If we desire to understand God then we need to understand the character of God …… then not only does the gospel make sense …… but the doctrines of Scripture … of Christ …. And everything else fall into place. The problem is that there are many who attend church and sit under the ministry of the word …… they look interested …… they nod in agreement at the right time …… they give the impression that they have all the wisdom required to understand the character of God …… yet really they know little or nothing at all. While many study the person of God …… they are formulating a false view of Him altogether …… Indeed, last time we considered some of the false teaching concerning the matter of Justification by Faith Alone.
When we consider the matter of the Knowledge of God the same problems with false teaching arise …… Perhaps this is nowhere more evident than in the doctrines of “OPENNESS THEOLOGY”. At its core, “OPENNESS THEOLOGY “teaches that while God knows the past and the present, HE DOES NOT KNOW THE FUTURE! …… He cannot know the future because the future has not occurred. They say that God could only know the future if He had predestined it …… but God couldn’t have predestined the future, for then people’s lives would be predestined and they would not be free personal agents in the final sense of the word.
Furthermore they teach that since God created man as a free personal being …… God cannot know the future, because man hasn’t chosen it yet. This kind of doctrine in nothing more than Arminianism gone mad …… for while Arminianism does strip God of His absolute sovereignty it at least admits that God foresees all things.
These false teachings that have invaded the church are, as one man has suggested, like a bus travelling along the motorway at 90 miles an hour with no driver at the controls …… There is no clear purpose or direction for the bus …… it has no destination …… where it is going is an anomaly. Tragically those who follow such teachings of God will in time go from worshipping a God who is not sovereign to one who has no clue about what is going to happen …… They will not be worshipping the God of the Bible … but deity (if we may call him that) who is more like Greek mythology than Biblical Christianity.
Listen to God
How then do we set about unravelling true Christianity …… Well it is imperative that instead of following the teachings of man’s imaginations …… we listen to God himself …… we must let the Lord tell us who He is and what He is like.
We must ask ourselves …… “Does God’s Word instruct us that He is ignorant of the future?” …… “Does the Bible show us a God who learns as He goes’ along?” …… The problem is that some scriptures appear to be saying those very things.
The Old Testament several times declares that God repented of something He had done …… This would certainly imply that the Lord had learned by His mistakes and changed His mind.
Take for instance Genesis Chapter 6 the human race had become apostate …… verse 7 gives God’s response to the situation “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them”. Is this a picture of a God who had great expectations of His creatures only to be disappointed and wished He had never created them in the first place?
In Genesis 6 (and other places) the Bible presents God as learning and changing His mind in order to communicate the infinite God to finite creatures. Therefore the Bible sometimes speaks analogically when it depicts God changing His course of action based on something in the creatures.
The Bible communicates in this way to contrast God’s holiness, righteousness and justice with man’s wickedness and sin …… God is presented as though He is finding out about man’s sin and then issuing judgement because this is the only way we can grasp the urgency for us to cast ourselves upon God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
Also in Jonah 4:2 where God repents of the Judgement He promised to bring on the wicked Ninevites if they did not change their wicked ways …… The moment they repented God, Himself turned His wrath away and did not judge them. Was God then waiting with baited breath to see what the Ninevites would do? …… The answer is “No” in that the eternal God is infinite and not limited, as are His finite creatures. Unlike us … God depends on no one …… Furthermore, He knows how we will respond before we do so.
Exodus 32:12 provides another example of God changing His mind about intended action …… In the light of the Lord’s declaration that He would wipe the recalcitrant Israelites, Moses prays, “Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people”. … As a result, the Lord responded to Moses’ plea and did not destroy His people.
What then are we to make of God’s changing His mind? …… In one sense, the Lord allowed Moses to intercede for Israel to shows man’s need of an intercessor and a mediator …… In this sense, Moses is a type of Christ. But this in no way means that God did not know that Moses would intercede …… On the contrary, God predestined these things so that He could teach us about Christ’s mediation for us.
This then is the way that God has deigned to deal with His people …… but it in no way indicates that God actually learns as He goes along …… Rather it shows us how He works with us in time, but says nothing of how the Lord views things from the perspective of eternity.
God Knows All About Us.
