Bible Study Series
Contemplating the Almighty
The Omniscience of God
How well do you know God’s omniscience?
1) Omniscience means
a) God knows everything actual, past through future and everything possible and everything possible
b) God knows everything actual past through future but not the possible
c) God only know the actual past and present
2) Who is omniscient?
a) God only
b) God and the Devil
c) God, the Devil, and the angels
3) If God is omniscient then the actual Creation and history
a) is the best of all possibilities even considering the presence of sin
b) started out as the best plan, was unforeseeably detoured by sin, but is being brought back on track by God
c) started out as good by God but was left to its own chances and fell apart
4) God knows each one of our actions
a) and our thoughts even those potentially hidden from ourselves
b) but only surmises our thoughts although He does a very good job
c) but does not care about our thoughts because only actions matter
5) God is omniscient and so when He forgives us of a sin
a) He no longer even remembers that sin like there is a hole in His memory as in “What sin?”
b) Remembers the sin but does not hold us accountable to it as in “What penalty?”
c) He remembers the sin in our lifetime but forgets it when we get to Heaven
6) God’s omniscience means that He knows the outcome to every possible choice to any decision and will
a) try to lead us down the best path although the final choice is always left to us
b) simply present the top options to us and let us choose whichever one we want
c) lets us make whatever decision we want without any guidance but He will try to make the most out of that choice
7) When it comes to pain and suffering God’s omniscience means
a) nothing because He will only alleviate those things when we get to Heaven
b) He knows the best way to comfort and heal us and then will try to do so
c) very little since He also knows the sin that caused that pain and so will judge that first
8) God’s omniscience means that we will be judged for every
a) actual and potential sin whether in actions or thoughts
b) actual and potential sin but only in action
c) actual sin in action and thought but not for potential sins
9) We can know spiritual or supernatural truths such as salvation
a) almost exclusively through God’s revelation in the Bible
b) mostly through the observation of creation and using logic
c) mostly through experience and dreams
10) When it comes Satan, God
a) does not know his thoughts because God cannot even look upon evil
b) knows his every thought, mo c) tries to think the best of him since He is hoping that one day Satan will be redeemed
The omniscience of God stated briefly and without qualifications is that God knows all. And elaboration of this is that He knows all concerning the actual, all concerning the possible; His knowledge cannot be added to; cannot be forgotten. He does not learn; He cannot be counseled. There exists no mysteries, no secrets, no darkness through which He cannot see. It is not that He is capable of knowing everything but that He forever has. He does not operate on the basis of chance; therefore, neither do we. Any truth that we might discover, any conceivable fact no matter the human impossibility in obtaining, is already known by the Almighty God. His love can give the best because it knows the best. His omnipotence can perform what His omniscience concludes. The giving of Christ for sin was the infinitely best, and indeed the only means for God to have intimate communion with man. He makes no mistakes, and He commits no error. He can never be guilty of inaccuracy.
The Lord God does not need to contemplate or ponder any matter. For Him to prepare and gather information is not necessary. There is no question to which He has not eternally known the answer. He does not need to think through the alternatives; He always knows the best action to take. When God determines a matter, He knows not only the facts but the results. He knows the situational results. The emotional results and the spiritual results, and though they may be wearying to us, we must believe by faith and by His past faithfulness that they are good and acceptable and perfect. Because He does fully understand the consequences, He can never regret any action which He has taken. No matter how much we may sin and disbelieve, He will never regret dying for us.ver regret dying for us.
The Lord has considered it best to reveal some of that which only the divine omniscience can know. We are wholly incapable of absolutely determining the spiritual results of any action or decision. But God does know the possible consequence of any cause. This is clearly demonstrated in the scriptures, principally as warnings and as promises. We only know that the result of rejecting Christ is eternal damnation in hell because God has revealed it. This and the promise of eternal life can e ascertained in no other way. The Bible is rich in such divine revelations. Ninevah was commanded to repent lest the wrath of God come upon them; Abraham was promised to be the father of nations. The soul that sins shall surely die; the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. At the end, Satan shall be executed and Christ shall reign forever. Even faith relies on the belief of previously revealed knowledge. The portion of His knowledge, which He has pleased to reveal, is a tremendous source of fear and of hope. Without it, man would be doomed to an existence of superficially and uncertainty. With it, he is able to enjoy the immense riches of the unseen God.
