The Great Attributes of God – Omniscience

The Bible teaches that there are no limits to God’s greatness, that God is incomprehensible to finite man:

Job 11:7-9: “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens – and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld – what do you know? It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea.”

Romans 11:33-35: “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?”

Since “God is Spirit…” (John 4:24), and “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18), all we can know about Him is what He Himself reveals to us (trinity). It is not that He has tried to withhold Himself from man. He wants to be known and has revealed Himself for that purpose:

Romans 1:20 – “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature (attributes). So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

John 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Our struggle to comprehend God is not due to any unwillingness on His part to reveal Himself, but to our limitations.

You and I are limited in space,¬ but God is omnipresent. Our knowledge is limited but God is omniscient. We are weak, but God is omnipotent, or all-powerful.

I. Omniscience – God does not learn

Imagine a being who knows everything in the universe, a being who’s I.Q. cannot be measured because it is limitless. That’s “omniscience!”

Omniscience means all-knowing. God does not learn, because He already knows everything about the past, the present, and the future. His knowledge of His universe is infinite and perfect!

Psalm 147:4-5: “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”

1 Samuel 2:3 – “…the Lord is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed.”

Job 21:22 – “Can anyone teach God knowledge, since He judges those on high?”

Isaiah 40:14 – “Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice?”

Isaiah 40:28 – “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.”

John 21:17 – “…Lord, You know all things…”

Acts 15:18 – “Known to God from eternity are all His works.”

Not only does God know everything about the universe, He also has perfect knowledge about us, our activities, our thoughts, our actions, and the intent of our hearts:

Psalm 139:1-6: “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!”

Psalm 33:13-15: “The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”

Matthew 10:29-30: “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

Acts 1:24 – “And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen…”

Acts 15:8 – “God knows people’s hearts…”

Because God knows everything, without exception, He is never surprised; He is never bewildered; He is never wrong! He cannot be lied to, tricked, or deceived. He never makes a mistake, He is never confused about anything – God never says oops!

II. Implications of God’s omniscience

God knows every past and present action. On the Day of Judgment, we will be judged based on God’s complete knowledge of our lives:

Revelation 20:12-13: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.”

God says our judgment will be according to our works – that means He is keeping a complete record of everything we do in this life.

For the lost (unrighteous), this includes every sin they ever committed, to include the opportunities they had to obey God and how they refused.

Numbers 32:23 – “…be sure your sin will find you out.”

1 Chronicles 28:9 – “…know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (man’s all). For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Matthew 10:26 – “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”

Matthew 12:36 – “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.”

1 Corinthians 4:5 – “So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”

James 4:17 – “Anyone who knows the right thing to do, but does not do it, is sinning.” NCV

If we are lost, then our thoughts, words, motives, and actions will be judged. How we feel, what we condone, what we did wrong and what we didn’t do right.

Since the beginning of time, many people (Adam and Eve) have tried to cover up their sin and hide from God – it is futile to even try. We may be able to hide our sin from each other, but we cannot hide it from God. “It is impossible to hide anything from God.”

Psalm 90:8 – “You spread out our sins before you—our secret sins—and you see them all.”

Jeremiah 32:18 – “You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.”

Hebrews 4:13 – “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”

Proverbs 28:13 – “You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up, then God will show mercy to you.” (GNB)

Friends, sin doesn’t make us bad – it makes us dead! Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you are an unforgiven sinner, you should be terrified at the idea that God knows our every sin, because if you stand before Jesus someday unprepared/unforgiven, you will burn in hell forever:

Hebrews 10:31 – “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Revelations 20:15 – “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

But for those who are saved, there is good news. The good news is that if we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, then no sin will be charged against us, because God has promised to forget and not bring up the sins of true, faithful, Christians who are forgiven and washed in the blood of Jesus. Hebrews 8:12 – “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

Judgment Day for a Christian won’t be about sin and punishment, but our reward in heaven. Revelation 22:12 – “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”

God knows every future action. The fact that God gave prophets the ability to predict very specific events in the distant future is one of the great evidences for the inspiration of the Bible. God has demonstrated repeatedly that He knows the future (Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 8:31; John 2:19-22).

However, the fact that God knows the future does not mean humans somehow lose freedom of choice. Just because God knows that something will happen, doesn’t mean He causes it.

God knows what we need. God has always promised that He will provide for the physical, mental and spiritual needs of those who serve Him:

Psalm 23:1-3: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul…”

Matthew 6:8 – “…your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

Matthew 6:31-33: “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Most important, God has identified the problem of sin and death and provided the only possible solution for our spiritual needs – the blood of His Son:

Psalm 23:3 – “…He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

1 Peter 1:18-19: “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”

God has also promised to meet our most important daily need – to live in His presence as we go through the struggles, trials, and tribulations of this life:

Psalm 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Isaiah 43:1-3a: “…Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”

Hebrews 13:5 – “…God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

God has even provided for our future eternal needs in heaven:

Psalm 23:5-6: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Revelation 22:1-5: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”

III. Conclusion

Because of the omniscience and omnipresence of God, we can be comforted in knowing that whatever distress we are experiencing, God is aware of our problems and can hear our call for help.

Psalm 18:6 – “…in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.”

God knows our burdens, our trials, and our problems. He knows our laughter and our tears, our sorrows and our joys, our grief and our happiness.

Psalm 56:8 – “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

Psalm 118:4-6: “Let all who fear the Lord repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

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