The term omniscient comes from two Latin terms, “omnis” meaning “all,” and “scientia” meaning “knowledge.” Calvin said of the term, “that attribute whereby God knows Himself and all other things in one Eternal and most simple act.”
I like the thought of “and most simple act.” It isn’t really a biggy with the Lord. It isn’t even an activity. It just is the way He is.
HIS KNOWLEDGE IS ALL INCLUSIVE
God’s knowledge is all inclusive (1 John 3:20). It includes all that is. It includes all that was. It includes all that will be. It includes all that is possible.
It includes the material world (Job 28:24). He knows the number of grains of sand on the beaches of the world as well as the pounds of dust on the books in my library.
It includes the animal world and all that are in it (Matthew 10:29). He knows of the needs of the animals, as well as their passing from life.
It includes the world of the dead (Job 26:6). He knows every soul in it and from what generation they came. None will be lost from His great accounting.
It includes the human world (Psalm 33:13-15, Matthew 10:30, Acts 15:8). It includes the inner world of man, the minute details of life (Jeremiah 1:5,
Psalm 139:15, Psalm 139:1-4, Psalm 56:8, Job. 14:16,17, Matthew 10:30,
Proverbs 5:21). From before our conception, throughout our days unto our returning to the dirt of his creation. From our thoughts to our intents, from our hair to our steps, from our rights to our wrongs, He knows all there is to know about us.
It includes the past, and the future world (Isaiah 46:9-11).
HIS KNOWLEDGE INCLUDES MORAL PURPOSE
It is always directed toward a good end. Even judgment is directed toward a good end — the culmination of God’s great plan.
Man’s knowledge generally is destructive. Smoking, war, fast cars, immorality, etc.
HIS KNOWLEDGE IS ETERNAL, COMPLETE AND PERFECT
He has perfect knowledge of every detail of life for every believer throughout the past ages, as well as all of those that are to come. Indeed, He knows the detail of the lives of all lost people both past and to come. He knows the tides and the details of the sea. He knows the woods and the intricacies of the forest. He knows the deserts and the vastness of their dunes. (Acts 15:18, Job. 37:16, Hebrews 4:13.
He promises to raise all of mankind to stand before Him in the future. He knows where to find each and every one of us, no matter where we die and are buried.
HIS KNOWLEDGE MUST BE UNDERSTOOD IN THREE WAYS
First, it is not like man’s. Heaven Forbid. We learn by comparing one piece of knowledge with another. He has His knowledge directly without comparison. He in eternity past knew all there was. He has always known all there is.
Secondly, it is not learned as is man’s. He did not have to go to kindergarten to learn the ABC’s. We learn step by step, fact by fact, and principle by principle, while there is no sequence to His knowledge.
Finally, His knowledge is complete and certain, while man’s is incomplete and not certain. Man learns as he ages, he learns as he makes mistakes, and he learns as he is taught. God is free from all of these limitations.
HIS KNOWLEDGE IS ALWAYS USED WISELY
His knowledge is always used toward good ends which shows His wisdom. His omni-sapience or all wisdom is usually covered in this section. Cambron is the only author I have found that separates and gives title to God’s all wisdom.
He knows past, present and future as one entire whole. He knows all at all times without sequence. He knows all and uses that knowledge in a responsible manner to bring about His ends.
PROBLEMS WITH THE DOCTRINE
1. How do we explain Deuteronomy 8:2 if God knows all there is to know? “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”
First of all, God communicates in a form that the people He is communicating with, can understand. Would they have understood if God had said, “I’m omniscient?” No, I don’t think so.
He was not doing this to learn something He did not know. He was trying them to see what was in their heart — to show them what was in their heart.
How do we explain Genesis 18:20,21? This speaks of Sodom and Gomorrah and God mentions, “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not I will know.” vs 21. The answer is the same as for the preceding text.
There is also the declaration of God, in the anthropormorphisms, as having physical features. He does not have the ears that the Psalmist mention, yet He does hear His people.
