God Is Knowledge

Justification

The omniscience of God is a particularly important doctrine in the Christian faith, and Sonderegger treats it as such.  It has come under recent attack in recent years from the likes of process thought and open theism, and thus Sonderegger’s treatment of it is of notable concern for us.  The topic from the reading that I’ve chosen to discuss is how Sonderegger connects God’s omniscience with various doctrines of God by dealing with the question of God’s perfect knowledge and asking the rather rhetorical question: “Does God know all things?”[1]  I’ve chosen to briefly discuss this topic because it is connected to many other doctrines of God, something that Sonderegger herself points out.  Thus, it is important to have a right understanding of this doctrine so that we may have a fitting piece to go in our puzzle.

Meaning

In a very long preface to answering the aforementioned question, Sonderegger notes that the question of divine omniscience necessarily leads us to questions of divine eternity and the perfect being of God, and how that relates to our own times and seasons.[2]  This means that we should distinguish between such concepts as divine knowledge and power, divine omniscience and providence and sovereignty.  Yet we cannot so fully differentiate between these things which are central to the questions of God that they militate against each other.  Rather, we should distinguish between them and hold them together, much like a puzzle with different pieces.  Yet, according to Sonderegger, “in the end such questions as we have listed here cannot in truth be puzzles…we encounter rather the Mystery who is God.”[3]  Thus, to say that God is omniscient, in a very real sense, is to also affirm that he is omnipotent, at least in Sonderegger’s view.  These two things must not be separated!  “God is Knowledge,”[4] and thus it is his divine nature that thrives in this knowledge.  It cannot, therefore, be separated from the rest of his being.

Contemporary Application for Christian Ministry

Some contemporary applications are now necessary.  Again, as modern evangelicals, we cannot compartmentalize the doctrines of God into neat, clean categories that are so desirable to our creaturely instincts.  We must be willing to wrestle with the profound mystery of God, as far as his revelation will allow.  Yet we can know that despite our inability to know all things, because God is Knowledge, we remain confident that he does know.  We can minister to people with firm confidence in the omniscience of God, knowing that he will not be surprised by us or by anything else.  He cannot be!  We rest, therefore, in the sovereign knowledge of God, while simultaneously affirming the ineffable omnipotence which is intrinsically connected with and cannot be separated from his divine wisdom.  He knows all, and he is capable of bringing all to pass.  His purposes, which he foreknows, will infallibly be brought about.


[1] Katherine Sonderegger, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, The Doctrine of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015), 346.

[2] Ibid., 347.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 348.


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