2011-09-13

Christianity: Times in the Bible When God Doesn't Know All, and Tests People to Find Things Out

I've added a new section to http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/omniscience.html#Christianity:

The Bible says God is perfect in knowledge, knows all thoughts, all secrets, sees all and no-one can hide from God. See: 1 Samuel 2:3, Job 28:24; 37:16; 42:2, Psalm 44:21; 139:4,7-8; 147:5, Proverbs 15:3, Jeremiah 16:17, 23:24, Acts 1:24, Hebrews 4:13, Matthew 10:30 and 1 John 3:19-20. Yet there are plenty of times when God doesn't know things, such as where people are. Check these verses:
  • Genesis 3:8-13 - Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord, amongst the trees of the garden, and God had to go find them, and then asks them questions. Either Adam and Eve are so dumb that they can't grasp that God is all-knowing, or, God is genuinely asking because it doesn't know the answers.
  • Genesis 18:20-21 - "20Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”"
  • Genesis 32:22-30 - In this obscure story, Jacob wrestles with God in bodily form and sees God face-to-face. God asks Jacob what Jacob's name is; yet an all-knowing god would surely know!
  • Numbers 22:9 - Balaam and some Moabite officials spend a night waiting for God, who duly pops down for a visit, "And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee?" An all-knowing God would have known.
  • Job 1:7, 2:2 - "And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
  • Hosea 8:4 - Some princes of Israel were set up without God's knowledge.
Sometimes, it is said in the Bible that God tests people. In Deuteronomy 8:1-2 God reveals that the 40-years in the wilderness was a test done by God to find out what was in people's hearts - whether they would still obey orders. In Deuteronomy 13:1-5 God sends some false prophets and wonder-workers as tests to see if people will follow other gods, and in 2 Chronicles 32:31 God is doing similar fact-finding tests. Yet an all-knowing God, creator of all time, knows exactly who will pass any tests, and knows exactly what is in everyone's heart. So either God is lying about his reasons, or, god is not actually all-knowing. See: "God Never Needs to Test Us" by Vexen Crabtree (2005).
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