Some Thoughts on God
The following is a collection of thoughts on God in sort of a devotional presentation. It was garnered from numerous anonymous sources and writings of various individuals. I have edited and reworked much of it in order to make it more readable and added some comments as well. The following is a real treasure trove.
Knowledge is simply the act of the understanding, apprehending that a thing is, understanding what it is, and then comprehending its nature and relations, or how it is.
In that regard, God’s knowledge is His essence or very being—it is one eternal, all-comprehensive, indivisible act. It is independent of anything outside of God, for it is total, perfect and essential to His very being, and it resides solely within Himself. Nothing can help God, and nothing can hinder Him. You cannot add anything to Him. He is the Almighty.
In regards to things future, or things yet to happen, God’s knowledge is called foreknowledge or prescience (1 Pet 1:2).
Predestination (or God determining certain things to happen before they occur in time) is founded on the prescience of God, which is the supposition that all futurity (the future) is to Him is in the present tense. If we allow that God from all eternity foresaw all things, He must thus have foreseen them in consequence of His permitting or fore appointing them. Hence events are not certain merely because they are foreknown; but they are foreknown and become certain on account of specific predetermination, otherwise God would not be in control of anything.
God's remembrance needs to be clarified, because it is not the same as a man who remembers a thing from the past. God's remembrance is simply His knowledge in respect to things already past—it is not implied that God forgets and then recollects what has escaped His notice. When God "remembers," the thought should be conveyed that God simply knows what has already happened and is fully conscious of it NOW. The Bible speaks of "a book of remembrance" (Mal 3:16), and "the books were opened" (at the last day—Dan 7:19 and Rev 20:12). All history past is well-known to God the same as all future still. He does not separate the past from the future the same way that man does.
When God "forgets" or "does not remember" (as in the forgiveness of sins) it is asserted that He will not bring the matter up once again, not because of a deficient memory. But more importantly because in God's mind it is as though the event never even occurred in the first place. The implications are over with, erased forever. That is truly a comforting thought for sinners who are saved by forgiveness and grace.
The expression "omniscience" means "all knowing." This word is used to describe the universality of all objects known by God. It is infinite knowledge (Psa 147:5); eternal knowledge (Acts 15:18; Isa 46:10); it is universal knowledge extending to all persons, times, places and things (Heb 4:13); and perfect knowledge relating to what is past, present and to come. He knows all, infallibly and for ever (Jer 10:6,7; Rom 11:33).
This knowledge is peculiar to God (Mar 13:32; Job 36:4). It is incomprehensible to us how God knows all things, yet is it evident that He does (Psa 139:6).
The Essence of God
God knows all things by His own essence (or existence). He sees the nature of things in the ideas of His own mind. He sees the events of things that are destined to occur solely by the decrees of His own will. He knows them simply by knowing Himself, not by viewing those things.
God does not depend on the creature to acquire information from it. If it were so, God would then obtain a perfection from those things which are below Himself.
As He sees all things possible in His own power, because He is able to produce them, so He sees all things future in His own will, His decrees are able to effect them and bring them about.
His knowledge is then more noble, and of an infinitely height above our own knowledge, or the knowledge that any creature can be. He knows all things simply by one singular comprehension of the causes, which causes are only in Himself.
The Intuition of God
God knows all things by one act of intuition. If God knows by His own essence, He knows all things by one act. What God sees He perceives by one glance from eternity to eternity.
Note: This principle could be applied to the "big bang" which is a point in time (before time) that actually "created" the universe and time.
God does not know things discursively from other things. Neither does He know things successively, one after the other as in a chain of events. He does not deduce one fact from another. Otherwise He would be a God who "learns," which could make Him a "god in embryo" and He would cease to actually be God Almighty.
The Wisdom of God
Wisdom presupposes knowledge, and is the practical use which the understanding makes of the material of knowledge. This is determined by the will. God’s wisdom is infinite and eternal. It is the selection of the highest possible end, the manifestation of the glory of God. It is involved in selecting and directing in every area of His operations the best possible means to secure that end. Such wisdom is shown to us in the great acts of creation, providence (the events that occur) and grace.
God's Knowledge is Incommunicable
The absolute knowledge that is in God is obviously incommunicable to any other being, for to suppose that a creature would be all-knowing is to attribute infinity to that creature, which is absurd. This was the limitation that even Jesus Himself faced as a man, and that is why He prayed to His heavenly Father—He was helpless without the Father (Joh 5:19). (See next chapter 3g in Angelfall on the meaning of the Heavenly Father).
