Can we speak things into existence?

speak things into existence
Question: "Can we speak things into existence?"

Answer:
Speaking things into existence is solely within God’s power and exclusively His right. When God created the world, He simply spoke, and light appeared (Genesis 1:3); the sky was formed (verses 7–8); dry land emerged (verse 9); vegetation sprang up (verse 11); the sun, moon, and stars appeared (verses 14–15); fish and birds materialized (verses 20–21); and animal life appeared (verse 24). God’s act of creation shows His unique and mighty power in a way that can never be duplicated.

God is the only one who can speak things into existence. It is not something we, as human beings, have the power to do. When God brought the plagues upon Egypt, the pagan magicians were able to mimic the results of the first two miracles. But when Moses turned the dust of the ground into gnats, the magi of Egypt were stumped. They could not animate inanimate things: “This is the finger of God,” they told Pharaoh (Exodus 8:19).

There are people who believe it is possible for mankind to speak things into existence. Some of them base their claims on a misinterpretation of certain Scripture passages. When we only look at one verse of one short section of Scripture, without considering that passage in its proper context, we can make those kinds of mistakes.

One verse people often cite when trying to prove that man can speak things into existence is Mark 11:24, “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” First, these words of Jesus do not in any way communicate the idea of creation—bringing something into existence that did not exist previously. In the previous verse (Mark 11:23), Jesus gives the example of moving a mountain, but He does not mention the idea of speaking a new mountain into existence.

Second, Mark 11:24 must be taken in context with the rest of Scripture. First John 5:14 says, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” We are told to submit to God’s will in our prayers. We are never given the power to speak things into existence. Elsewhere, Jesus taught, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33, ESV). When we seek God first and align our thoughts and desires with His thoughts and desires, then we are showing true faith. That, in turn, leads to us asking for the things that God wants, not the things that we want. Our desires become His desires, and our prayers become requests to fulfill His desires rather than our own. The purpose of prayer is not to speak things into existence but to conform our will to God’s (see Luke 22:42).

Another passage often used as a proof text that we can speak things into existence is Romans 4:17, which speaks of “the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.” Many prosperity teachers latch onto the phrase “calls into being things that were not” and try to use it as biblical evidence that we can do the same thing. They misread the passage, however. Paul is clearly talking about God, not man, calling things into existence. Speaking things into existence is God’s domain.

Finally, another passage in Scripture plainly shows mankind’s inability to speak things into existence. Lamentations 3:37 asks the rhetorical question, “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?” The answer, of course, is “no one.” None of us have the power to speak and bring things to pass through the sheer force of our word. Only God has that power. His decrees will stand. When He speaks, it’s as good as done. Given the clarity of this verse, we can only assume that those who falsely teach that we can speak things into existence rely on their hearers not ever reading the book of Lamentations.

Recommended Resource: The Quest Study Bible

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