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A Less Than Perfect God Would Be Terrifying

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2018 5 Jun

An imaginary image of space with planets and twinkling stars and a large, bright cloud.

Scripture teaches that there is no limit to God’s knowledge, no boundary to his understanding. There is never a question he cannot answer or a mystery he cannot fathom. He penetrates the depths of everything and everyone, including us.

If the prospect of an all-seeing, all-knowing God sounds frightening, consider how frightening the alternative would be. What if God was all-powerful but not all-knowing? Like a bull in a china shop, an all-powerful God with limited understanding could inflict terrible damage with one simple mistake. He could commit horrible injustices, not because of ill will, but because he didn’t have all the facts. Even if he was right most of the time, he would come across as a bumbler some of the time. How could you rely on his faithfulness and trust in his promises? A less than omniscient God, is a less than perfect God, capable of creating enormous havoc by virtue of his own limited understanding.

Fortunately, as Scripture tells us, there is not the slightest defect in God’s knowledge. For those who belong to him, God’s perfect understanding of past, present, and future is a source of great confidence. It means that he knows what he’s doing and that he’s able to fulfill his plans and purposes. It also means that he will never misunderstand us and that he will always act justly.

The Hebrew verb yāda‘ is translated as “know.” It can apply to knowledge that is gained primarily through sensory experience as well as knowledge that comes through the intellect. At times the word yāda‘ describes the relationship of partners in a covenant. “To know the lord” means to acknowledge the covenant relationship. Similarly, yāda‘ can express the sexual relationship between husband and wife as in Genesis 4:1, which says that “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived” (KJV).

The Hebrew word da’at, is derived from the verb yāda. It means knowledge in every aspect of life, including the moral aspect. This word is found in Genesis 2:9, which says that “In the middle of the garden he [God] placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

The Bible indicates that knowledge comes from God, saying “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge….” (Proverbs 1:7). Even though a person may be considered brilliant by the world’s standards, her knowledge is of little of value if she refuses to acknowledge God, the source of all wisdom. Psalm 14:1 says it plainly:  “Only fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’”

Those who flout God will find the thought of an omniscient God unsettling, while those who love him will take comfort in knowing that he has ordered each of their days.