All that the Lord has revealed is great and of much value. The wicked arrogance of man disregards as unimportant that which does not personally interest him. It is true that there are themes which may be, at present, of more primary consideration, but this should not be to the repudiation of others. We are self-centered creates who can arrogantly suppose that only those things which affect or interest us are those of spiritual significance. All that the Lord has gladly revealed, we should be willing to study and learn. We should wholeheartedly love the things that come from God.
Omniscience does not merely entail being certain of what will happen, but also of what could have happened. God knows each and every possible world that could have existed, but this is the one which He has chosen. Despite the “fall”, man’s thorough and continuous rebellion, the existence of Satan and hell, and the other many consequences of sin, we may be convinced that this is the world concept that will bring the most praise and glory to the Lord of Hosts, the Creator. Man in his great “wisdom” may attempt to conceive of a world plan higher than that of the Almighty’s; however, we must recognize by faith that what has been brought into existence is indeed the best. He could have created matters differently, but He did not. A world without sin and a people without rebellion is very much within the power of the Almighty, but for reasons beyond our full capacity of understanding, this world is what will most please the Lord. He not only knows the end from the beginning, but, more so, He has caused the end from the beginning.
The above truth, though presented on the grand scale of all that creation and history encompasses, must be applied when contemplating how He personally and individually formed us. “For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou dist weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” God’s choosing of this world plan was to bring all glory to Him; should we think that He was any less careful in His creating us or that His purpose for us should be any less glorious? The declaration “wonderful are Thy works”! We are God’s works. God’s purposes and desires for our lives should never be belittled. As awesome and tremendous as the universe is, its fate is one of annihilation and consumption by fire. Of God’s creation, men and angels ae only those deemed precious enough by Him to keep forever and, indeed, even then, men are ultimately to be exalted much higher than the angels. We must rightfully consider ourselves to the divinely chosen objects, through which the Most High God will receive much glory and honor. To be so honored is to place our value and purpose at a much greater level than even that of the universe. It is as secondary to us as finite existence is to immortality. God did not redeem the universe; God redeemed people. Our value must be realized from the Lord’s perspective and not from our own estimation. We are, to the minutest detail, the marvelous handiwork of a loving God. He loves each of us immeasurably more than even the spectacular world around us.
The divine attribute of omniscience is not merely the by-product of His omnipresence and timelessness. He does not know all simply by observing all. It is not just the consequence of a perfect memory. He does not exist in every possible world and situation, yet He is fully aware of every one of their respective details. For Him to the eternal and omnipresent without knowing all would seemingly be possible, but from the above discussions, the fact that His omniscience encompasses much more and is, in itself, an immense and glorious attribute should be obvious. It must be appreciated not just as a fact of God, but as that of Him deserving all of our praise and worship.
“O Lord, Thou has searched me and known me. Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all. Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, cannot attain to it.” This is a majestic revelation that draws much reverence for the Lord. Yet what a terrifying consideration to be searched and known by a holy and inviolable God, to have our deepest and most intimate thought fully known. Praise the Lord that we have been imputed the full righteousness of His beloved Son Jesus Christ. We can find our security in our Savior’s perfection and not rely on our own unrighteousness.
God not only knows all of our past and our entire future but even our every thought, attitude, and motivation. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He realizes why we do certain things, whether right or whether foolish. Nothing that we could ever do could surprise God. He understands our discouragements and though He does not condone sin, He understands. Whatever hurts can be healed, whatever is grieved can be encouraged, and whatever is grieved can be encouraged, and whatever is weak can be strengthened. Jeremiah 8:11 reads, “’And they heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially by saying “All is well, all is well”; but there is not peace.’” In this passage, God rebukes the people for only looking at a problem superficially, for not understanding the deeper needs of a person. God does know; when He heals there is peace. Whatever we lack, He can superabundantly provide. And though we do not need to ever explain to Him our situation, still He loves to hear our voice in doing so. Our soul will always find rest in His compassionate understanding. “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” God knows the deep, inner needs and voids of our life, and He wants to fill them with Himself. For what God knows and has, from what other source should we ever seek support?
