El Shaddai: God the Father Almighty

El Shaddai: God the Father Almighty

El Shaddai: God Almighty/The All Sufficient God/The Breasted God

In our current series, “Who is the LORD?” we are looking and names of God and our current portion is dealing with the Trinity. This week we are looking at El Shaddai: God the Father Almighty

The 3 Creeds that we affirm, at Abounding Grace Baptist Church, all declare a belief in the Holy Trinity and 2 directly begin with an affirmation of belief in God the Father Almighty.

Apostle’s Creed- I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Nicene Creed- We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

The Athanasian Creed goes more into depth than the other two and will be provided at the end of the lesson.

In all 3 instances, God the Father Almighty refers to El Shaddai, the name of God that we are studying this week. (It refers to all His other Names, too, but for our purposes, we are looking at El Shaddai)

The first occurrence of the name is in Genesis 17:1, “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am El Shaddai; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” Similarly, in Genesis 35:11 God says to Jacob, “I am El Shaddai: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins”. According to Exodus 6:2–3, Shaddai was the name by which God was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Shaddai thus being associated in tradition with Abraham, the inclusion of the Abraham stories into the Hebrew Bible may have brought the northern name with them, according to the Documentary hypothesis of the origins of the Hebrew Bible.

 

Potential Meanings:

El is a common Semitic name for God, in General. It appears that it could be a shortened form of Elohim.

From the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies:

“El ShaDai (אֵל שָׁדַּי) is just one of the many names of God in Hebrew. El means “God.” The rest, however, is slightly more complicated.

In our Bibles, אֵל שָׁדַּי “El Shadai” is most often (mistakenly) translated as “God Almighty”. The main reason for this stems from an opinion that Hebrew word שָׂדַּי ShaDai is connected with the verb לְשְׁדוד liShDoD, which means “to destroy” or “overpower”.

For example, Hebrew word for “bandit” has the same root –שׁודֵד ShoDeD.

El Shadai אֵל שָׁדַּי does have another meaning though. The word שָׁד ShaD has a much closer grammatical connection to ShaDai and it means – “breast.” Moreover, when a word ends with an “i”or “ai” it is almost always means “my”. So, literally, “El Shadai” could very well mean “God (is) my Breast/s”.

If we consider this intriguing imagery as interpretive possibility we may see that the breast is one of the key symbols of sustenance and parental love passed on from God, the parent, to humanity, God’s child. So instead of “God Almighty”, El Shadai could also be translated as “God All-sufficient” instead.”

Ultimately, we will look at the name, El Shaddai, as God Almighty.

 

Question: “What does it mean that God is Almighty?” (Got Questions Ministry)

In Hebrew, the title “God Almighty” is written as El Shaddai and probably means “God, the All-powerful One” or “The Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 132:2,5), although there is a question among most Bible scholars as to its precise meaning. The title speaks to God’s ultimate power over all. He has all might and power. We are first introduced to this name in Genesis 17:1, when God appeared to Abram and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.”

God has many names and attributes. He is the Almighty (Genesis 49:25), the Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 14:19), Builder of everything (Hebrews 3:4), the King of heaven (Daniel 4:37), God of all mankind (Jeremiah 32:27), and the Eternal King. (Jeremiah 10:10). He is the only God (Jude 1:25), the Eternal God (Genesis 21:33), the Everlasting God (Isaiah 40:28), and Maker of all things (Ecclesiastes 11:5). He is able to do more things than we can ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed and miracles that cannot be counted (Job 9:10). God’s power is unlimited. He can do anything He wants, whenever He wants (Psalm 115:3). He spoke the Universe into existence (Genesis 1:3). Furthermore, He answers to no one as to His plans and purposes: “All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35).

When we see God as the Almighty, we are struck by His power and by the fact that He is indeed a great, mighty, and awesome God (Deuteronomy 10:17). The identity of God as Almighty serves to establish the sense of awe and wonder we have toward Him and the realization that He is God above all things without limitation. This is important in view of how He is described next in the Bible. In Exodus 6:2-3, God said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.” How is this significant? It is significant because God, whom we previously knew only as God Almighty, has now given a new, more personal and intimate name to Moses (and Israel). This desire on God’s part for a more personal relationship with mankind would culminate later when God Almighty sent His only Son to earth–God in flesh–to die on the cross so that a way for forgiveness of our sins could be provided. The fact that God Almighty would humble Himself in this way for us makes His name all the more remarkable.

Almighty is synonymous with omnipotence.

 

Question: “What does it mean that God is omnipotent?”

