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RDVENTEN
May 28th 2010, 12:31 AM
How does God know everything, is it because He God, plained the whole thing from beginning to end, all the good and all the evil, that is to say is God both good and evil?

walterhoar
Jun 1st 2010, 08:45 AM
God lives inside of every living being. He knows all you do, say, think, feel, and go. God is with you, always.

notuptome
Jun 1st 2010, 11:19 AM
God abides in eternity and sees all things at all times. God is not, as we, bound in time. Scripture tells us that He knows the end from the beginning. isa 46:10

God is only good and no evil can stand in His presence. One day all evil (sin) will be destroyed by Gods righteousness.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

Scruffy Kid
Jun 1st 2010, 09:09 PM
Hi, RDVENTEN!
Welcome to Bibleforums! :hug:
It's good to have you here!!! :pp :pp :pp

Thanks for your thoughtful questions!
How does God know everything, is it because He God, plained the whole thing from beginning to end, all the good and all the evil, that is to say is God both good and evil? I really see this as two questions, not just one.
1) How does God know everything?
2) How can it be that God is good, and yet good and evil continue to exist.

I. How does God know everything?

This question is helpful because it helps us see a way we often look at the world.

It's easy for us to think like this: well, there is the world, the earth and stars, and so on, and it is inhabited by plants, and ants, and quail, and oxen, and human beings, and maybe angels, and God. In this outlook, God becomes the greatest of beings, but it's sort of as if He's alongside other beings, greater, but not qualitatively (radically) different.

But the Bible tells us that God made all the world. That means something more than what I mean by "made" if I say that I made supper, or a carpenter made a chair. If a carpenter makes a chair, he rearranges wood that is there, already, and even if the carpenter goes away, or dies, the chair goes on being there.

But God made the world in a completely different sense: the world, and all the things in it -- planets, photons, stars, the earth, quail, and you and me, and time and space, exist only because He holds us in being. Unlike the chair, which has an existence apart from the carpenter, the world and all that is in it, exists only because God, at every point in time and space, sustains it in being. God is the source of his own being, as well as the source and creator of every other being. If He ceased to uphold the world, or any item in it, in being then that thing would not have power in itself to sustain itself in being, and would perish. Thus God is "present" at every point in space and time, upholding in being those things that are there.

So of course, he must know all those things, for it is He who keeps them in being.

I-B. God sees all things, the whole, as we do not, and cannot, comprehensively.

God knows all things together. The sees the whole of life, of time and space and all that occurs within them, comprehensively. Such knowledge is too high for us. We cannot imagine what it is like.

Just as He is everywhere present, through time and space, so He exists outside of time and space, calling them (and all that is within them) into existence. This is somewhat similar to the way a novelist or filmmaker is outside the novel or film -- he or she has a life in his or her own world, and not just in the limited world of the novel -- but the novelist is "present" at every point, every event, in the novel, and is the cause of its being there. He or she "holds in being" all the characters and the plot and the places and times, and without the novelist's sustaining them in being they would not, could not, exist.

So notuptome (Roger) is very correct to note that God exists outside of time and space, and surveys all existence together. In this sense, as Roger helpfully says, quoting the Scripture, God "knows the end from the beginning.

But while it is the case that things -- like the chair the carpenter made, or the wood he shaped it out of -- would cease to exist if God did not hold them in being, that does not mean that the things around us are about to start disappearing, popping like soap bubbles. No, God is very faithful, and has established the world firmly, so that it cannot be moved. HE has set up regular laws -- laws of physics, for instance -- and keeps all things within those bounds. There is a regular pattern of cause and effect, which we can rely on. To put that differently, the chair the carpenter made is free to go on existing -- God will not arbitrarily alter it, or allow it to waste away -- as long as someone does not come along and, say, burn it for firewood. Similarly, the log the carpenter made went on existing, freely continued its existence, until the carpenter came along and shaped it into a chair. Does that mean that God preferred having a chair to having the log? No. Just as the log was free to continue to exist, and the chair, after it was made, was free to continue to exist, so also the carpenter was free to continue to exist. But the carpenter is a much more active agent than the log or the chair. So the carpenter's free existence shaped the chair out of the log, and this determined that the chair would go on existing for quite a while, and not the log.

