Omniscient Father and Son

“Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)”

— 1 Kings 8:39  (KJV)

According to Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs #2, it is stated, “God [a unity of three coeternal Persons] is immortal, all-powerful, All-KNOWING, above all, and ever present..”

If “God” is defined as “a unity of three coeternal Persons” according to the denomination’s belief, are all three coeternal Persons equally “all knowing” or omniscient?

Consider the following inspired statement:

“The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work ONLY ONE BEING IN ALL THE UNIVERSE COULD DO. ONLY HE WHO KNEW THE HEIGHT AND DEPTH OF THE LOVE OF GOD COULD MAKE IT KNOWN. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2. {DA 22.1}

According to the above statement taken from the book, The Desire of Ages, Christ is the only Being who could “MAKE IT KNOWN” to us the Father’s love because He is the “ONLY ONE BEING [other than the Father of course] IN ALL THE UNIVERSE ….WHO KNEW THE HEIGHT AND DEPTH OF THE LOVE OF GOD.”

Why only Christ? What about the other divine being, the Holy Spirit (one of the “three coeternal Persons”)?

Let us consider some more statements.

“God and Christ ALONE know what the souls of men have cost.” — (E.G. White, ST, Jan 13, 1909)

Again, why is this knowledge exclusive to God (the Father) and Christ only? Why not the Holy Spirit if he is an entirely separate divine being who should also be “all knowing”?

“Can anyone consider the condescension of God in preparing the gospel feast, and its great cost, and treat the invitation slightingly? No man, nor even the highest angel, can estimate the great cost; IT IS KNOWN ONLY TO THE FATHER AND THE SON.” — (E.G. White, BEcho, Oct 28, 1895)

Question: If the Holy Spirit is a separate Person/Being and should be equally omniscient (according to SDA Fundamental Beliefs), then how is it that “God and Christ ALONE know what the souls of men have cost.”?

Below is another statement to consider:

“God informed Satan that to his SON ALONE he would REVEAL HIS SECRET PURPOSES, and he required all the family in heaven, even Satan, to yield him implicit, unquestioned obedience;” — (E.G. White, ST, Jan 9, 1879)

Note: In the above Signs of Times statement, we are told how God (the Father) had to inform Satan (before his fall, before Christ’s incarnation) that to His Son alone He would REVEAL “His secret purposes.” This statement is significant in that it suggests how the Father had certain knowledge, which Christ was privy to but was not known prior to being revealed to Him. Furthermore, the “secret purposes” were revealed ONLY to the Son; this would exclude anyone else. Thus, this contradicts the SDA Fundamental Beliefs #2, which says, God (all three persons of the Godhead) is/are “all knowing.”

Only the Father?

Speaking of Jesus’ Second Coming, Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 tells us,

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Question: If Jesus is “all knowing”, why did He not know when He would return? A common response is, “When Christ became a man, He voluntarily forfeited the use of certain divine attributes… i.e. His omniscience, omnipresence, etc.”

Question still remains: Why doesn’t the Holy Spirit know? Isn’t the Holy Spirit also God who is “all knowing” according to SDA Fundamental Beliefs #2 just as the Father? Why ONLY the Father knows?

A case for Christ being omniscient

While it is certainly true that Jesus, while here upon the earth, voluntarily limited Himself to His innate divine attributes and thus did not exercise His full omniscience, this same thing cannot be said of Him in His pre-incarnate existence in full glory with the Father and neither can it be said of Him now that He has returned back to this same position with the Father.

Please consider the following quote, which speaks of Him in His pre-incarnate existence:

“The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of “the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.” Romans 16:25, R. V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. FROM THE BEGINNING, GOD AND CHRIST KNEW OF THE APOSTASY OF SATAN, AND OF TH FALL OF MAN THROUGH THE DECEPTIVE POWER OF THE APOSTATE. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. {DA 22.2}

Who knew of the apostasy and fall of man? Was it just God alone? No, it was Both God AND CHRIST who knew. As I read inspiration I see that the Son of God actually possesses the same attributes as His Father.