The word omnipotent comes from omni- meaning “all” and potent meaning “power.” As with the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence, it follows that, if God is infinite, and if He is sovereign, which we know He is, then He must also be omnipotent. He has all power over all things at all times and in all ways.

Job spoke of God’s power in Job 42:2: “I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Job was acknowledging God’s omnipotence in carrying out His plans. Moses, too, was reminded by God that He had all power to complete His purposes regarding the Israelites: “The LORD answered Moses, ‘Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.’”

Nowhere is God’s omnipotence seen more clearly than in creation. God said, “Let there be…” and it was so (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, etc.). Man needs tools and materials to create; God simply spoke, and by the power of His word, everything was created from nothing. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6).

God’s power is also seen in the preservation of His creation. All life on earth would perish were it not for God’s continual provision of everything we need for food, clothing and shelter, all from renewable resources sustained by His power as the preserver of man and beast (Psalm 36:6). The seas which cover most of the earth, and over which we are powerless, would overwhelm us if God did not proscribe their limits (Job 38:8-11).

God’s omnipotence extends to governments and leaders (Daniel 2:21), as He restrains them or lets them go their way according to His plans and purposes. His power is unlimited in regard to Satan and his demons. Satan’s attack on Job was limited to only certain actions. He was restrained by God’s unlimited power (Job 1:12; 2:6). Jesus reminded Pilate that he had no power over Him unless it had been granted to him by the God of all power (John 19:11).

As God incarnate, Jesus Christ is omnipotent. His power is seen in the miracles He performed—His numerous healings, the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:30-44), calming the storm (Mark 4:37-41), and the ultimate display of power, raising Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter from the dead (John 11:38-44; Mark 5:35-43), an example of His control over life and death. Death is the ultimate reason that Jesus came—to destroy it (1 Corinthians 15:22; Hebrews 2:14) and to bring sinners into a right relationship with God. The Lord Jesus stated clearly that He had power to lay down His life and power to take it up again, a fact that He allegorized when speaking about the temple (John 2:19). He had power to call upon twelve legions of angels to rescue Him during His trial, if needed (Matthew 26:53), yet He offered Himself in humility in place of others (Philippians 2:1-11).

The great mystery is that this power can be shared by believers who are united to God in Jesus Christ. Paul says, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9b). God’s power is exalted in us most when our weaknesses are greatest because He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). It is God’s power that continues to hold us in a state of grace despite our sin (2 Timothy 1:12), and by His power we are kept from falling (Jude 24). His power will be proclaimed by all the host of heaven for all eternity (Revelation 19:1). May that be our endless prayer!

Almighty implies Infinite

 

Question: “What does it mean that God is infinite?”

Answer: The infinite nature of God simply means that God exists outside of and is not limited by time or space. Infinite simply means “without limits.” When we refer to God as “infinite,” we generally refer to Him with terms like omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence.

Omniscience means that God is all-knowing or that He has unlimited knowledge. His infinite knowledge is what qualifies Him as sovereign ruler and judge over all things. Not only does God know everything that will happen, but He also knows all things that could have possibly happened. Nothing takes God by surprise, and no one can hide sin from Him. There are many verses in the Bible where God reveals this aspect of His nature. One such verse is 1 John 3:20: “…God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”

Omnipotence means that God is all-powerful or that He has unlimited power. Having all power is significant because it establishes God’s ability to carry out His sovereign will. Because God is omnipotent and has infinite power, nothing can stop His decreed will from happening, and nothing can thwart or stop His divine purposes from being fulfilled. There are many verses in the Bible where God reveals this aspect of His nature. One such verse is Psalm 115:3: “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Or when answering His disciples’ question “Then who can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25), Jesus says, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Omnipresence means that God is always present. There is no place that you could go to escape God’s presence. God is not limited by time or space. He is present at every point of time and space. God’s infinite presence is significant because it establishes that God is eternal. God has always existed and will always exist. Before time began, God was. Before the world or even matter itself was created, God was. He has no beginning or end, and there was never a time He did not exist, nor will there ever be a time when He ceases to exist. Again, many verses in the Bible reveal this aspect of God’s nature to us, and one of them is Psalm 139:7-10: “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.”

Because God is infinite, He is also said to be transcendent, which simply means that God is exceedingly far above creation and is both greater than creation and independent of it. What this means is that God is so infinitely above and beyond us and our ability to fully comprehend that, had He not revealed Himself, we would not know or understand what He is like. But, thankfully, God has not left us ignorant about Himself. Instead, He has revealed Himself to us through both general revelation (creation and our conscience) and special revelation (the written Word of God, the Bible, and the living Word of God, Jesus Christ). Therefore, we can know God, and we can know how to be reconciled to Him and how to live according to His will. Despite the fact that we are finite and God is infinite, we can know and understand God as He has revealed Himself to us.

