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What is Omniscience and What Does it Mean for Me?

What is Omniscience and What Does it Mean for Me?

What is Omniscience?

What does omniscience really mean? God's omniscient nature simply means that He knows everything. He knows the future, the past, and everything that is going on at this moment. He knows calculus, microbiology, and English. He understands physics and engineering. He knows the pressures of providing for a family and running a business. But more personally, He knows everything about me.

Merriam-Webster defines omnipresent, the characteristic of omniscience, as "having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight; possessed of universal or complete knowledge."

Scriptures on Omniscience:

"Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure." (Psalm 147:5)

"For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything." (1 John 3:20)

"And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:13)

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me” (Psalm 139:1 NLT).

My Bible study of teenaged girls turned to Psalm 139. When we discussed verse two, “You know my thoughts,” one girl’s blue eyes widened and she said, “You mean He knows everything I think?”

Yes—that includes every thought. Whether that comforts or scares you, it has practical value for today. The omniscience that terrified this teenager comforted me. How often have my thoughts baffled me? What a relief to know God knows and understands them.

Let’s look at some of what God’s omniscience means for us personally.

God's Omniscience means I Can be real.

God’s omniscience means we don’t have to pretend with Him. We don’t have to clean up our thoughts and emotions before we approach Him. He already knows everything. 

God understands why we’re upset. He knows the root of our insecurities, disappointments, and our needs. He can handle our doubts, fears, and critical thoughts. He’s the perfect One to guide us to peace, health, and healing. 

David demonstrated the practical value of God’s omniscience at the end of Psalm 139 when he prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (verses 23-24 NLT).

David knew the hate he had blurted out in previous verses needed God’s attention. Instead of hiding behind pious platitudes or saying, “Just kidding; I didn’t mean it,” David invited God into His ugly thoughts and emotions.

Because God is omniscient we don’t have to explain our situation or confusion to Him. We simply ask Him for help. He knows just what we need.

God's Omniscience means I am secure.

When we sin, the accuser whispers, “You call yourself a Christian. God doesn’t want you in His family.”

God’s omniscience means that He knew everything about us before we were born. He knew all the ways we’d mess up before He chose us to be a part of His forever family. 

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 1:4 NLT). 

The next time you fail, remember Peter. The night of His betrayal, Jesus told Peter he’d deny Him three times that very night. Instead of washing His hands of Peter, He commissioned him! 

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:32 NIV).

When we fail, God’s omniscience means we can tell Him we’re sorry and thank Him that He knew we’d sin before we fell. We can thank Him that He died for that sin before we were born.

God's Omniscience means He knows the best way to train me.

Like storms reveal leaks in a home, trials reveal holes in our faith. Because God knows everything about us, He knows where we need strengthening and just how to do it.

We can face our trials in confidence because our Father uses them to strengthen us. He knows exactly what we need to grow the peaceful fruit of righteousness and become the people He created us to be.

“My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects… This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children… While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best… For it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God” (Hebrews 12:5-11 The Message).

When a trial seems too much, thank your Father that He really does know best. He knows you, your circumstance, and what it will produce in you.

God's Omniscience means all things together for my good. 

When I bake brownies, I like to lick the batter off of the spatula. But I’m never tempted to eat the raw eggs, pinch of salt, cocoa powder, or baking powder by itself. Individually, those taste disgusting. I don’t even want to eat a cup of sugar or a stick of butter by itself. But mixed together, these ingredients are delicious.

Not everything that enters our life is good. But, like a master baker, God knows how to whip these ingredients together to produce something marvelous. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

When your life falls apart or you’ve failed, thank God that He knows the recipe to work it together for good.

God's Omniscience means I have hope.

Have you ever struggled to find God’s will in a situation? Or have you wondered how your life will turn out, or your child’s? 

We don’t know the future, but God’s omniscience means He does. He knows the plans He has for us. He knows how things will turn out, and He says we have reason to live with hope.  

God has planned a glorious future for each of His children. Each of our stories are chapters in His great story. And like a good writer, His story includes a fabulous ending. 

When we can’t see how things will turn around or turn out, we draw hope from knowing God does. And He’s declared the end is good.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

When we feel hopeless, we can draw hope from God’s omniscience. He’s seen the future and tells His children to live with hope. He has wonderful plans for us. 

What does omniscient mean for me?

Because God knows everything we can approach Him with any problem and find the grace and help we need (Hebrews 4:16). Knowing God is omniscient means it’s important to stay in step with Him. He knows where roads will lead; I don’t. When His ways don’t make sense to my limited understanding, I know I can trust His wisdom.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).

Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, coaches, and writes to help others discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock

This article is part of our larger resource library of Christian questions important to the Christian faith. From core beliefs to what the Bible says about angels, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about Christian living.

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