God’s creation implies almightiness
Paul, speaking to those at the Areopagus about their unknown god, says,
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, – Acts 17:24
Unlike the Jews, to whom Paul would also preach in the synagogues, these Gentiles had no knowledge of the true God, Yahweh. So, it was apt that Paul would start with this basic, yet mind-blowing aspect about Him. He made the world and everything in it.
Just ponder those words for any length of time, and the right conclusion you’ll come to is the one that Paul says next: that the Creator of the world and everything in it is Lord of heaven and earth. It makes proper sense that He who created all things rules all things. It is His. He has full dominion and sovereignty over His Creation.
This is why Paul responds in Romans 9 to an anticipated objection with, Shall the pot say to its maker, “Why have you made me like this?” It is His right to create however He likes and exercise dominion however He likes. He created it. He is almighty over it.
Whenever we doubt God’s ability to handle anything in this world, let us remember that He is the One who created it and is Lord over it. So, His creation implies His almightiness. And
His almightiness means He cannot be contained
Being Lord of heaven and earth, He does not live in temples made by man. You can picture Paul gesturing toward one of their pagan temples nearby. Whereas the idols that the Gentiles made resided in their temples, God is not contained in any one area.
At this point, one might argue that God dwelt in the temple of Israel, specifically in the Holy of Holies. While it’s true that God chose to manifest His glory there in a more special way, He, by no means, was confined to that area. He did not cease to be omnipresent with the creation of the temple. And that temple was really pointing forward to the true Temple, the true Holy of Holies, Jesus Christ.
So, God cannot be contained. He is over all things, and for that He deserves our praise. We also see that
His almightiness means that He doesn’t need anything
nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. – Acts 17:25
God is not served by human hands. He doesn’t need it. Where a presidential candidate needs to raise funds, God does not need to raise funds. He doesn’t need anything from us to be almighty.
Now, He does command us to give to Him and to serve Him, but it’s not because He needs it. It’s for His glory and for our joy.
In fact, it is He Himself who gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. So, everything that we give Him is from Him to begin with. This is the reason that Paul elsewhere gives about why we have no room to boast, for what do we have that wasn’t first given to us? We see also, then that
His almightiness means He provides everything
Paul lists, life and breath and everything. That covers it all. And not only does He give all of those things, but He also gives it to all mankind. Who has the power to do that but an Almighty, omnipresent, omniscient, Sovereign?
For we who believe, this should cause us to give thanks for everything good. As James says, every good and perfect gift is from above.
Earlier we saw that God’s creation implies His almightiness, and next Paul says that
The nations imply God’s almightiness
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, – Acts 17:26
O sheep, stop and consider for a moment that God created every nation of mankind…from one man. Only an almighty God could ordain such a thing. And He enabled them to live on all the face of the earth. The naturalist would attribute it to man’s will to survive and their fitness to do so. It’s utter silliness and blasphemy. Only by God’s almighty grace has man been fruitful, multiplied, and spread throughout the world.
And it was not as if God just started things and let it all pan out. No, He had determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. Who can control such things and determine such things except the Almighty? Behold your God.
Why did He do all these things? Well Paul shows us that
God’s almighty kindness was meant to lead people to Himself
Paul goes on to say,
that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, – Acts 17:27
Now, we won’t speak to this at length here, but God’s general revelation is designed to reveal certain attributes about Himself, and those attributes should cause a man to seek after Him. Now, because of man’s depravity, they ultimately cannot and do not want to, without the Holy Spirit. But Paul starts to invite them here.
He says that He is actually not far from each of us. Yes, this God is transcendent, far above us. But at the same time, He is immanent, graciously making Himself near us.
Paul, then, quotes two of the Greeks’ poets to say,
for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ – Acts 17:28
Paul isn’t approving everything the poets have written, but on these points, they’re right. Even though they were probably writing it about Zeus/Jupiter, they were actually speaking truth about God.
By the way, Paul then moves the conversation about God’s kindness to Jesus, and some believe.