Human power negates idea of ‘almighty’
If I had my way, I would eliminate the word "almighty" as a descriptive word for God. Cut it out of prayers, remove it from the hymns and the liturgy. Bury it.
I do not object to the "mighty" portion of the word. For there is such a thing, I believe, as divine power. It is the "all" that I think is misused and misleading.
Think about it a moment before you stop reading. You have the power to put the paper down now, or you can continue to read. You have the power to act, choose, talk, walk and argue. You have the power to plow, plant, reap and share. You have the power to buy and sell, invent, create and destroy.
The fact that you and I have some power means that God does not have all the power. In fact, every level of being has some power.
Human power is remarkable in the extent to which its influence reaches. Our imagination and inventiveness are far-reaching. Human power is especially extraordinary in comparison with the influence that other creatures have.
Power, I contend, is the capacity to influence. There is no divine monopoly on such power. But the notion of monopolistic power is, unfortunately, implied in the term "almighty." As if God has all the power.
But every level of existence has some measure of power, or the capacity to influence. This includes cellular as well as galactic levels of existence. To be means to have power.
Divine power becomes admirable and worshipful only when it is seen as persuasive power, the power of love. But the term "almighty" carries with it the connotation of a tyrannical, absolute or even coercive power.
That image of power has often corrupted political policies and leaders. Some leaders will even use the term "almighty" in a way that seems to offer a justification for their own use of coercive, militaristic power.
I know that biblically, there are many images of power. But not all of them are worthy of respect and adoration. Some of those images have been taken from ancient imperial and tyrannical autocracies, imitating the kind of adulation given to Roman emperors. They are despotic.
The revolutionary overthrow of such imagery is contained in the Galilean vision that embodied a sense of compassion, understanding and love. That image comes close to divine power.
Fritz Fritschel is a retired Lutheran minister.