The Omniscience of God

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

|

February 12, 2018

This is the conclusion of a trilogy of articles surveying what I refer to as “The BIG 3” of God’s omni-attributes. I have previously written about God’s perfect love for all people (See The Omnibenvolence of God) and God’s perfect power (See The Omnipotence of God). After considering these characteristics of God’s nature, the next divine attribute we need to understand is that of His omniscience.

This big word simply means that God is all-knowing! Philosophers and theologians clarify exactly what this means and I like to offer it this way: For every statement that could be uttered or thought of, God knows whether any and all statements are true or false and He is never wrong.

God also knows what COULD happen, what WOULD happen if something else were to occur (even if He knows it will not occur), and what WILL happen with perfect certainty. God does not make probability judgments. The weatherman might say that there is a 30 percent chance of rain tomorrow, but God knows with 100 percent certainty if it will rain tomorrow or not.

Moreover, it is impossible to keep a secret from God. Consider what Scripture has to say on this matter:

“Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I get up . . . and know all about what I do. Even before I say a word, oh Lord, You know all about it” (Psalm 139:1-4).

God even knows what we could, would, and will freely choose to do!

For example, God knows with 100 percent certainty what one will freely choose to drink the next time in a restaurant. When the waiter offers Pepsi, Mountain Dew, or Dr. Pepper, even if you are not completely sure what to drink, and need to think about it a little bit longer, God knows with absolute certainty what you will eventually – and freely(!) – choose to drink! Even if you change your mind at the last possible moment, God knew you would freely choose Mountain Dew over Pepsi at the last second.

God simply knows (even if we do not know HOW He knows).

Many people think that since God perfectly knows what we are going to freely choose to do, then we do not really have free choices at all. Jumping to this hasty conclusion is a terrible mistake and a logical blunder (See Does Molinism Entail Fatalism?)!

Here is a helpful illustration to support my point: Since I talked about the weatherman above, consider the primary tool of the weatherman called a weather barometer. Weather barometers help the weatherman predict the weather with high degrees of certainty. Barometers are obviously not infallible and are sometimes wrong. But imagine, if you will, a fictional device we will refer to as an “infallible weather barometer” – one that is never wrong! Suppose that we could type in the date and coordinates into this infallible weather barometer for any place and time into the infinite future and it will always yield a perfect weather forecast.

Next, suppose we asked the infallible weather barometer what the weather in Spain was going to be like ten years from now and it predicted that ten years from today, it will rain in Spain. Now, imagine that a decade passes and lo and behold, there is rain in Spain!

The pertinent question is raised: Just because the infallible weather barometer knew that it was going to rain in Spain with perfect certainty, did the infallible weather barometer CAUSE the rain to fall in Spain? Of course not!

Knowledge does not stand in causal relation. Just because God knows what will happen, it does not necessarily mean that God caused it — or forced it to happen. This includes free choices. For example, in 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Apostle Paul tells us that every time we are tempted to sin, God will provide another option available for us to take — a “means of escape” — so that we do not have to sin. It follows that we have the freedom to choose to sin or to choose the “means of escaping sin.” Be that as it may, God is not causing our choices, He simply knows if we will freely choose to sin or if we will freely choose the means of escape which God (in His grace) has provided. God knows with absolute certainty what you will FREELY choose to do, and this is why you are held responsible for your actions.

God Knows the truth to all things and this includes all that has happened in the past, all that is occurring right now, and all that will happen in the future. Moreover, God knows all that could, would, and will happen. God knows everything – including what you are thinking right now!

This is why we can pray to God in our minds without using our voice boxes. God knows all things. This means it is impossible for God to learn things the way humans do. God does not have to “think things through” to come to conclusions. He simply knows the truth perfectly. Moreover, God does not have to “look” into the future to see what will happen. No, God simply knows what will happen.

In fact, God had perfect knowledge of what WOULD occur in this universe – including how humans would freely choose – logically before He created this universe and laid the foundations of this world (Ephesians 1:4)!

Isn’t it cool to have a “Daddy” who knows everything about everything? Because our Father has perfect knowledge, we have access to the most intelligent being (a perfectly intelligent being)! This is why Christians should be the most intelligent, reasonable, and logical thinkers on the planet!

The Bible instructs readers to go to the Ultimate Intelligence (GOD) to ask for wisdom:

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5)

This is emphasized when Paul makes it clear:

“[God] desires all people to be saved and to possess knowledge of the truth…” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Your Father wants to teach you about reality! The question is this: Are you willing to learn from Him?

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),

Tim Stratton

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About the Author

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

Tim pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (B.A. 1997) and after working in full-time ministry for several years went on to attain his graduate degree from Biola University (M.A. 2014). Tim was recently accepted at North West University to pursue his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics.

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