Absolute Power for Maximum Good

photo courtesy of USA Today

The movie “Back to the Future II” has been in the news lately because of its prediction that the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series in 2015. As it turned out, while the Cubs made the playoffs, they did not win it all. But what if the moviemakers had been right? That would be pretty uncanny, perhaps even unlikely, but not entirely impossible.

But what if “Back to the Future II” had predicted that Cedric Diggory would die trying to win the Tri-Wizard Tournament? Or that Katniss Everdeen would use the Third Quarter Quell to stage a revolt against Panem? Or that Jacob Black would imprint on a surprising character in the Twilight saga? That would be beyond uncanny, because in 1989 no one had ever heard of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games or Twilight—because they didn’t exist.

This scenario somewhat approximates what we find in our text today. It’s easy for us to miss how unreal this prophecy would’ve seemed to its first audience, because we are so far removed from the historical setting. And yet what Back to the Future II could not do, the God of the Bible says he can do—predict the future. If God can do that, then what lies beyond his ability? And if God is that powerful, how could we interpret his absolute power as anything but a threat?

Title: Absolute Power for Maximum Good

Text: Isaiah 44.24–45.19

Overview

  • Cyrus
  • objections
  • absolute power
  • maximum good

Resources

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