Articles > Natural Theology > The Nature and Extent of God's Knowledge
printer share

The Nature and Extent of God's Knowledge

INTRODUCTION
            
The subject of the God’s knowledge is very important in the Christian life.  Why?

1. Any view of God’s knowledge that weakens or destroys the  ________________ and  ________________ of the Bible cannot be of God but is of the devil.

2. Any view of God’s knowledge that weakens or destroys the  ______________ work of Christ on the _______ cannot be of God but is of the devil.

3. Any view of God’s knowledge that weakens or destroys the  _________ of God’s ____________ that gives _____________ and ______ to the Christian ____ cannot be of God but is of the devil.

Illustration: Clark Pinnock, Roy Elseth, etc.

 

PART I 
PRINCIPLES OF APPROACH

The importance of your __________________.

Everyone has a _____________.  It will be based either on the __________ or on man’s ____________, __________ or ____________.

1.      When we base our ideas about God on our reason this ends in   _______________.

2.      When we base our ideas about God on our feelings this ends in  _______________.

3.      When we base our ideas about God on our experience this ends in  _____________.

4.      Where are we to derive our understanding of God and His attributes?

  1. The _________________ of God in ______________?  (1Cor. 1:21 cf. 2:6-16)

What is God’s opinion of doing theology by ________________?  (1 Cor. 4:6)

  1. Looking within ____________to our own ____________, ___________, or ____________?

NOTE: The danger of “religious humanism.”

What is religious humanism?  It is the ancient ______concept of ___________   _________, i.e. the idea that _____ is the ___________ of all things, including ______.  In other words, man can find the _______ about God ________ the Bible.

Illustration: Frank Beckwith, etc.

Note: We cannot judge the heart of a man but we can judge his teachings.

© 1999 California Institute of Apologetics

 

PART II 
THE NATURE OF GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

Question: If the authors of Scripture believed that God knows everything in the past, the present and the future, how would they express that idea to their readers?  What vocabulary would they use?  How would they illustrate it?

A.     Primary texts for God’s knowledge and their priority over secondary texts.

B.     The vocabulary of God’s knowledge.  Every possible word in the Hebrew and Greek languages that mean knowledge, understanding and comprehension is applied to God in the Bible.

C.     The fact of God’s knowledge.  The authors of Scripture never cast any doubt on the fact of God’s knowledge.  (1 Sam. 2:3)

D.     The nature of God’s knowledge.

1)      God’s knowledge is ___________.  Job 37:16: James 1:4; Acts 17:25

2)      God’s knowledge is ___________.  Psa. 147:5

3)      God’s knowledge is ___________.  Isa. 46:10; Acts 15:18

4)      God’s knowledge is ___________.  Mal. 3:6; Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; 
Isa. 14:24-27; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 17-18

5)      God’s knowledge is ___________, ___________, and ___________.  I Cor. 14:33

6)      God’s knowledge is ___________.  Gen. 15:13-14; Hab. 2:3; Acts 1:7; 17:26, 31.

7)      God’s knowledge is ____________.  Psa. 139:1-6; Isa. 40:28; Rom. 11:33

E.      Secondary texts used against God’s knowledge.  The only ones in Scripture to doubt or to question God’s knowledge are the __________ (Job 22:12-13; Psa. 73:11-12; 94:7).  Down through the ages, humanists (Christian or pagan) have tried to use the following texts to overthrow the clear teaching from the primary texts: Gen. 3:9-11; 6:6-7; 11:5; 18:20-21; 22:12; 1 Sam. 23:6-14, etc.

F.      The use of figurative language by Biblical authors: John 16:25; Rom. 3:5; 6:19; Gal. 3:5, etc.

G.     A change in revelation does not imply a change in God’s eternal plans and decrees.
Illustration: Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac.
 

 

PART III 
THE EXTENT OF GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

A.     General Statements of Scripture: God knows_____________.
Psa. 139:1-6; 147:5; Ezk.  37:3; 1 John 3:20; Heb. 4:13; John 2:24-25; 16:30; 21:17, etc.

B.     Specific Statements:

God’s knowledge of Himself:

His eternal plans, counsel, will, and purposes for man and the universe: 2 Chron. 25:16, 20; 2 Kgs. 19:25-28; Psa. 33:11; Isa. 14:24-27; 23:8-9; Jer. 29:11-14; 49:20; 50:45; Acts 1:7; 2:23; Eph. 1:11, etc.

His future works are known to Him from eternity: Acts 15:18

Exhaustive knowledge of each member of the Trinity of the other members of the Godhead: Mat.  11:27; John 7:29; 8:55; 17:25; 1 Cor. 2:10-11

 

God’s knowledge of the space/time universe

  • All of history, the end from the beginning: Isa. 46:10
  • Extends to the ends of the earth: Job 28:24
  • Sees everything under the heavens: Job 28:24
  • All possible events in the future: Isa. 48:18-19; Ezk.  37:3; Mat. 11:21-23

 

Note: It amazes us that those who deny that God knows the future acts of man love to talk about God knowing all possible universes.  Thus the future is open to all possibilities.  But, when we ask, “Then you do admit the possibility of a universe, in which God knows the future of man,” they turn around and deny that such a universe can exist even as a possibility!  Evidently, the future is “open” only to what they want it to be open to.

