Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Knowledge of God

The third chapter in Arthur Pink's book The Attributes of God (Baker Books, 1975) is entitled "The Knowledge of God." Pink writes, "God is omniscient. He know everything: everything possible, everything actual; all events and all creatures, of the past, the present, and the future. He is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth, and in hell...God not only knows whatsoever has happened in the past in every part of his vast domains, and he is not only thoroughly acquainted with everything that is now transpiring throughout the entire universe, but he is also perfectly cognizant of every event, from the least to the greatest, that ever will happen in the ages to come. God's knowledge of the future is as complete as is his knowledge of the past and the present, and that, because the future depends entirely upon himself. Were it in anywise possible for something to occur apart from either the direct agency or permission of God, then that something would be independent of him, and he would at once cease to be Supreme" (21, 24).

Oh how right Pink was to say, "What a wondrous being is the God of Scripture! Each of his glorious attributed should render him honorable in our esteem. The apprehension of his omniscience ought to bow us in adoration before him. Yet how little do we meditate upon this Divine perfection!"

But when we do take the time to meditate upon this Divine perfection it has equally strong and opposite affects on believers and unbelievers alike. For the latter, they despise this perfection because they so strongly desire to escape from accountability to God. If God knows all then he sees all, and if he sees all then all will give account to him. And they hate this because they love their wicked ways, even as believers once loved their wicked ways.

But for believers this Divine perfection is fraught with much joy and comfort. For instance, he knows that when he is perplexed, God knows his ways and guides his every step. When she lifts up her prayers to God she knows she prays to a God who knows all and sees all and has power over all and works all things together to the good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. He knows that, even though the omniscient one knows all his sin, he is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and has determined to set his course aright in Christ.

Oh what joy there is in resting in the God who knows all things!

Pink closes with one more observation: "Now the Divine knowledge of the future is not a mere abstraction but something which is inseparably connected with and accompanied by his purpose" (24). Point being, the fact that God knows something does not in itself cause a that something to come about. He must also will it. Just as knowing what the weather will be does not cause the weather to act accordingly, so God's knowledge of all things does not cause them to occur--he must add to his knowledge his causative will. "Nothing has ever come to pass, or ever will, merely because God knew it. The cause of all things is the will of God." More on this in subsequent chapters.

For now, Pink brings his meditation to an end by urging us to see that this Divine perfection ought to strike amazement, holy awe, and adoration in our souls. "The whole of my life stood open to his view from the beginning. He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet. nevertheless, fixed his heart upon me. Oh, how the realization of this should bow me in wonder and worship before him!" (26)

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