Almighty God

In this article we shall begin to explore the three divine attributes that uniquely belong to God: omniscience (being all-knowing), omnipotence (being all-powerful), and omnipresence (being present everywhere). After defining each term we shall consider some of the implications if they are not properly understood.

  • Omniscience is taken from the Latin: omnis (all) and scientia (knowledge); it is defined as the state of possessing all knowledge (Psalms 139:1-41   <<For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.>> Yahweh, you have searched me, and you know me.
    2   You know my sitting down and my rising up. You perceive my thoughts from afar.
    3   You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
    4   For there is not a word on my tongue, but, behold, Yahweh, you know it altogether.
    and Psalms 139:66   This knowledge is beyond me. It's lofty. I can't attain it.
  • Omnipotence takes it root from the Latin: potentem (powerful); it is defined as the having unlimited power (Isaiah 48:1313   Yes, my hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand has spread out the heavens: when I call to them, they stand up together.
    and Colossians 1:1616   For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him.
  • Omnipresence from the Latin: praesens (present) means to be present in all places at once (Jeremiah 23:23-2423   Am I a God at hand, says Yahweh, and not a God afar off?
    24   Can any hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him? says Yahweh. Don't I fill heaven and earth? says Yahweh.
    and Psalms 139:7-87   Where could I go from your Spirit? Or where could I flee from your presence?
    8   If I ascend up into heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there!

Let us begin with the first attribute: omniscience, and as we shall see, the omnipresence of God is a necessary consequence of it. Since God is eternal and has no beginning He knows perfectly everything which has happened in the past. Similarly He is aware of everything happening in the present (Proverbs 15:33   Yahweh's eyes are everywhere, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
, Psalms 33:13-1513   Yahweh looks from heaven. He sees all the sons of men.
14   From the place of his habitation he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15   he who fashions all of their hearts; and he considers all of their works.
, and Hebrews 4:1313   There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
). In other words, if God is omniscient and possess all knowledge about the present then He must necessarily be omnipresent. In fact, without God being all-present and all-knowing we could have no confidence in Him being the good and perfect judge of the world; both good works and wickedness might go unnoticed.

Having established that being omnipresent requires perfect knowledge of the past and the present, is it necessary for God to possess all knowledge about the future? What if He did not?

If God does not possess perfect knowledge about the future then it would be impossible for Him to make promises and uphold them. But from the Scriptures we are confident that God fulfils all His promises (Numbers 23:1919   God is not a man, that he should lie, nor the son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good?
, Joshua 23:1414   Behold, today I am going the way of all the earth. You know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which Yahweh your God spoke concerning you. All have happened to you. Not one thing has failed of it.
, and Psalms 119:140140   Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.

Despite this there are a growing number of professing Christians who believe that God does not possess knowledge about the future. This response owes to a confused understanding of the sovereign will of God and how God's perfect knowledge of the future would conflict with the free will of man. However, this would lead us in a very different direction, so we shall address this issue more completely in a future article. In the meantime I shall demonstrate the folly of denying God having perfect knowledge of the future. Those that disagree attempt to resolve the "unfulfilled promise" dilemma by arguing that, as God is omnipotent (all-powerful), He can act to ensure that all of His promises are fulfilled. But how could we place our trust in a "god" who was all-powerful and does not possess perfect knowledge about the future? He would have no proper awareness of His own actions and, like the proverbial woman who swallowed a spider to catch a fly, He would spend all His time acting in His unlimited power to "correct" previous actions that had unforeseen consequences in order to accomplish His purposes.

Quite simply, for God to be good He must be omniscient if He is to be omnipotent.

Yet from His perfect knowledge of the past, present, and the future, what good would His knowledge be if He did not possess the power to overcome anything which attempted to thwart His good purposes? But once again the Scriptures declare that nothing can stand against the plans of God (Psalms 33:8-118   Let all the earth fear Yahweh. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9   For he spoke, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood firm.
10   Yahweh brings the counsel of the nations to nothing. He makes the thoughts of the peoples to be of no effect.
11   The counsel of Yahweh stands fast forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Almighty God

So in summary we have established that God must be omnipresent if He is omniscient; that is, present everywhere if He knows everything about the present. And it follows that if God is omnipotent (all-powerful) then He would need to be omniscient (all-knowing), otherwise His unlimited power could be used in ignorance and with terrifying consequences.

But as God has made covenantal promises with us, His people, then He must be capable of fulfilling them. Hence His omnipotence follows.

In other words, if we trust in God and His promises, then all three of these attributes are essential components of His divinity - we must defend them with rigour.

Let us not forget, then, that each time we utter the words, "Almighty God", in prayer it resonates a glorious truth: our God is the supreme all-present, all-knowing, all-powerful Lord of all things who reigns (Revelation 19:66   I heard something like the voice of a great multitude, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty thunders, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!
), and is faithful and true to all His promises.

For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD?
Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him.
O LORD God Almighty, who is like you?
You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

Psalms 89:6-8