God's knowledge is incommunicable because this attribute of God is constantly connected in Scripture with His omnipresence, and forms a part of almost every description of that attribute; for, as God is a Spirit, and therefore intelligent, if He is everywhere, if nothing can exclude Him, not even the most solid bodies, nor the minds of intelligent beings, and "all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Heb 4:13), then where He acts, He is; and where He is, He perceives.
He understands and considers things absolutely (not relatively like us). He sees things as they are in their own natures, powers, properties, differences, together with all the circumstances belonging to them.
"Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Act 15:18). They are known from all eternity, before they were even created, in all their possibilities, before they were made—but now they are made in their actual existence. This type of knowledge is therefore incommunicable.
Angels and human being have some knowledge, limited and growing; it is grounded upon God’s knowledge and derived from God, totally dependent upon God’s unlimited knowledge. When the angels fell they aborted this infinite knowledge because they wanted to be the determiners themselves and actually create their own existence. So now their access to the tree of God's life is denied and completely cut off.
The speculative knowledge of God
This refers to such divine knowledge when the truth of a thing is known without a respect to any working or practical operation (or the actual coming about of that thing). The knowledge of things possible—things which may or man not happen—is in God only speculative.
It is the knowledge God has of the things He has actually decreed, terminating in the act of actually creating them, which is not a natural and necessary act for God. This is important. Creation was wholly free, for it was at His liberty whether He would create or not create. "He hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion" (Jer 10:12).
Such also is His knowledge of the things He has created, and which are in actual being. His knowledge in such a case terminates in the government of them for His own glorious ends. By this knowledge "the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down their dew" (Pro 3:20).
So God’s speculative knowledge is the knowledge whereby He knows the essence, qualities, and properties of what He creates and governs. By such knowledge His glory is enhanced, and the common good of the world over which He resides is assured. Only God has such knowledge. That is why the speculative knowledge of God is so very important—He knows all possible outcomes, even for things that never happen.
Speculative knowledge then is God’s knowledge of Himself and all things that are possible (but perhaps not probable). Practical knowledge is His knowledge of His creatures and things governable; yet this practical knowledge is not only of things that are made, but of things which are possible, which God might make, though He perhaps will not.
Personal Comment: A good illustration of this type of thing would be the marriage to my wife. Before I met Darlene I dated half a dozen girls, and almost married one or two of them. These were possibilities. But God stopped every one of them short of the altar. Later it become very clear that if I had married these individuals, the relationship would have probably ended in failure. Because I was following the Lord (and also because of my dear mother's prayers), God saw all potentials and possibilities and "chose" the right mate based upon His practical foreknowledge.
God's Knowledge of Sin and Evil
It has been often said that man can violate God's revealed will, but he can never impede or thwart God's sovereign will. Adolph Hitler no doubt violated everything that was sacred, but because of that God's purposes in world history were accomplished (that does not excuse Hitler one iota).
Not only does God know all details about every creature but also about all their actions, most particularly the sinful ways of men. As God knows all the actions of creatures, so He knows all the thoughts of them. "He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb 4:12). God is far more concerned with men's motives than He is with their actions.
Job stated that, "Doth he not see all my ways, and count all my steps" (Job 31:4), and "He sees all their goings" (Job 34:21). The Psalmist David said, "Thou understandest my thoughts afar off" (Psa 139:2). In reference to men, "Their wanderings are known to Him" (Psa 56:8). "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings" (Pro 5:21). "Hell and destruction are before him, much more then the hearts of the children of men" (Pro 15:11).
God Judges the Heart
"For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Sam 16:7).
God being omniscient and all knowing—if He were not all-knowing, He could not be the Judge of all the earth, but since nothing is concealed from His eyes, He, also being omnipotent and omnipresent, is able to exercise His justice and equity unto all. He examines us by the standard of His law. He will render to each one according as his deeds, and according to the imagination of his heart, for God who fashioned the heart, understands the very motions of it (Psa 33:13,15). Yet man is responsible for the heart that God gave him to "guard and keep the garden" of his heart.
"But thou, O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart" (Jer 11:20). Furthermore: "I, the Lord, search the heart, I try the reins, to give every man according to his way, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Jeremiah 17:10). This is the glory of God at the last day, "to manifest the secrets of all hearts" (1 Cor 4:5).
The wonderful news in all of this, for the Christian, is that even though God's law and demands are never expulsed, by faith in Jesus (who fulfilled the law), we are made the righteousness of God through Him. Our past is completely forgiven and forgotten.
"For he hath made him to be sin FOR US, who knew no sin; that WE MIGHT BE MADE the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor 5:21).
Judgment being reserved for the Last Day, we ought not to think that God is indifferent or somehow grown careless to righteousness, even though we witness heaps of injustice and immoral abominations all around us. The Judge of all the earth will certainly do right; He knows the difference between good and evil, between right and wrong. He keeps record, and though we may suffer injustice from the hands of man and being defrauded of what is ours, we may assure ourselves that God will right all wrongs, for the Bible says in relation to God's elect, "He will avenge them speedily" (Luk 18:8).
