THE DIVINE OMISCIENCE
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn. The Scriptures teach that God has never learned from anyone. “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor has taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding?” “For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been His counselor?” These rhetorical questions put by the prophet and the apostle Paul declare that God has never learned.
From there it is only a step to the conclusion that God cannot learn. Could God at any time or in any manner receive into His mind knowledge that He did not possess, and had not possessed from eternity, He would be imperfect and less than himself. To think of a God who must sit at the feet of a teacher, even though that teacher be an archangel or a seraph, is to think of someone other than the Most High God, maker of heaven and earth.
This negative approach to the divine omniscience is, I believe, quite justified in the circumstances. Since our intellectual knowledge of God is so small and obscure, we can sometimes gain considerable advantage in our struggle to understand what God is like by the simple expedient of thinking what He is not like. This method of trying to make men see what God is like by showing them what He is not like is used also by the inspired writers in the Holy Scriptures.” “Have you not known? Have you not heard?” cries Isaiah.” “The everlasting God, Yahweh, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.” And that abrupt statement by God Himself,” “I am Yahweh, I change not,” tells us more about the divine omniscience than could be told in a ten-thousand-word treatise, were all negatives arbitrarily ruled out. God’s eternal truthfulness is stated negatively by the apostle Paul: “God . . . cannot lie.” And when the angel asserted that “with God nothing shall be impossible,” the two negatives add up to a ringing positive.
That God is omniscient is not only taught in the Scriptures; it must be inferred also from all else that is taught concerning Him. God perfectly knows Himself and, being the source and author of all things, it follows that He knows all that can be known. And this He knows instantly and with a fullness of perfection that includes every possible item of knowledge concerning everything that exists or could have existed anywhere in the universe at any time in the past or that may exist in the centuries or ages yet unborn.
Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything. He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions. God is self-existent and self-contained and knows what no creature can ever know–Himself, perfectly. “The things of God know no man, but the Spirit of God.” Only the Infinite can know the infinite.
In the divine omniscience we see set forth against each other the terror and fascination of the Godhead. That God knows each person through-and-through can be a cause of shaking fear to the man that has something to hide–some unforsaken sin, some secret crime committed against man or God. The unblessed soul may well tremble that God knows the flimsiness of every pretext and never accepts the poor excuses given for sinful conduct, since He knows perfectly the real reason for it. “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance.” How frightful a thing to see the sons of Adam seeking to hide among the trees of another garden. But where shall they hide? “Whither shall I go from your spirit? or whither shall I flee from your presence? . . . If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hides not from you; but the night shines as the day.”
And to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick. No forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past. No unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us. “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed, says Yahweh, who has mercy on you.”
Our Father in heaven knows our frame and remembers that we are dust. He knew our inborn treachery, and for His own sake engaged to save us (Isa. 48:8-11). His only begotten Son, when He walked among us, felt our pains in their naked intensity of anguish. His knowledge of our afflictions and adversities is more than theoretic; it is personal, warm, and compassionate. Whatever may befall us, God knows and cares as no one else can.
– A.W. Tozer
The Lord's Day Services
Sunday, November 22, 2020
11:00 a.m. Morning Worship – Dr. Larry Saunders (SermonAudio link)
5:50 p.m. Pre-service Prayer – held in the church basement and on Zoom
6:30 p.m. Evening Worship – Dr. Larry Saunders (SermonAudio link)
Sunday, November 29th
11:00 a.m. Morning Worship – Dr. Larry Saunders – on SermonAudio only
4:50 p.m. Session and Board Prayer – on Zoom only
5:50 p.m. Pre-service Prayer – on Zoom only
6:30 p.m. Evening Worship – Dr. Larry Saunders – on SermonAudio only
Wednesday, December 2nd
7:30 p.m. Bible Study & Prayer – Dr. Saunders (on Zoom)
Sunday, December 13th
5:00 p.m. Special Congregational Prayer – on Zoom
FPCNA Prayer Bulletin - November/December 2020
The November/December 2020 edition of the FPCNA Prayer bulletin is now available, click here to view.
The Shorter Catechism
Q29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us1, by His Holy Spirit2.
1. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12).
2. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (v6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. (Titus 3:5, 6).
The Children's Catechism - Doctrine
Q29. What is that duty to our fellow-man?
A. To love him as ourselves.