“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
- Isaiah 55:8-9
For Christian life to be vibrant and vital – to be abundant, we have to know Who God is. How can we have a relationship with someone we don’t know? Additionally, the value of anything good that we receive depends entirely upon who the giver is. For example, if I offer you my wisdom, that is a sorry replacement for the wisdom of God. So, we’re picking up this week with the series on the qualities of God. Knowing Who God is and how He interacts with us are the foundation for Christian discipleship, drawing us more fully into communion with the Holy Trinity.
The topic of this blog is the omniscience of God, and our obedience springs from trust that God knows more than we know and can do more than we have imagination to ask. Omniscience is not a word we hear frequently these days. The literal meaning of the word comes from medieval Latin: omniscientia or omnis meaning “all” and scientia meaning “knowledge.” Omniscience, then, means all-knowing or, as applied to God, “holding all or infinite knowledge, fully knowing all things.” Pause and think about that for a moment: infinite knowledge… fully knowing all things… There can be no accurate knowledge we discover that God did not know first and, in fact, brought into being.
This view is a radical departure from the silencing of God in public discourse. The imposed privatization of faith in American public life has the unfortunate effect of making faith a purely personal matter and taming God into reflecting our own wants and needs. Waving the banner of “objective secular knowledge,” all religious belief is relegated to the sphere of personal opinion or belief. Only, there is no such thing as purely objective knowledge. For goodness’ sake, we’re living during a time when people no longer know the difference between a boy and a girl, and one is hard-pressed to come up with a more objectively definable fact than that.
When I searched to see what others had written about the omniscience of God recently, the majority of the essays or blogs were about God’s knowledge of each of us. This is wholly true. God knows us better than we know ourselves. Nothing in us is hidden from Him, and we are fully known by Him. However, to limit our understanding of God’s omniscience to each of us personally is to allow the purveyors of public opinion to set parameters around what God knows and to subject Him to the judgments of mortals. Think of it like this: if university professors or entertainment personalities or public policymakers jettison discussion of God in all public debate and discernment – which they surely do – then our own understanding is likely to reflect other human beings rather than God. Essentially, we accept that God has full knowledge of some things, people mostly, and God has little or no knowledge of world affairs, social order, and the nature of good for humanity.
Does that not strike you as odd? The Creator of all that is, is not believed to know anything about His own creation.
Yes, I know a great many people do not believe in God and that His popularity is waning in western civilization, but frankly, what we choose to believe has little or no bearing on what is true. For millennia, truth and meaning were the highest pursuits of human life. In contemporary western civilization, the highest human pursuits now appear to be sex, wealth, and power. Such being the case, an argument could be made that western civilization itself is waning and that that is not necessarily bad.
If we believe that God created all, then it stands to reason that He also knows all things fully. That would include each of us, but wouldn’t God also understand the capacities, functions, and potentialities of the whole of the universe? Much ado is made of the Christianity’s antipathy toward science, but the ado is poorly informed with superficial accusations at best. Christianity cannot be antagonistic toward the study of God’s creation, but Christians are a faulty bunch of people with limited understanding who are frequently wrong on any number of things. So, while we can say that some Christians have a strong aversion to science, that is hardly the same thing as suggesting the Creator does not understand His creation.
The importance of the omniscience of God cannot be overstated. We are not going to learn something about ourselves that God doesn’t already know. And, equally, no one is going to discover anything in the whole of universal creation that is a surprise to God. Human knowledge either aligns with Divine knowledge, or the human knowledge is wrong. Let that thought sit with you for a day or two. The odds of people who do not believe in God arriving at God’s knowledge and understanding of His creation are very small – not non-existent, but very small – and none of us will ever know all that God knows nor understand fully as God does. This demands a humility and acceptance of mystery that we prefer to deny, but with faith in the goodness of God and His perfect love for and knowledge of His creation, much of the urgency and dread of our time would turn out to be baseless.
For example, the other day, I was reading the observations on climate change by the 2022 Nobel laureate in physics, John Clauser, who proved nearly fifty years ago that much of Einstein’s work on general relativity was wrong. Regarding climate change he pointed out that, of the forty models currently being used to predict climate change by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), none includes cloud cover. His calculations show that cloud cover reflects the sun’s rays and reduces warming of the earth’s surface by a factor of 200 to 400 times that of CO2 and methane, the two culprits all international policy seeks to eliminate. The implications of his calculations are vast, not the least of which are the completely erroneous predictions of the IPCC.
Leaving aside the politics and economics of the climate change industry, what I want us as Christians to see here is that God created in such a manner as to assure the earth will not overheat. We should expect something like this because God has outflanked every bizarre idea we’ve ever come up with. Addressing climate change by eliminating a portion of the global population through starvation will certainly get God’s attention – and not happily. Yet, there are those who believe it is necessary to save the planet.
Our self-importance never ceases to amaze me. The same logic can be applied to nuclear armament. Pacifists call for curbing nuclear weapons because we have enough to destroy the planet. Whatever the merits of reducing nuclear weapons, not wiping out the earth isn’t among them. We have enough to kill each other, but we are not going to blow up God’s planet.
More such examples abound. The human tendency to strive to be like God combined with the absence of faith even in the existence of God will always produce misguided efforts to resolve fears and solve problems that are creations of our own minds. We lack the knowledge that God possesses, and we certainly cannot fathom the ways God has worked and is currently working across the earth, in our own lives, and throughout the universe.
When Jesus said that He is the Truth, He was not speaking of truth for you or truth for me. The Word that spoke creation into being ‘became flesh and dwelt among us,’ meaning in Him is the truth of all things, whether the truth of our weaknesses and potential or the truth of the order and function of the whole of creation. Because Christian faith holds to truth that surpasses the knowledge of man, we will be the objects of ridicule for those who believe they know the most. If we fail to succumb to the embarrassment of mockery, we will become targets of rage and hatred as our Lord said would happen.
Christian, there is so much angst and anger, vulgarity and degradation, fear and lawlessness that grip our nation these days. But this moment in time is not the measure of Who God is or what God is doing. In fact, across our land, we can find pockets of renewal and new passion for our Lord. Pray that these spread and seek ways to participate, experience, and share the renewal of Jesus Christ’s salvation and love.
Live looking for the wisdom of God woven throughout our days and maintain a measure of humility before the generations to come, as well as a measure of gratitude for those that preceded ours. We do not have to be part of the anger, nor do we need to fear plans of mortals. Our God is at work in the world. He sees all that is happening and knows the hearts of all people. His ways are inscrutable, but we can be sure that He is working for the good - for the salvation - of every human being and, indeed, the whole of creation.
It is not enough for Christians not to be afraid. We are to live fearlessly, confident in the One for Whom nothing is impossible and everything is known. Above all else, live in the love of Christ that is life and joy. The light and the hope of the world dwell in you.
In Christ –
Rev. Elizabeth Moreau