Q&A: Does God really know everything?

Does God really know everything?

Question

God asked where Adam was after he sinned. So, does God really know everything?

Answer

Yes, God knows absolutely everything. He is omniscient. He knows all (cf. Prov. 15:3). He knows not only how many stars are in the universe, but knows each and every one of them by name (Psa. 147:4-5). Astronomers have calculated that there are approximately one-hundred thousand million stars in the Milky Way alone. However, there are millions upon millions of other galaxies as well! That's a lot of stars. He knows seemingly insignificant things as well, like the number of hairs on your head (Matt. 10:30). He even knew his people before they existed, writing their names in a book before the foundation of the world (Rev. 3:5; cf. Rev. 17:9). He knows our every desire and thought (cf. 1 Chron. 28:9; cf. Psa. 139:1-4; Prov. 15:3).

God ordains the future and he knows it before it becomes the present. Joseph understood this because, instead of desiring revenge upon his own brothers, he said, "And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life" (Gen. 45:5; 50:20). Even the very birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was ordained and known beforehand (Gen. 3:15, 21; Isa. 7:14; Acts 2:22-24; 4:27-28; 1 Pet. 1:20). So, God knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10). His understanding has no limit. No one can fathom his understanding (Isa. 40:28).

Now, back to your question regarding what is written in Genesis 3.

Original sin entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed in the garden (Gen. 3:1-7). They must have been accustomed to visits from God in the garden because they were familiar with the sound of God walking because in Genesis 3:8 and 10 we read: "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day ... I heard the sound of you in the garden." In other words, they were familiar with what God's presence was like. Perhaps these divine visits were regularly on the Sabbath and God and the first couple had a specific meeting place, or perhaps as a reminder of the covenant of works, near the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (cf. Gen. 2:9). While we don't really know all that happened there, Scripture does tell us, "But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?"" (Gen. 3:9).

Does God’s question mean that he didn't know where Adam and Eve were? No. In communication we often ask questions we already know the answer too. As a former homicide detective I would ask the accused questions I already knew the correct answer to, and attorneys are taught never to ask a question they don't already know the answer to. This is what is happening in Genesis 3:9. But God is also making a point with his question. Adam and Eve had sinned. They were hiding from God. They had completely corrupted their fellowship with God. The Divine Attorney knew all this and was reminding Adam and Eve that they had sinned and deserved eternal death (cf. Gen. 2:17). However, within this chapter of Genesis we also see God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness. Instead of suffering the totality of God's wrath, this first couple was temporarily cursed, but we are also given the foreshadowing of Christ’s righteous sacrifice. (Gen. 3:21; Isa. 61:10; cf. 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8).

BTW, God knew you would locate our website, ask this question, and that I would give this answer. Something to think about.

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The Ever-Guessing god of Open Theism
Does God Change His Mind?
Calvinism and Revelation 3:5?
How are original sin and imputed sin different?
The Old/New Testament Church
Covenant of Works
The Old/New Testament A Gospel Summary

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).