“The words of Christ were full of deep meaning as He put forth the claim that He and the Father were of one substance, possessing the same attributes… {ST November 27, 1893, par. 5}

I understand that as the Son of God, having the very substance of His Father, Christ has by nature all the same attributes as His Father. That would include omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. He is an infinite Being, if you will, just as verily as His Father.

Now again, during His time upon the earth, He limited Himself by means of humanity and did not exercise the full abilities of His Divine attributes (i.e. He could have turned the stone into bread, He could have kept His humanity alive by the attributes of His Deity but He did not). Yet we cannot use this limitation to deny that He has or ever had the Divine capabilities. They are actually His by birthright. Thus I believe that the Son of God could see the future with omniscient eye. Not even like a prophet who required the assistance of the Spirit of Christ to do so but by His very own ability!

Lest I be misunderstood, His Divine abilities ultimately comes from the F
ather for He was begotten but they really are His own. All things Christ received from the Father (Matthew 28:18; luke 10:22; John 3:35, 13:3, 17:7) and He has taken all things back up again. I see no difference between Him and the Father except in personality and except that the Father is the great Source of all (DA 21).

Speaking of God’s knowledge, we learned that Christ had full access whereas Satan had limited access:

“At length all the angels are summoned to appear before the Father, to have each case decided. Satan unblushingly makes known to all the heavenly family, his discontent, that Christ should be preferred before him, to be in SUCH CLOSE CONFERENCE with God, and he be UNINFORMED as to the result of THEIR FREQUENT CONSULTATIONS. GOD INFORMS SATAN THAT THIS HE CAN NEVER KNOW. That to his Son will he reveal his secret purposes, and that all the family of Heaven, Satan not excepted, were required to yield implicit obedience. Satan boldly speaks out his rebellion, and points to a large company who think God is unjust in not exalting him to be equal with God, and in not giving him command above Christ. He declares he cannot submit to be under Christ’s command, that God’s commands alone will he obey. Good angels weep to hear the words of Satan, and to see how he despises to follow the direction of Christ, their exalted and loving commander. {3SG 37.3}

In the above statement, we observe that God the Father was speaking to a finite being (Satan) when He said this. It was a created being who, apparently, was demanding that he become privy to all the counsels of God not unlike how the Son of God was. To this demand, God told Satan that he “can never know”.

Salient point here is that there is only One Being who SHARES omniscience – only One that God hides nothing from – and that is the Son.

“The mind of the Father was the mind of the Son.” Lt1-1882.1

“God is the only being in the universe that knows men exactly as they are.” Ms3-1895

Looking at the volumes of data, I would say that it is a shared omniscience, in terms of Christ sharing the same mind as His Father. Whatever the Father knows, thinks, purposes in His mind, the Son has access to the same and vice versa. There is such oneness (not in personality but in thought and purpose) that can only exist between two divine Beings having the same nature/substance.

“…I am God’s Son, one with Him in nature, will, and purpose. I co-operate with Him in His work. My Father loves Me and communicates to Me ALL His counsels. Nothing is planned by the Father in heaven that is not fully opened to the Son.” {RH March 5, 1901, par. 10}

The context of the above statement is about Jesus while He was still on the earth. So then how much more so would be true of the Son of God in His pre-incarnate glory without any human limitation and now, again, in His post-ascension full glory? Is there any thing that He does not know? Is there any secret that the Father keeps from Him? And if the answer is no then how is that not omniscience?

Hence, the doctrine that the Son does not, by nature, know the events of the future doesn’t seem to be supported by Inspiration.

Is He not also called the I AM? Does He not see as the Father does? He is the same type of Being. Of the I AM we read:

“I AM means an eternal presence; the past, present, and future are alike with God. He sees the most remote events of past history, and, the far distant future with as clear a vision as we do those things that are transpiring daily… {PrT May 30, 1895, par. 1}

Now the Son of God claims this very same Name for Himself too. It is actually His by inheritance (Exodus 23:21; Hebrews 1:4) and there are indications that He has this same type of vision. For example He saw, with omniscient eye, the destruction of Jerusalem.

