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Omniscience (3) God’s Knowing and Ours

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Omniscience (3) God’s Knowing and Ours
by David Denninger - Saturday, 19 August 2023, 4:24 AM

“His understanding is inscrutable (impossible to understand)” (Isa 40:28).

God’s mode (way) of knowing is different than the way we know. We come to know things incompletely, but adequately, through our senses and by the powers of imagining and reasoning with which He has created us.  

God knows all things intuitively (discerning all things directly in His own light). His knowing is essential, not relative; i.e., “He knows all things directly in their hidden essences, while we know them only by their properties, as they stand related to our senses” (Hodge, 145).

He knows His creation and every created thing as intimately and completely in its essence as He knows Himself. His knowledge is His essence knowing. 

“In Him we . . . have our being” (Acts 17:28).

God’s knowing is independent — “it does not depend on His observing or studying His creatures, but solely upon His own infinite intuition of all things possible in the light of His own reason, and of all things actual and future in the light of His own eternal purpose” (Hodge, 144).

“To Him belong counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13).

“He is mighty in strength of understanding” (Job 36:5).

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Rom 11:33).

God’s knowing is immediate. This is different than our knowing in three ways: (1) We always arrive at what we know gradually, through observation and our reasoning processes. (2) We do not have the capacity to retain all that we come to know. (3) “We know the present imperfectly, remember the past dimly, and the future we know not at all” (Hodge, 145).

God’s knowing all things past, present, and future is eternal and simultaneous, comprehending everything in one timeless act of the divine mind” (Strong’s Systematic Theology, 283). He beholds each creature and thing in itself, its relations, and the entire course of its existence, conditions, and experiences as ever present (Hodge, 145).

“God is greater than our hearts and knows all things” (1 John 3:20).

His knowledge never becomes more complete. He does not have to reason or ponder. He never has to arrive at a conclusion. All His options and decisions and all other persons’ options and decisions He has known forever. 

He always knows the end from the beginning. He never has to learn anything. There are no new facts for God to accumulate. He has always known them all.

The definition of omniscience states that God knows everything in one simple and eternal act. The word simple here is being used in the sense that His knowing is all one. It is not partial like ours is. 

“His understanding is infinite” (Ps 147:5).

He does not just think about a few things some times and then about other matters at other times, nor does He consider anything in a partial matter. He focuses on every aspect of everything simultaneously. He is always fully aware and mindful of everything. None of His knowing is ever in the background or buried in non-conscious memory.

God’s knowing is distinct and perfect. It is free from all vagueness or any confusion. His knowledge is true, corresponding perfectly to the reality of all things (Strong, 283). 

The Lord’s declaration to Job calls us to realize how full, deep, and complete His knowledge is.

“Do you know about the layers of the thick clouds,
The wonders of One perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:16)

“In Whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3).

                                            (Spotlight 3, Lesson 7 in Doctrine 101: Learning about God)