In a captivating black and white shot, a mysterious figure stands at the edge of a forgotten forest, their face concealed, leaving viewers to wonder about the secrets that "god knows what" lies within.

A Comprehensive Guide To God Knows What

God knows what is a mysterious concept that has puzzled humankind since the beginning of time. The question of what exactly God knows has theological and philosophical implications that impact how we understand God’s nature and relationship to humanity.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to what God knows: As an omniscient, all-knowing being, God knows everything – the past, present and future. Nothing is hidden from God’s knowledge.

In this comprehensive 3000 word guide, we will explore the biblical and philosophical evidence surrounding God’s knowledge. We’ll cover questions like: Is God’s knowledge limited in any way? How does God’s foreknowledge impact human free will?

And what are the implications of affirming God’s omniscience?

Biblical Support for God’s Omniscience

Old Testament References

The Old Testament contains numerous references to God’s omniscience or all-knowing nature. Here are some examples:

  • “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” (Psalm 147:5)
  • “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” (Psalm 139:4)
  • “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:20)

These and other verses portray God as one who fully knows the thoughts and deeds of humanity without limit. His understanding surpasses human ability. This theme continues in the New Testament.

New Testament References

Jesus and New Testament writers built upon ideas of God’s unlimited knowledge that were established in the Old Testament:

  • “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)
  • “Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’” (John 18:4)
  • “Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” (John 16:30)

These verses reveal that God knows everything, including the future. Jesus demonstrated this foreknowledge, just as the Old Testament had declared of God’s abilities.

Evidence from Jesus’ Life and Teachings

Beyond direct statements about God’s unlimited knowledge, the life and words of Jesus also offer evidence for God’s omniscience:

  • Jesus knew people’s secret thoughts and histories, demonstrating knowledge of information he could not have otherwise known (John 1:47-49; 4:16-19).
  • Jesus prophesied future events during his ministry, including his death and resurrection, showing supernatural knowledge of what was to come (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22).
  • Jesus taught that God knows all our needs before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8).
  • Jesus said God the Father knows all things (John 16:30).

Based on these examples and more, the life of Jesus aligns with descriptions of God’s omniscience in the Old Testament. From beginning to end, the Scriptures reveal an all-knowing God.

The Extent of God’s Knowledge

God’s Knowledge of the Past

As an all-knowing being, God has perfect and complete knowledge of all past events throughout history. Not even the smallest detail escapes His notice. The Bible teaches that God knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30) and that He bottles our tears (Psalm 56:8).

He knows everything we have ever said, done, or thought. His knowledge stretches across all of time and space.

God’s perfect recall of the past allows Him to judge righteously and make wise plans for the future. He never forgets His promises or His warnings to humanity. We can take great comfort in the fact that God is intimately acquainted with all our ways (Psalm 139:3).

Even when we feel alone, He knows us thoroughly and cares for us deeply.

God’s Knowledge of Present Events

Not only does God possess full knowledge of the past, but He also has complete awareness of everything happening in the present moment. The Bible says God’s understanding has no limit (Psalm 147:5). He knows what is going on across the entire universe.

Jesus assured His disciples that God even notices when sparrows fall to the ground (Matthew 10:29).

We do not need to inform God of anything, for He already knows our actions, needs, thoughts, and desires before we express them. No prayer needs to bring Him up to date. We can pour out our hearts to Him freely and transparently, without pretense or hiding.

God sees all and knows all in this very instant.

God’s Foreknowledge of the Future

Most astonishing of all, God’s omniscience includes future events. He declares “the end from the beginning” and brings His purposes to pass (Isaiah 46:10). God can predict the future far in advance because He controls the future.

As sovereign Lord over heaven and earth, God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. Nothing takes Him by surprise.

Nevertheless, God’s foreknowledge does not compromise human freedom or responsibility. We make real choices for which we are accountable. Yet God knows in advance how we will choose. He weaves human choices into His sovereign plan so that His purposes are accomplished.

What a comfort to know that God sees the future and has it completely under His control!

How God Knows Everything

Through His Eternal Nature

As the eternal, omnipotent Creator, God exists outside of time and space. He sees all of history—past, present, and future—in a single, timeless moment. Unlike humans, God does not learn or discover new information. He has perfect knowledge of all things from eternity.

His omniscience flows naturally from His eternal nature.

The Bible says, “Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4). God sees our lives from beginning to end in a glance. His understanding has no limits (Psalm 147:5). He knows the secrets of every heart (Psalm 44:21).

This is possible only because God is eternal and unchanging.

Through Divine Revelation

Even though God innately knows all things, He still chooses to reveal His plans and purposes to humanity. Through divine revelation in Scripture, prophecy, dreams, visions, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and the inner working of the Holy Spirit, God discloses His truth to mankind.

The apostle Paul wrote, “No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). As the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes to comprehend God’s truths found in Scripture.

Jesus said the Spirit would “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13).

So although God doesn’t learn new facts, He does graciously share His knowledge with us. By illuminating Scripture, the Holy Spirit expands our understanding of God’s eternal omniscience.

As the Ultimate Source of Knowledge

Since God created the universe and everything in it, all knowledge originates from Him. As the eternal Word, Jesus Christ upholds “all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). The apostle Paul told the philosophers in Athens that God “gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25).

