Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Foundational Truths – God – Omniscient

As we look today at another attribute of God we come now to what really gets to His ability to be the Judge of creation, as if His being the creator was not enough.  Today it’s His being Omniscient in which He knows all things.  And we must be careful here that we establish the bases of which He derives His Omniscient, and I am not sure we will do an adequate job here.  The term does not occur in Scripture, either in its nominal or in its adjectival form.  In the Old Testament though it is expressed in connection with such words as "seeing" and "hearing," "the eye" and "the ear" and occurs as figures for the knowledge of God, as "arm," "hand," "finger" which all serve to express His power.  In the New Testament the same connections are found.


Webster’s 1828 defines omniscient at being:


            - Having universal knowledge; knowing all things; infinitely knowing; all-seeing or wise;  
And we see almost at once that Omniscient is constructed from two words, Omni and Scient; Omni – meaning ‘all’ and Scient – meaning 'knowing'.  I am sure most are familiar with Omni but Scient is a word not used in 21st century speech but from it we derive our word science.  Now it would be a mistake to equate the two (science and scient) since science is the enterprise involved in the gaining of knowledge that is testable or falsifiable using the scientific method.   Scient on the other hand simply deals with knowing. 

As Milton said “For what can scape the eye of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart Omniscient?”  Some would say that God’s omniscience is His knowledge of all things including actual and possible, past, present, and future aka. His foreknowledge. But God is all knowing, and His knowledge is in no way restricted by temporal considerations.  To Him, all is the presentSo to say that He knows and sees the past, the present, and the future is to describe, in human terms, His being in time.  But He is outside of time and only condescends to step into time as that is where He created creation.

His knowledge is in no way restricted by temporal considerations God knows all things perfectly (Job 37:16; 1 John 3:20), sees and hears everything (Ex 3:7; Jer. 16:17), knows from all eternity the entire plan of the ages and the part of every man in that plan (Isa. 46:9-11; Eph. 1:3-12).  God has perfect knowledge of each individual person and of all his ways (Ps. 33:13-15), his words (Matt. 12:35-37), his thoughts (Matt. 9:4), his afflictions and trials (1Cor. 10:13; Rev. 2:9-13) and his future actions and final state (Matt. 25:31-34, 41; Acts 27:22-25).

God’s omniscience means that nothing anyone does escapes the knowledge of God and that one day we will be called to give an account to God who will deal with each according to the truth of his life (Rom 2:2-6; 14:10-12).  God's omniscience gives us confidence in prayer knowing that He will not lose our prayers and that He always knows the best answer, even knowing our needs before we ask (Matt. 6:31-34).

His knowledge is not based upon discovery just as His being is not based upon His having began…He simply is and He simply knows.  The Scriptures nowhere represents Him as attaining to knowledge by reasoning, but everywhere as simply knowing.  In knowing, as well as in all other activities of His nature, God is sovereign and self-sufficient.  

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