The Basics: 1b All-Knowing God

How much do you know? It’s actually a difficult answer to answer. We may think we know a lot but in reality when we compare it to the entirety of human knowledge our sliver of the pie would be minuscule. If we narrow this by limiting ourselves to a category like cars, cooking, accounting, medicine, or science the sliver of our knowledge may grow. But unless the scope is extremely narrow no one can ever say they know everything. The Bible says however that God does know everything, including everything about us.

Consider the Psalmist’s poetic words, “He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:4–5, NASB95) And “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:1–3, NASB95)

Jesus also related God’s knowledge to something personal, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:29–30, NASB95)

The Bible tells us through these and other passages that God knows everything about everything. For the sake of space let’s narrow this down a bit. He knows everything there is to know about each one of us. He sees our day, knows our thoughts, nothing escapes his notice. It’s actually difficult to fathom that God knows that right now I’m writing these words while sipping coffee and that in another time and place you’re reading them. But he does.

Not only does God know about our now and our past but he also knows our future. Here we can get into a theological mess arguing if God predestines our path or simply knows it’s possibilities. I prefer to think that because of free-will God knows the outcome of every decision I could possibly make. But somehow all who choose Jesus are also predestined by God to do so. Put it this way, God chose us before we were and we chose Him in that moment of decision.  

That swampy conflict between predestination and free-will tells us something about the all-knowingness of God. In the same way that God self-limits his power, God self-limits his knowledge. Not in the sense of refusing to know something but in the sense of doing something about it. God predestines us but doesn’t force us into it. The use of his perfect knowledge is limited by his love for each one of us.

He lets us make stupid, wrong, and perhaps even sinful choices even though He knows we’ll choose that path before we do. He knows the sin of others that will offend and wound us and the terrible things done by people, nature, and happenstance. God knows we’ll stub our toe.

Some consider these two attributes of God and scoff at God’s seeming impotency. If God is all powerful and all knowing then why doesn’t he intervene and stop all the suffering in the world? Would the world be better off or would it be nothing but a loveless place without free will? God’s perfect and complete knowledge is tempered by love. Not the fake love of a tyrant. Nor the twistedness of controlling love. But a gracious love that is freely given with a desire for love to be freely returned.  God does know everything, even how to best love you and me.

Dale Heinold
Follow Me
Latest posts by Dale Heinold (see all)