How many times, when reflecting on your past, have you stated, “I wish I’d known then what I know now”? A condition of being human is that at any given moment we do not know everything there is to know, and that if all our faculties are working correctly, we know more over the course of our lives. The fact that we often want to know more, and dedicate so much energy to education, indicates that knowledge is a good. That is, it is deeply valuable and beneficial for life; it is an ingredient of wisdom that we live by. Gaining more of it likely improves the conditions of our humanity.
But the fact that we often want to know more and can know more over the course of our lives, and the fact that we can, sadly, lose knowledge, means that human knowledge is dynamic yet limited. Even the smartest people we know, who with little apparent effort know interesting facts and understand complex theories, still had to learn these things. Human knowledge, even the most brilliant human knowledge, is not all-knowing, it is not omniscient, and it requires effort.
The same is not so with God. Starting off with some thoughts about human knowledge highlights this, because often our knowledge of God’s attributes, especially His incommunicable ones, comes to us by way of negating something about them in comparison to us. That is to say, God is so great, He is so mighty, and His nature is so different from ours that to speak of what He is like, we must start with what He is not like. God Himself speaks this way in Scripture: “For I the Lord do not change” (Mal. 3:6).
A.W. Tozer defined God’s omniscience succinctly: “To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn.”