10 Question 4

Let’s break down this question into two parts.  The first part asks if God is omniscient.  Omniscient means all knowing, so the question really asks if God know everything.  Let’s look at a few verses that address this.  First, let’s look at Psalms 139:1-10 – “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 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. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”  This portion shows that not only is the Lord omniscient, he is also omnipresent.  That means He is everywhere at one time.  Ezekiel 11:5 says, “And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.”  We are beginning to see that the Lord knows everything.  Not only does He know what we do, He knows our very thoughts.  In fact, Peter said to the Lord Jesus in John 21:17 – “…Lord, thou knowest all things…”

So, we can see that the Lord does indeed know everything; everything about you and me, our deeds, our words, even our thoughts.  But what about the future?  Does the Lord know what will happen in the future.  Let’s listen to the Lord’s own words in Isaiah 46:9-10 – “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”  So the Lord does know the future, He knows and declares the end from the beginning.  Consider what is said of the Lord Jesus as he faced His captors just before going to the cross.  John 18:4 – “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?”  What an amazing thought.  The Lord Jesus knew exactly what awaited him at the hands of that band of men and the officers of the chief priests and Pharisees.  He knew exactly what would happen to Him.  He knew that He would be accused and tried unjustly.  He knew that He would be beaten without mercy by those who hated Him.  He knew that He would be nailed to a cross and judged of God for our sins.  He knew He would die and be raised again the third day.  And He ‘went forth.’  Knowing all the terrible things that awaited Him, the Lord Jesus went forth and finished the work His Father had given Him to do.  Incredible omniscience.  Incredible love.

So, I think we have seen enough from the Scriptures to assure us that the Lord is indeed omniscient.  He does know everything.  So, if God knows everything why did He repent in Genesis 6:6?  Let’s read Genesis 6:5-6 – “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.   And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”  So, we see that it repented the Lord that he had made man.  What does it mean to repent?  We mostly think of repenting as regretting some wrong thing that we have done.  Acts 17:30-31 tells us, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”  The scriptures are full of verses telling us that sinful men and women need to repent.  Here are just a few: Mark 1:15 – “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  Luke 13:3 – “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”  Luke 17:3 – “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”  Revelation 2:21 – “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.”  We can see in all these instances that repentance is called for from those that have sinned.  To repent literally means to change your mind.  In these cases it means to stop declaring yourself right and acknowledge that you are wrong.  Has the Lord ever sinned and needed to repent?  Absolutely not!  As we discussed in an earlier program, God cannot sin.

Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”  However, Jeremiah 18:8 says, “If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.”  So, does the Lord repent or not?  Not in the way that man is called on to repent.  The Lord does not sin and does not need to repent of any of His actions.  In fact we are told in Genesis 18:25 – “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”  Everything the Lord does is the right thing to do, and from any of his works, He will not repent as if He had sinned.  The word ‘repent’ as found in Genesis 6:6 is translated “was sorry” in the NIV and other translations.  It grieved the Lord to see what His creation was doing, although we certainly know that He knew in advance what sinful man would do.  Still, it grieved the Lord and caused him to be sorrowful, and in that sense the Lord repented.  (10.4)