Thursday, 20 January 2011

Is God all-knowing? (2)

Let's have a closer look at the passages mentioned in my previous post to see if we can resolve this apparent contradiction, but without reading any preconceived ideas about God into the passage. The first passage concerns someone called "the LORD God" who is present in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve as a phyical person (Genesis 3:8). The second passage concerns someone called simply "the LORD", a physical person who appears to Abraham along with with two angels (Compare Genesis 18:2, 18:22 & 19:1). This LORD (or LORD God) is the one who banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and who rains down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah.

Now let us consider the Isaiah passages. The God presented in these passages doesn't seem quite the same. The first LORD turned up in person, this one pulls the strings from behind the scenes, enthroned in heaven. The first LORD has to be God the son and the second has to be God the father. In other words, it is always God the son who is not regarded in scripture as being all-knowing. This is consistent with what we see in the gospels, where Jesus is sometimes surprised by events and even claims that he doesn't know the time of his own second coming!

Clearly, there must be a sense in which Jesus is all-knowing, because of the way that John's gospel portrays him:

"Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God."
(John 16:30)

However, this is simply because of his unity with his father, which is why the verse finishes with "This makes us believe that you came from God." Jesus has access to all knowledge as possessed by the father, but he can choose not to know certain things if he wishes.

Now here is a man dancing and eating chicken.

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