God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man

by Mike Ratliff

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (Psalms 139:1-4 ESV)

Our God is beyond our understanding. Thankfully, He has revealed Himself to us, to a degree, in His Word. Those who claim to serve Him, but treat His Word as if it was not important, or refuse to submit to the truths therein are fools. That has always puzzled me about those who take a sliver of God’s Word, misinterpret it, and then build massive doctrines around their misinformation. Have they no fear of God?

God is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent. He knows all, is everywhere at once, and is all-powerful. Those who play games with Christianity must have no understanding of this for if they did, they would not dare trifle with God Almighty!

First, let’s look first at God’s Omniscience.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psalms 139:1-6 ESV)

David is in awe that God knows everything about him. God has searched him and knows him. Nothing can be hidden from God. Also, God hems in or hedges in those who are His to limit their actions. No matter how willful people are they cannot contend with God who knows all and will always accomplish His will. This knowledge, when it blooms in full in our hearts is too wonderful for us to grasp. When the reality of God’s Sovereignty over everything is made crystal clear to us it is a wonderful day. Before, we believed our salvation was in our own hands, but now we see clearly that God did it all. It is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain it!

Second, let’s look at God’s Omnipresence.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (Psalms 139:7-12 ESV)

No matter where we are or what we are doing or thinking, God knows it. There is nowhere we can go to be hidden from Him. As huge as the Universe is, even if we could travel to the farthest Galaxies and planets, God is there. We are sightless in the dark, but God is not. Oh Praise Him! No matter what our circumstances, He knows what is going on and will not permit anything to come between Him and us! Therefore, should we fear those who hate God and His ways?

Third, let’s look at God’s Omnipotence.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. (Psalms 139:13-18 ESV)

God’s power is beyond our understanding. Look at life itself. He created it. He formed each of us individually in our mother’s wombs. Man can create things, but he cannot create the substance from which they are made. No matter how he tries, man cannot create matter from nothing. God can and did. However, life is the miracle that shows His awesome power. I pity those who demand that life evolved from nothing. How pathetic that is! That shows how far man is willing to go in his arrogance in order to not bow the knee to our Omnipotent God!

How must we respond to our Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent God?

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalms 139:19-24 ESV)

David had no problem expressing hatred for God’s enemies. Jesus told us to love and pray for our enemies, but David hates God’s enemies. These are not mutually exclusive. Those who hate us because of our faith are to be loved and prayed for, perhaps God will show them mercy and save them. However, the reprobates who are Satan’s seed are not in that boat. Since we are not God and do not know one from the other, we must do as Jesus said, pray for them and love them. However, the time is coming very quickly when the sheep and goats will be separated, the tares will be removed from the wheat. Then we will know those who hate God and we will hate them as God does. Yes, God does hate no matter who says differently.

For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call– she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Romans 9:9-16 ESV)

“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” (Malachi 1:2-3 ESV)

No matter what word games people try to play with these verses, the word hate in them means hate not loved less. Therefore, should we fear a God who is all-powerful, is in all places at once and knows all things who also hates those who hate Him? I suggest you do a word study through all verses in the Bible for “hate” and “God” and how He regards them.

O, Lord you know everything about us. You know who loves you and who hates you. I pray for the latter that you will have mercy on them, and by your grace, save them. However, I know that the time is coming when your judgment will come and your hand will not be stayed. I pray that until then you will give us the means and the opportunity to tell the lost the good news that there is peace between You and men available through the Son. Give us courage and help us grow unto Christlikeness until our Lord returns. Soli Deo Gloria!

26 thoughts on “God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man

  1. AMEN to the prayer Mike. You hear so much on the so called Christian television, magazines, churches and etc. that when He says He hates, it doesn’t really mean hate. Oh yes it does. Good article Mike. People don’t have a fear of the Lord. It amazes us!! A respectful fear is much needed. Eternity is a loooooooong time.

  2. All through your post the word kept coming to my mind – paradox. As we attempt to define God in human terms and measure and justify his emotions we find ourselves undone. An atheist on another blog questioned our view of God concering the genocide in the Old Testament. How could God do that, he said. I replied that God cannot be understood within the human brain, only with what God reveals Himself. He demanded more information. I said this:

    Can God make a mountain so big He cannot move it? Yes.

    If God wanted to could he move that same mountain? Yes.

    The man said that those two premises could not both be true so how could I reconcile that? I said “In a word – GOD”.

    Faith bows to God without demanding or even needing any more knowledge than that “He is”, but faith embraces with grateful worship the tiniest piece of understanding about the August Sovereign, given simply to add to His eternal glory.

    Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty

  3. I guess I figured out that God is there at all times and knows everything was in Dec 1999 when I had a vision of my upcoming divorce (dream). My husband was sure surprised as it was in his heart not mine. I had no clue. To this day my ex just will not believe that dream came from God. Were else did it come from? He sure does know everything about us!

  4. Dear Mike:
    I thank you for this post. I had a very shattering conversation with my brother last night whose heart is so very hardened against the things of God especially His Word. I pray for the eyes of his heart to be opened. The world has so lost the fear of the Lord especially the professing church. His judgment has to be imminent. Thanks for all you do Mike. Always Grateful for His Grace, Wendy

  5. Wendy,

    You are welcome and you are right. Never stop praying for you brother. We have a merciful God, but as you said, “His judgment is imminent.”

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Amen Mike! The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom! Oh, Precious Father, bring us back to the beginning!

  7. Hi Mike! Good post, enjoyed it very much.

    I don’t question that God hates. Not at all. Who am I to question Him? That should be our attitude. Yes.

    However I have a question for you, and anyone who reads this.

    What do you make of Luke 14:26, and also to relate in context, Matthew 10:37?

    Is this the same kind of hate? And yes, I realize this is not talking about God’s hate and our hate for His enemies, however, since we are on the subject, this somewhat ties in.

    I have an answer, but to avoid bias, I won’t include it just yet. I’m just curious how you read it Mike? Thanks alot friend! Good post!!! Soli Deo Gloria!

    Joe

  8. Wendy,

    It’s sad isn’t it? My prayer list for people is getting very long and time is running out. People don’t have any fear of God! I fear for them! The good news is I see that God is waking up one of them and it is just so wonderful! Thank You God. It is my former boss who I work for again. We had an agreement before I would return. I really think God wants me there. His sisters were praying that I would return and the girl who replaced me really messed up just when I was about to start a new job. :) I sent in the correct amount of taxes on the qtrly report. :)

  9. Joe,

    The word “hate” in Luke 14:26 and Romans 9:13 is the Greek word that means “to detest.” The word hate in Malachi 1:2;3 is the Hebrew word “Sane.” It means to hate, but there are various levels of this hate in both the Greek and Hebrew. However, we must not yank these things out of context. What was God describing to the Jews through Malachi? He was showing that He loved them by taking care of them and showed His hatred of Esau by destroying his kingdom. No matter how you slice it, it is still talking about hatred. As far as Luke 14:26 and Mathew 10:37 goes, one explains the other. In this context it does mean that our love for our family should not even be close to the level of love we have for God. In comparison it is hatred. But to take that relationship and try to force it over the passage from Malachi and Romans 9 to say the same thing is not good exegesis.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  10. If you thought I was transposing something like Malichi 1:2,3 on to Luke 14:26, I wasn’t, of course not. Actually, I’m completely excited that what you wrote back to me shows we completely agree!!! It’s encouraging to see a brother in a totally different area of the country with a totally unique background to under the power of the same Spirit have the same understanding of Scripture (afterall, isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?). But it is equally encouraging to be reproved by a brother or sister likewise in a different place, but by the same Spirit [this has happened to me many times! =) ]. You also have helped my Bible study out this week by your timely post here and your very encouraging reply. Thanks Mike, God bless.

    Joe

  11. Joe C.,

    Please forgive me if I came across like I was reproving you. I am excited that you are into the Word of God at this level. I think we should all hunger and thirst after the truth like you are doing. I really appreciate your comments and I want to thank you for your question because it made me dig into the Bible and my language tools to get the answer. That is never a bad thing. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  12. I must confess there are many times I would rather God didn’t see what I did!But I am encouraged that He does know all.This knowledge means that I can surely let things go and love my enemies by praying for them at least.Thanks for clearing up the “hate” issue as I was reading an on-line teaching last night and “loved less” was the teacher’s conclusion.Had you not said anything I would have been satisfied with an erroneous conclusion.Wendy,I have a brother who is hardhearted,too.It is so hard to talk reasonably with him because he said the prayer and calls himself a christian.But his lifestyle defies his confession.May God soften both their hearts and open their eyes to truth.And may He grant us wisdom of approach and in what to say.May we both know the joy of seeing God’s salvific work in them.Amen.