2. Isn’t God too great to be interested in every detail of our lives? It is this point that adds to God’s greatness. It does not detract from any of His attributes nor the doctrines that we hold concerning Him. He can see to the details of life while controlling nations. He provided food, water and raiment in the wilderness for 40 years, yet was able to lead Moses and the other leaders to what He wanted for the nation.
He knows all there is to know about our particular problems and troubles.
I once read a poem that detailed the bitter, the hard, the fights, the wounds, the struggles of life, yet it ended with the thought that we can bear all that He allows because we know that He knows what is going on in our life.
The doctrine should be a warning to the wicked. Proverbs 15:3 mentions that He sees evil as well as good. Proverbs 15:11 — Sheol and destruction are before Him. The real threat is seen in Revelation 20:15ff where John describes The Great White Throne. This throne is where the judging of all the lost of all generations will be held. All that has gone on throughout the ages will be brought before those involved, and they will be judged accordingly.
The doctrine should be a warning to the erring Christian. Proverbs 15:3 mentions that He sees evil as well as good. Hebrews 12:6,7 mentions that He chastises His children. The judgment seat of Christ will be the occasion of the believer being judged according to his works. This will be a sad time, a time of losing of rewards and a time of acknowledging our short comings to the Lord face to face.
God’s omniscience should be a consolation to the believer. Matthew 6:8
— He knows our needs before we have them. He numbers the hairs of our head. How can anything miss His attention to each and every one of us?
He knows our every feeling. He is our Father. We are His children. He feels for us as a Father feels for his natural children. A friend that I used to work with had married his daughter off on a Thursday evening. She had to go to work on Sunday and my friend and his wife felt very sorry for her having to return to work so soon. On the way to work she wreaked the car and had to have emergency room treatment. She called her folks in tears and my friend said, “I felt so sorry for the little kid but couldn’t do a thing.” Fathers hurt when their children hurt. He was very frustrated because he didn’t have enough money to help the new couple out.
The difference with our heavenly Father is that He feels in a most perfect way for His children, and He can do something about it. He can comfort us for He is the God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3. If there is a need of finance, He can intercede, if there is a need of emotion, He can lift us up, If there is a need of strength, He can empower us.
He knows what is best for us for He knows the future. How Bout That One? We should pray as Jesus prayed, “…not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39b. We should not hurry into things which are not clearly His will. Wait upon His will.
At the same time we should be satisfied with the situation and position in life that He has given us. It is perfect for us at this time in our life.
He knows all the evil that others do to us whether it is a believer or a nonbeliever. We should learn to leave those things alone and not worry, fret or seek revenge, for He will keep close accounts of all things.
If we realize He knows everything. If we realize He can lead us. If we realize He cares and knows about even the little things. THEN We can let Him lead us in the smaller areas of our lives as well as those major moves. While living in Nebraska and Colorado I always went shopping for snow tires before winter set in. I went out to find snow tires in the mid 70’s and found several very good buys which I had money to cover. I did not have peace about buying any of them. I decided not to get any for the first winter in several years. That winter we did not need snow tires once. God knew a light winter was coming along. If you don’t have complete peace about something don’t do it.
He knows all things which should bring us to confess our sins more quickly and completely. If we know He knows, why are we so slow to confess and correct our state before Him? Why don’t we confess our sin immediately? It is illogical.
Ryrie lists four applications which I would like to include: “Omniscience and security.” We are safe in His hands for His hands are directed by perfect knowledge of what is and is to be.
“Omniscience and sensitivity.” His warnings are based on true and complete knowledge, thus we should be sensitive to mind them carefully. “Omniscience and solace.” God knows what happened, as well as what might have happened and what will happen from what happened. “Omniscience and sobriety.” He relates this to our lifestyle and walk. (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “BASIC THEOLOGY”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 42)
Since we know all of these applications are true then we know that we have one Person on our side that is all of the following: Complete consolation, our Father, our Comforter, our Fortune teller (if I may use that term), our Avenger and our Guide.
Remember, He has the knowledge, and the only way that we can tap into it is to be communicating with Him through prayer and the Word.
Ryrie quotes A. W. Tozer (pp 61-62 The Knowledge Of The Holy). “God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.”
“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.” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “BASIC THEOLOGY”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, pp 41-42)
 Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.