Imagine you’re in an art gallery. You’re walking around, admiring the many beautiful paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. You notice one that is particularly beautiful, and stop to really admire it closely. Its detail is magnificent, its idea superb. It really inspires deep emotions and calls you to explore it more deeply.
You decide that you want to learn as much about this painting as you can. You can tell some things about it just by looking at it with a careful eye- the style of art, the setting of the picture, the ideas depicted. Other things you can learn by doing some research, studying what others before you have observed and learned- the name of the artist, the time period it was painted in, the year it was first brought to this gallery, the type of paint used. And a there’s a lot you can discover by studying the artist- the intent and emotions behind it, the events that inspired it, the time it took to paint it. But no matter how much you study that painting, you will never know everything about it. Never. There are things that will ever remain a secret.
However, there is one who knows everything about that painting- the painter himself. He alone can know everything about it. He knows exactly what thoughts and emotions were poured into it and inspired it. He knows exactly what or who is depicted and why. He knows exactly what strokes were used to paint it.
In this illustration, you represent mankind. You are fascinated by the painting, as we are fascinated by the world around us. Mankind has invented such pursuits as science, mathematics, and philosophy in an attempt to learn as much as we can about the world we live in. We want to know all that there is to know. But no matter how much we learn and understand, there are always things that we will never be able to fully understand.
However, like the painter, God does know everything. He knows everything because He literally created everything. There is nothing in existence that God does not know and understand. God is omniscient, meaning all-knowing. For our purposes, we will define God’s omniscience to mean that God fully knows and understands all that is in existence, all of creation, and all of Himself. God knows all.
Isaiah 40:28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow faint or weary; His understanding is unsearchable.” Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.”
There is nothing that God does not know!
But maybe you think I’m wrong. Maybe you think you can prove me wrong. Maybe you’re thinking, “Aha! But God doesn’t know sin! So there!” If you are, then congratulations. You’re right. However, God’s not knowing sin doesn’t mean He isn’t omniscient. In fact, I would argue that His not knowing sin is what makes Him omniscient. How?
Simply because I would argue that sin is not knowledge. It is not an understanding. Rather, sin is a lack of understanding, a lack of knowledge. To know sin is not the ability to understand something- it is the lack of an ability to understand something. Sin is, in essence, not a presence of something, but an absence of something. Sin is the absence of the understanding of perfection. God knows all because He does not have sin eating away at His understanding. We do not fully understand good. We do not fully know purity. We do not completely understand the meaning of right, because wrong chews a hole in our knowledge. God is the only being who is omniscient for two reasons:
Firstly, it is because He created everything. So of course, if He created everything, He understands everything. He has to. The creation cannot outsmart the Creator. Everything in creation is caused by the Creator, and thus the Creator has dominion over it. We can never outsmart God, because if we think of it, it’s because God put it there.
The second reason is that God’s knowledge is not marred by sin. He knows and understands everything, having created everything, and unlike in humans, there is no sin ripping chunks out of His knowledge. He fully understands and knows all, and there’s nothing holding Him back from that knowledge and understanding.
So what does that all mean for us? Well, firstly, it brings comfort. God knows everything. There is nothing that escapes His thought. Because of this, He’s got it all under control. Nothing is happening to us that He doesn’t know about and choose to allow. However, it also brings fear and respect, for the same reasons. Nothing can escape His knowledge and understanding, which means that everything we do wrong is also known by Him. We have no secrets from God. We literally can’t have any secrecy or privacy, because God knows all. However, this also brings incredibly love and gratefulness. Why? Because despite His intimate knowledge of our inner beings, as messed up, twisted and downright creepy as they can be, God loves us. He LOVES us! And He died, or as we saw in the previous post, is in a way dying for us, so that we can be free of all of that messed up sinful nature. God knows you, and all the evil that you harbor, and He loves you enough to die for you. Praise Him!!!