Tag Archives: omniscience

Second Question

Studies in Genesis 3

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV)

God does not give the man a chance to answer the question “Who told you that you were naked?”  before moving onto the next question “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Both questions are simple and direct. Both questions require simple and direct answers. God wants an answer for both questions. Both questions are filled with anger and disappointment. God is not happy those created in His image rebelled against Him, hid from Him, and refuse to come into His presence.

I imagine God questioning the man and woman while they are still hiding. When God calls into His presence those who are spiritually healthy and righteous before Him will immediately stop what they are doing and give their full attention to Him. They will stand before Him in eager anticipation. On the other hand, those who are rebelling against Him will not, of their own volition, stand before Him. They will turn away from Him in fear, tempered with the overwhelming desire to run and hide. However, they will be forced into His presence and then kneel in terror at His wrath.

There is no indication in Scripture the man continued to hide from God during His questioning but their guilt, their fear, and the obvious desire to not be seen by God because of their nakedness, suggests they continued to hide from His presence. No one can hide from God’s presence. He is omnipresent. Trying to hide from God is a futile attempt to absolve oneself from the consequences of rebellion and a strong indicator of separation and a broken relationship.

God’s second question is even simpler than His first. “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV). A simple “yes” would suffice. But their actions toward God and their nakedness leads them to a different answer. God told the man he was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His command was direct and unambiguous. Adam understood the command. Adam knew he had done that which God had forbidden. God knew the man had done that which He had forbidden. God’s question is meant for confession, to draw out of the man the acknowledgement of his moral transgression and lead him to repentance. God already determined the consequences of eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam will die, not only physically but spiritually. Yet God, the benevolent Creator, knows what He will do for Adam to redeem the relationship.

Adam must truthfully confess his sin and repent. God will forgive. But God will not stay sentencing and punishment. He cannot abide sin in His presence therefore something must be done to fulfill His required consequence of sin, which is death. God knows what He will do. But first is the finishing of the trial and the sentencing. Adam and Eve must answer the questions posed by God.

“For God Knows”

Studies in Genesis 3

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5 ESV)

What does God know? He knows everything. God is omniscient. He knows what will happen as well as what could have happened. Yet, this is not what the Deceiver means by “for God knows.”

“For God knows” suggests God is fully aware that the consequences of eating the fruit against His direction is not undesirable death but something desirable. God is actively keeping Man away from that which may bring a benefit by suggesting a negative will happen. Nothing in the garden, or created by God, is designed to harm or hurt. All of the trees of the garden which bear fruit are good for food. There is no reason to not eat from every tree other than God said do not eat from a specific tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Deceiver is telling Eve it knows something about God she does not because God has kept it from her.

There is nothing magical in the fruit. There is no reason for Eve, or Adam, to believe the fruit is anything other than food. If the fruit had no magical properties, but was simply nutritious and good for food, then God, in giving the command, is not concerned about Man’s physical body but the thinking of Man’s heart. Awareness of good and evil is a perception and understanding of the moral-emotional self that would affect every aspect of life, physical, mental, emotional, willful, and spiritual. It is not the physical properties of the fruit which are being denied but the willful disobedience to a command given by God is being encouraged.

The Deceiver turned God’s command on its head by implying the physical properties of the fruit had some unknown magical element which would give something, some unidentified quality, missing from Man. God obviously did not finish what He had started when He created Man, even in His image, and was malevolently denying Man that which would complete them.

God’s image in Man includes the intellectual, the moral-emotional, the will, dominion and many other spiritual qualities. The Deceiver’s statement challenges every aspect of God’s relationship with Man. Intellectually, the challenge is to learn that which is supposedly being withheld. Morally, the lie states God is the liar and cannot be trusted. Trust is an emotional response sandwiched between intellectual beliefs and the will. People will do that which their heads (the intellect and beliefs) and their heart (the emotions) tell them to do. Finally, God gave Man dominion over the earth and everything in and on it. By withholding the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil God has limited that dominion.

God’s purpose in embedding His image in Man is for relationship. Man is not God but like Him enough for each to relate to the other. By subverting the relationship, suggesting it is not and cannot be what God has made, the Deceiver seeks to sever the relationship and subvert the image of God in Man. These statements show deliberate intent to do that which is contrary to the will of God.

“Why?”

Studies in Genesis 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26 ESV)

We want to ask why God does what He does. Why did He create the heavens and the earth? Why did He allow darkness yet then create light? Why did e create in an order which does not seem logical to us? We can surmise many of the answers to how and when but the “why” is hidden in the eternal being of God.

Why did God create man “in His image”? No other creature has His image. All of creation bares the marks of the Creator, the evidence of His work as the ultimate Creator. We can begin to discover what the image of God is, and how it works, what it does, but we cannot know “why” Man has the image of God and not others in His creation. “Why” is not something we have to know.

