15 December 2017

What does God know?

Every coin has two sides. Last issue we thought about our knowledge of God. We want to turn the coin around and think about what God knows. As always we source information in the Word of God – the Bible.

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” Matt 6:8

“For God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything” 1John 3:20

Most people will give a mental assent to the concept of God’s omniscience but many will persist in living as though there are things that God is not aware of and can be hidden from Him.

What does God know?

A. God fully knows Himself.

This may seem obvious but it is a very true reality. We will be continuously involved throughout eternity discovering the extent of God and the glory of God. We will never, ever exhaust that learning process.

God already knows all about Himself. He has always known all there is to know. He could not have learned anything about Himself, else He would not be unchangeable. He could not have forgotten anything about Himself, else He would not be omniscient.

B. God knows all things actual.

i God knows all about the Creation.

What thousands of scientists spend their entire lives researching and discovering, God already knows. Scientists are not actually or precisely finding out things about God in their research but they do work within the parameters of God’s laws that He has put within His creation, e.g. law of gravity.

It is sheer foolishness to say that science will do away with God. Scientists are just involved with the intricate details of what God has created and is maintaining.

True science will lead scientists to God.

“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 account.” Heb. 4:13.

ii God knows all about all people.

Our knowledge is limited to a few hundred friends. Even then the best knowledge of any one of our friends or family members is limited. We can’t tell what they think. We’ve no idea of the number of hairs on their head. We’ve never seen the world through their eyes. We don’t always understand their fears or what they appreciate.

God knows everybody. Every human being born since Adam and Eve. He knows the language they speak, the time they live, the psychological structure of their character, in fact every detail about their body, soul and spirit.

“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind from His dwelling place. He watches all who live on the earth – He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.” Ps. 33:13-15.

“For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all his paths.” Prov. 5:21

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar.” Ps. 139:1-2.

God knows all there is to know about every person who has ever been born, and even those who have not been born.

“You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Ps. 139:13.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body.” Ps. 139:16

C. God knows all things possible.

We’ve been saying that God knows all about Himself “from eternity past to eternity future.” Also God knows all about His creation and people. The question that we have to struggle with here is, “Does God know all about the future?”

The answer to this question has great implications in regard to our study of theology in other areas.

If God doesn’t know the future can He be said to be omniscient? If God does know the future does that mean that the future is predetermined? What do the Scriptures have to say about God’s knowledge of the future?

i God knows about us in the future.

The Psalmist seems to indicate that God knows the number of days we will live before we were born. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Ps. 139:16.

The Psalmist also seems to teach that God already knows how we will act in the future.

“Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” Ps. 139:4.

We find it very difficult, if not impossible, to understand the difference between God knowing the future and God predetermining the future. God’s knowledge of the future cannot obliterate our personal responsibility to make the right choices.

God’s knowledge encompasses individual personal choices. Even if we had made a different choice, God’s pre-knowledge would not have been left wanting.

God’s future knowledge must be so vast that no matter what anybody would have chosen in any situation, God is never taken by surprise.

ii God knows about His Creation in the future.

Peter talks about the future of the creation in his letter: “The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” 2 Peter 3:10.

John wrote, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea.” Rev. 21:1.

These little insights into the future of the creation are given to us to teach us that God has got the future of the heavens and the earth well within His knowledge.

iii God also knows what the future would have been if different choices had been made.

Jesus said, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida, for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” Matt. 11:21.

“And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” Matt. 11:23.

God not only knows the future according to the actions that people carry out and the choices they make, He also knows what the future would be if they had made different choices.

Meditating on God’s omniscience brings us back to Isaiah’s summary of how God operates, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Is. 55:9.

We gain a better concept of an object when we have a three dimensional picture than with a single dimension.

God is not confined even to a three dimensional knowledge – He has a thousand and more dimensions to His knowledge of the past, present and future.

We don’t need to inform God about anything or anyone. He knows. All we need to do is to accept that God knows everything and in that light to personally respond to His mercy, who in spite of His knowledge of us is prepared to forgive us and assure us an eternal future in His Glory.

John Matthews