1. Define Omniscience.
Omniscience is ALL knowing about the past, presence and future. This is a definition that is not the originating from the Bible nor the early church fathers’ teachings.
You have probably been taught that God is Omniscient (All-knowing), but this is NOT what the Bible teaches.
2. Scripture supporting the concept of Omniscience.
A. Jesus teaching that the Father knows what you need before you ask:
For your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
B. Jesus teaching that the Father knows you intimately:
But the very hairs of your head are numbered.
C. The psalmist teaches us that He knows what we do and what we think:
You know my sitting down and rising up;
You understand my thoughts afar off
However, just because scripture supports a theory, that does not make the theory correct. Because if there are scriptures that contradict the teaching, the teaching becomes invalid1
3. Scriptural objection to the teaching of Omniscience.
A. The example of Sodom and Gomorrah:
And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”
If God knew everything about Sodom and Gomorrah, He would not need to come down to look.
B. Now lets look at the Father of faith – Abraham:
And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
In this case we find that God tests the heart of Abraham to see if he will obey God’s command. If God knew everything about Abraham’s heart, He would have known beforehand that Abraham feared God.
C. God chooses to forget your sins:
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
So now we have found examples where God does not know everything. And another where He also CHOOSES not to know everything.
4. God’s Infinite Knowledge and Understanding.
Now that we have found that the Bible shows that God is not ALL-Knowing, we need to re-define what He is:
A. Infinite Knowledge
In section 2 we found that God has infinite knowledge about us, as He can count the hairs on our head.
B. He knows our Thoughts and Desires
As an aside, it is important to realise that the devil does NOT know your thoughts, he only knows what you say and what the expression on your face let’s away. He is very good at this. Using his demons – he sows thoughts in your mind then watches your face to see if he has had the desired effect. He is unable to interpret or understand tongues.
C. It was in God’s mind to create the heavens and the earth:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
In the Hebrew the words “In the beginning” is actually “In the mind of”, so let’s represent it :
In the mind of God, He created the heavens and the earth.
So in the mind of God everything that we see, God thought about and Jesus spoke into existence!
D. God has infinite knowledge, naming every star
Unlike Adam who had finite knowledge to name the animals, God named every star and planet, having infinite knowledge:
He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them by name
E. God has infinite understanding
Not only does God know all things, He also understands all things:
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding in infinite
So He knows the “how and why:
5. Application- Why Is This Important?
People have been taught that God is omniscient and that He knows everything. This can produce a fear in the unbelievers of a big mean God that knows how bad they are, as opposed to a Creator God who came to earth as the Son of Man and the Son of God with frailties just like us, yet never sinned.
Even the word Wrath in Greek can be translated ‘desires’. So rather than an angry God who keeps records of all our sins, we see a God who is always waiting for the children of Adam to return to become the children of God through Jesus Christ. We see this in the story of the Prodigal Son – (where the Prodigal Son is humanity, not a back-slidden Christian).
Our relationship with God is a covenantal relationship based on a two-way
communication. Because God is sovereign, He CHOOSES what He knows about you, and what He does not know about you.
One thing you can be sure of: God is faithful to His word. ONCE YOU CONFESS YOUR SINS HE FORGETS YOUR SINS. Why? Because He is a Perfect Dad to you, who doesn’t keep a record of all your wrong doing. He is a covenant-keeping God, because once He says something it will come to pass if we do our part.
If God chooses not to remember our sins, then what right have we got to bring them up? Guilt and shame are the work of the devil, not the work of God ,because there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
Now you will probably never preach on this subject, but if you want to be confident in seeing the glory of God, then preach the goodness of God and the forgiveness of God.
© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/Dr Neville van Eerten 2021