What is God Like? Part 3

16 November 2020

The next attribute of God, which we will explore today, is the property of being omniscient. The word 'omniscient' originates from the Latin words omni, which means 'all', and scient, which means 'knowing'. Thus, to say that God is omniscient is to say that God is all-knowing. In other words, God has maximal knowledge; His knowledge is perfect and no one could know more than God does. As Psalm 139:1-6 says:

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. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it (ESV).

Let's consider four important Scriptural teachings regarding God's knowledge. Firstly, God knows everything that happens. We read in Proverbs 15:3 that 'the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good' (ESV). So God is aware of every event that has happened, and every event presently occurring.

Secondly, God has foreknowledge of the future. Not only does God know the past and the present, but He also knows every event that will occur (Isaiah 41:21-24; 46:10).

Thirdly, God knows our hearts and our thoughts. In other words, God knows our deepest desires and secret thoughts (Psalm 44:21; Jeremiah 17:9-10). We see this in David's instruction to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:9, which reads: 'Know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought' (ESV). Thus, God literally knows what you are thinking. This means that you can pray to God silently in your mind.

Finally, God cannot learn anything new, since He already knows everything (Romans 11:33-36; Job 21:22; Psalm 147:5). As Paul says in Romans 11:33-36:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?' For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (ESV).

In conclusion, then, God is a personal, spiritual being who is all-powerful and omniscient, or all-knowing!