only  		because He has no other choice. God is greater than we can imagine.  		Therefore, God freely chooses for his Nature to be Love.
	
	John 5:19
	“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing  		of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever  		he does, that the Son does likewise.’”
	At the temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus freely chooses to  		continue his path of Goodness. Jesus feely chooses to conform His will  		to that of the Father. Jesus only does what he sees the Father doing.  		Therefore, the Father must also freely choose to be Love.
	
	If God is constricted in some way by His Nature, then His Nature is  		greater than He is. God has complete free will. Therefore, God freely  		chooses His Nature to be as it is from all eternity. 
	
	So, the correct answer to the question,
	“Can God Lie ?” is …
	
	God is all-powerful. He chooses to always be truthful and never lie  		because He chooses from all eternity for his Nature to be Being itself,  		to be Love, and to be non-contradictory.

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**Read more at
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** **http://www.defendingthebride.com/sc/omni.html

John

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