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Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth…

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Boring uses the expression “all authority” and does not use the expression “all power”. He understands this passage to be talking about Jesus becoming a “king” and a “ruler” and that Jesus has “assumed his throne and begun to reign.” But all of this language speaks of AUTHORITY not of POWER. In this passage, Jesus claims to have been given great AUTHORITY, not unlimited POWER.

According to the book of Genesis, God put human beings in charge of the Earth:

Genesis 1:26 (NRSV)
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

When God put humans in charge of the Earth, he gave humans AUTHORITY over the Earth, according to Genesis. But that does not mean that God gave humans unlimited POWER over the Earth. Animals sometimes injure or kill humans. Fires, floods, storms, volcanoes, and earthquakes sometimes injure or kill humans. Humans do not control the weather. Humans do not control geological forces. So, God giving authority over the Earth to humans does NOT imply that God made humans omnipotent or all-powerful, or even that God gave humans unlimited power over the forces of nature on the Earth. AUTHORITY over X is not the same as unlimited POWER over X. Thus, the claim that God gave Jesus AUTHORITY in “heaven and on earth” does NOT imply that God gave Jesus unlimited POWER over what happens in “heaven and on earth”.

Second, Jesus states that this power or authority “has been given to me” which implies that at some previous point in time he did NOT have “all authority in heaven and on earth”. In order to be God one must be eternally omnipotent, not just omnipotent for one day or one month or one year or one century.

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus only claims to have a great deal of authority (not power), which was (allegedly) given to him by God at some point in time. So, in that verse Jesus does NOT claim to be an all-powerful person, and Jesus does NOT claim to have been all-powerful from eternity. In fact, if one prefers the translation using the word “power”, then Jesus implied that he was for a period of time NOT all-powerful, and thus Jesus implied that he was NOT God, based on the translation of Matthew 28:18 that uses the word “power”.

Another passage from the Gospel of Matthew might be used as evidence for the view that Jesus implied his own omnipotence:

Matthew 11:27 (NRSV)
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

There are at least three problems with interpreting this verse as a claim to the divine attribute of eternal omnipotence.

First, whatever it is that Jesus is talking about, it had “been handed over to me by my Father”. As with Matthew 28:18, this implies that there was a previous point in time when it was not yet the case that Jesus possessed this attribute. Thus, if we interpret “all things” to mean “all power”, then Jesus is implying that he did not always have such power, and thus Jesus is implying that he was NOT eternally omnipotent, and thus that he was NOT God.

Second, this verse sounds rather similar to Matthew 28:18, which is probably about AUTHORITY rather than about POWER, so that gives us reason to doubt that Matthew 11:27 is about power. The author of Matthew might have intended for verse 11:27 to be read and interpreted in relation to the similar sounding verse Matthew 28:18.

Third, the context of this statement is clearly focused on KNOWLEDGE rather than on POWER. Immediately after the sentence speaking about “all things” having been “handed over to” Jesus by God, Jesus speaks about how only God “knows the Son” and how only the Son “knows the Father”. Furthermore, if we look at the verses immediately preceding verse 27, we see that those verses also are focused on KNOWLEDGE rather than POWER:

Matthew 11:25-27 (NRSV)
25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;
26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Note that in verse 25 Jesus refers to important bits of wisdom that God has revealed to some people as “these things”. Thus, when Jesus speaks of “All things” in verse 27, this appears to be a reference back to the bits of wisdom that God has revealed to some people. The most likely meaning of the expression “All things” is thus, “all of the important spiritual, theological, and moral truths and principles that God wants to reveal to (some) human beings”. It is unlikely that this expression was intended to refer to “complete power and control over everything that exists”.