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Is God really all knowing?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by john313, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. john313

    john313 warrior-poet

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    The king james version of the bible states in Genesis 3:8-9 "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?"
    If God is all knowing how could they hide?
    it continues in Genesis 3:11 "And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? "

    If these verses refer to God, then why can God not find them and why does Hu need to ask questions?
    Do these verses refer to someone other than the One true God? was there a translation error?

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Gen/Gen003.html#8
     
  2. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Hi John;
    They could hide because they didn't know that God was all knowing; he knew where they were. They thought they could hide behind their shame, as they now knew it.

    I don't really feel qualified to amswer questions about the specific meaning of passages in the Bible; I am not as adept as some here. But to me, that seemed the most logical.

    Like when my sons were very young; and you play 'hide and seek' - James, I think it was , just used to stand without moving, covering his eyes. Because he could'nt see me, he thought I would'nt see him!:jiggy:
     
  3. retrorich

    retrorich SUPER NOT-A-MOD

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    I was taught that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Therefore, if God did exist (I believe He does not exist), I would hold Him responsible for ALL evil and unjust things that occur (e.g. the tsunami).
     
  4. B-Man

    B-Man Member

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    :jam: Right on.
     
  5. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Rich, my friend;

    We will obviously have to disagree on this one, unless, that is, you can accept my concept of God. This was my reply to the 'Can God hate ?' thread; just in case you missed it.

    I'm with Master Vigil and Maize on this one. I cannot see God as having emotions; it is illogical. I still cannot see God as a person; I see him more as the sum total of the universe, of nature. Nature has no feelings; it is reliant on growth and decay, I believe those energies (of growth and decay)are'God'.:)

    What does that perception of 'God' sound like to you?:)
     
  6. retrorich

    retrorich SUPER NOT-A-MOD

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    Michel:

    Since I do not believe there is a God, I have no personal concept of Him/Her/It. My comments in this thread are based on the concept of God taught to me in my church-going days--specifically, that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. I believe that a being/force/entity with such unlimited powers should use them to prevent evil and injustice. Since I am an atheist, that is just a hypothetical opinion.
     
  7. MrMorden

    MrMorden Member

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    there are many passages in the bible that are strictly symbolical, despite most christians' contrary claims
     
  8. Halcyon

    Halcyon Lord of the Badgers

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    Yeah that always confused me too, if you combine it with the passages when god talks about making man in our image implying there's more than one god being represented, plus the original (hebrew?) word for god - elohim, which is actually a plural, it's a pretty convincing argument for the god of genesis actually being a race of material or possibly non-corporeal beings:biglaugh:, rather than the invisible super-being of more modern belief.

    Or if your of the belief, as some historians are, that the books of genesis 1 and 2 are far older than the semitic race and were mearly incorporated into the OT, then the passages could be referring to the pantheistic beliefs of an older civilisation. :confused:
     
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  9. MrMorden

    MrMorden Member

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    well if god is truly god, then he(or should i say "it") is not not a sexual being nor is it a singular being or plural being, it simply exists, and exists outside of space and time, not being confoud to anything we normally consider as normal. in other words, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. those three words shouls ring a bell, and in fact are merely the best "human" explantions that we can come up with. dont get your idea of god confused with something a mortal wrote in his own language. if you did that then you would go around believing that all snakes are satanic, and that angels are handsome men/women with wings. theses are merely human. and should i say lacking, explanations of entities that we are unable to explain with normal space-time instruments (i.e. "eyes")
     
  10. john313

    john313 warrior-poet

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    Another of the meanings for elohim is the angels. When it refers to making man in our image, it is possible it is referring to the angels making man in their image? this seems to make more sense when looking at the original Hebrew; that God created the angels, then the angels created humans.:sarcastic
     
  11. Prima

    Prima Well-Known Member

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    To be entirely honest, I think you're looking waaaay too much into one or two verses.

    But to the general question, is God omniscient...I think so. As for why he would ask questions, sometimes that's the best way to make someone realize what they're doing - especially if it's something ridiculous or bad (harmful)

    On another point, retrorich and those whom agree with him - that's a very earthly viewpoint. Humans fear death - not God! Something like the tsunami, as was used as an example, cannot be seen as 'bad' from a viewpoint that isn't focused on this life.

    - it wasn't evil, because it was natural. Nature is not evil.
    - yes, it caused death. But death is but the next great adventure!
    - the tsunami did not cause evil - in fact, it actually caused a lot of good. People reached out to help. This is good. People weren't harming each other, emotionally or physically, because they were intent on the tsunami.