“With solemn dignity Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.’ Silence fell upon the vast assembly. The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed AS HIS OWN by this Galilean Rabbi. He had announced Himself to be the self-existent One, He who had been promised to Israel, ‘whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.'” Micah 5:2, margin. – (DA 469.4,5) (See also Exodus 3:2-6, 13, 14; John 8:58, 59)

And His prophetic view, even as a Man upon the earth, took in the vast centuries. It all laid open to Him:

“WITH PROPHETIC EYES He looks into futurity, and sees not only years, but centuries and ages… {DA 157.4}

“The one great burden and grief of Jesus was that He, WITH OMNISCIENT EYE, was viewing the destruction of Jerusalem… {Ms65-1912.29}

“From the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ passed on rapidly to the greater event, the last link in the chain of this earth’s history,—the coming of the Son of God in majesty and glory. Between these two events, THERE LAY OPEN TO CHRIST’S VIEW long centuries of darkness, centuries for His church marked with blood and tears and agony. Upon these scenes His disciples could not then endure to look, and Jesus passed them by with a brief mention… {DA 630.5}

One other occasion to consider is John 1:47-51. John describes how Jesus had foreknowledge of Nathaniel: “Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.”

But in verse 51, angels are mentioned as communicating agents “ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” Consequently, some may conclude that the angels may have played a role in assisting Jesus acquiring the foreknowledge in this instance and perhaps in other instances.

Yet the inspired commentary says, “Jesus’ divine eye saw Nathanael praying, and answered his prayer.”–EGW’88 141. {PaM 22.2}

But let’s couple that with the following statement:

“Christ was continually receiving from the Father, that He might communicate to us. ‘The word which ye hear,’ He said, ‘is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.’ ‘The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’ Not for Himself, but for others, He lived and thought and prayed. From hours spent with God He came forth morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. Daily He received a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the early hours of the new day the Lord awakened Him from His slumbers, and His soul and His lips were anointed with grace, that He might impart to others.–RH Aug. 11, 1910.

Jesus apparently had the ability to see the future events with His “omnscient eye”, as the I AM. Whether or not He exercised this omniscience without the Father’s assistance while He was on earth, I’m not entirely certain. But the volumes of evidence suggests that Christ, “was continually receiving from the Father”, and d
id nothing according to His own accord. Even the words He spoke were not His-“For I have not spoken of myself” (John 12:49). For Christ said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” (John 5:30).

Let’s also add couple of more statements:

“Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised NO POWERS, THAT MEN MAY NOT HAVE THROUGH FAITH IN HIM. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.” {DA 664.4}

The Lord Jesus came to our world, NOT TO REVEAL WHAT A GOD COULD DO, BUT WHAT A MAN COULD DO, THROUGH FAITH IN GOD’S POWER to help in every emergency…{3SM 140.2}

Thus, it seems more plausible that all knowledge, be it omniscience, came from the Father, at least during His stay on earth.

Again, the point here is that he had access to omniscience even as He ministered on earth and how much more in his pre-incarnate and post ascension with full access to His own divinity.

Moreover, I would like to suggest that perhaps our understanding of omniscience might be misapplied when it comes to the Father and the Son.

As I read inspiration, I see that God the Father actually held frequent consultations with His Son and the Two (Father and Son) actually made decisions together. In fact there was even one occasion, at the time of the fall of man, where the Son had to plead 3 times to convince the Father to let Him execute the plan of salvation. It seems apparent that God the Father actually had a desire not to let His Son go and the Son had to convince Him to go ahead and do what They had previously agreed upon (from the foundation of the world) to save humanity.

“…Said my accompanying angel, ‘He is in close converse with His Father.’ The anxiety of the angels seemed to be intense while Jesus was communing with His Father. THREE TIMES He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father we could see His person. His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity and trouble, and shone with a loveliness which words cannot describe. He then made known to the angelic choir that a way of escape had been made for lost man; that He had been pleading with His Father, and had obtained permission to give His own life as a ransom for the race, to bear their sins, and take the sentence of death upon Himself, thus opening a way whereby they might, through the merits of His blood, find pardon for past transgressions, and by obedience be brought back to the garden from which they were driven… {EW 126.1}

Point here is that there are only two Beings in the entire universe, Father and Son, Who is able to consult with each other and be able to formulate a divine plan. And no created being knows the fullness of either of these Two for They are on an infinitely far higher plane of existence and thinking than a finite mind can ever grasp. Nobody else could ever give the Father sound advice except the Son. That is why God Himself only consults with His own Son when making plans. Moreover, what would be the point of consulting, if both of Them have the exact same mind and have the same exact thoughts? It stands to reason then that they are two distinctly different personalities but with equal divine attributes (omniscience) and they each bring with it something different of their own to contribute to the task at hand.