Luke 12:2-7 is a passage which so effectively links divine love and omniscience. To extract its deep riches requires much thought and contemplation. It deserves sufficiently more attention then can be given here. It is very properly worth quoting in full. “’But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more than they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you fear Him! And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.’” The Lord Most High tells us that there is nothing about which He does not know, nothing too deep, nothing too hidden, nothing too secret. We may consider the condition of our hearts to be wicked, and yet God who knows fully the very deepest evil that is contained therein perceives much more. On the basis of this knowledge, He is able to cast into hell and no man could dispute; all would be silent. Were omniscience and justice principally that which directed God then we would all be without hope. Yet, though He knows all, we are comforted by the realization that He loves all also and is alert to our every need. We are to fear Him for what He knows but to be secure because of how He loves. The unqualified summary of this passage is that God knows and cares.
What knowledge we have of anything is only that which God has chosen to reveal. Nothing could be known apart from Him who knows all. This would involve not only Himself and the angelic spheres, but also the world surrounding us. We could not experience anything had God not given us the faculty to receive. In the case of the physical world, He has given us our natural senses and the ability to reason. For that which is spiritual or supernatural, He has given us revelation and the faith by which to believe. We see because He made the eye; we hear because He made the ear, we believe because He has given us faith. Why should we regard ourselves as superior, for what do we have that God has not given and what do we know that God has not shown? However, we can shut our eyes and be blind; we can close our ears and be deaf; yes we can doubt our faith and be carnal. Just as we can choose to isolate ourselves from the physical world, so we can choose to disregard the things of God. Just as our physical responses depend on our perception of the mundane, so are the ways in which we respond to the spiritual. Both must be trained and exercised to be sharpened. Both are privileges given to us by God. The first, however, finds its capacity entirely in the flesh. The second is energized by the illimitable power of the Holy Spirit.
If our hearts were only gripped with the omniscience of God, how much easier it would be to resist temptation. We often surrender to sin because we think that we can get away with it; that there is nothing to feel ashamed about because no one will ever know. If we were only more aware of the truth that God knows our every thought, our every motive, sees our every action, hears our every word. We can never escape the observation of God. Men may attempt to hide from the light, but to where might one go to escape from an omniscient, omnipresent God? Man’s eyes may be blinded to God but God’s eyes are never blind to men. To where could Jonah have run; to where could David have fled; what place do the wicked in the book of Revelation find to cover them up? “For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all his paths.” This is the basis for the “fear of the Lord.” The scriptures abound with references to this truth as a cause for fear and for worship. All are naked before Him; He knows what is in the darkness; our secret sins are exposed in the light of His presence.
The reality of the divine omniscience can strike two entirely different keys in the heart of man. In times of suffering, His omniscience can be of great comfort; “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings,” in times of sin it can be of great shame. “For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all His steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” What the wicked fear, the righteous worship.
The laws which God has given, be they written revelation, our conscience, of the guidance of the Holy Spirit are grounded in His omniscience. He knows each and all of their far reaching implications, and for us to transgress their limitations is to be deceived by a pride and independence which places its knowledge above that of God’s. This is an arrogance that transports the creature into a position where it thinks that it knows how to satisfy its needs and desires better than its Creator. It mocks the truth that His commandments are not burdensome. It is insanity to the degree that it disbelieves or denies the truth which God as sovereignty established. How dare we to question that which the Al The awesome omniscience of God! What it is transcends the finite comprehension of man; what it means is of significant importance to be cherished by the anointed and hated by the wicked. It involves spheres which we may never fathom and concepts beyond our most creative imagination. All that God does is in accord with His omniscience; therefore, it can be confidently asserted that all of His woks are excellent. This would involve not only that which is visibly accomplished by Him, but also how He formed us and the purposes and plans which He has for our lives. Indeed, such knowledge is too wonderful for us, and though we cannot attain to it, enough is within our grasp to command our worship and reverence.
What does God’s omniscience mean to us?
He knows how wonderful we can be even before we are born
Psalm 139:13-16 states how God knows us before we are even born. We are divinely chosen objects. When God was creating us in the womb He was not just creating us physically but He was also creating and planning out key aspects of our lives. It is not in God’s plans for us to be defeated or fearful or depressed and isolated. These may be the result of your sin or other people’s sin, but they are not God’s choices. 2 Corinthians 2:14 proclaims, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ.” Plan and lead a life that is triumphant because is the kind of life that God has in mind for you.
