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Do We Really Have the Power to Speak Things Into Existence?

Do We Really Have the Power to Speak Things Into Existence?

There’s an idea that has grown in popularity among believers over the years, that you may not realize you even believe: positive confession.

Positive confession is the idea that certain blessings are available to believers at will. We pull down these blessings by positively confessing that they belong to us already. To put it another way, “Positive confession is the practice of saying aloud what you want to happen with the expectation that God will make it a reality.”

This practice can be summarized with the short statement, “What I confess, I possess.” Hundreds of thousands of Christians have embraced the belief that their words have power to create the reality they desire. This may include a better job, a spouse, health, wealth or just a better quality of life.

Conversely, this false teaching has caused many to fear speaking the truth about something because they believe their words have power to make it come to pass. For instance, if a person feels a slight cold coming on, they may fear saying, “I feel sick.” By confessing that they feel sick, they may actually be inviting the spirit of sickness into their body. I’ve even heard stories of Christian couples removing the words in sickness from their wedding vows because they didn’t want to speak sickness into their marriages.

Others are afraid to say, “I’m just so broke I can’t afford to do anything.” The truth is that they may not be able to afford to do what they want to do. But by stating this fact aloud, they fear they’re inviting a spirit of poverty into their lives. They’re convinced that they shouldn’t even speak of financial struggles because they may actually speak poverty into existence.


To uncover the fallacy behind this teaching and show how false teachers twist the Bible to lure well-meaning Christians into believing it, let’s consider an example from Genesis 1:26–27: “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.”

From this foundational verse, many have reached three false conclusions:

First, since we have been created in God’s image, we have the same power and authority God possesses.

Second, because God used His words to create the universe out of nothing, we can do the same since we were created in His image.

Third, God has given us dominion over this world.

All three are faulty conclusions. The Bible never suggests that since we’re created in God’s image, we somehow have the same power and authority God possesses. Without going too far into the theological weeds, Christian theologians have called some of God’s attributes communicable and others noncommunicable. Communicable attributes are qualities and characteristics God shares with us, since we are indeed created in His image. God is loving, and therefore we have the capacity to love. God is good, and therefore we can be good. God is patient, and therefore we can be patient. God is just, and therefore we can and should be just toward others. Keep in mind that we don’t possess or display any of these qualities to the same degree God does. But we are able to share or participate in those qualities by His grace.

Examples of noncommunicable attributes include that God is eternal, having no beginning or end. We aren’t eternal in that sense. God is sovereign. We are not. God is all-powerful. We are not. God is all-knowing. We are not. God’s creative power is universally understood in historic Christian teaching as a noncommunicable attribute, because He is the Creator and we are creatures. We can reflect God’s creativity by putting together preexisting stuff in new ways. We can create art out of paint and canvas or build musical instruments out of wood and metal. But only God has the power to create something out of nothing. So we can immediately shut down the false conclusion from Genesis 1 that we possess God’s creative power.

The Bible also doesn’t teach that because we’re created in God’s image, we can simply speak things into existence the way God did when He spoke the words that formed the universe out of nothing. Some will say we have the power to “call those things that are not as though they are.” If I was given a dollar every time I heard a Christian use that phrase, I’d be a rich man!

What I’m about to share underscores the danger of quoting popular Christian clichés, as well as the importance of knowing the Word of God and understanding how to correctly interpret it. That phrase “call those things that are not as though they are” comes from Romans 4:17, which says, “God . . . gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (NKJV).

Let’s study the context of this passage (which is always a good idea). The chapter is talking about God’s promise to make Abraham the father of many nations, even though his wife, Sarah, was barren. Years went by after Abraham received the promise of a son, and the event still hadn’t come to pass. Regardless of what his circumstances were telling him, Abraham believed that God would fulfill His promise. Abraham’s faith rested in the fact that God was able to “give life to the dead” and “call those things which do not exist as though they did.” This clearly referred to Sarah’s barren womb. He believed that God could overcome not only that Abraham was getting old but also that his wife had never given birth and was now well past childbearing years.

Even a cursory reading of this verse shows that God alone can speak things into existence. There’s no mention of Christians sharing this divine ability. To suggest otherwise is not just a misinterpretation of this verse but also an obvious misreading of it.

Adapted from Misled: 7 Lies That Distort the Gospel (and How You Can Discern the Truth). Copyright © 2023 by Allen Parr. Published by Thomas Nelson. Available now wherever books are sold.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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