What does it mean that God is All-Knowing?
When we are young we think that we know everything. As I have aged, I understand that in actuality I know very little. This isn't so with God, He knows everything.
So, what does it mean that God is All-Knowing (Omniscient)? The all-knowing God doesn’t need to learn or reason, nor does He forget. He knows everything perfectly and knows how to respond to everything perfectly. God knows everything that has happened and all potential outcomes of everything that will happen. His knowledge is absolute (Psalm 139:1-6, 1 John 3:19-20, 1 Corinthians 2:11).
(Definition is taken out of my book: Knowing the God We Proclaim)
Will you learn more with me about the One who is All-Knowing?
As I have contemplated how best to write about God's Omniscience I chuckled to myself at this thought, "God knows exactly how to write about this." The problem is I'm not God, and there is no perfect description in His Word that explains His All-Knowing. So, here I am and here you are. Stuck with someone who isn't all-knowing trying to describe the One who is!
God says in 1 John 3:19-20,
We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will set our heart at ease before Him, that if our heart condemns us, that God is greater than our heart, and He knows all things.
Here it is! A straightforward and simple declaration that God knows all things. "All-things" means "All-things." There is nothing that can be known that God doesn't. He knows all things with perfect and complete knowledge. He should know it all for He created it all. And of course, He knows Himself perfectly and completely.
So, what did we learn? God is All-Knowing, Omniscient.
Once I was doing a book review in Seminary. I don't recall the book but I do recall the lesson learned. I was being over-critical in my review. I said that the author didn't leave enough Scripture references to make his point. The professor admonished me in saying, "how many references does one need to establish the point as true?" His right point was that we only need one verse to know something to be true.
This one Scripture is all that is needed to know that God is All-Knowing!
Knowledge of Men
Oh boy, here we go. God's omniscience includes the thoughts of men, women, and children. Every thought you have ever thought, God knows perfectly. There is nothing that you can hide from Him!
For who among people knows the thoughts of a person except the spirit of the person that is in him? So also the thoughts of God no one knows, except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11)
God knows our thoughts perfectly and thus He can say,
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be answerable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be answerable to the court." (Matthew 5:21-22, bold added)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28, bold added)
Jesus took the 6th and 7th commandments and explained that they extend to the thoughts of men. That, God who knows the thoughts of men perfectly, judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). There is nothing that is hidden from God. There is no place that man can go to hide from Him. Everything man has ever done, is doing, and will do lies naked and exposed to Him who we must give an account.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer. (Hebrews 4:13)
Being exposed is embarrassing. When Adam and Eve transgressed God's commandment and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they were exposed. They realized the truth that they were naked and so they covered themselves (Genesis 3:10-11). God is the God of truth and thus by His very nature, God is an exposer. Thus, you cannot draw near to God and not lie naked and exposed to the eyes of whom we will give an account. David the man after God's own heart says, Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I get up; You understand my thought from far away. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, Lord, You know it all. You have encircled me behind and in front, And placed Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot comprehend it. (Psalm 139:1-6, bold added) I sincerely hope that you will read that again in all humility. Placing yourself before the God who knows. Asking Him to reveal the truth of who you are and who He is to you. Yes, it will be painful. But it is much better to go through these pains now than in hell for eternity. God is All-Knowing, omniscient. He knows everything that has happened. Including everything you have ever done. He also knows everything that is happening. Including everything that you are currently thinking. He knows everything that will happen. Including the end, because He is has declared what will happen and He is faithful to complete it and all-powerful so no one can thwart His plans. Just as David said, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot comprehend it (Psalm 139:6). God's omniscience is too much for me or anyone to understand. I don't even know my own thoughts perfectly, they are confusing. But God does. This knowledge of God is meant for us to wonder. To fall down and worship the God who is All-Knowing. To seek Him. To know Him. To enjoy Him. For this is the purpose of eternal life. Press on to know the Lord who knows your very thoughts, and everything else. (To discover more about God, see our page, Who is God?)