The next day some people from the main group came to me—the group that believed in predestination and God’s assigning of spiritual credit or blame. They said, “We are drunk in a way, not on wine but on the things that man said yesterday. He spoke about omnipotence and also about the divine design. He concluded that the design is as divine as omnipotence is. He even said that God himself is the divine design. He said that there are as many laws of the divine design as there are truths in the Word—not just thousands but millions—and that God is bound by his laws in the Word as we are bound by ours. But what does that make divine omnipotence, if it is restricted by laws? It takes all the absoluteness out of omnipotence. Isn’t God’s power then less than the power of a monarch on a worldly throne? Monarchs can turn the laws of justice in another direction as easily as they turn the palms of their hands. They can have the absolute power of an Octavian Augustus; they can also have the absolute power of a Nero. After we thought for a while about omnipotence bound by laws, we felt drunk and likely to lose consciousness if we didn’t find some remedy very quickly.
“Our prayers have been said on the basis of our faith. We have prayed for God our Father to have mercy for the sake of his Son, believing that he could have mercy on whomever he wished, forgive the sins of whomever he pleased, and save whomever he wanted to. We wouldn’t have dared take away in the least from his omnipotence. Therefore binding God with the chains of some of his own laws seems unspeakable to us, because it goes against his omnipotence.”
When they finished they looked at me and I looked at them. They appeared thunderstruck. I said, “I will take an appeal to the Lord and bring back a remedy to enlighten the issue. In the meanwhile, though, I’ll resort to some examples.
“God Almighty created the world from the design in himself,” I said. “The divine design in which he is and which he follows as he rules is something he built into the world. He endowed the universe and everything in it with its own design. Human beings have theirs, animals theirs, birds and fish theirs, insects theirs; every species of tree, even every type of grass has its own design.
“As examples to provide enlightenment, I’ll briefly give the following. There are laws of the divine design imposed on human beings that indicate that we are to acquire truths from the Word for ourselves and that we are to base our thinking on them in an earthly way and, as much as we can, in a rational way. This is how we develop an earthly faith for ourselves. On God’s side, there are laws of the divine design dictating that he is to come closer, fill those truths with his own divine light, take our earthly faith, which is only knowledge and persuasion, and fill it with a divine essence. This is the only way for faith to become capable of saving. There is a similar process for developing goodwill.
“Let’s list some other points briefly. According to God’s laws, he can forgive us our sins only to the extent that we follow our laws and stop doing them. God cannot regenerate us spiritually beyond the point to which we, following our laws, have regenerated ourselves in an earthly way. God makes an unceasing effort to regenerate us and save us, but he cannot do it unless we prepare ourselves as a vessel, leveling a pathway for God [Isaiah 40:3–4] and opening the door [Revelation 3:20]. A suitor cannot enter his beloved’s bedroom before she becomes his bride—she locks the door and keeps the key with her. After she has become a bride, though, she gives her bridegroom the key.
Even for all God’s omnipotence, he could not have redeemed humankind unless he had become human. He could not have made his human nature divine unless it was first like a human being as an infant and then like a human being as a child. Later his human nature also needed to form itself into a vessel and a dwelling place for his Father to enter, which he did by fulfilling everything in the Word, meaning all the laws of the divine design in it. The more he completed this process, the more he united himself to the Father and the Father united himself to him.
“However, these are just a few points I bring up for the sake of illustration, so that you can see that divine omnipotence exists within the divine design and follows that design in its governing called providence. Constantly and to eternity divine omnipotence acts in accordance with the laws of its own design. God cannot act against them or change even the tip of one letter of them, because he is the divine design along with all its laws.”
After I finished speaking, a bright, golden-colored light flowed in through the roof and formed angel guardians flying in the air. The redness in the light lit up the temples of some of the people, but only toward the backs of their heads, not yet near their foreheads, because they were muttering, “We still don’t know what omnipotence is.” “It will be revealed,” I said, “but only after the things I have already said gain more light in you.”
from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 73