    Look at things like that from a viewpoint that is ultimate and unchanging - like His.

    When talking about the nature of God, I think this applies:

    "We are all sons of God, or children of the Is, or ideas of the Mind, however you want to say it"

    The point is, God is nothing we can understand. We try to categorize Him in human terms because that's all that we know and can understand. It's like...a different color. You can't picture a different color, because your mind just can't handle it! But you can say "this imaginary color, I think it's as bright as this purple, and as glowing as this gold"

    Not that there's anything wrong with trying to understand :)
     
  12. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    john313,

    You should explore the Open Theism movement within Christianity. I know with certainty that is says God changes his mind and could well say he does not know everything.
     
  13. john313

    john313 warrior-poet

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    people do tend to focus on this life and they want to live forever. it seems hypocritical for those who really believe in God and an afterlife. i see the tsunami as a good thing, perhaps the people who died were exceptionally good people and they were therefore taken away from this life. Like getting a card that says "advance to go" in Monopoly.
     
  14. Snowbear

    Snowbear Nita Okhata

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    Just as God's wrath is seen throughout the old testament, why can't it still be expressed now?

    Since God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, then yes... He must be in control of everything that happens - good or bad. Obviously, there's no way we can know the reason for bad stuff, but He must have a purpose for doing it or allowing it to happen.

    So, yes, I believe God is all knowing. As in the post about Adam and Eve trying and failing to hide from God in their shame, He knows what's in my heart, whether or not I come out and tell Him about it :eek:
     
  15. john313

    john313 warrior-poet

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    Why does it say God said "where art thou" if they failed to hide? if i have to ask where someone is, then they succeeded in hiding.
     
  16. Snowbear

    Snowbear Nita Okhata

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    Now I gotta ask - was he really asking where they were in space, or where they were spiritually?

    Here's what I think (keep in mind that I'm pretty knew at this and could be completely off base here ;))...
    God knew where they were... after all, He went to them and asked that question. I get the impression it's a retorical question. He knew what they had done, he knew where they were and he knew their hearts. He went to them anyway and had a talk with them about it. He asked them questions to give them a chance to fess up.
     
  17. john313

    john313 warrior-poet

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    i see your point, but i do not think God was playing "peek-a-boo" with them as we would with a child. Wheeerrreeee'sss Adam :jiggy:?? why would God need to give them a chance to fess up if he knew they would fess up anyway(since he is omniscient):sarcastic ? as far as this elohim knowing a general area of where Adam and Eve were, everyone has a favorite place they like. if i was looking for my friend Gabriel, i would go to a certain place and look around there or call for him around that area in the forest because that is where he likes to meditate.
     
