Omniscience

Scripture clearly reveals that God is “all-knowing.” “Great is the Lord and mighty in power, his understanding has no limit” (Ps. 147:5). He has perfect knowledge of the past (Mal. 3:16), and of the future (Is. 46:9,10). He knew us from eternity past (Eph. 2:10), and “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to his image” (Rom. 8:29). It was because of God’s omniscience that David admonished Solomon to serve God wholeheartedly, “for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (1 Chron. 28:9). This truth is also taught in Hebrews 4:13; “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” Secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven.

            God’s omnipresence partly explains His omniscience. Since He is everywhere always, His awareness is complete. Whereas mankind is bound by time, God is eternal. We understand the successive events of time and reason accordingly, but God sees the past, present, and future simultaneously. For God everything is “one eternal now.” That which the finite mind sees in sequence, is seen by God immediately in its totality.

            It is impossible to know the future without having control over it. This creates a logical problem for the finite mind. How can Scripture teach both the sovereignty of God and the free will of humanity since we will be held accountable for the choices we make (2 Cor. 5:10)? God’s eternal knowledge of the future necessitates some degree of predetermination. In ways we cannot fully understand, God participates with humanity in making legitimately free choices in such a way that God can know for certain the outcome.

            That God knows all things is clear from Scripture, but how He can know all things cannot be understood by us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:8,9).

            Francis Bacon said, “We cannot too often think there is a never-sleeping eye which reads the heart and registers our thoughts.” People who live differently when they are alone than in the presence of others, are usually ignorant that they are always living in full view of God. Knowing this truth about God could produce tremendous guilt if we didn’t also know that, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). If you don’t want God to know what you are thinking or doing, then don’t think it or do it.

            The omniscience of God is a tremendous blessing for believers. First, we can know that what God has said will certainly come to pass. Second, we can be led by the Holy Spirit who knows the future. Third, we don’t have to worry about tomorrow when our future is safely in the hands of God.

Dr. Neil

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