Friday, April 10, 2009

Attributes of God Part One......

As some of you may know I am in the NCFCA Speech and Debate club. I am very happy that I’ll be doing debate next year too. I am in the speech event known as Biblical Apologetics, or, Impromptu Apologetics. In this category I take 100 questions about God and must write a 6 minute speech on that topic. From the Virgin Birth to the Fall of Man. I would like to take the next few posts to discuss the attributes of God. Meaning, who is God? What can He do? I’ll take the outline to some of the speeches I have written as a jump start to our discussion. I would love to see us talking about the ideas I bring up, and discussing God further in depth! So.... with all that said let’s dive into the Omniscience of God...

Have you ever wished that you knew everything? Or that you could be able to see into the future and know what is coming? When I was younger I used to play that I was the “all knowing hero”, and could see into the future and find out when I would be attacked by the enemy. However, there is only one being like this. That being, is God. Nothing is hidden from the eyes of the Lord; God is omniscient, all knowing.

The first logical question of course would be this. What does “omniscience” mean?
Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines this word as follows- “The quality of knowing all things at once; universal knowledge; knowledge unbounded or infinite. Omniscience is an attribute peculiar to God.”

In Wayne Grudem’s book Systematic Theology he defines omniscience as, “God fully knows himself and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act.”
What does this mean? Look at the first statement. What do you think is the most complex being you have ever heard about. That actually exists that is. I would certainly say God. God is so incredibly complex that I can’t wrap my mind around even the beginning of God’s divine nature. Well, Mr. Grudem says, “God fully knows Himself...” Wow, really? God knows Himself completely? I don’t even know myself completely, and God is millions of times bigger than I’ll ever be! Isn’t that amazing? God fully knows the greatest being in the universe. Himself. He goes on to say, “...and all things actual and possible in one simple and eternal act.” As best as I can see it this means that God not only knows Himself completely, BUT, He knows everything completely! He knows ever, “Actual and possible...” All I can say is wow.

One of my most favorite quotes is by J.I. Packer. He said this in his book Concise Theology, “He (God) knows everything about everything and everybody all the time. Also, He knows the future no less than the past and the present, and possible events that never happen no less than the actual events that do.
A little confused? I was to the first time I read it. Just read it again, maybe twice more before you read on.

Now that that’s done let’s look at this quote from the beginning. “He knows everything about everything and everybody all the time.” That’s enough for my brain to handle. :-) What does this mean? It simply means that God knows everything. It’s really rather self-explanatory. God knows everything, all there is to know, about everything! Not only this though, He knows everything, about “everybody”, meaning, every person on the earth. And, He knows it all, 24/7! I don’t know about you but that’s really hard for me to comprehend. Just try to begin to imagine what it would be like if you knew everything there was to know. About music, science, the Bible, imagine knowing how to speak every language in the world, or, be able to play every instrument, or run every plane and rocket. It’s really quite unimaginable.

Continuing on, “Also, He knows the future no less than the past and the present,...” Let’s stop there. This means that God knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, like, every second, not like, “Oh... I know I’m gonna have friends over tomorrow.” But, like, He knows that say, I’ll wake up at 7:01 with a sore throat. And Jimmy will wake up in England at 6:59 with a snake in his boot. That kind of thing. Only, for the entire population of the world. That’s just hard for me to comprehend. So, He knows the future just as well as He does the past. I mean, I can’t even remember everything I did yesterday! Or the day before! But God? Man, He knows it all, every single little detail. He knows that I’m sitting here, writing this at 9:20 just as well as I do. So, I know the present. But the past and future are still mist.

Finally, “...and the possible events that never happen no less than the actual events that do.” This is my absolute most favorite part of the quote! I like words, I like tricky sentences, I’m just that type of guy. But this sentence is so amazing. I believe it means this- God knows anything that could have happened. So like... some of my friends can’t come to my birthday party tomorrow, that is something that COULD have happened. God knows all that “could haves” in life, just as well as He knows all the “actuals”. That’s the second half of the sentence, “ less than the ACTUAL events that do. Just sit for a moment and think about that if you will. We’ve already discovered that God knows everything and everything and everybody all the time. But not only that He knows everything that might have happened, just as clearly as everything that has happened! That’s awesome, that’s truly awesome.

Now for the most important question, why is omniscience important, and what does it have to do with us?
Well, simply put, if God were not omniscient, we could not live. We need someone to guide us, God sees our every move and has predetermined everything that will happen in our lives. If we didn’t have someone to guide us, we’d be in serious trouble.

Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

Jeremiah 16:17, “For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes.”
In essence the Lord watches everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen, he controls our every move and allows us to receive His blessings and trials.

What does this have to do with us?
J.I. Packer says this, “God’s knowledge is linked with His sovereignty: He knows each thing, both in itself and in relation to all other things, because He created it, sustains it, and now makes it function every moment according to His plan for it. To the Christian believer, knowledge of God’s omniscience brings the assurance that he has not been forgotten, but is being cared for according to God’s promise.”

Does that make sense? What Packer is saying here is that yes, God created the world, and yes, God knows everything. But not only that, since God is omniscient, we, (us Christians that is) can know for certain that God knows all that’s happened. We don’t have to sit in a dark room, and worry away the days, because there is someone who is controlling it all.

I’d like to end with these thoughts from Ephesians 1:11-14
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

Please tell me what you think, and thanks for reading!


Quinton said...

Great post, Justin... I like it already. :D

One thing I would add is that I think that God's omniscience is significant because without it we would not have salvation.

Explain? ... God knew Adam and Eve fully. He knew that they would sin. He knew all mankind would follow. More than that, He knew what He would do about it.

God knows He wants a relationship with mankind, and He knew that the only way to mend that relationship was through Him (God).

Therefore, God sent Jesus to die, because that was the only way to bring us back to Him. I believe it is very much linked to His all-knowing-ness ;) , because I think that God had to know the future in order to save us... our predestination and our regeneration that would happen ---> because of God's omniscience.

What do you think?

Overall, this was a great post. Keep up the good work! :)

JustinK said...

Wow, nice work Quin! Great comments. I guess I haven't really thought of it in that light, yet, it's so true! :) Thank you for teaching me!

I really do like what you said too for this reason - We must take what you said and know that because we have to live with the idea that God has given us salvation, and God knows when we have, and will make mistakes, yet, God will still take care of us. We can still have full faith and trust in God through everything in life.