Humans gain knowledge through study, research, experience, and education. But God is the ultimate source of all wisdom and understanding. Any glimpse of truth we perceive comes from Him. Even our ability to reason logically is a gift from our Creator.

That’s why Proverbs says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). All genuine knowledge is rooted in a proper reverence for God. The wiser we become, the more we understand our dependence on the all-knowing Creator.

The Implications of God’s Omniscience

For Human Free Will and Predestination

God’s omniscience has significant implications for the age-old debate around human free will and predestination. If God truly knows everything that will happen ahead of time, does that mean human choices are predetermined?

This is a complex philosophical and theological issue with reasoned arguments on both sides. Some key perspectives include:

  • Calvinists argue that God’s foreknowledge means everything is predestined, though humans still make voluntary choices in line with God’s sovereign plan.
  • Arminians counter that God’s omniscience doesn’t negate free will since he chooses to limit his control and allow genuine human freedom.
  • Open theists propose that God voluntarily gives up knowing the future so that humans can have libertarian free will.

In the end, there are no easy answers. Perhaps God in his infinitude transcends normal logic and can both foreknow and allow free will in mysterious ways. Humility is needed since human reason is limited in understanding an infinite God. The debate continues today with thoughtful voices on all sides.

The implications are profound either way in terms of ethics, accountability, and more.

For Prayer and Petition

If God knows everything that will occur, including all future requests and actions, what is the point of petitionary prayer? Why ask an all-knowing God to intervene or change outcomes? Again, there are several important perspectives:

  • Prayer aligns human wills to God’s will and transforms the heart of the pray-er, even if God’s plans remain unchanged.
  • God ordains not just ends but also the means, including prayer as part of bringing about his purposes.
  • As with free will, God voluntarily limits his foreknowledge to allow genuine relationship with humans who pray.
  • God exists outside of time, so past, present and future are seen simultaneously from his perspective.

Theologically, most scholars believe prayer remains vital, not to inform God but to shape human hearts and draw people closer to him. Practically, studies show prayer provides psychological benefits like reduced anxiety, lower blood pressure, increased social support and more.

However one understands God’s foreknowledge, prayer connects people with the divine in meaningful ways.

For God’s Sovereignty and Justice

A third major implication is around God’s sovereignty and justice. If God foreknows all human choices and outcomes, does this make him culpable for evil, suffering and injustice? This raises issues of theodicy – how can an all-good, all-powerful God allow bad things to happen?

Again there are different perspectives:

  • Human free will explains moral evil, while other suffering results from the fall and nature’s brokenness.
  • God allows (but does not cause) evil and uses it ultimately for good purposes.
  • God judges evil justly in this life or the next.
  • Suffering is part of God’s wise but mysterious plan, which humans cannot fully comprehend.

In the end, God’s full omniscience raises profound questions but does not compromise his sovereignty or justice. He remains morally perfect. Humility and trust are required in facing the complexity of evil and injustice, with faith that God’s goodness and wisdom will ultimately prevail.

Objections and Responses

The Problem of Evil

The problem of evil refers to the tension between the existence of evil in the world and the concept of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent God. This philosophical dilemma has been debated for centuries. Critics argue that the prevalence of suffering seems incompatible with the idea of a loving creator who has unlimited power to prevent such suffering.

There are several theodicies, or defenses that attempt to reconcile the existence of evil with the existence of God. The free will defense argues that moral evil is a result of human free will, which was given by God. Without free will, humanity could not demonstrate love.

Natural evil may be part of how God created natural laws. Another defense argues that evil and suffering may contribute to spiritual growth for humanity. While these explanations may have merit, the tension between human suffering and an all-powerful, loving God remains, especially in cases of extreme or unjust suffering.

Apparent Impossibilities

Philosophical arguments are also raised regarding concepts that seem logically impossible yet are attributed to an omnipotent God. One example is creating a stone that is too heavy for an omnipotent being to lift.

Another is the ability to limit one’s own omnipotence, which seems like an inherent contradiction.

Defenses against these issues argue that human logic may have limitations when contemplating the abilities of a supreme being who transcends the human realm. However, these apparent logical impossibilities continue to be points of contention regarding concepts of the divine.

The debate around reconciling an omnipotent God with logical limitations is likely to persist as an area of theological philosophy and debate.

Cognitive Limitations of Human Understanding

Human knowledge and perception have inherent cognitive limitations. Our brains have constraints in terms of memory, analytical capability, sensory perception, and other capacities. Philosophers point to these factors as a key limitation in man’s conception of an omniscient, supreme being.

What seems logically impossible or contradictory to the human mind may result from our cognitive constraints rather than legitimate logical or factual concerns.

However, critics argue that if God’s nature exceeds humanity’s collective cognitive capabilities to such an extent, man lacks justification for making claims about God’s characteristics. The debate continues between those who admit the inherent restrictions of human logic to analyze a divine being compared to skeptics who use that lack of human understanding itself as a basis to doubt supernatural claims that exceed our cognitive rational capabilities.


In this extensive guide, we have demonstrated definitively from Scripture and logic that God’s knowledge has no bounds – whether in the past, present or future. While we may struggle to grasp the full implications of God’s omniscience, we can remain confident that the all-knowing Creator cares for us deeply.

Understanding the extent of God’s knowledge should fill us with awe, comfort and motivation to obey His perfect will. Though mysteries remain in comprehending the Almighty, we hope this exploration has provided a thorough overview of what exactly God knows.

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