Unbelievers may arrogantly assume that they can get away with despising God’s law. They think that they can go on enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin, live immorally and loose lives, and nobody notices. But God does! And sooner than later pay day will arrive.
If you have not yet bowed and made Christ the Lord of your life, then do not hesitate. Flee to Him who alone is able to deliver you from the wrath to come (1 Thes 1:9-10). In Him alone is there good hope. Through His shed blood your sins will be cancelled and forgiven, so much so that God "will remember them no more."
God Must Know the Future
God knows all future things, all things to come. Everything which encompasses the object of God’s knowledge was once only future. If this were not so, then all the prophecies in the Bible, at least those which have already been fulfilled, have no explanations whatsoever. If God does not know the future, then who does? If the Creator is lacking, how much more the creature that came from His hands? If God is ignorant of the future, then we mortals are in this respect, at least, greater than God. Everything would remain for us an enormous mystery if God was not in complete control.
If God is unaware of the future, then His eternal decree comes to nought. They could not be true, for in decreeing and determining all things whatsoever, He must know the future. If He doesn’t then His decree of creations, providence and grace is but fiction. To admit this is the height of impiety.
Again, what about the promises for the future in Holy Writ that still await fulfillment? If God were not omniscient, how can we ever believe them? And if we defer from believing them, then we are acting as judges over the Word of God, editing here and there according to our whims. This would blasphemously imply that we are stronger than God. (Of course the humanistic philosophy of man upon earth does this very thing day in and day out).
As mortals, we only know some things still future. We know when the next solar eclipse will happen. We know when the next elections will take place (yet only God knows who will actually win the election). Some future things are known by men; all future things are known by God. We know for sure that someday we are going to die; only God knows the actual day and manner it will happen.
Man is not designed or engineered to know the future. The human race could not function or perform normally in real day to day life if it were so. If man knew the future, nothing could occur in a spontaneous and sequential manner. No sporting event could exist (who would attend the ball game if the outcome was pre-determined)? Who would run for political office? Who would invest in the stock market? If you knew the day and manner would die (even at 100 in your sleep), your whole life would be put "on hold" in both anticipation and terror of that dreadful day. Jesus confirmed that principle, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7).
For the Christian the future is a role that belongs solely to God in whom we must trust. It has been apply put that for the Child of God, "We may not know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future."
Another point: if God did not know all future things, He would be mutable in His knowledge, and therefore potentially a changeable God. He would be becoming better and better every day, graduating from relative ignorance to relative intelligibility. But a mutable God is not infinite, and therefore no God at all. To deny the scriptures and say that God does not know all things, we would be destroying the very foundations of our faith.
If God were ignorant of the future, He would naturally be ignorant of all contingencies. He would not know all things that shall accidentally happen. We speak about chance happenings, for in our ignorance they so appear (like our dear friend who lost their only 16 year old daughter when the drunk ran through the red light). But the Scripture affirms that God knows and even arranges all contingencies, both good and bad (1 Ki 22:39). He actually directs our individual lives by arranging the seemingly haphazard. What may seem bad to us is actually good to God (Rom 8:28). That fact can be exceedingly difficult to understand and it becomes a real test of the believer's faith.
How does God know all things?
As there is a vast distance between the very nature or essence of God and our own personal being, so there is a vast distance between the thoughts of God and our own thoughts (see Chapter last chapter 3e of Angelfall). For that reason His understanding is unlimited, whereas ours is.
The Eminency of God
God is above all, which is His eminency, and therefore cannot but see the motions of all that happens. It is also because all the perfections of knowing and knowledge are united in God. Man uses his senses; he fixes his gaze upon one object at a time; it is God’s perfection that enables Him to behold all things at once.
God knows all things independently. Since God is infinite in all His attributes, then His omniscience was not acquired from someone or somebody else. He does not receive His knowledge from anything outside of Himself; He needs no tutor or instruction manual, for "who hath been his counselor?" (Isa 40:13).
His works could not be foreknown to Him, if His knowledge commenced with the existence of His works (Acts 15:18); if He knows them before He made them, He could not derive a knowledge from them after they were made. How could His understanding be infinite if it depended upon a finite object or a learning process?
God knows all things distinctly. His understanding is infinite in regard to clearness. "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 Joh 1:5).
There is no blemish in His understanding. Nothing renders His vision obscure. Man discerns the surface or the "outward appearance" of things; the Lord "looketh upon the heart" of things and sees their actual essence (1 Sam 16:7). Our best is seeing "as in a glass darkly" (1 Cor 13:12). But God knows the forms and essence of things, and every circumstance surrounding them.