We must refrain from regarding God as weak and limited like us …… He is not impotent …… rather He is omnipotent for God is greater than the universe …… Nor is He bound like His creatures …… His only limitation (if it could be called so) is His being consistent with who He is …… God cannot be other than God.
It is a fact that mainstream theologians have always taught that God is omniscient …… He knows the past, present and future …… There is nothing that God does not know, and he never forgets anything. It is impossible for God to learn anything …… nor does He make up things as He goes along …… You and I may do …… but God never does …… God knows everything there is know about us ……
The Psalmist states: “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether”. (139:2-4) Sitting down and rising up is a figure of speech which speaks of our whole life …… Every moment we live … every step we take … every decision we make are all known by God …… He knows every single detail of our lives …… In fact God knows us better than we know ourselves.
We can go further than that …… God knows what we are going to say before we say it …… How many of us can say that? …… Sometimes we open our mouths and talk before we think not knowing how it will affect others …… Unlike us, God knows everything we will say long before we speak it.
Not only does God know all about us …… we can conceal nothing from Him, for He even knows what we think …… Try as we might we cannot hide our thoughts from Him …… In Ezekiel 11:5 God says: “I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them”. God knows what you are thinking at this very moment …… He knows every single thought that flits through your mind …… and that is a very sobering thought in itself.
But wasn’t that the point Jesus was making when He said that refraining from actually committing adultery wasn’t enough …… The very fact that you do it in your mind is a sin against God worthy of eternal condemnation. From one perspective it may seem rather scary that God knows so much about us …… But from another point of view it is altogether comforting …… Despite all the bad things He knows about us, God has chosen us for His people and He has set His love upon us. The amazing thing is that God knew everything about us before He betrothed us to Himself and He still chose us for His own …… There is no deeper love than that.
As repugnant as we were to Him, God chose to reach down and befriend us …… Therefore because of God’s unmerited and unconditional love, we can pray as did the Psalmist: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. (139:23-24)
God Knows the Future
Not only does God know the past and the present, and everything about us …… He also knows the future …… In fact His knowledge of the future is as complete as His knowledge of the past and present. If something could happen apart from God’s knowledge, the event would be independent of Him, and God would no longer be supreme …..
Not only that, but Scriptural prophecy would be exactly what liberals have said all along ……They claim it is not the foretelling of the events, but the mere recognition of events after the fact, written as if they were prophesied in advance …… Such a view of prophecy renders Scripture highly deceptive …… Even worse, it depicts God as nothing more than a celestial super salesperson that, by sleight of hand, appears to be what He is not. We may be certain that Scripture is not deceptive and that God’s knowledge of the future is no abstract knowledge …… rather it is tightly connected with His eternal purpose.
If, as Ephesians 1:11 says: “being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”. …… we can rest assured that God knows what He has predestined.
Now the very concept of predestination is that of determining beforehand what will occur …… This is precisely what God has done …… from all eternity. The Bible is filled with hundreds of prophecies, which God foretold because He had predestined them and therefore knew beforehand that they would become true.
For example, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ was foretold in Isaiah 7:14 … as was the place of His birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) …… Jesus Death on the cross and resurrection from the dead were also foretold hundreds of years before He lived (Psalm 22, Psalm 16, Isaiah 53) …… Even Judas’ betrayal was prophesied (Psalm 41:9).
If the events prophesied about Jesus’ first coming occurred as they were foretold, we may be sure that His second coming will happen according to the Biblical prediction …… Jesus will return.
As the disciples were watching Jesus ascend to heaven two men dressed in white clothing said: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”. …… The apostles all looked forward to that great day …… the return of the Lord Jesus Christ just as they has seen Him go.
The bible also gives us views of what heaven will be like as far as those who have responded to the call of God on their lives are concerned …… However, we are not in heaven …… we only hope for it.
We are living here on earth, taking one step at a time …… We don’t know whether we’ll live to see tomorrow …… from our perspective life is one surprise after another …… when we think things have settled down, along comes something else to upset the situation.
We may not know the future …… but we want to know someone who does …… Such is the God of the Bible …… He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He has predestined all things and knows every event of history …… He has every hair on your head counted and not even a sparrow falls to the ground unknown to Him.
Not only that, but God who knows all things, past, present and future has planned then all for our ultimate good …… How can we not bow down and worship such a God as this.