  13. In the realization of the sovereignty of God, we need to remember that it is God that blinds and hardened people’s heart – if not for His grace and will, we too could be there! Actually, I have been there…but by His grace, He is bringing me into His Light. God’s plan for mankind has been pre-arranged – through all the good AND the evil, God is in control! He is not surprised by anything! He is that Sovereign! He is that Big! He is the Creator of ALL things, including evil ( Isaiah 45:7.. and He did create Satan, and from Scripture, John 8:44, tells us he was a liar from the beginning), which He has control over and will work out to bring His glory and His Kingdom! …though painful to this flesh of ours. Just think of the pain, the evil, of the crucifixion of our Saviour! But nonetheless, this was God’s plan from the beginning. And do not forget that Christ, while hanging on that tree, in the very presence of the evil men who are torturing Him (the evil of all evils!), asked our Father to forgive them! Wow! We are so far from the ways of our Master.
    I am not wanting to start some theology argument by stating that God created evil – I am merely wanting us to acknowledge His Sovereignty! I think in some way, we are all guilty of putting Him (or trying to) in a box. He is much bigger than our minds can comprehend. His ways are not our ways! Yes, God has perfect knowledge of man, but man does not have perfect knowledge of God.

  14. Sherry,

    This small post in no way could encapsulate a full description of God. Yes, He is far more than we can conceive. No matter how high and lifted up we think He is, He is higher. He is more powerful, more perfect, than anything we can imagine. He is wonderful and I deeply desire to get past this stage in my life and be where He is. Yes, He is Sovereign and we do well to fear Him.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  15. Mike,
    I believe God is not beyond our understanding, I believe God is beyond a comprehensive understanding by us. There are certain aspects to God that we can know and understand but we will never fully understand them. God is knowable but He will never be fully known by us.

    Here is a section from R. C. Sproul’s book; “Essential Truths of the Christian Faith” that explains it far better than I:

    THE INCOMPREHENSIBILITY OF GOD

    The Swiss theologian Karl Barth was asked by a student during a seminar in the United States, “Dr. Barth, what is the most profound thing you have ever learned in your study of theology?” Barth thought for a moment and then replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” The students giggled at his simplistic answer, but their laughter was of a nervous sort as they slowly realized Barth was serious.

    Barth gave a simple answer to a question of profundity. In doing so he was calling attention to at least two vitally important notions. (1) That in the simplest Christian truth there resides a profundity that can occupy the minds of the most brilliant people for a lifetime. (2) That even in learned theological sophistication, we never really rise above a child’s level of understanding the mysterious depths and riches of the character of God.

    John Calvin used another analogy. He said that God speaks to us in a kind of lisping. As parents engage in “baby talk” when addressing their infant children, so God, in order to communicate with us lowly mortals, must condescend to speak to us in lisps.

    No human being has the ability to understand God exhaustively. There is a built-in barrier that prohibits a total, comprehensive understanding of God. We are finite creatures; God is an infinite being. Therein lies our problem. How shall the finite comprehend the infinite? Medieval theologians had a phrase that has become a dominant axiom for all subsequent study of theology, “The finite cannot grasp (or contain) the infinite.” Nothing is more obvious than that an infinite object cannot be squeezed into a finite space.

    This axiom conveys one of the most important doctrines of orthodox Christianity. It is the doctrine of the incomprehensibility of God. The term can be misleading. It may suggest to us that since the finite cannot “grasp” the infinite, that we can know nothing about God. If God is beyond human comprehension, does that not suggest that all of our religious talk is only so much theological babbling and that we are left with, at best, an altar to an unknown God?

    This is by no means the intent. The incomprehensibility of God does not mean that we know nothing about God. Rather, it means that our knowledge is partial and limited, falling short of a total or comprehensive knowledge. The knowledge that God gives of Himself through revelation is both real and useful. We can know God to the degree that He chooses to reveal Himself. The finite can “grasp” the infinite, but the finite can never hold the infinite within its grasp. There is always more to God than we apprehend.

    The Bible says it this way: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Martin Luther referred to two aspects of God—the hidden and the revealed. A portion of the divine knowledge remains hidden to our gaze. We work in the light of what God has revealed.
    Summary
    1. There is profound meaning in even the simplest of Christian truths.
    2. No matter how deep our knowledge of theology, there will always be much about the nature and character of God that will remain a mystery to us.
    3. No human being can have a comprehensive knowledge of God.
    4. The doctrine of the incomprehensibility of God does not mean that we can know nothing about God. It means that our knowledge is limited, bounded by our humanity.
    Biblical passages for reflection:
    Job 38:1-41:34
    Psalm 139:1-18
    Isaiah 55:8-9
    Romans 11:33-36
    1 Corinthians 2:6-16

  16. “Can God make a mountain so big He cannot move it? Yes.

    If God wanted to could he move that same mountain? Yes.

    The man said that those two premises could not both be true so how could I reconcile that? I said “In a word – GOD”.”