  • When a sparrow falls to the ground: Matt. 10:29;
  • He speaks of future events as if they already happened: Rom. 4:17; 8:30
  • The number and names of the stars: Psa. 147:4
  • All creatures: Heb. 4:13
  • When He will judge the world: Matt. 8:29; Acts 17:31; Rev. 14:7,15
  • Foresees the future: Gal. 3:8-9
  • Foreknows the future: Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29; 1 Pet. 1-2, 18-20;

 

 

God’s knowledge of man

  • All men: 2 Sam. 7:20; Psa. 33:13; Jer. 15:15
  • The hearts of all men: 1 Sam. 16:7; 1 Kgs. 8:39: Psa. 7:9; 17:2; 26:2; 139:2; Jer. 11:20; 
  • 12:3; 17:10; Lk. 16:15; John 2:24; 21:17; Acts 1:24; Rom. 8:27; Rev. 2:23
  • When a man will be born and when he will die: Job 14:5: 21:21; Psa. 31:15; Matt. 26:18,45; Mk. 14:35,41; John 2:4; 7:6,8,30; 8:30; 12:27; 13:1; Acts 17:26 
  • Man ways: Job 23:10; 34:21
  • Man’s thoughts: Psa. 139:2; Ezk. 11:5; Heb. 4:12
  • Man’s meditations: Psa. 5:1
  • Man’s works: Job 34:25; Psa. 33:15; Matt. 16:27
  • Man’s sorrows: Gen. 29:32; 31:42; Exo. 3:7; 4:31; Psa. 25:18-19; 31:7; 119:153; 
  • Every word man speaks: Jer. 17:16; 
  • A man’s future: Exo. 3:19-20; Jer. 18:22-23
  • How many hairs are on his head: Matt. 10:30
  • The folly of man: Psa. 69:5
  • The wrongs of man: Psa. 69:5
  • The wickedness of man: Gen. 6:5
  • Our future needs and prayers before we ask: Matt. 6:8 
  • Every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart: Gen. 6:5; Heb. 4:12
  • The shame of man: Psa. 69:19
  • What man is made of: Psa. 103:14
  • Man’s actions: Psa. 139:2-4
  • All about a man before he is born: Jer. 1:5

 

 

What about the future acts of man, good and evil?

Does God know the future decisions and acts that we will do?  The Scriptures state that God knows the good and evil that we will do from all eternity and even declares it ahead of time in prophecy.  The following is but a few samples of the hundreds of passages in which God reveals what men will think, say and do in the future:

That in the future all the evil things that Joseph’s brothers, Potiphar’s wife and others would do to him would place him where he could save his family from starvation: Gen. 50:20

  • That in the future Pharaoh would not obey Moses: Exo. 7:3-5
  • That in the future Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyre: Ezk. 26:1-14
  • That in the future Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt: Ezk. 30:10
  • That in the future Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Judah: Jer. 25:9
  • That in the future Judah’s captivity would last seventy years: Jer. 25:11
  • That in the future Babylon would fall in seventy years: Jer. 25:12
  • That in the future Cyrus would rebuild Jerusalem: Isa. 44:28-45:1 
  • That in the future Judas would betray Jesus: Psa. 41:9; Lk. 22:21-22; John 6:64; 13:18,19,21,26,27
  • That in the future Peter would deny Him three times: Matt. 26:34
  • That in the future the Jews, the Romans, Herod, and Pontius Pilate would murder Jesus: Acts 4:27-28

 

Conclusion
We have examined in some detail what the authors of Scripture said about the nature and extent of God’s knowledge.  We found them saying what they would have to say in order to convey the idea that God’s omniscience is absolute and unlimited by anything past, present or future.

Those who disagree have a great task set before them.  If the authors of Scripture believed that God does NOT know the past, the present or the future, how would they express that idea to their readers?  By what vocabulary?  By what illustrations?

They will have to come up with multiple primary Biblical passages that clearly state: “God does NOT know everything” or “I the Lord do NOT know,” or  “the future is unknown to God,” “God has no plans for the future.”  Let them follow the same procedure as we have followed and marshal their exegetical evidence.  They will have to produce primary passages in which the knowledge of God is clearly denied.

But we know (and they know) that they cannot give an exegetical basis for their denial of the omniscience of God.  So, they will retreat to illustrations about Pat mowing the lawn next Tuesday.  The choice is clear.  We will either base our knowledge of God on the Rock of Scripture or on the sand of humanistic philosophy.

For an in-depth study of this subject see:

Books:

  • The Battle of the Gods (Dr. Robert A. Morey)
  • The Nature and Extent of God’s Knowledge (Dr. Robert A. Morey)
  • No Place for Sovereignty (Dr. Robert M. Wright) 
  • The Grace of God and The Bondage of the Will (T. Schreiner and B. Ware)
  • God Sovereign and Man Free (S. Rice)

Audio Tapes:

  • The Attributes of God: 10 tapes (Dr. Robert A. Morey)
  • The Philosophy of Evil: The Simeon Greenleaf Lectures: 10 tapes (Dr. Robert A. Morey)
  • A Christian View of Time: 6 tapes (Dr. Robert A. Morey)

Article Archive

Apologetics

Atheism

Bible Numerics

Bible Prophecy

Christian Life Issues

Christian Theology

Church Life

Cults & Occult

From the Desk

Gnosticism

Islam

Journal of Biblical Apologetics

Media Reviews

Misc. Articles

Natural Theology

Philosophy

World Religions

Young Adult Life

See Full Article Archive