Column: What Is God Like? — Omniscience

Published 1:20 pm Monday, April 8, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Hank Walker | Pastor at Peach City Fellowship

OMNISCIENCE describes God’s comprehensive knowledge. He knows all that is, all that has been, and all that will be. He even knows every potentiality—that is, all the other possible realities that won’t come to pass. His perfect knowledge of the “inner person” allows Him to judge the heart—not just actions or appearances. Moreover, God’s knowledge is a part of His very being. God does not have to “think” or process information the way His creatures do. God’s knowledge is immediate (always present within Him) and eternal (it is as “old” as He is). God NEVER discovers ANYTHING new, is never caught off-guard, and never waits to see how something will transpire in order to respond.

Believers should take great comfort in God’s omniscience because it guides His loving care for them. Isn’t it good to know that God saves people, already knowing every sin they will ever commit AFTER they are saved? Isn’t it comforting to know that NOTHING can touch you without God’s perfect knowledge and consent? Even the things we think of as “bad” are wielded for good in God’s hands (Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28).

Omniscience, however, is not just knowledge. It is the FORCE of knowledge. In its application, it becomes wisdom, intentionality, and destiny. In combination with God’s omnipotence, it becomes Sovereignty—God’s perfect reign over EVERYTHING.

Consider this: for PRESCIENCE (knowledge of the future) to be possible, there must be a future that is already ordained! While 8 billion people move about, acting as free, moral agents, making trillions-upon-trillions of simple and complex decisions every minute, EVERYTHING is working together PERFECTLY—moment-moment, movement-by-movement—to accomplish a future that God decreed before He ever created a single atom (Eph. 1:11).

The Bible refers to God’s prescient decree with terms like prophecy, foreknowledge, predestination, election, and foreordination. For a lot of people, the idea that God has decreed a future causes concern. “What about man’s free will? What about human responsibility?” they ask. The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith addresses this by affirming God’s ability to use His knowledge to foreordain a fixed future while not violating “the will of the creature.” HOW He does this is incomprehensible—but the Bible repeatedly affirms that He does. This is BIG GOD stuff! Aren’t you glad we have such a BIG GOD?

Grace and peace, y’all. Soli Deo Gloria