  18. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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      1. To correctly understand omniscience, more accurately foreknowledge and foreordination, as relating to God, there are three primary factors that necessarily must be recognized and considered:
      2. First, God’s ability to foreknow and foreordain is clearly stated in the Bible. (Acts 2:23; 1Peter 1:2) God himself sets forth as proof of his Godship this ability to foreknow and foreordain events of salvation and deliverance, as well as acts of judgment and punishment, and then to bring such events to fulfillment. All but especially His chosen people are witnesses of these facts. (Isaiah 44:6-9; 48:3-8) Thus, in the days of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, when the prophet Daniel had a dream about two wild beasts, one supplanting the other, God gave him its interpretation: “The ram that you saw possessing the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. And the hairy he-goat stands for the king of Greece.” (Daniel 8:20, 21) Obviously, God exercised his foreknowledge to reveal the succession of world powers. The then prevailing Babylonian Empire would be succeeded by Medo-Persia and then by Greece. (Compare: Genesis 11:9; Deuteronomy 32:8; Isaiah 34:17; Acts 17:26) Prophecies can also concern one individual. For instance, the prophet Micah declared that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) Again, in this case God exercised his foreknowledge. However, this event was announced with a particular purpose—the identification of the Messiah. The instances of foreknowledge and prophecy dealing only with individuals are few and far between and do not justify generalizing a doctrine of predestination that includes each individual. Why not? We will see shortly.
      3. A second factor to be considered is the free will of God’s intelligent creatures. The Scriptures show that God extends to such creatures the privilege and responsibility of free choice, of exercising free moral agency (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20; Joshua 24:15), thereby making them accountable for their acts. (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:11-19; Romans 14:10-12; Hebrews 4:13) Thus they are not mere robots, or automatons. Man could not truly have been created in “God’s image” if he were not a free moral agent. Logically then, there should be no conflict between God’s foreknowledge (as well as his foreordaining) and the free moral agency of his intelligent creatures. These scriptures make no sense if we are simply puppets on indiscernible strings but they make perfect sense if we really do have free will, free choice.
      4. A third factor that must be considered, one sometimes overlooked, is that of God’s moral standards and qualities, including his love, wisdom, justice, honesty, impartiality, mercy, kindness and self-control. Any understanding of God’s use of any of his ‘omni’ qualities but especially of foreknowledge and foreordination must therefore harmonize with not only some of these factors but with all of them. Clearly, whatever God foreknows cannot be altered and must inevitably come to pass, so that God is able to call “things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17 compare Numbers 23:19)
      5. God has four cardinal or main qualities: love, wisdom, justice and power. Just as an artist mixes and blends primary colors to produce many shades and hues of color, God’s qualities can be mixed and blended by him with differing results. For example: love + wisdom + justice = mercy and mixed in different proportions love + wisdom + justice = jealousy. Another mixture produces God’s quality of “long-suffering” and on and on it goes. There are those who insist that everything about God is always to an absolute or infinite degree and without any limitations what so ever. They even go so far as to claim that if that is not the case it would indicate imperfection or a deficiency on God's part. To easily express those ideas men also have formed words such as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and several others also.
      6. God is the Supreme Being of the universe and as such we speak of him as being infinitely powerful or "all-powerful" and infinitely wise or "all-wise" and so on. And yet, even though he is "all-powerful", he has not yet acted in an all-powerful way, that is in such a way that it required the use of all his power! Obviously to mere humans the creation of the physical universe seems to be an all-powerful act but I submit to you that it was a drop out of the ocean that is his potential power. Consider also that each and every exercise of God's power to enforce judgment and punishment has not resulted in the utter destruction of everything. That is because his exercise of power is blended with or offset by his love, wisdom and justice so that the result is just right and does not violate any of his other qualities and attributes, including all those listed at Galatians 5:22, 23, or produce any undesired consequences. Again, God’s almightiness is undeniably perfect and is infinite in capacity. (1 Chronicles 29:11, 12; Job 36:22; 37:23) Yet his perfection in strength does not require him to use his power to the full extent of his omnipotence in any or in all cases. Clearly he has not done so; if he had, not merely certain ancient cities and some nations would have been destroyed, but the entire universe would have been obliterated long ago by God’s executions of judgment, accompanied by mighty expressions of disapproval and wrath, such as at Sodom and Gomorrah and on other occasions. (Genesis 19:23-25, 29; compare Exodus 9:13-16; Jeremiah 30:23, 24.) God’s exercise of his might is therefore not simply an unleashing of infinite, limitless power but is constantly governed and controlled by his purpose and, where merited, tempered by his mercy. (Nehemiah 9:31; Psalm 78:38, 39; Jeremiah 30:11; Lamentations 3:22; Ezekiel 20:17)
      7. In contradiction of the beliefs held by some, God exercises each of his qualities perfectly, but none absolutely. Even though God has the capability to carry any of his qualities out to an “absolute” or infinite or unlimited degree he always chooses not to do so. For example: God has shown himself to be perfect in long-suffering (Definition: the patient endurance of wrong or provocation, combined with a refusal to give up hope for improvement in the disturbed relationship.) and, as a result, it can rightly be said that he is the “absolute” embodiment of that quality. Yet God’s exercise of long-suffering shows that he has imposed limitations upon it, as he has repeatedly demonstrated by means of his acts of judgment and punishment, therefore, it is not “unlimited.” Yes, God's patience and long-suffering are “perfect” but there are limits to them. Why? It is because his other qualities of justice, wisdom and love require it. In other words, being limited does not equate to imperfection or deficiency. At the same time, being without limits does not equate to being perfect.
     