    Rick,

    do you think what R. C. Sproul says here is true?:

    THE OMNIPOTENCE OF GOD

    Every theologian is sooner or later asked a question by a student that is posed as an impossible nut to crack. The old query is this: Can God make a rock so big that He cannot move it? At first glance this question seems to impale the theologian on the horns of an unsolvable dilemma. If we answer yes, then we are saying that there is something God cannot do; He cannot move the rock. If we answer no, then we are saying that God cannot build such a rock. Either way we answer we are forced to place limits on God’s power.

    This problem resembles the other teaser: What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? We can conceive of an irresistible force. We can likewise conceive of an immovable object. What we cannot conceive of is the coexistence of the two. If an irresistible force ever met an immovable object and the object moved, it could no longer properly be called immovable. If the object did not move, then our “irresistible” force could no longer properly be called irresistible. We see, then, that reality cannot contain both—an irresistible force and an immovable object.

    Meanwhile, back to the immovable rock. The dilemma posed here (as in the case of the irresistible force) is a false dilemma. It is false because it is erected on a false premise. It assumes that “omnipotence” means that God can do anything. Yet, as a theological term, omnipotence does not mean that God can do anything. The Bible indicates several things that God cannot do. He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). He cannot die. He cannot be eternal and created. He cannot act against His nature. He cannot be God and not be God at the same time and in the same respect.

    What omnipotence does mean is that God holds all power over His creation. No part of creation stands outside the scope of His sovereign control. Therefore, there is a correct answer to the dilemma of the rock. The nut can be cracked. The answer is no. God cannot build a rock so big that He could not move it. Why? If God ever built such a rock He would be creating something over which He had no power. He would be destroying His own omnipotence. God cannot stop being God; He cannot not be omnipotent.

    When the Virgin Mary was puzzled by Gabriel’s announcement to her of the conception of Jesus in her womb, the angel said to her: “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37). Here the angel was reminding Mary of God’s omnipotence. I guess even angels are capable of using hyperbole. Narrowly considered, the angel expressed bad theology. But the broader biblical understanding points to the meaning that God’s power reaches far beyond that of the creature. What may be impossible for us is possible with Him. To say that nothing is impossible with God means that He can do whatever He wills to do. His power is not limited by finite limitations. Nothing or “no thing” can restrict His power. Yet His power is still restricted by what and who He is. Sin is impossible for Him because one cannot sin without willing to sin. God cannot commit sin because He never wills it. Job got to the heart of this matter when he said: “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2).

    For the Christian, God’s omnipotence is a great source of comfort. We know that the same power God displayed in creating the universe is at His disposal to assure our salvation. He showed that power in the Exodus from Egypt. He displayed His power over death in the resurrection of Christ. We know that no part of creation can frustrate His plans for the future. There are no maverick molecules loose in the universe that could possibly disrupt His plans. Though powers and forces of this world threaten to undo, we have no fear. We can rest in the knowledge that nothing can withstand the power of God. He is the One who is almighty.
    Summary
    1. Omnipotence does not mean that God can do anything. He cannot act against His nature.
    2. Omnipotence refers to God’s sovereign power, authority, and control over the created order.
    3. Omnipotence, though a threat to the wicked, is a source of comfort to the believer.
    4. The same power God exhibited in creation is displayed in our redemption.
    5. Nothing in the universe can thwart or frustrate God’s plans.
    Biblical passages for reflection:
    Genesis 17:1
    Psalm 115:3
    Romans 11:36
    Ephesians 1:11
    Hebrews 1:3
    “Essential Truths of the Christian Faith”

    I think R. C. is correct.

  17. God bless you Mike, and keep up your wonderful testimony to the grace of the LORD in your life, not only here on your blog but in your postings on other forums. I always read them and think; “I like what that Mike bloke writes, he is on fire for Jesus.”

  18. Yes, I agree with R.C. as well.

    Jesus Christ is my all-in-all! I am his all the way. He has given me this task to express Biblical truths to the Church so that many will have their eyes opened by the Holy Spirit then come out of their compromised churches and out of their flesly lifestyles. Now is the time for cleansing and repeantance. Join me in praying for Church and doing the good work of speaking the truth to all. It is God who opens hearts and eyes and ears. We just give the message. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  19. “It is God who opens hearts and eyes and ears. We just give the message.”

    Amen and Amen. I pray I become more like guys like you, you have a great attitude and compassion. Oh yes, tuff at times but still very loving.

    “Join me in praying for Church and doing the good work of speaking the truth to all. ”

    Will do, Brother.

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