God is all-knowing. He knows all the works of His hands (Acts 15:18). He named every star in heaven and knows everyone of their trillion trillion of names. (Isaiah 40:26). He knows the number of hairs on every human head at any given time. (Matthew 10:30) He knows all the creatures on earth and never forgets one, even the least of birds. (Luke 12:6) God’s knowledge is limitless. He knows all that is and all that has been. Does God know what will be? Specifically, does God know the decisions a man will make?
Not everyone believes in the limitless foreknowledge of God. Some say that if God knows everything that will happen then man does not have a will that is truly free. If God knows all that will happen, then man will always do what has already been known that he will do. Foreknowledge then becomes a form of Divine determinism in which every moment of life is preplanned and predetermined by God and all man can do is what has been decided he will do.
Foreknowledge does not necessarily mean predetermination. A fan of mystery novels may read a book and know exactly how the book is going to end. Such foreknowledge does not mean the reader determined the ending. A reader’s knowledge of the author and the literature allows him to understand the story and correctly foretell the ending. This knowledge does not imply the reader is also the author. Foreknowledge can exist without infringing upon the ability of individuals to freely choose.
The Bible says God knows everything that is, was, could be and will be. In Matthew 11:21 Jesus told the towns of Bethsaida and Chorazin that if Tyre and Sidon had seen His miracles they would have repented. He then declared to Capernaum that if Sodom had seen the mighty works He did then it would have turned from sin. Jesus’ words reveal a knowledge of what could have been. His words were not mere rhetoric. Jesus is God the Son. He spake the truth of what could have been because He knows all things, including what might be.
God knows everything about a person before that person knows anything about themselves. Psalm 139 describes the infinite, intimate knowledge of God. Psalm 139:2 says, “Thou understandest my thought afar off.” God knows every thought of man while it is still far from fully formed in the person’s mind. While man is still thinking, God knows all that he is going to think. Psalm 139:16 says that when the person is still in the womb, before he has even begun to form, God knows him. He knows all his days before his days have even begun. God knows what a person is going to do and what that person will be long before he makes any decisions. God knows all the possibilities and He knows the choices men will make. The God of the Bible is all-knowing. His knowledge is unlimited and entire, encompassing past, present, future, what will be, what could be and what might be.