The more you know, the less you know?

Have you ever noticed that the more you learn, the more you realise how little you know? I find these thoughts, which may appear contradictory on the surface, fascinating and honest.

A great example, in the Christian life, is the growing awareness of the depths of our sin as we travel further down to path of sanctification. As we grow in holiness, by the working of the Holy Spirit within us, we see ever more clearly how unlike God we are in that respect.

Mike continued preaching through his series on the attributes of God – this time on the omniscience of God. In this case, “omni” again means ‘all’, and “science” comes from the Latin word “scientia” meaning ‘knowledge’. Thus God is “all-knowing.”

In working our way through the passages of scripture that speaks to God knowledge, including His foreknowledge, we learned that:

  • God’s thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa 55:8-9),
  • No-one has counselled Him (Isa 40:13),
  • He knew Jeremiah before he was born (Jer 1:5),
  • The path of David was plotted before he was formed (Ps 139:16),
  • He declared the end from the beginning (Isa 46:8-13),
  • He has predestined His sheep to be confirmed to the image of His son (Rom 8:29),
  • Jesus was crucified at the hands of sinners according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23, 1 Cor 15:3),
  • We have countless prophecies spoken hundreds, or even thousands of years, before they come to pass (e.g. Gen 3:15, John 5:46 and countless others),
  • Jesus’ exclamation on the cross “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me…” quotes Psalm 22, which gives a detailed account of the suffering and execution of the Christ – written by David hundreds of years before the crucifixion (Mat 27:46).

We start to see clearly that God is not like us when it comes to knowledge.

One of the biggest points I took from Mike’s message was one I had never previously considered: God knows Himself fully and perfectly. It might not sound like much but if we can even slightly grasp His infinitude (if that’s even a word) we’re also saying that His knowledge must be infinite.

While it might be true that it’s difficult to prooftext the omniscience of God, it doesn’t make it any less true. It’s also difficult to prooftext the doctrine of the trinity, but that is foundational to Christian orthodoxy. The Bible is clear that God is not limited when it comes to knowledge, wisdom, power, presence like we are.

A caution: it’s far too easy to use God’s creation (which is limited in all those ways mentioned above) and work our understanding of God back from that. This is a sure fire way to make a god in our own image. Funny how, Biblically, it’s the reverse: God is, and He made us in His image. That doesn’t therefore mean we are limitless like God, but it does mean we share some significant similarities which plants, birds, orangutans and angels do not.

If you’re a Christian reading this, do you find it easy to submit to, and rest in, His revelation of Himself? If not, why not?

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