Could Jesus create a chilli pepper so hot that he himself couldn’t eat it?

Good to hear from you. And brilliant question by the way. In some ways it’s like the traditional attempt to poke holes in theism ‘Can (the omnipotent) God create a rock so big that he can’t move it?’ — but because you name Jesus and phrase it in creaturely terms, it means that we’ll have the chance to look at the question from a distinctly Christian perspective rather than a merely theistic one — ie. we can think about the logic of the incarnation as well as the logic of divine omnipotence.

Okay, let’s start by laying the foundation of Jesus’ omnipotence (the precise point that your question is poking fun at). We’ll call this Theorem 1: “Jesus can do anything”. To do this we’ll need to prove two subsidiary truths, which we’ll unimaginatively call Lemma 1 and Lemma 2.

Lemma 1: God can do anything.

Lemma 2: Jesus is (in nature) God.

Scriptural Proof for Lemma 1:

Proof 1: Luke 1:37 “Nothing is impossible with God”

Proof 2: Mark 14:36 “And Jesus said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You…’ “

Proof 3: Jeremeriah 32:17 “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.”

Scriptural Proof for Lemma 2:

Proof 1: Philippians 2:5-6 “…Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God…”

Proof 2: John 1:1 “…the Word was God…”

(this Word is clearly Jesus, since John1:14-15 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… John bore witness of Him and cried out saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me’ ” + John 1:29-30 “… John say *Jesus* coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (Ed: Whoo! Love the gospel 😀 ) This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for He was before me’ “)

Proof 3: John 10:30 “[Jesus answered them:] I and My Father are One.”

And seeing as we both agree on the infallible authority of Scripture 😉

we can now put those two together:

Lemma 1: God can do anything.

Lemma 2: Jesus is (in nature) God.

Therefore we have Theorem 1: Jesus can do anything. QED.

Except we seem to have lost the bit in brackets. So maybe we should instead have this:

Theorem 1.1: Jesus, in his divine nature, can do anything.

Now we can begin to begin (repeat intentional) to look at your question: Could Jesus create a chilli pepper so hot that he himself couldn’t eat it?

Let’s break it down bit by bit: Could Jesus create a chilli pepper? Well, we’ve just shown that “Jesus, in his divine nature, can do anything”. So…

(ignoring the fact that God chose to complete his work of creating things in six — literal 24-hour long..? or not? do we care? — days, with the vegetation and I suppose therefore the chilli peppers on the third day, and has now finished creating out of nothing — cf. Hebrews 4:3-4 — and is instead recreating a new heavens and a new earth out of what already exists albeit in a fallen, Holy-Spirit-resisting (1Corinthians 15:44-46), groaning-like-in-childbirth condition)

So, Jesus, since he has a divine nature, and since creation is a divine function (ie. created things can not strictly speaking ‘create’, only mould that which is created), could create a chilli pepper.

And could he create a chilli pepper so hot that he couldn’t eat it?

Well, here it looks at first glance as if we have that common situation where an atheist tries to tie up an omnipotent God in a logical fallacy, the question of ‘whether an omnipotent God can create a rock that he cannot move’ being the famous example. Which basically amounts to ‘Can God cannot?’

But actually because you’ve made the question more interesting and happily have focussed on Jesus, instead we find that the required quality of the chilli pepper is one which pertains to Jesus’ human nature, not his divine. Which is to say, God, in his divine nature, cannot eat chilli peppers. Because, God, in his divine nature, cannot eat. Does that disprove his omnipotence? No — it just means that to ask a spiritual non-physical being to do a necessarily physical action is a logical absurdity. Eating requires a physical nature.

And now we come to the mystery of Christianity, that the invisible God who dwells outside of time and space and created both time and space and matter too, took on material flesh and came to live and die (for US!) within created time and space.

Like Paul says in Philippians, though Jesus was in very nature God, he made himself of no reputation — coming in human nature.

And so because Jesus had a human nature, he could eat chilli peppers.

But Jesus wasn’t omnipotent in his human nature but in his divine nature. And in fact the miracles Jesus did were not an immediate result of Jesus’ divine omnipotence, but were all done by the power of the Holy Spirit working in him. Which is why it’s only after Jesus is baptised and filled with the Spirit that he begins to do miracles. And this also explains why Peter, when he sees Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33) is able, for the little time that his faith holds firm, to do the same as Jesus is doing.

So we can say that there could be chilli peppers that Jesus, in his weak and limited human nature, could not have eaten (while maintaining that the possibility remains open that the power of the Holy Spirit could enable Jesus — or anyone with faith in God — to supernaturally eat such a chilli pepper).

So the answer to your question is, I think, Yes.

Looking forward to whatever’s next!

Grace and peace,

Peter

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