By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Omniscience of God

One of the many attributes of God that allows us to confidently put our trust in Him is His omniscience.

It seems that human beings have a tendency to think that God is as limited as we are in what He knows. As a result, we humans tend to think we know more than we do, and we grow rather proud of our learning. There is, of course, nothing wrong with being educated. It is a good thing and something the Lord expects us to do. However, as we read in
2 Nephi 9: 28-29

28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
We also need to remember:

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55: 8-9
There are numerous scriptures that teach us that God is omniscient (see, for example, 1 Samuel 2:3, Matthew 6:8, 2 Nephi 9:20, Doctrine & Covenants 38:2, and Moses 1:6). You can look up "omniscience" in the Topical Guide to find many more.

It troubles me whenever anyone says (or writes) anything that disputes the omniscience of God and Jesus Christ. It also troubles me whenever anyone expresses doubt that He could create all things, or flood the world in Noah's day, or any of the other works and wonders we learn of in the scriptures. Where is our faith that God knows all and can do all (for He is omnipotent, too)?

Of course, faith is something that grows as we exercise it, so studying the scriptures can help us to learn to know God and to love Him, trust Him, and rely on Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.

There will be those who read this and dismiss it as a "Sunday School answer". Being a Sunday School answer doesn't mean that something isn't true, however. I am writing about God's omniscience because I believe in it and because it is important that we understand that it is true. It will make a difference in how we live our lives here on earth and how much we are able to learn to trust God and follow His counsel.

I'm not perfect in these things that I write about. It's just that I feel that it's a good thing to share thoughts about the gospel that will help others. And me.

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Blogger Mammamia said...

I've actually been thinking a lot about the omniscience of God myself recently. I believe God is omniscient. I think if He wasn't He would cease to be God. However, it does have the unintended side effect of making me dread going to heaven a little bit because I don't look forward to the day I know everything and have to stop learning. I think learning and discovering new things is one of life's great pleasures. I have a hard time imagining a joyful existence without it. I wonder if you have any thoughts about that.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

I actually hadn't thought about that. I suppose because I figure it'll take such a long time to learn everything! But there will surely be something that we will love just as much, after we finally learn everything--teaching, creating, something. I feel certain that God isn't bored--He is busy creating worlds and looking after His children before, during, and after mortal life. So it must be okay--just that we can't picture it right now. Interesting thought, though. I agree that learning is one of the most enjoyable things about life!

11:32 AM  
Blogger Seth said...

This is a great blog. Keep up the good work! I'll be checking back and forth for updates! God bless!

10:04 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Seth, thanks very much! I'm glad you stopped by.

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would you do different in your life if it was revealed to you that God is NOT omniscient (note I'm not claiming that He is not), but rather that He is also learning new things?

Why then are you troubled?

10:26 AM  
Blogger Mammamia said...

Mary A - I agree with you and I have faith that heaven is a joyful place. My husband answered my question by saying, "but don't you enjoy sharing what you've learned?" and I think you're saying a similar thing. I just like to see what other people think. Gives me more pieces to put into my brain to ponder over.

Anonymous - I'm assuming you're talking to me. If God was still learning and didn't know everything, then I would be free to assume that maybe there was something He didn't understand about me or something he really didn't understand about my world. It would also be fair to then assume that his prophets are also lacking in understanding and direction. In that case my behavior would change dramatically because I would feel free to pick and choose just which teachings I thought were applicable and write the rest off as teachings from a God who is misinformed.

Therefore, I think the plan of salvation requires and assumes an omniscient God. I also think a better understanding of where we are going creates more determined disciples; and thus I seek.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Mammamia, I know what you mean about liking to know what others think about these things. Sometimes we get a new insight or a different perspective that way.

Anonymous, I can't imagine God not being omniscient, so it is hard to imagine what I might do differently, but Mammamia describes well what it could be like. I do think it would damage our ability to have faith in God and to trust and rely on Him. When I said it troubled me when people say or write that God isn't omniscient, I didn't mean that it troubled me for my own sake--I simply don't believe said people when they say things like that. What troubles me is that they might be misleading others into thinking that God isn't omniscient or omnipotent and that might lead those others to unnecessary doubts and worries, or into rejecting parts (if not all) of the gospel, thinking that God might be getting things wrong, as Mammamia explained.

I just believe that there are some basic truths we need to know in order to have a good foundation to build our faith and our lives on. One of those basic truths is that God is omniscient and another is that He is omnipotent.

I hope that makes sense!

3:32 PM  
Blogger Mammamia said...

lol. Maybe I should have reread your post before I responded to anonymous :P

4:09 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

I'm glad you did respond. I thought you explained very well what could happen if we didn't have an omniscient God to trust. Anyway, Anonymous might have been talking to either or both of us!

4:17 PM  
Blogger T. F. Stern said...

God being omniscient does not mean that he can't take the time to ask each individual to explain to Him how they felt or how they enjoyed aspects of mortality; call it a debriefing if you will. I would speculate that we will have such an opportunity to return and report our experiences face to face; this should be much like going home to visit your parents after having served a successful mission, a joyful time worth waiting for.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Hi, TF. I appreciate your comment--I hadn't thought of that aspect of it. Something I have thought of, but not while I was writing this post, is that daily in our prayers, God wants us to pray about anything and everything, regardless of the fact that He already knows all about it. He wants us to turn to Him and talk to Him about everything in our lives--good and bad. It benefits us to remember to turn to Him and trust Him.

Thanks for your comment!

4:06 PM  
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11:07 PM  

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