Sunday, September 2, 2012

How Does God Know What He Knows?

I'm was pretty amped up today because it was the first week of Sunday School in the new season at Riverview.  This not only meant that I had a lot to for my job in getting things organized for all the new Sunday School classes, but it also means that my own class with the 5th and 6th graders kicked off again.  This year we're studying God's providence, and we opened the study by talking about what God is able to do.  We looked at several scriptures that describe how God does whatever he wants because he's the Creator, and there is no one that even comes close to comparing to him.

We also looked at God's knowledge, and how no one else knows what God knows.  For example, the Bible says that God knows the hairs on every person's head.  There's certainly no one else that knows this.  To show this in class today, I had one of the girls in class start counting her hair.  She got up to about 6 before we all got bored.  This got me thinking, though, about how God knows what he knows, and what it really means for him to have numbered the hairs on my head.

Think about it: God knows the hairs on my head at this very moment.  This number is different than it was this morning, though, since I brushed my hair and some hair undoubtedly came out on the brush.  Also, I'm sure a few hairs came out when I scratched my head throughout the day.  God knows the changes in the number of hairs on my head throughout a certain day.  How does he know this?  It's not as though he has to take a new count every time I lose or gain a hair or three.  So how does he know?  The best answer I can come up with is he just knows.  But we can also say that he knows what he knows because he is everywhere at all times, viewing and observing all things.  So when a few hairs fall out in the mornings when I brush my hair, he knows.  He subtracts that number from the tally.  When a new one pops through my scalp, he's there, watching it happen.  He knows because he's always watching.  Always.

It's kind of silly to think about, because when we think of something like keeping the number of hairs on a person's head, we think of a tally or a running count.  I don't think this is what God is doing, even though I used that kind of description for it in the preceding paragraph.  Rather, God just has a continuous awareness of all knowledge in the universe.  Whatever can be known in the universe is known by him.  And not because he's studying or taking notes or doing his best to keep up on someone's process of male patter baldness, but simply because he can't help but know everything.  This idea is the same that I tried to communicate in my most recent sermon on Psalm 139.  God knows everything there is to know.  This is a hard idea for us to understand, though, as we are linear beings who live in the bounds of space and time.  Nevertheless, it is what the Bible tells us about God, and we should believe it.

This idea should have a significant impact on the way we think about our lives and the ways in which we relate to God.  In a sense, there is nothing we need to tell him about ourselves, our lives, or our situations.  He's already completely aware of everything.  Scripture even says as much.  There's nothing hidden from his view, and there is nothing that he cannot do in light of his knowledge.  He is able to intercede in any situation in the universe precisely because he is aware of every situation in the universe.  As R.C. Sproul says, "There is not a maverick molecule in the universe."  Nothing is outside of God's view, and there is no situation that he is not able to effect.  We can rest easy, then, that God knows everything about everything.  What a blessed thought!

Unless, of course, you're not saved.  If that's the case, it's not a blessed thought that God knows everything about everything - it's a terrifying thought.  Because that means that God knows the depth of my sin and wickedness.  But even in the case of a lost sinner, God is still able to intercede by way of his Son.  No sinner is so far away from God that God cannot intercede on his behalf.  And no sinner is so far away that he is out of God's view, or cannot be seen.

I'm looking forward to a year of exploring these ideas in more depth with our 5th and 6th graders, and engaging the gospel with them in light of God's providence.

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