“Does God Really Know All?”

Ex 16:4″Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.’”

Deut 13:3″You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

I have a problem responding to those verses; at first glance, they seem to make his point because they seem to imply that God tests people so that He “might know” if they love Him. Deut. 13:3 is especially difficult for me. This does not seem to change in the different versions of the Bible I have referred to. Is there something about the definition of the terms or something else that I might be missing in the text?

There are two primary ways of responding to this issue. First, we must point out that other passages of Scripture speak of God’s omniscience, including His knowledge of the future (see Psalm 139:1-4, 16; Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 46:9-10; Acts 1:24; Romans 8:29-30; Hebrews 4:13; etc.). If Scripture does not contradict itself, then there must be some way to reconcile these apparent discrepancies.

Second, as Geisler and Howe point out in When Critics Ask, “What God knows by cognition, and what is known by demonstration, are different.” The Bible often speaks from a human perspective. Consider Geisler and Howe’s analogy: “A math teacher might say, ‘Let’s see if we can find the square root of 49,’ and then, after demonstrating it, declare, ‘Now we know that it is 7,’ even though she knew from the beginning what the answer was” (p. 52). I think it’s the same way with God.


Michael Gleghorn

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