God, Prophecy, and Miraculous Knowledge
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
The honest-hearted person who comes to recognize God’s existence and contemplates His marvelous nature cannot help but stand in awe of His omniscience. As the psalmist professed,
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether…. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell [sheol], behold, You are there (139:1-4,6-8).
The Bible declares that God “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21), that His eyes “are in every place” (Proverbs 15:3), and that “His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5). Simply put, God “knows all things” (1 John 3:20). He has perfect knowledge of the past, the present, and even the future. Job was right to ask the rhetorical question, “Can anyone teach God knowledge?” (21:22).
GOD’S OMNISCIENCE AND THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE
God’s omniscience and proof that the Bible is the Word of God is inextricably woven together. The main, overarching reason that the Bible can be demonstrated to be of divine origin is because the writers were correct in everything they wrote—about the past, the present, and the future. Such a feat is humanly impossible. “With God,” however, “all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). An omniscient, omnipotent God could produce written revelation for His human creation that was flawless in its original production. He could guide uneducated men to write about events that occurred thousands of years before their time with complete accuracy. He could “move” (otherwise) ordinary men (2 Peter 1:20-21) to write flawlessly about any number of contemporary people, places, and things. He could even guide men to write about future events with perfect accuracy. He could—and He did.
Mankind can reasonably come to the conclusion that mere human beings did not pen Scripture because human beings are not omniscient. An uninspired person cannot, for example, foretell the future. Yet the inspired Bible writers did just that—time and again (e.g., Ezekiel 26:1-14,19-21; see www.apologeticspress.org for more information). Is it not logical, then, to conclude that the omniscient Ruler of the Universe gave us the Bible? Interestingly, though the atheist does not accept the Bible as “God-breathed,” even he understands that if the Bible writers predicted the future accurately, then a supernatural agent must be responsible for the production of Scripture (see Butt and Barker, 2009, pp. 50-51).
IS THERE ANOTHER POSSIBILITY?
Some might surmise that a Bible writer practicing pagan divination could also have accurately recorded what would happen in the distant future (in Tyre, Babylon, Jerusalem, etc.) because Satan or some wicked spirit-being revealed the information to him. Such a conclusion, however, is unjustifiable for a number of reasons:
- First, the prophets condemned all sorts of witchcraft, including divination and soothsaying (Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Jeremiah 27:9-29:9). Thus, they would be condemning themselves if they were actually diviners and soothsayers.
- Second, since God, by His very definition, is the only omniscient, omnipotent Being (cf. 1 John 4:4), neither the created and fallen devil nor any other non-eternal spirit-being (Colossians 1:16; 2 Peter 2:4) can choose to know whatever he wants. He may be able to acquire knowledge quickly from other beings or from personal experience, but ultimately, wicked spirit-beings can only have knowledge of what the Creator allows them to know (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:11). If, for example, a wicked spirit-being knew of future events, it would be due to the omniscient Ruler of the heaven and Earth granting him such knowledge for His own purposes. “Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?” (Lamentations 3:37). Simply put, no one accurately foretells the future unless God informs him of it. [NOTE: Diviners may occasionally and vaguely predict something that comes to pass, but such guesswork or weathermen-like predictions are far from the revealed, supernatural foreknowledge of God, which was revealed during Bible times to His true spokesmen.]
- Third, God revealed throughout Scripture that those who accurately foretell the future are genuine prophets of God. Jeremiah wrote: “When the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” (28:9). On the other hand, those who prophesy things that do not come to pass, “the Lord has not sent;” “they prophesy falsely” (Jeremiah 28:15; 29:8-9). “‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). If non-God-inspired diviners could actually have foretold the future by the power of some wicked spirit-being, then how could the honest-hearted person ever know for sure what and who to believe and obey? Concluding that pagan diviners have been given power by wicked spirit-beings to flawlessly foretell the future contradicts what the true, inspired prophets of God taught, and prevents truth-seekers from being able to know truth.
God Almighty is the only omniscient, omnipotent Being. Only He knows everything. Ultimately, He alone knows the future—the revelation of such Divine thoughts being one of the chief ways man has logically concluded that a particular message was actually God-inspired. It seems quite dangerous to conclude that fallen spirit-beings know the future and have revealed such miraculous information to wicked diviners. Yes, uninspired fortunetellers have doubtlessly been tempted and influenced throughout the ages by powerful forces of darkness, but such beings are non-omniscient “deceiving spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1), who take after their “father, the devil,” “a liar” in whom “there is no truth” (John 8:44).
*Originally published in Gospel Advocate, March 2015, 157:27-28.
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).