Maybe the log, or the tree from which it came, was more valuable to God than the chair the carpenter made. Maybe not. We don't know anything about it. (It may have been a rare tree, and a lousy chair. Or a commonplace log, and a wonderful chair.) But God sustained the carpenter in being and allowed him freedom to shape his environment -- just as in the story of the Garden of Eden, God allowed human beings to help shape and order the garden.

II. How can it be that God, who is good, allows evil things to go on existing?

As we just saw, God made a world, and the things in it, and gave that world a certain independence, a certain freedom to go on existing, not just to disappear like a popped bubble and random moments of God's choosing. God could, of course, do that: make what seem to us solid things go into nothingness at any moment, for it is God who sustains all things in being. But He doesn't: He chooses to behave in a lawful, consistent manner toward the world He has made, so that it can have a kind of real existence of its own. That reality, that real and independent existence, occurs because God allows it to go on existing, and to develop according to its own nature. He doesn't arbitrarily bring about incomprehensible changes. He sustains things in being, reliably.

One of the most important things God has made is human beings. Gen. 1 tells us how God made us as a kind of crown of creation. Gen. 2, while using very different imagery and narrative, tells us the same thing. In fact, both accounts explain carefully to us that God made us and gave us a lot of responsibility: To rule over the world, for its good and ours, in obedience to God; and to tend and dress the Garden that He made for us to dwell in, in accord with His instructions, but with a great deal of freedom.

The problem is that we abuse that freedom: we do lots of things that are destructive, and fail to do lots of things which we need to do to keep ourselves and this world healthy. God could, the moment we make mistakes, squish us, blot us out. But God did not make us to be automatons, little machines, but free and loving participants in our lives and our world. So He allows us to go on, living with freedom in how we order our lives, and (unfortunately) making a lot of mistakes. These mistakes are mainly due to the fact that we are not seeking to hear and obey God's voice.

Just like the chair that goes on existing (whether or not that's what God wanted the carpenter to do with the log), so do the things we do take on a life of their own, once we have done them. Human beings have turned away from God, and having done so, we find it hard to get ourselves properly straightened out again. And the things we do amiss start to affect not just ourselves, but others, including our families. Thus problems start accumulating in human life, and this leads to evil outcomes.

Is God ignoring the bad things that get going because of human freedom? Not at all! In many ways, He is at work, often silently and in a hidden fashion, to change things, to get us back on the right track, both as individuals, and as societies and as a world. God does not want any to perish, but for all to come to a knowledge of the truth, and to be rescued from the things that are bad (I Tim 2:4). God wants a world where people act rightly, and help one another rather than hurting one another. But in getting there, he does not simply override human freedom. He is at work, but is very patient (not slow in the sense that human beings are slow and lazy) wanting all people to come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). To us it often looks like He is not paying attention. (Luke 18:1-8) But really He is at work powerfully and effectively to help us.

II-B. How can God, being Good, allow evil and good to exist together.

The main reason we know of God's goodness is Jesus. Jesus, God's own son, left the eternal joy of heaven to be with us, to live and die as one of us, and to die for us, to reconcile us to God, and change us, if we will let Him, into (adopted) sons and daughters of God. He bore the full brunt of our evil, our hatred and wrong-doing on the cross, to set us free.

Jesus tells us that when God's servants (the angels) find good and bad plants growing together, all mixed together, in a field they are instructed not to rip up the bad plants, but to wait for the harvest, for otherwise they will uproot the good plants together with the bad. (Matt 13:24-30) So God does not approve of evil, is at work to stop it, and yet does not overthrow the freedom of human beings to order their lives.

He has overcome sin, hell, death, and the devil, by Christ's death and resurrection, and he will do that for us in our lives. In the end, he will restore all the world to the goodness He originally intended for us, and it; but now, in this intermediate time, we wait and work to make things good, and God also patiently waits.

In friendship, :hug:
Scruffy Kid

svfox
Jun 1st 2010, 09:26 PM
God is actually holding this world together. As he lets humans go unrestrained they will do more and more evil.
Without Godl humans would destroy this world in a year.

crossnote
Jun 1st 2010, 09:29 PM
God abides in eternity and sees all things at all times. God is not, as we, bound in time. Scripture tells us that He knows the end from the beginning. isa 46:10

God is only good and no evil can stand in His presence. One day all evil (sin) will be destroyed by Gods righteousness.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

God did destroy all evil at Calvary. It's just a matter of time for time to catch up with eternity :)