Taken in isolation, reference to the all-powerful God might be frightening rather than comforting. After all, in the contemporary world power is suspect, and absolute power all the more so. But God’s power is not corruptible, and it cannot be considered in isolation from three truths about the divine.
Firstly, the one in whom we believe, ‘God, the Father Almighty,’ is the Lord who is slow to anger and rich in mercy, near to the brokenhearted, and the saviour of all those who are crushed in spirit. God is love — boundless love that surpasses all we can imagine. Secondly, the power of the Almighty is the power of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We have seen this power: Jesus shows us the Father (John 14.8-10). He shows us compassion and love, and he makes use of the divine power in laying down his life and taking it up again, for our sake. God’s power comes to us in the eternal mercy this Father shows his eternal Son.
Finally, ‘Almighty’ means that God’s power is unique, unrivalled and beyond our comprehension. The emphasis on the oneness of this God in the creed reflects a theme Christians inherited from their Jewish origins (Deut 6.4), and it shows us that above and beyond all power in this world is that of the Father Almighty. But this power is something that exceeds our capacity to imagine. The greatness of this power is in its ability to love and to give life without loss, to create and recreate. Yet, far from being a stony and distant strength, the almighty power of God has drawn near to us in Christ and remains with us in the Holy Spirit. As nothing exists that could challenge the Almighty, that makes us very safe indeed.
Part of a series by Medi Ann Volpe