He knows our every thought, motive, and action
This will either scare us or make us feel secure. Psalm 139:1-6 reads, “O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all. Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, And laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” Here David is acknowledging that God is aware of everything that he does and think. This did not send him into paranoia, but instead it was wonderful to him. If your thoughts are generally lustful or envious or scheming then you should be worried knowing that God is aware of them. But if your thoughts are prayerful and good then you should be glad because then God will reward you and aid you in the completion of those thoughts.
Because God knows what we are thinking we can pray silently.
God’s way is always the best possible way
God does not do something and then go, “oops.” We can pray for God’s guidance and know that He is not trying to decide between option 1, option 2, or option 3. We can be confident that His guidance will be the best.
We can obey God’s commands knowing that He is not tweaking them as He goes. If God says something we know that it is the best.
We can ask God for wisdom and know that His response is the best answer.
He knew all of our sins before we committed them.
No sin that we commit surprises God. Therefore because God knew all of our sins Jesus Christ was able to pay for all of our sins on the cross.
Colossians 3:13-14 says, “And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” In verse 13 the word “all” means “wholly, entirely, by all means, leaving no doubt.” Verse 14 has the meaning to “wipe off or erase.”ipe off Think of a huge blackboard listing every sin that you will ever commit in your lifetime. It might be hundreds, maybe thousands of miles long. That is our debt to God. We owe Him restitution and payment for every one of those sins. When we are born-again it is as if a giant eraser starts at the top and sweeps down the entire board in one quick swoop. When it is finished the board is completely wiped clean. That is what happens when God forgives us of our sin. He does not forgive us of most of our transgressions or only up until that one really bad one and then we have to be born-again again. He does not wipe out part of the certificate of debt. He forgives us of the entirety of our sins leaving no doubt and erases the entire debt. Because God knows everything Jesus was able to become and then forgive all of our sin.
He can heal us deeply and completely.
God knows us better than we even know ourselves. How many times have we tried to find the solution to some terrible heartbreak and come up empty? Jeremiah 8:11 refers to this type of situation, “And they heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.” But God knows what is happening in our heart; He knows how it is affecting our emotions. In Psalm 147:3 it says of God, “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” The Hebrew word “binds” is the same word used to bind or wrap a turban around your head. In the same sense God meticulously wraps up our emotional wounds and protects them and heals them. Because God knows us He can heal our troubles at their deepest source.
Answers to quiz
2) a 1) a
Sam had an older brother that he greatly looked up to and who took Sam under his wing. When his brother was 12 years old and Sam was 8 his brother was hit by a car and killed. When Sam was in college he became a born-again Christian but he has always been filled with caution and mistrust towards God. One day you and Sam are sitting together and he looks at you and asks, “If God knows everything and is all powerful then why didn't He stop that car from hitting my brother?” How would you answer Sam and how could you use God’s omniscience in your answer?
1) In addition to the ones discussed above, what are some other assurances that God’s omniscience means to us?
2) God is omniscient. Jesus is God. Then how could Jesus increase in wisdom (Luke 2:40, “And the Child [Jesus] continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”)? was upon Him.”)?
3) Because God knows everything in what ways does that give us assurance and confidence?
4) Why is it important to have a right understanding of who and what God is?
5) If God knows everything then He must have seen ahead of time that sin was going to come into the world. So then why did not He do something to stop it?
6) In general terms, what are some aspects of your life that God knows about that other people do not know unless you tell them?
7) Does the Devil know our thoughts? Why or why not?
8) If God knows everything then why does He ask people questions in the Bible? Examples are God asking Adam, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9), God asking Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” (Genesis 4:9), and Jesus asking the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51).
9) If God knows everything then why does He test people? Examples are Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22), Israel in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:2, 16), and Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:31).
10) If God truly knows the future then why does not He tell us more about it such as when we will marry or what disaster or victory is imminent?
11) How can God know the future when it has not occurred yet?
12) How can you explain to someone how important it is to understand that God knows everything now and forever?
Copyright Bob La Forge 2011 email: email@example.com