Sunday, November 28, 2010

Does God Learn?

So I was in a conversation this Thanksgiving day weekend with another pastor of a Christian Church.  (Just in case you don't know, a "Christian Church"  is actually a denomination.  It is a sister church of the Church of Christ.)  Now they have some particular distinctives, one of which is baptismal regeneration, which is the idea that a person is not saved until they are baptized.  That's problematic.  But deeper than that problem resides how one views God.  Everything flows from how we view man and how we view God.  That's where the conversation got interesting.  It quickly rested--where it needed to--on the subject of God's sovereignty. 

But...what does it mean for God to be sovereign?

It means that God is in control.  He has planned out every event and detail of our lives.  This IS his God-ness.  It is what (in some sense) makes Him God.  Go here for a more comprehensive dealing with this issue.  But a couple verses to make the point:   Isaiah 46:6-7:

"...there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.  I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things." (cf. Lam 3:37-38)  

&  Ephesians 1:11-12: 

"In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory." (cf. Romans 9:19-21)

So some people right off the bat will try to dismiss this whole conversation by saying "that debate is 2,000 years old!"  As if that solves it.  Another debate, the "hath God really said" debate, originated by Satan some 6-10,000 years ago or more and is still raging.  Should we give up on that one simply because of it's antiquity.  God forbid!

But back to the subject this post:  Does God learn?  First to the dictionary.  To learn means to gain or acquire knowledge of something.  This is key.  Those who want to deny God's absolute sovereignty say that God "looks down through the corridors of time" to see what man will do and then adjusts his ordaining decree accordingly.  Friends, think about that for a second.  Reflect...  If that is what God is doing, then God is in fact learning!   He is acquiring or gaining knowledge of a future event, and then He is making his decision.  Some of you at this point might say "so what's the big deal?"  The BIG DEAL is if that is true, then we lose God!
Here's why.  God is omniscient, which means He knows everything.  He has never learned.  Ever.  He has never made a wrong choice.  Ever.  He never changes His mind.  Ever.  If God were to change His mind, it only leaves two possible options 1) He's changing His mind from an inferior choice to a superior choice, which means His first choice wasn't perfect and therefore He isn't perfect.  2)  He's changing His mind from a superior choice to an inferior choice which means God makes bad choices and therefore He is not good.    
The theology of "God looking down through the corridors of time" to make his decisions is a theology that de-thrones and vilifies God and raises man to the level of deity. 

These ideas are not merely ideas without consequence.  They govern our lives whether we can see it perfectly or not.  They also directly correspond to the level at which we praise and adore our precious Savior Jesus Christ.  He is adored most ardently when he is believed in and treasured most correctly.

Think.  Read.  Love.  Contend for His fame.  


  1. Excellent processing Josh. It looks as if you are really seeing if you know God in your knower. Please, please don't take this the wrong way, but perhaps you may even be getting to a healthy enough place to have your love organ put back in. Hey, maybe one day you can teach other people all this cool stuff.

  2. No way man. That operation is not reversible. Fortunately for me starbucks coffee acts as a good substitute.