What does God’s omniscience mean for me? As a theologian, I love contemplating the amazing (and infinite) depths of our Triune God. I look forward to an eternity of learning about my Savior. But God knows all. There is nothing outside of His knowledge.
Herman Bavinck, the Dutch Reformer and theologian, discusses God’s knowledge at length in his second volume of Reformed Dogmatics. Bavinck writes, “God knows things not by observation, but from and of himself. Our knowledge is posterior: it presupposes their existence and is derived from it. Exactly the opposite is true of God’s knowledge: he knows everything before it exists….he knows all things in and of and by himself. For that reason his knowledge is undivided, simple, unchangeable, eternal. He knows all things instantaneously, simultaneously, from eternity; all things are eternally present to his mind’s eye.” (Reformed Dogmatics, II, 196)
We cannot grasp these statements; let alone the truth they communicate. I find his last statement particularly wonderful, “He knows all things instantaneously, simultaneously, from eternity; all things are eternally present to his mind’s eye.” What a glorious truth! The Scripture, as Bavinck points out, clearly and consistently teaches this truth. It is wonderful and, to me at least, soul-stirring. But what does it mean for the average Christian?
First, this incredible truth deserves our unhindered worship. After a lengthy discussion of God’s election, Paul bursts out with praise, writing, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! To him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:33, 36b, CSB) As we attempt to grasp God’s unimaginable knowledge, we should be moved to utter praises to Him.
Second, this wonderful reality should comfort us. God knows all things fully, at all times, and in every conceivable way. This means that God knows what tomorrow holds. He understands, infinitely so, the different paths that His children walk. We can trust Him completely, as Sovereign Lord of creation, because He knows all things fully and completely. This is the same God that Paul tells us works all things for our good (Rom. 8:28).
Third, building upon the previous truth, we can rest in the daily difficulties. When we receive bad news from the doctor, when we are involved in an accident, when someone hurts our feelings, all of these are in God’s mind. He knows everything. Add to this the truth of the incarnation of Jesus, and we are left with a God who knows by His deity and by His experience the troubles we face (cf. Heb. 4:14-16).
Check out the previous blessing from Bavinck here.
You can purchase Reformed Dogmatics here.