How much does God know? Is God’s understanding increasing as the centuries progress? The attribute regarding God’s capacity for knowledge is foundationally important to how we approach Him.
Incorrect Perception: The Undergraduate God
As students begin their college careers, many are still unsure regarding their desired outcome. Beginning with general electives, they begin to sort through new information and slowly narrow a focus in order to declare a major. At the point of completion, most graduates are informed by graduate schools or potential employers that further learning is required. This seemingly never-ending quest for knowledge always reminds students that complete knowledge is forever out of grasp.
Many people perceive God as being enrolled in the universe’s undergraduate program. As time progresses, more knowledge is required of God. The cultural lessons are changing too rapidly for such an ancient God to maintain sufficient expertise in all areas. Such a deity requires us to inform him continually of the updated information.
God is not an undergraduate. God is omniscient.
The Omniscience of God
The attribute of omniscience means that God is all-knowing.
God is not partial in His knowledge or incomplete in His understanding. Since God’s very nature is unlimited, it implies that He would have to be unlimited in His knowledge. If God could learn anything, He would not be God.
While there are many facets to unpack regarding God’s omniscience, here are a few major points to consider:
- God has complete knowledge regarding Himself. While we are unable to search fully the depths of the knowledge of God (Rom. 11:33-36) or grasp fully the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 2:7-9), God is the expert on Himself (1 Cor. 2:10-11). While our grandest attempts at knowledge are still in the dark, “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
- God has complete knowledge regarding the universe. There is no subject beyond the expertise of God as His understanding is infinite (Ps. 147:5). He is perfect in knowledge (Job 37:16) and knows absolutely everything (1 John 3:20).
- God has complete knowledge regarding the future. No potential or promised event in the future is blocked from the clear vision of God. He can see the future perfectly (Isa. 46:9-10). God can also see possible events clearly even if they will not come to pass (1 Sam. 23:11-13; Matt. 11:21-23).
- God has complete knowledge regarding myself. There is not a detail of my life of which God does not know intimately (Heb. 4:13; 2 Chron. 16:9; Job 28:24; Matt. 10:29-30). God knew us even when we did not know Him (Isa. 45:4). Every one of our days was seen as reality even before we lived them (Ps. 139:16).
What Does This Mean for Us?
- You don’t have to know everything because God already does.
- You will never inform God of anything.
- Stop trying to hide from Him what He already sees clearly.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.