Omniscience

mJe-PoFu

Omniscient: having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things

One of the Characteristics of God is the Biblical teaching that he knows everything.  This is an exhaustive knowledge of everything.  Some try to argue that God is simply smarter than man in the manner that a father knows more than his children.  While such an argument has always been philosophically tenable it is not a Biblical argument.  While there are many passages on the omniscience of God, the most obvious are in Isaiah.

In the Bible we see that he has knowledge of the future, but also that he has knowledge of the meaning of the past.

“21 Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.; 22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.; 23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.; 24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.” Isaiah 41:21-24 KJV

 Above is a challenge to idol worshipers and their idols.  God is mocking them, he challenges them to predict the future:

Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen

Also he challenges them to interpret them correct meaning of the past when he says:

and know the latter end of them

By issuing this challenge God is also declaring that he is capable of meeting it.  He has a perfect knowledge of the future for it is by the failure to predict it which we know that prophecies did not come from God.  Not only that, but he knows the reason of events that have already transpired.  Any good historian can tell you when or how something happened but they cannot discern why on a cosmic scale.  To do so would require not only knowledge of the events of the past but the purpose of the future to see how one connects to the other.

Read the passage below carefully.  God is naming a gentile ruler many years before he is born.  God has elected Cyrus to free his people so that they can rebuild Jerusalem long after the captivity, which hadn’t even happened yet at the time of this writing.  If God’s knowledge were not complete then this would not be a guarantee, as it would be possible through libertarian free will for Cyrus not to even have been born.  His grandmother could have simply fallen in love with another man.  His grandfather could have gotten ill and died.

But instead we see that God has seen the future clearly and knows exactly what will happen.  In this case he demonstrates this power which in Chapter 41 God says is a test of True God vs and Idol, the ability to know the future.

“1 Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else…..13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.Isaiah 45:1-6, 13 KJV

The verse below just comes right out and says that the understanding of God is infinite.  Here we can see that this isn’t simply a philosophical attribute of God given to us by Plato as some claim, but rather it is taught in the pages of the Bible.

“Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” Psalms 147:5 KJV

Below we have some other clear passages plainly stating that God knows “all things”.

“20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” 1 John 3:20 KJV

“1 O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.; 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.; 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.; 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.; 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.; 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.; 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?; 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” Psalms 139:1-8 KJV

“28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” Isaiah 40:28 KJV

“9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9 KJV

“13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Heb 4:13 KJV

I’m not going to say that “all” things means “some” things.  I know that sounds like a trite statement but I would like to put that out there none the less as there are many today who argue that the knowledge of God is limited.

 

For a longer list of prooftexts on the omniscience of God please click HERE.

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About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
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