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Omniscience

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Omniscience is a state of possessing all knowledge. It is the complete understanding of anything and everything. Typically, it is attributed to deities (for the sake of esteeming deities). But, it can, alternately, be taken simply as the sum of all knowledge known to all knowers in all of time.

From the intuition that knowledge is consistent with itself, omniscience does not include 'knowing that' 2+2=5. So, unlike omnipotence, omniscience is not easily construed in such a way as to entail a contradiction.

Omniscience is often, though not always, a prerequisite for deities. The God of the Abrahamic religions is considered to be omniscient. Oddly, the Abrahamic God does not often display his omniscience. Examples would include; God asking Cain where his brother, Abel, is and the Hebrews needing to mark their doors with lamb's blood to keep their firstborn male children from being killed[1].

Apparently God's omniscience does not extend to the consequences of his own actions, because in Genesis 6:7 he said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."

The Bible and Omniscience[edit]

Most people who believe in the omniscience of the Bible's God (Yahweh) rarely pay attention to the verses which clearly demonstrate the opposite. When they do however, they state that the verse is being written from man's point of view, or that the verses involving God asking humans questions was God merely testing them. This is a good example of the desperate fundamentalist's clutching for straws. In Jeremiah 17:10, the meaning implied by the verse is clear. God is saying that in order for him to know man's heart, he must search it first, even though in other verses God is stated as being the one who created man in the first place. Psalm 139:23 and Romans 8:27 basically repeats the words of the former verse. So according to the Bible, Yahweh is not omniscient. After all, the New Testament states that not even Jesus knows when the end times will arrive (Mathew 24:36).

Psalm 139:1-4 is often cited as proof of God's omniscience (or omnipresence), but a closer inspection reveals inconsistencies in this reading. The verse was written by David, Yahweh's anointed king over Israel. This verse isn't declaring his supreme knowledge, rather it is emphasizing the intimate relationship between Yahweh and David. Rather this recognizing that Psalms 139 focuses on David and Yahweh, and applied universally, the believer and God, most have interpreted as either meaning just the latter or referring to God and mankind. [2] [3] [4] [5] The emphasis on the closeness in their relationship is maintained consistently throughout the Book of Psalms, and to ignore it in this verse but not the others reveals the confirmation bias present in many Christian interpretations of the Bible.

Fun things to do with deities' omniscience[edit]

If When entities like Answers in Genesis are insisting that their version of God knows everything, a fun thing is to ask them the method to get God to reveal additional knowledge, such as:

  • Methods of treating drug-resistant bacteria, and prevent them from developing additional resistances.
    • Alternatively, methods of preventing infection of such drug-resistant bacteria or viruses once an arbitrary amount of them get in your body.
  • Methods of in vivo regeneration of lost arbitrary body parts, including but not limited to organs and limbs.
    • Better yet, methods of in vivo regeneration of additional arbitrary body parts of arbitrary function that may be useful later NOW.
  • Methods of faster-than-light travel of matter and information.
  • Effective lossless compression methods for completely random data.
  • The formula that predicts how a protein folds.

The problem with omniscience[edit]

An irreconcilable problem with being 'all-knowing', is that you cannot know whether or not you know everything, simply because you may not know what you don't know. For example, if I were to be omniscient, and therefore 'know' that I am the one that knows the most about quantum physics, I would have no source to check against as to whether or not I truly knew everything about that subject because some of the topics I "know" about aren't discovered yet and likewise I don't know about what hasn't be discovered that I might not know about. As a result, the only tangible knowledge that you have as an omniscient being would be true appreciation of your ignorance, as you would have no higher knowledge to check your facts with.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Common responses to these include God asking rhetorical questions and the need to verify those people as "practising" Hebrews (since when is validation necessary for all-knowing beings?).
  2. https://soundfaith.com/sermons/42471-our-relationship-with-god-psalm-139
  3. https://bible.org/seriespage/psalm-139-no-escape-god
  4. http://www.davidpaulkirkpatrick.com/2012/10/27/psalm-139-gods-personal-relationship-with-each-individual/
  5. http://gcdiscipleship.com/2014/01/13/psalm-139-and-infinite-intimacy/
  6. See The Thing God Doesn't Know[1] by [DarkMatter2525].