We have thought about two of the “omni” attributes of God, omnipotence and omnipresence. The third such attribute is omniscience.
Like the first two we studied, “omni” means “all”. According to Merriam Webster, “science” is “the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.” So, “omniscience” means that God knows all that there is to know. There is nothing anywhere that is outside the scope of His conception, understanding or attention.
“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power [that’s “omnipotent”]: his understanding is beyond measure [that’s [omniscience”]”
Psalm 147:5 [with bracketed information added by me]
We have to study, read and learn lessons; in short, when we are born, we don’t automatically come equipped with all knowledge of our world, culture, society. Much to the chagrin of our children, we have to be taught either by home schooling or in a school outside the home.
Not so with God. He does not study or learn for one simple reason – omniscience. One cannot increase a knowledge that is already insurmountable. God knows everything, period.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
Further, with God there is no “maybe”. Probability does not exist for God. While we may consider rolling the dice as being an act of chance, such is not the case for God.
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”
This verse in The Message reads:
“Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.”
God is omniscient. There is one reality and God knows it in its entirety, as it exists by, through, and for Him.
“And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the LORD: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind.“
God is neither surprised by the way the world works itself out, nor shocked by the choices we make.
“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Because God is omniscient, God can work out His predetermined purpose and plan and His sovereignty will effect that plan.
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”
Beloved, the attribute of omniscience is a source of security, strength and of faith, of comfort and of joy. God knows everything about everyone, everywhere. He will not be surprised by anything that we do because He knows all things.
Such wisdom and knowledge is too much for us to understand or comprehend. Even as I write this post, I am amazed and in awe of our God, and I cannot fully understand or appreciate how vast His nature and knowledge is. Like the attributes that we have considered previously, the very speaking of the word “omniscience” reveals the incredible majesty of our God, His infinite being and His holiness. It also demonstrates the vast difference between our God and us.
Isaiah spoke God’s words which eloquently illustrate this reality:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”
Praise Him for His omniscience. His love is extended to us every moment of every day. His omniscience results in God’s executing His providence which will accomplish His fore-ordained plan, including His working all things to the benefit of His children.
The hymn “These Great Things” as sung on the album Glory to the Holy One, captures the marvelous response to God’s wondrous ways toward His children. In speaking about this hymn, Randall Van Meggelen said the following in an article entitled “For the Church: Singing These Great Things,” dated May 28, 2015:
Occasionally the sheer grandeur and incomprehensibility of God’s wondrous ways leaves the believer in almost speechless awe. “These Great Things,” from Glory to the Holy One, expresses such a state. In pondering “How can it be,” the hymn momentarily hints at the opening textual and musical motifs of the beginning of Charles Wesley’s magnificent hymn, “And Can It Be.” Both hymns assert believing submission in the truth of God’s glorious Word and humble wonder at the “mystery sublime” of God’s great works.
“These Great Things” contemplates Paul’s glorious indicative that, for the called, “all things by His grand design work good for us by love” (Romans 8:28). “No tragedy shall win, no curse for those He calls His friends.” Our good, accomplished through God’s perfect means, is to be called “His friends” and “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29) to the end that we would glorify and enjoy God in eternal communion (Westminster Shorter Catechism 1).
Here are the lyrics to this beautiful hymn. I pray that you would let the words and wonder fill your heart as you listen and read the lyrics.
How can it be, this truth divine,
Declared by God above
That all things by His grand design
Work good for us by love
Called by our lord in purposed ends
No tragedy shall win
No curse for those He calls His friends
He saved us from our sins
What shall we say to these great things?
Of mystery sublime
That if He is for us we can sing
Now and for all time
Foreknown by Him with
Hearts made new
To His Son we conform
No pow’r on earth can this undo
For those He’s made reborn
First He did choose, and called He then
To surely justify
For those of the faith beyond our ken
He soon will glorify
Father, I come to You and praise You for Your lovingkindness. Through Your omniscience, You know me fully, and such knowledge is too wonderful and amazing for me to comprehend. Your power and majesty is above all persons or powers, and yet You stoop to consider and love me. Thank You Father.