So with this said, what then shall we make of the fact that God told satan that He would reveal His secret purposes to His Son alone? Does this prove the Father alone to be omniscient? God forbid!

Again let us read:

“The loyal angels hasten speedily to the Son of God, and acquaint Him with what is taking place among the angels. THEY FIND THE FATHER IN CONFERENCE WITH HIS BELOVED SON, TO DETERMINE THE MEANS BY WHICH, FOR THE BEST GOOD OF THE LOYAL ANGELS, THE ASSUMED AUTHORITY OF SATAN COULD BE FOREVER PUT DOWN….{1SP 21.1}

Let’s reason this out… If God the Father Himself is sufficiently omniscient (all knowing) on His own, why would He even hold this conference with His Son to determine the best means to put down satan’s authority. Could it be that omniscience works in ways that we do not fully comprehend?

So why is the Father holding conference with His Son? Would there be a need for omniscient Beings to consult with one another to figure things out if Omniscient means “all knowing” in the absolute sense? Would an omniscient Being ever consult with anyone else but with another omniscient Being to determine a means for such a serious task? Who else could advise God about how to successfully put down satan’s authority except One on the same level of thinking as Himself?

I would like to suggest that we have Two distinct and separate Beings here who each operate in Their own individuality and according to Their own personality. The omniscient Father and the omniscient Son. And while the Father is the supreme authority, He recognizes the perfection that is within Himself in His own Son; hence He consults with Him and the Two work together with nothing hidden.

It is altogether an incredible thought to know that we have an omniscient heavenly Father and His Son working in unison to labor on our behalf…

“…THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE UNITED IN THE WORK OF REDEMPTION should give courage and hope to the most desponding. {RH March 5, 1901, par. 7}

“Christ, the surety of the human race, works with uninterrupted activity. HE SPEAKS OF HIMSELF AS WORKING IN THE SAME WAY AS THE GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE. He worked untiringly for the people of Israel. He sought to lead them to trust in Him who can save to the uttermost all who come to Him. Christ is the light which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world. From Adam, through the patriarchal age, this light made plain the way to heaven. To it gave all the prophets witness. In mysterious procession future things swept before their vision. In every sacrifice Christ’s death was pointed out. His righteousness ascended to God in every cloud of incense. His majesty was hidden in the holy of holies. Christ was as truly a Saviour before as after His incarnation. AT THE VERY MOMENT OF TRANSGRESSION AND APOSTASY, HE ENTERED UPON HIS WORK, LABORING FOR THE SALVATION OF MAN WITH AN ACTIVITY EQUAL TO THE ACTIVITY OF GOD. {RH March 5, 1901, par. 8}

“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making himself equal with God.” The whole nation called God their Father, and if Jesus had done this in the same sense in which they did, the Pharisees would not have been so enraged. But they accused Jesus of blasphemy, showing that THEY UNDERSTOOD THAT CHRIST CLAIMED GOD AS HIS FATHER IN THE VERY HIGHEST SENSE. {RH March 5, 1901, par. 9}

“Christ threw back the charge of blasphemy, with the words, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that himself doeth. My authority for the work that I am doing, He said, is the fact that I AM GOD’S SON, ONE WITH HIM IN NATURE, WILL, AND PURPOSE. I CO-OPERATE WITH HIM IN HIS WORK. MY FATHER

As for the Holy Spirit and His omniscience, we will leave that for another study…

“…even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” —1 Corinthians 2:11

Related article: Who or what is the “Spirit of the Lord” in Isaiah 40:13-14

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