Knowing how something works and why it works the way it does gives control to the one who knows. God knows all things about all things and, as the Creator, has ultimate and complete control. He cannot, by His nature, be out of control, or lose control of anything He has created, which is everything in existence, whether seen or unseen, physical and temporary or spiritual and eternal.

Actually, we can know “why” God created man in His image. But God has to tell us the answer. He has to reveal His will and reasons. His “why” cannot be known through observation of the evidence of the physical world and universe.  His “why” cannot be known through meditation or psychoanalysis or by any level of thinking or feeling or acting. He reveals to us why He created us in His image through the special revelation of His Spirit through His Word. Still, we must be willing to accept His reasons.

He does not tell us His reasons in Genesis as He creates Man in His image. He hints at why throughout the Hebrew Scripture, which we call the Old Testament. These hints explicitly point toward the absolute revelation of His will in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

For now, we are going to put the question “why” to the side and seek to discover “what” the image of God is which He gave to Man. We will use all of Scripture but begin with observations from the first chapter of Genesis.

Day One Summary

Studies in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5 ESV)

God created the universe as a closed system, and all of the material found in the universe ex nihilo, out of nothing. As a closed system nothing can be added nor taken from the universe. He established the Laws of the universe determining all creation adhere to those Laws. God exists outside of the universe and all He created.

His Spirit moved throughout the created universe, through the darkness, over the waste. He is active and mindful of all His creation. He has absolute control.

God then took the material He created and shaped and formed it into other things.

God spoke. When God speaks He assigns purpose and direction. Out of the existing material of the universe He made “light” which is energized matter moving at a high speed. God approved of light.

God separated light from darkness, beginning the process of building a place where life can exist and grow. God separates that which He deems “good” as measured according to His eternal standards from that which just is. Yet, He takes that which just is and shapes it according to His will. His first act of separating is light from darkness.

He called the light “Day.” Day means a period of time of light. With light comes life.

He called the darkness “Night.” Night means a period of time of darkness. With darkness is waste and desolation.

Everything God creates is perfect, fitting His design and specifications.

Author and Creator

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. [Matthew 5:17-18 ESV]

Jesus is the Word of God. He is not only the Author and Creator of all but the Author of and inspiration for Scripture. We are going to concentrate on two significant conclusions based upon this truth.  First, when Jesus was incarnate He entered into His creation. God transcends creation, eternally outside of the universe. While the laws of the universe are in place, He, the Lawmaker, has authority to suspend those laws. Miracles are the suspension of the physical laws of the universe. But He will only suspend the laws for a moment. Once He has accomplished His will the laws of the universe are moved back into place. Walking on water or calming a storm are examples of miracles. Elisha making an ax head float or Moses parting the waters are OT examples of miracles.

When Jesus turned water into wine He did that which only God could do. He created something out of something else. We would call this a miracle. He suspended the absolute laws of nature for a moment to create.

Anyone who is created cannot suspend the laws of nature but must abide by those laws. People cannot do miracles. Satan cannot do miracles. Satan can do that which is mistaken for a miracle but he is not the author of the law and has no rights over the law.

Secondly, Jesus is the Author of and Inspiration for Scripture. He is the author of the Law and the Prophets. He wrote the law based upon His eternal character. He wrote the Prophets based upon His eternal and transcendent knowledge. Think about this. When the Hebrew Scripture speaks about Jesus it is Jesus speaking about Himself.

All of the Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scripture are fulfilled in the life of Christ. Because of His preincarnate omniscience, as God He knows everything, He saw and understood exactly what would happen and why. As God He is omnipotent, in control of all things. He brought together the circumstances needed to accomplish His will. This does not mean those who acted on their wills had not control or responsibility for their actions. God did move them to act in accordance with His will but not in violation of their character.

Jesus knew the pain He would endure upon the cross as a sacrifice for sin. Speaking to the serpent after the temptation God states I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” [Genesis 3:15 ESV]. Jesus knew what He was going to do from eternity. He told the prophets He would suffer and why. “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories” [1 Peter 1:10-11 ESV].

Jesus told the two He traveled with on the road to Emmaus that the Christ would suffer.

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. [Luke 24:25-27 ESV]

He knew what was to happen, even telling His disciples He was going to Jerusalem to die. See Matthew 16:21-28, 17:22-23, 20:17-19 and Luke 9:22-27, 43-45, 18:31-34 for some of His predictions of how and where He would be sacrificed. Peter rebuked Jesus telling Him He would never die in the way He predicted. Jesus rebuked Peter. From then on whenever Jesus predicted His suffering and death His disciples either did not understand or were greatly distressed.

Even Jesus was distressed by what was to take place. Yet, His love for His creation is so great He willingly faced  excruciating pain and separation for those who would become citizens of His kingdom. These are the plans and actions of One who deeply and eternally loves those He created in His image. How great and eternal is His love.