article

11SEP
2008

God’s Omniscience

God’s Omniscience

“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world,”
Acts 15:18.
Do you truly perceive that? As I’ve spoken to believers I find that a great number of us have some trouble with the idea of omniscience because we don’t really believe it or know what it means. Is God omniscient? Omniscience – “The state of being omniscient; having infinite knowledge.” wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn. Does He know everything about everything, a little, a lot, only the past, is He just a great guesser because of His age? Do you draw a line somewhere on God’s knowledge? If you do then He is quite simply not omniscient in your sight. In the above cited passage from Acts the writer is talking about God having revealed in the New Testament His eternal plan to include even the Gentile world to faith in Christ. They spoke seeing that this was not new to God, only new to them. It was an eternal plan and one God had a time set for before the launch of light, Genesis 1:3.
There are people in the world who are known as “Openness Theologians.” It’s ironic that they call themselves that for they are neither open nor theologians; however, they maintain that God can’t know the future. They say He can’t know what hasn’t yet happened. That, in theological circles, is what’s called perfect nonsense, and an open god is a different God than the one established in the prophecies of the Bible (I.e. Genesis 15:13-16, etc). God knows everything! He even knows all the works of the evil that He willed to exist from the beginning. Here are three places we see this difficult but certain idea introduced. Please go read Ezekiel 11:5; 1 John 3:20; Matthew 6:4. Isn’t it obvious that God knows all things when you read His Bible?
Consider this as perfect evidence: How many conversations are recorded for us that no writer was present to hear? Refer to Acts 23: 11-22 as an example; this is where the sinister plot against Paul is being revealed to the commander by Paul’s sister’s son. Here we are provided transcripts from a private conversation. Verse 19 says “Then the commander took him by the hand, went aside, and asked privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” We only know the contents of this talk because of God’s omniscience. God was there and used Luke as the pen to write it. How many times therefore do you think this must have happened for us to have a perfect testimony of God’s work in His world?
God knows everything, folks. Here’s a tough one because some have never thought it through. God knows, and has appointed, exactly how many will be martyred as Christians. Yes, He is over all things. Let this hit you: “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed,” Revelation 6:9-11.
The first known Christian martyr, Stephen (Acts 7 specifically verses 59-60), was almost certainly one told to rest …That’s right, from Stephen on God is patiently enduring the vessels He prepared beforehand for this avenging judgment. Oh, the patience and terror of God to the wicked.
What I know from this passage is that God’s self-governing counsel will be performed and this number of persons will be killed before God’s fixed judgment comes. Oh, the complexities of a perfect God – perfect in love and perfect in hate. It is a specific number that we are not given. Did God plan to have Jesus Christ crucified? Yes from the very start: “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done, Acts 4:27-28.
God is not fooled as we can be. He knows who is now a Christian. “…The solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His…” 2 Timothy 2:19; John 6:64.
Christians believe that God is mind-bogglingly omniscient. God knows the thoughts and even the intentions of men’s hearts all over the world simultaneously. He names the stars, folks, Psalm 147:4. That is scary because I know how my heart is. That is why I know I need His seriously gracious grace, amen, 1 John 1:9.
So has His word convinced you that He knows everything? He does. He even knew from all time that you would doubt if you do. Yes, even when you did not obey God’s counsel, God knew you wouldn’t before you did and you were still wrong for not listening to his counsel though Romans 8:28 remains. God knows there will be a judgment in the future because He knows everything.
Here is the specific point of this short letter: For whom did Christ die, and why did He die? I believe in a “limited” or a better word would be a “definite” or “specific” or “certain” atonement. I believe this because I believe that God knows all. This is the only point I wish to put before you today. I am committed to remembering that God knows everything when I read the Bible. It is a good concept to keep in mind. Furthermore I am committed to remembering that He has ordained everything to be just as it is.
Here’s my question: Did Jesus die for the whole world? I say yes and no. He died to show God’s love to the whole world, yes, but He did not die to remove the sin of all men. I know that’s not the case because God always from all time knew men who would not be saved in the end. There’s no one of any theological credibility that believes everyone is instantly saved by Christ’s death. Does God know everything? Answer: Yes! So, does God know from all time who is going to be saved? Yes, He does. So in the final analysis God always knew exactly who He was dying for. (Repeat) So in the final analysis God always knew exactly who He was dying for. The Resurrection of Jesus therefore was only for those who would believe and not for the whole world. Consider the end of all things and come backward. I’m only speaking about omniscience today not omnipotence. That will, I pray, be for another day. What I’m saying now is that the death and Resurrection of Jesus had to only be for a specific group of people because God is always omniscient. If God knows in the end those who will be saved, and He mind bogglingly does, then He knew that same number in the beginning or else omniscience is not eternal. Omniscience is eternal infinity.
If this is not so then God does not know the future or God is just a passive time-gazer hoping the best for you in your untouchable seventy year sovereignty. If you are an Arminian free-styler and you just believe that Jesus just died to make salvation possible for all then that is only one part of the question and does not speak about God’s omniscience. Limited atonement is still logical only in passive omniscience. If that type of omniscience alone was the case He would still know all those who were to be saved in the final analysis though affecting only His part, i. e. making salvation available. What I’m arguing, my friend, is that in the end, after Revelation chapter 20’s actions are finished and eternity is in us, God must know who will be in heaven. He must know if He knows all, and He must have known for all time. If God knows all from always then He knew for whom He would die, and that is obviously not for the forgiveness of all. Working from the end of time backward we can see that God is not dying in vain hope but for a specific number of people. Don’t pronounce divorce on God and His infinite knowledge because it offends your free willed sovereign proclivities. Does God know all things eternally or doesn’t He? Fight and choose for or against this omniscience. If God knows all from all then God’s death was specific and therefore “limited” to the redeemed. I think this goes to the heart of God’s power over the world and the beauty of Christianity. He is subject to nothing and is the only one with free will. He is the only one with free will and it is actually free.
So leaving aside election and how you and I are brought into Christ through repentance and faith knowing that whosoever can come (John 3:16) we must know that God knows the whosoevers from before Adam fell. Did He not know? Yes, He knew! So therefore when Christ died we must conclude that while it was sufficient to remove all the sins of all men for all eternity, it was not designed to remove the sins of all men because God always knew who is to be saved… Period…If God is omniscient then that omniscience is untouched by any choice and, in the end, God died to remove only the sins of those who were saved. Let it hit you that God knows these things.
In our day of pathetic books by pitiable people who want to sell you “your best life now” as you “reposition yourself” to value that “you’re all that” while you “write your own ticket with god” examining “the eight steps to the life you want” it is soul altering to make God the center of your faith and hopes and not such carnal teachings leading to perdition. Instead of imps telling you how spectacular and superfluous you are supposed to be I want us to see God and forget ourselves in Him. I want men to behold His glory and be changed. I want anyone reading this letter to know that heaven will not be a hall of mirrors. God is at the center of this world, folks, and faith is the gift of seeing that and enjoying that eternally.
I’m not arguing for predestination yet, though I will. What I’m saying today is that God knows all things and has known them for all time and that alone proves a limited atonement. Think through omniscience and see if you believe it in light of anything eternal. Let it hit you. Specific or limited atonement is a fact when you work from the end of all things back fighting to keep in mind His omniscience. This is not a hard concept; it is a logical absolute if God knows everything.
God is omniscient/God is sovereign/God is good = All is known = sovereignty assures me that all is good. Enter this rest my friends.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.