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The All-Knowing Deity: God's Omniscience

I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.



Mensa is the largest and oldest high I.Q. society in the world. It was founded in 1946, and the only qualification that a person must have to get into the society is to have an I.Q. in the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized, supervised I.Q. or other approved intelligence test. These are among the most brilliant people in the world. However, none of these men and women can compare with the God who created them, and who created all that there is. And there is no I.Q. test ever written which can measure omniscience.

When we say that God is omniscient, we mean that He is all-wise and all knowing. He knows all things possible and actual. He has complete and immediate knowledge of things in the past, in the present and in the future. There is absolutely nothing that He doesn't know. This places Him in a class all by Himself.

I. The Bible and God's Omniscience

There is an abundance of evidence in Scripture that our Lord is omniscient. And it is found in both the Old and the New Testaments. Isaiah tells us that God knows the end from the beginning (46:10). The Psalmist says that He is infinite in His understanding (Psalm 147:5). And the writer of Hebrews states that: "All things are open and naked before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13). The Apostle John in I John 3:19,20 tells us: "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything."

King David was in awe of our wonderful God and of God's intimate knowledge of him. He writes this in Psalm 139:

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is too high, I cannot attain it" (1-6).

We learn from Scripture that God sees everything in every place and keeps watch over the just and the wicked (Proverbs 15:3). We are taught that God knows everything in nature. He knows the number of stars and calls each one by name. And He is aware of the tiniest sparrow that falls ( Psalm 147:4; Matthew 10:29). He even knows the minutest of details such as the hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30).

I find it fascinating also, that our Lord Jesus Christ suggests that God also knows what might have happened if circumstances had been different. He was pronouncing woes upon the cities in which his mightiest works were done and said this:

"Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes" (Matthew 11:21).

We could go on with verses on God's omniscience, but these are a good sampling of what Scripture tells us about our God.

II. Omniscience and God's Total Awareness of the World

In a book entitled Making Today Count for Eternity author Kent Crockett talks about the movie The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey. Carrey plays a man named Truman Burbank who thinks that he is living a normal life, like everyone else that he knows. However, as the movie progresses, Truman starts to get a feeling that he is being watched.

What he didn't realize is that every moment of his life, from the day he was born until that moment, was being telecast worldwide to an international audience. He is unknowingly the star of The Truman Show which is the most popular television program on the planet. From the moment he wakes up until the time he goes to bed, the whole world eavesdrops on his life with the help of 5000 hidden cameras strategically placed. Finally, Truman realizes that he is being observed by an unseen audience who is watching his every move.

Well, the truth is, without the aide of cameras, there is an unseen audience watching us as well. That audience God almighty!

It is interesting that some people think of God and get the picture of a distant deity who formed the universe and then let it go to function on its own. They see a God who either doesn't know or doesn't care what is going on. Others may picture Him like a man with a long gray beard who means well, but is slightly senile and not in touch. However, the Bible, in sharing God's attributes such as His omniscience, pictures a God who not only knows but cares and is using His knowledge and power to ultimately work things out for good (Romans 8:28,29; Ephesians 1:9-12).

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While we may not completely understand why the Lord both sees and allows some things to happen in this world that are evil, we do know that God, who knows the end from the beginning, will use it all to bring about ultimate good and His glory.

As a matter of fact, Paul lets us know that the whole plan of the ages and our part in it has been known to God for all eternity. And this is not merely foreknowledge or total knowledge of the future but includes His omnipotence, or all-powerfulness as well. He knows this will happen because He has the power to make it happen. The Lord has predestined it to happen. (Ephesians 1:1-12).


It has been said that there are no afterthoughts with God. Our Lord is never caught by surprise. He's never trying to figure out what to do next because some unexpected thing has happened. He has total knowledge of all that happened in the past. He has total knowledge of what is happening right now, even in the remotest part of the universe. And He has a total knowledge and understanding of the future.

Since this is true, it should cause us to want to live more holy lives because we will one day give an account to this One who is observing all that we do. Though, if we are Christians our sins are forgiven, we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to answer for all that we've done for Christ, or failed to do. And we will either receive rewards or suffer loss for the things done or not done to glorify Him (II Corinthians 5:10; I Corinthians 3:10-15). However, none of us need to feel ashamed in that day of judgment if we serve Him with all of our hearts.

But we also have another reason to serve this omniscient God. We can be thankful for the fact that the Lord knows us intimately. and completely; He knows all about our faults and loves us anyway. However, He loves us too much to leave us that way. The Lord has our best interest at heart and He is making us into the image of His wonderful Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). This is a God we can put our trust in. We can trust Him with our future, both in this life and in the one to come.

If you haven't placed your trust in Him, now is the time. He who knows you best loves you the most and wants to have a relationship with you through your faith in Jesus Christ.

When we think about God's omniscience, we should be totally amazed and awed by our wonderful Lord. Let us end this piece on the omniscience of God by quoting the apostle Paul, for he sums it up nicely:

"Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:33-36).

© 2012 Jeff Shirley


Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on May 15, 2012:

Thanks for your comments dmop. The truth is, God is infinite and in many ways beyond our understanding. But I do believe that He has revealed Himself through the Bible and we can know that which He has shown us about Himself through His Word.

However, I also believe that because He is infinite, we will spend eternity getting to know Him. Theologians talk about both the transcendance and the immanence of God. This, in a nut shell, means that God is both way beyond us and beyond our understanding, and, at the same time, He is a God who is near to us. He is so near that He lives inside every believer through the Person of the Holy Spirit. Once again, hard to understand, but to me it is a comforting truth.

dmop from Cambridge City, IN on May 15, 2012:

I have written much on the subject of God and what he is capable of. I personally believe that there are so many mistakes in the translation of the Holy Bible, that it is scary, yet I continue to have faith in his existence. I respect your opinions, and perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think God is at all like most would have us believe.

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