In speaking of God, Job said, “He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:24). The writer to the Hebrews wrote that “no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). It is an awesome thought to consider that God sees everything, and that nothing is hidden from his sight.
We have already spoken of the fact that God is everywhere, and that he is all-powerful. We now consider his omniscience – his knowing of everything. Interestingly, God’s omniscience is closely tied to his omnipotence and his omnipresence.
The psalmist writes, “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures (Psalm 104:24). And, in Psalm 139 he speaks of the fact that God knows him, because God made him (vv. 2, 15, & 16). God knows all things, because he has made all things. His creation, by his great power, has given him both authority and knowledge over all things.
Jeremiah says, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord” o(Jeremiah 23:24). Again, in Psalm 139 we read, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:7-12). God’s omniscience is tied to his omnipresence, because God is everywhere and sees all things. Nothing is hidden from him.
Everything we do is known by God. Everything about us is known by God. Everything we encounter is known by God. Is this a great comfort to us, or is it a great frustration? That depends upon our relationship with God. If we are believers, his knowledge of our very being, and of everything we face in any given day should comfort us. How could he possibly work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), if there were some things about us he did not know? For those who have not come in repentance and admitted the Lordship of God over all their lives, the thought of an all-knowing God is a great frustration, for there is nothing they can do that is not seen by their Judge.
God’s knowledge is eternal, just as he is. In other words, God has known all things forever. He never had to learn anything about himself, his creation, or man. There is a school of thought today, known as Open Theism, which teaches that God does not know all things. In an effort to save God from any possibility of being the Creator of evil, the open theists would say that man’s free will is strong enough that he makes his own decisions, and God waits upon those decisions before proceeding with his plan. While seeking to protect God, open theism actually weakens God and makes man’s thoughts, decisions, and deeds greater than those of God.
The fact that God has known all things for all times directs our thoughts to the foreknowledge of God. This is also an area where the open theists and others have problems with the statements of Scripture. If, according to some, God knows all things beforehand, then he determines all things beforehand, and man’s responsibility is removed. While this might seem the case to our finite minds, we must remember that God is not limited by time and space, as we are. For God there is no past or future. He lives in what can be called the eternal present. And, within that eternal present, he knows all things.
God’s foreknowledge is proactive. It is tied to his foreordination, or predestination. God knows things beforehand, because he, in his eternal plan, has determined those things to be. To use a phrase of many who deny God’s true foreknowledge, God does not “look down the corridors of time and see what is going to happen.” He does not choose those to be the elect who are going to believe in him. Rather, he chooses those whom he desires to choose, and they, in turn believe in him at some time in their lives.
But, God’s foreknowledge is also personal. In the order of salvation presented by Paul in Romans 8, we see that, “those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30). God’s foreknowledge is more than a mere acknowledgment of who someone is. To know in this sense is to be lovingly aware of someone. To know us, God loves us. And, it is that love, before we turn to him, that causes him to choose us as his own.
The most amazing thing, though, about God’s knowledge and foreknowledge of us is that it is compassionate. As we said earlier, God knows everything about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And, in spite of the fact that he knows we are fallen, rebellious creatures, he still loves us. In fact, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).