Under normal circumstances, no one likes a ‘no it all’. But I know one of the principal teachings of the Christian Church is that God knows everything. There’s three words to think about today. God knows everything.
Now that means that we can’t surprise God. We can’t act behind his back. We can’t deceive him. God is everywhere, and the theologians use this word ‘omniscience’, which means all knowing. So our God is a God who is all knowing.
If we had time today, which we don’t. there are many, many passages in the Bible that make reference to God’s omnipresence, God being everywhere. One of the most notable ones is Psalm 139 that you could have a look at, For example. I’m just looking at it now, and it talks about the fact that you know my thoughts from afar, there is not a word on my tongue that you don’t know, Lord, how precious are your thoughts to me?
There are different verses here that talk about the fact that God will lead us and God knows all about us. He’s searched me. He has known me, you know when I’m sitting down, when I am rising up. These are from Psalm 139.
God knows all about us
I think the greatest dilemma with God’s omniscience is how it affects our free will. Now, God hasn’t made us as mindless robots. We’re free to make our own decisions and we can act in the way that we want to. But if God knows that I will do X, then I have to do X, don’t I? In that case, I have no free will. I can’t do Z when God expects me to do X. If you understand what I mean, that would override his omniscience.
In fact, you could argue that God’s ability to know exactly what I’m going to do results in fatalism. This doctrine that dictates the things I do are only things that I can do. I’ve got no choice in the matter, so there can be a problem here to think about.
And possibly the answer is not so much that God preordains what will happen, but that his fore knowledge allows him to know what will happen. For example, here’s a very simple solution. I know a simple illustration. I mean, I know that if I throw a brick at a house window hard enough, the window will break unless it’s double glazed. Of course, there’ll be shattered glass everywhere, and the brick will end up on the floor inside the house. Fair enough.
And this is the same for the author, who commences a novel already knowing how it will unfold and conclude, or the painter who makes the first brush stroke with a keen vision for what the finished masterpiece will look like. Now. They’re not very good illustrations, but it does point to this idea that God’s omniscience God’s all knowing, allows him to know what we will do. What we’re going to think or say without having preordained or determined it himself.
And to suggest otherwise would limit the fact of our free will.
However, at some stage in the Bible, it seems that God doesn’t know everything – in the Old Testament story of Abraham, for example, and his son Isaac. He’s this marvelous story of God testing Abraham’s obedience by, um telling him he must sacrifice his 15-year-old son. And just as Abraham is about to follow through with the command, God says, “Don’t lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now, I know that you fear God.” That’s Genesis Chapter 22.
So possibly God is establishing something he already knows for the sake of the person involved.
A similar thing, I guess, is seen by a science teacher who says to his class,
“Alright, let’s mix this chemical with this and we’ll see what happens.” The truth is, the teacher knows what’s going to happen, but he wants the students to learn the lesson for themselves. Now some people might like the idea that God is a know it all. But we know that God brings comfort. He doesn’t bring condemnation, but he brings a sense of knowing all things for our own good.
Well, Father God, we don’t need any other gods. We know that you are a God who is beyond our understanding, full of majesty and mystery and power. And you come to us with healing. Lord, we thank you that you are one who knows it all. And you know us. Lord, we trust you and we bless you today in the name of Jesus. Amen.