"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Heb 4:13). All things are open to Him as a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb 4:14). "He brings out the host of heaven by number, and calleth them by names" (Isa 40:26). On the other end of the scale, He even know the exact number of hairs on every human head (Mat 10:30).
God’s knowledge is never confused because of external factors: "Darkness and light are both alike to him" (Psalms 139:12). What is darkness to us is not so to Him. God actually sees in the darkness, but we cannot.
The Infallibility of God
Another characteristic of His knowledge is its infallibility. God is infallible which means He cannot and does not make mistakes. His understanding is infinite in regards to certainty; every little bit of what He knows is as far from failing as what He speaks. He knows when even the sparrow falls to the ground (Mat 10:29). "What he hath thought shall come to pass, and what he hath purposed shall stand" (Isa 14:24." "His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure" (Isa 46:10).
If we do not uphold His infallibility in knowledge, then we would have to conclude that His knowledge is imperfect; and since He knows all things by His very essence or nature, His essence also must be imperfect, which would render God impotent. Or no God at all.
It is therefore impossible that God should err in His understanding.
The Immutability of God
The word immutable means "unchangeable or unmovable" God's understanding, which is infinite, must therefore be unchangeable. For that reason He can swear by nothing higher than Himself (Heb 6:13).
The knowledge of possible things, arising from the knowledge of His power, cannot be changed unless His power be changed, and God become weak; the knowledge of future things cannot be changed, because that knowledge arises from His own will, which is irreversible. Proverbs says "The counsel of the Lord that shall stand" (Pro 19:21). This certainly is what makes God God, and man man.
God and Time
God knows everything perpetually and in sequence. Since He knows by His essence or divine nature, His essence never ceases for it is contiguous. He does not know in habit, but by action. God, being the highest degree of being, and unique in being, is therefore the highest degree of understanding.
Knowledge is one of the most perfect acts in any creature. God therefore has all actual, as well as essential and habitual knowledge; His understanding is without bounds, unaffected by the passage of time.
Time does not affect God or His knowledge. A thousand years are no more to God than a day, or a watch in the night (Psa 90:4 and 2 Pet 3:8).
Comfort for Christians
And finally, here is the practical application to all of this. How does all the above bring comfort to me as a Christian?
The Christian is a person born of the Spirit, and who has a citizenship in heaven; God the Father is his father in heaven, and he has been adopted into His family through the sacrificial death of His only begotten Son.
Now since God has an infinite knowledge and understanding, and is all-powerful, then the providence exercised by God in the world must be FOR THE CHILDREN'S BENEFIT, i.e. you and me. "All things work together for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28). For no father would neglect to provide for the wants of his family. God is omniscient and therefore sees all things; He is good, and therefore does not neglect the welfare of His children. He conducts everything to that one appointed end, and included in that end is the ingathering of His church and its final glorification.
Furthermore, our knowing about God’s omniscience is comforting because of the Day of Judgment. God knows those who are His, and He will certainly own them at the last day, and they will be manifested for what they truly are, the sons of God (Rom 8:19). For this great event every mature Christian longs with anticipation. His wrath will not consume us then, for Christ has already bore the curse on our behalf. The books will indeed be opened (cf. Dan 12:10), but His people, whose names are written in the book of life, will be vindicated, for there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1). God knows about it, for it is He who justifies believers (Rom 8:31-33).
God’s knowledge is a source of unspeakable comfort to Christians because they thus are convinced that our standing before Him is an absolute surety, not because of anything done by us (for in us dwells no good thing), BUT IN CHRIST ALONE, who is made for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. God knows our estate, our thoughts, our deeds; such knowledge drives us incessantly to cling to the Lord Jesus, to His righteousness imputed to us. For nothing else can save us.
Our knowledge that God is omniscient fills us with wonder, awe and praise. It is so comforting to own the all-seeing Jehovah as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He knows us by name, He knows our temptations and thus provides us a way to escape (1 Cor 10:13); He knows our cares and invites us to lay them before Him (1 Pet 5:10); though we do not know our future, our God knows it well enough. This thought should eliminate all anxiety as we approach the throne of grace with thanksgiving (Phi 4:6,7).
David enjoyed assurance that He will continue to dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psa 23); he mentions several blessings from above, all because "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (v.1). God sees all our needs and circumstances, and though He often uses trails to sanctify us, He knows how much and how long, and treats us as individual children. There is nothing too minute or too big for Him.
Such knowledge of His all-encompassing providence and everlasting power must prove a source of comfort for those within His family.
It is total reassurance to know that we are His children and He is our Father.