God’s power and His sovereignty are linked

Question: “What does it mean that God is sovereign?”

God’s sovereignty is one of the most important principles in Christian theology, as well as one of its most hotly debated. Whether or not God is actually sovereign is usually not a topic of debate; all mainstream Christian sects agree that God is preeminent in power and authority. God’s sovereignty is a natural consequence of His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. What’s subject to disagreement is to what extent God applies His sovereignty—specifically, how much control He exerts over the wills of men. When we speak of the sovereignty of God, we mean He rules the universe, but then the debate begins over when and where His control is direct and when it is indirect.

God is described in the Bible as all-powerful and all-knowing (Psalm 147:5), outside of time (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2), and responsible for the creation of everything (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1). These divine traits set the minimum boundary for God’s sovereign control in the universe, which is to say that nothing in the universe occurs without God’s permission. God has the power and knowledge to prevent anything He chooses to prevent, so anything that does happen must, at the very least, be “allowed” by God.

At the same time, the Bible describes God as offering humanity choices (Deuteronomy 30:15–19), holding them personally responsible for their sins (Exodus 20:5), and being unhappy with some of their actions (Numbers 25:3). The fact that sin exists at all proves that not all things that occur are the direct actions of God, who is holy. The reality of human volition (and human accountability) sets the maximum boundary for God’s sovereign control over the universe, which is to say there is a point at which God chooses to allow things that He does not directly cause.

The fact that God is sovereign essentially means that He has the power, wisdom, and authority to do anything He chooses within His creation. Whether or not He actually exerts that level of control in any given circumstance is actually a completely different question. Often, the concept of divine sovereignty is oversimplified. We tend to assume that, if God is not directly, overtly, purposefully driving some event, then He is somehow not sovereign. The cartoon version of sovereignty depicts a God who must do anything that He can do, or else He is not truly sovereign.

Of course, such a cartoonish view of God’s sovereignty is logically false. If a man were to put an ant in a bowl, the “sovereignty” of the man over the ant is not in doubt. The ant may try to crawl out, and the man may not want this to happen. But the man is not forced to crush the ant, drown it, or pick it up. The man, for reasons of his own, may choose to let the ant crawl away, but the man is still in control. There is a difference between allowing the ant to leave the bowl and helplessly watching as it escapes. The cartoon version of God’s sovereignty implies that, if the man is not actively holding the ant inside the bowl, then he must be unable to keep it in there at all.

The illustration of the man and the ant is at least a vague parallel to God’s sovereignty over mankind. God has the ability to do anything, to take action and intervene in any situation, but He often chooses to act indirectly or to allow certain things for reasons of His own. His will is furthered in any case. God’s “sovereignty” means that He is absolute in authority and unrestricted in His supremacy. Everything that happens is, at the very least, the result of God’s permissive will. This holds true even if certain specific things are not what He would prefer. The right of God to allow mankind’s free choices is just as necessary for true sovereignty as His ability to enact His will, wherever and however He chooses.

Is there anything that God Almighty cannot do?

The only thing that God cannot do is act contrary to His own character and nature; He cannot, by definition, be inconsistent in any way with His divine nature. For example, Titus 1:2 states that He cannot lie. Because He is holy (Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:16), He cannot sin. Because He is just, He cannot merely overlook sin. This would normally pose a conundrum but because Christ paid the penalty for sin, He is now able to forgive those who will turn to Christ (Isaiah 53:1-12; Romans 3:26).

A common question that I hear, and I view it as a slanderous question, is the question of whether or not God could create a rock so large that He could not lift it? The answer is no. God cannot do anything logically implausible and/or inconsistent with His nature. Questions like this are not only irrelevant, they are absurd.

Implications of God being Almighty

  1. He Cannot Be Stopped from Accomplishing His Purposes

First, the omnipotence of God implies that he cannot be stopped from doing what he purposes to do. Daniel 4:35 says, “The Most High does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand.” If God purposes with all his heart to do a thing, it simply cannot be stopped by any power in the universe.

This is directly tied to the Sovereignty of God Almighty. Since no one can prevent God’s purpose (will) from coming to pass, it is certain that all of His Decrees will be carried out. What that looks like in any given situation is unclear because we are not privy to all of the details of all of God’s decrees. This, in turn, begs the question of evil. We know God is neither the author of sin or evil but both exist in the world. To what end or purpose do sin and evil exist? They are part of God’s purpose to redeem a people unto Himself. We won’t go any further than that because not all of God’s decrees are clearly spelled out in the Scripture and I do not want to speculate where the Bible has not spoken.

