What does God know about you? Does He know the universe like the back of his hand, so to speak? What about the future? Does God know what would have happened if the dinosaurs hadn’t died? Today we look at God’s omniscience.
What does it mean that God is all-knowing (Omniscient)?
It means that God knows Himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act.
What is omniscience?
He even knows the very depth of His unlimited self (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). We don’t even have that ability ourselves. Like knowing when a cold virus entered your system and how many white blood cells are attacking it.
If God knows everything then what does He know about me?
My favorite Psalm, 139, tells us how much He knows about us.
Our thoughts and actions:
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar. Psalm 139:1-2
What we’ll say:
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. Psalm 139:4
Our lives before we are even born:
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16
Does God know what could have happened but didn’t?
God knows all things that are possible, such as what would happen if this had happened rather than that. Our what-if science fiction stories that we dream up, or fantasies about ‘if I married my crush life would be like.’ He knows exactly how it would play out if it had happened.
This is also known as middle knowledge.
1 Samuel 23:11-13 gives us an example of it. David is fleeing from Saul, and He asks God what would happen if he went to a certain location. He was told they would hand him over to Saul.
Wisely, he didn’t go there and stayed ahead of his pursuer.
Matthew 11:21-23 Jesus tells his disciples of some ancient cities that would have repented had he been there to bring the Gospel to them, unlike some cities he was in now that wouldn’t be since they rejected him despite seeing him work.
What other possibilities does God know?
The universe is very complex, huge, and filled with a variety of things. God could have created much more, yet didn’t. His infinite knowledge knows exactly what they had been like and what would have happened to each of them.
God knows what would happen immediately and long after every decision you could have made and chosen different instead. Like the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure book.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:6
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
How much does God know about what’s happening now?
He is fully aware. He doesn’t have to count the stars, grains of sand, atoms, quarks, or anything; He knows it, and all things at once. They’re fully present in His consciousness.
He doesn’t have to reason or think. He knows it all and doesn’t forget (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). His knowledge is an eternal act, it never changes or grows.
Wait a minute, doesn’t God forget?
He ‘forgets’ our sins, meaning He will ‘forget’ them in His relationship with us.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25
What about in Jeremiah where God says child sacrifice didn’t come to His mind?
That’s from Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5, and 31:35. It did, it happened a century earlier under Ahaz (2 Kings 16:3), Hoshea (2 Kings 17:17) and God had forbidden it 800 years earlier under Moses (Leviticus 18:21).
Mind is better translated as ‘heart’ in the sense He didn’t wish for it, desire it, or think of it in a positive way.
If God knows it all, what about our free will?
Some have said that God can’t know all of the future, yet scripture and prophecy refute it. It’ll be addressed later in depth, however, Augustine says we have “reasonable self-determination.” That means we think about what to do, consciously decide what we’ll do, and then follow through with it.
Our choices do determine what happens, not regardless of them, but because of them.
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem
Chapter 12: The Character of God; “Communicable” Attributes of God Part 1