  19. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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    1. Perhaps it will be that some do not like my choice of long-suffering as an example. So let me provide you with another example of what I mean. Man’s free moral agency stems, in large part, from the freedom possessed by God. Even though the term and ideas conveyed by it are man-made, God, and God alone, is capable of “absolute freedom.” Although capable of “absolute freedom,” is that how God conducts himself? Absolutely not! In the Bible God has revealed himself to be not just the Law-Giver but also as the Law-Keeper. That means that he does not operate in contradiction to or outside of his stated standards, laws and principles. Therefore even though “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26; Mark 14:36), God’s perfection causes him to always operate within the bounds or limitations of his own standards, laws and principles therefore “God cannot lie” and “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18) So it becomes obvious that God’s perfection arises, in many ways, from his self-controlled limitation of his absolute, infinite characteristics and qualities. Again, being limited does not equate to imperfection or deficiency. At the same time, being without limits does not equate to being perfect regardless of the beliefs of some to the contrary. Consider this question: between the equally true statements “with God all things are possible” and “it is impossible for God to lie,” which reveals more of God’s true personality and is closer to what God actually DOES DO?
    2. Now that we understand that what God CAN DO is very different from what he DOES DO and therefore it is wrong to confuse the two, we can start to deal with these questions: Does God know in advance everything that people will do? Is his exercise of foreknowledge infinite, without limit or control? (Exercise should not to be confused with his ability or capacity to foreknow.) Does he foresee and foreknow all future actions of all his creatures, spirit and human? And does he foreordain all such actions or even individually predestinate what shall be the final destiny of all his creatures, even doing so before they have come into existence?
    3. Or, is God’s exercise of foreknowledge, just as is his exercise of all his other infinite qualities, that is selective, discretionary and self-controlled, so that whatever he chooses to foresee and foreknow, he does, but what he does not choose to foresee or foreknow, he does not? And, instead of preceding their existence, does not God’s love and justice require that God’s determination of his creatures’ eternal destiny await his judgment of their course of life and of their proved attitude under test? The answers to these questions must necessarily come from the Scriptures themselves and the information He has provided there concerning his actions and dealings with his creatures, including what has been revealed through his Son, Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
    4. God himself provides answers to the above questions at Genesis 11:5-8 where he describes himself as directing his attention earthward, surveying the situation at Babel, and then, at that time, determining the action to be taken to break up the unrighteous project there and to insure the success of his purposes. Similarly, only after wickedness developed at Sodom and Gomorrah, did God advise Abraham of his decision to investigate (by means of his angels) to “see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it.” (Genesis 18:20-19:1) Please note that the reason for the investigation was not based on prior exercise of foreknowledge but rather in response “to the outcry over it that has come to me.” When God said, “if not, I can get to know it,” or “If they aren't, I want to know about it, or “I am going down to see whether or not these reports are true. Then I will know” (quoting various Bibles) did God lie or at least misrepresent himself to Abraham? If God already “knows,” as some claim, then God is here acting as a Deceiver and this whole account, especially God’s give and take with Abraham and his promises to show mercy, is a Sham, a Deception. On other occasions God spoke of ‘becoming acquainted with Abraham,’ or ‘I have become his intimate friend,’ and after Abraham went to the point of attempting to sacrifice Isaac, God said, “For now I do know that you are God-fearing in that you have not withheld your son, your only one, from me.” (Genesis 22:11, 12; compare Galatians 4:9) KJV + Strong’s: for3588 now6258 I know3045 that3588 thou859 fearest3373 God. Strong’s H6258: . . . at this time, . . . now. Strong’s H3045: . . . to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); . . . for a certainty, comprehend, . . . understand, have [understanding]. In other words God tells Abraham and us: I understand or have understanding to comprehend for a certainty ascertained by seeing at this time. That is not what I ‘hear’ some claiming is the case but it is what that scripture says.
    5. There are other similar examples and scriptures that I could use but these are enough to make the point and enough to show that God obviously chooses not to foreknow “everything” regardless of the fact that he has the ability to do so. The simple fact is that God's perfection means that he exercises perfect self-control over his ability to foreknow and that he DOES exercise his foreknowledge at his discretion and without interfering with the free will of his creatures. Again, God is omnipotent yet he does not exercise omnipotence. God is “all-patient” yet his exercise of patience has limits. God has “absolute freedom” yet he constantly restrains or limits himself. And again, when he wants to foreknow something he can and does, but that does not mean that he cannot control himself and therefore MUST and DOES foreknow “everything”.
    6. Again, the fact that God can foreknow events is clearly stated in the Bible. (Isaiah 46:9-10; Romans 4:17) However, it is illogical and unscriptural to think that he cannot control his ability to know the future and that because of his inerrant, unalterable and unlimited exercise of foreknowledge he is responsible for every outcome. To illustrate: suppose you had very great physical strength, in fact, that you were the most powerful human on earth. Would that make you feel inclined to hug a newborn baby with all your strength? Of course not! Likewise, having the ability to know the future does not compel God to foreordain or even to simply foreknow everything. His use of foreknowledge is selective and discretionary and just as you would not want to harm the newborn baby he does not want to infringe upon the free will of his children by the uncontrolled exercise of foreknowledge (remember whatever God foreknows cannot be altered and must inevitably come to pass and that necessarily eliminates choice).
    7. There is much more that could be and probably should be said to make sense of this subject, but I will not “HOG” your thread.
    .
     
  20. may

    may Well-Known Member

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    Hogcaller, good post that ,i agree with that
     
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