  1. He Does Whatever He Pleases

Second, the omnipotence of God implies that he does whatever he pleases. Psalm 115:3, says “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.” In Isaiah 46:9–10 God says, “I am God and there is none like me . . . saying ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’.”  He can do whatever he pleases. Ultimately the only thing that determines what God will accomplish and what he won’t is his own will. This is what it means to be almighty or omnipotent.

Numbers 23:19 (KJV)

19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

  1. His Power Is Superior to All other Powers

Daniel 4:35, speaking of God, says “No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

Essentially, there is none who can challenge God and prevail. In the accounts of the fall of Lucifer in Isaiah 7 and Ezekiel 23, we see the end result of even an angel, who would be infinitely stronger than a human, challenging God’s authority; it does not come to pass. In short, though it may sound cliché, we can confidently state that God is on His throne and we need not fear because He cannot be overcome.

  1. Reverence

The most important response is reverence. In Job 40:2 the Lord said to Job, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the ALMIGHTY?” The fact that God is almighty means that we may not contend with him. He may perplex us and we may question him in lowliness for understanding, but not for indictment. We may not accuse our Maker. We must always remember that we do not sit in judgment of God Almighty, it is the other way around. Writing to the brethren in Rome the Apostle Paul says, “Shall what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me thus?’ Has the potter no right over the clay to do with it as he pleases?” (Romans 9:20–21). He further asks “Who has known the mind of the Lord or who has become His counsellor? (Romans 11:34)

But reverence is foreign to us. Most people do not have any experience of reverence. Wherever God is considered a pal or a sidekick or a grandfather or the religious drug of the uneducated, he cannot be revered. There are many affections you can feel for a little God, but reverence is not one of them. Reverence goes beyond awe or fear; it is a mixture of both. We are in awe and holy fear of God’s limitless holiness and power (Isaiah 6)

Isaiah says, “The lord of hosts . . . let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” (8:13). Reverence is the combination of admiration and fear, awe and dread, wonder and terror. It’s an emotion that we were made to experience. And in its absence we create activities that attempt to fill the void.

Frequently you will hear someone blurt out God’s title as some form of expressive or expletive. I have been guilty of this before as have some of you. Because of grace, we can now approach the Throne but sometimes we confuse that grace with license to be casual. We need to be careful of that. We may be considered to be friends of God because of grace but we must never fall into the error of assuming that God is not to be reverenced. He will vindicate His holiness and if you do not believe me, read Revelation again.

  1. Recompense

Next, the omnipotence of God means recompense—a recompense of wrath upon those who do not believe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8). John describes a scene in the book of Revelation of a white horse with a rider who is called Faithful and True. His eyes are like a flame of fire, he is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is the Word of God. The armies of heaven are in his train. “From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the ALMIGHTY” (Revelation 19:15).

If God is almighty, one thing is for sure—no one who resists him can succeed. The arrogant and the unbelieving may seem for a while to prosper. But, as Psalm 73 discovers, there comes a speedy end: “Truly thou dost set them in slippery places; thou dost make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors.” It is utter folly and madness to disobey the Almighty. He cannot be tricked, thwarted, or defeated. And he has appointed a day when his Son will tread the wine press of the fury of his wrath, because he is GOD ALMIGHTY.

  1. Refuge

Lastly, the omnipotence of God means refuge. The opposite of recompense for those who have refused the terms of God’s treaty is refuge for those who have accepted. Psalm 91:1–2, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the ALMIGHTY, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust’.”

Has it ever hit home to you what it means to say, “My God, who loves me and gave himself for me, is almighty”? It means that if you take your place under the shadow of the ALMIGHTY, you are protected by omnipotence. There is infinite and unending security in the almightiness of God. This security portends also to the Security of the Believer in terms of our salvation. Because there is nothing stronger than God, there is also nothing that can remove us from our position as the redeemed.

Further, when thinking about this security, I am reminded of the words of the old hymn:

“The Lord’s our rock, in Him we hide; a shelter in the time of storm.”

The trials and tribulations in our life do not come as a surprise to God. Indeed, while we cannot always see His guidance in the here and now, we can always, when looking back, see the hand of God Almighty superintending our situation in order to prepare us for His purposes and because He is infinitely good, we need not fear the storm.

Athanasian Creed

 Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this:

That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.

For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead; He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies; and shall give account of their own works.

And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

 

 

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