By Donald A. Nash
Theology 101 teaches us that God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (present everywhere). This is more than our human minds can fully grasp, but here’s an approach that can help. We can assign each of these attributes to specific areas of activity.
For example, we can think of omnipotence in terms of God’s creative work.
We can consider his omniscience as we think about his design for man’s salvation.
We can understand his omnipresence as we study his providential concern for individuals’ welfare.
It would take supernatural power to create our wonderful world with all its marvels. God put these blessings here and humans discovered them with the intelligence he gave us. Modern science is slowly but surely moving to the position that there is “intelligent design” in our magnificent universe. If a design exists, there must be a designer—God.
Dr. J. Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, indicated this with his principle of “irreducible complexity.” He explained this to the uninformed with a simple “mousetrap” illustration in his book, Darwin’s Black Box (1995).
Dr. Michael Denton, an authority in molecular biology, indicated the same conclusion in his excellent book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985).
Lee Strobel discussed this theme thoroughly in The Case for a Creator, but carried it further by declaring that this Creator was the God of the Bible.
Genesis 1:1 is exemplary of the Bible’s concise and explicit manner of stating matchless truths and describing important events. Five major factors of modern science are covered in this one foundational verse of biblical faith: (1) Time—”in the beginning”; (2) Force—”God”; (3) Motion—”created”; (4) Space—”heaven”; (5) Matter—”earth.”
Most normal humans love their children and care for, teach, train, and provide for their welfare. Surely then, our heavenly Father does likewise for us, his children created in his image. If not, how did we develop these same characteristics?
Thus, in his supernatural wisdom, the Almighty planned and provided for humanity’s welfare and destiny as manifested in divine revelation set forth in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17). First, he needed to design a way to reconcile us to himself because of the sin into which mankind so quickly fell. This we could call the “scheme of atonement” (Romans 5:11), which was conceived even before the world began, according to the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 1:9).
Robert Milligan called this program the “scheme of redemption” but atonement, which means reconciliation, emphasizes better the restoration of the relationship of humanity to deity as children to a father. Today we popularly call it the gospel (or good news) of salvation.
In Genesis 3:15 the omniscient One gave the first promise of this meganarrative saying the seed of woman, Jesus, would bruise the head of Satan, though his heel would be bruised (in the crucifixion). This promise was repeated to Abraham (Genesis 12:3), who was told that in him all nations of the world would be blessed. This referred to the fact that God had chosen the descendants of Abraham to be the nation through which his Son, our Savior, would come. In the New Testament, Paul says this was the gospel proclaimed beforehand (Galatians 3:8).
Then the divine ingenuity portrayed this big picture to come by an enactment of the process in the history of his chosen people, Israel. (We call this a type of coming events.) They were in bondage in Egypt (representing our slavery to sin), delivered through the Red Sea (our redemption through the blood of Christ), wandered 40 years in the wilderness (our meandering lives), and crossed the Jordan into the promised land (death leads to Heaven). Other types can be found. The writer of Hebrews makes some comparisons of the wilderness tabernacle to the church (Hebrews 8, 9).
To make sure we didn’t miss the message, God inserted numerous prophecies into the preparation for the coming of the messianic kingdom of hope. P. H. Welshimer used to say there are as many as 342 prophecies. The New Testament explicitly cites 124 as fulfilled. These told where the Savior would be born (Micah 5:2), when he would come to earth in history (Daniel 9:24-27), how he would come, and how he would live and die (Isaiah 53).
This program of atonement by the all-wise Creator matches in marvel the glory of the physical world he had brought into existence by his omnipotence. When we respond carefully to this divine drama of destination, according to the instructions given in his Holy Word, we will experience a satisfying spiritual awakening that brings us into a right relationship with God our Father, our fellow men in his family, and with ourselves.
Surely such a powerful, wise, benevolent God can always be present with each of his renewed children. He is with them to guide, counsel, help, and sustain through his revelation, answered prayer, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. He has promised providentially to work together all circumstances of life for our benefit (Romans 8:28). Notice that this assurance is based upon two conditions.
First, we must love him. Such love would he natural on the basis of faith in his provisions for our lives. We love him because he first loved us (1 John 4:10, 19). Love necessitates obedience to his commands, which are for our own benefit (1 John 5:3; John 14:15; 15:10).
Second, we should be called according to his purpose. This word could be translated “provisions.” The New International Version uses “plan” in Ephesians 1:11. In other words, we have become reconciled to him by the gospel plan of salvation, redemption, justification, and adoption.
We need to realize in regard to this promise of providence that we may not always understand what is for our good but must rely on the omniscience of our Creator.
Our Amazing Father
When we consider this analysis and application of the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God, we find agreement with the famous scientist, Sir James Simpson, discoverer of chloroform. He once was asked what was his greatest discovery. He asserted strongly, “My greatest discovery is that I am a sinner and Jesus Christ is my Savior.”
It is amazing that such a great God would deign to use his power, wisdom, and personality to be concerned about each and every one of us. Yet it is understandable, since this God, as Jesus so uniquely taught us, is also our Father.
Donald A. Nash is professor emeritus of Greek and New Testament at Kentucky Christian University, Grayson.