WFT- prescience

27 March 2010

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 15th was prescience.

Here is their definition:

: foreknowledge of events:  a : divine omniscience  b : human anticipation of the course of events : foresight

Here is some additional detail they provided for the word:

If you know the origin of "science," you already know half the story of "prescience." "Science" comes from the Latin verb "scire," which means "to know" and which is the source of many English words ("conscience," "conscious," and "omniscience," just to name a few). "Prescience" comes from the Latin verb "praescire," which means "to know beforehand." "Praescire" joins the verb "scire" with the prefix "prae-," a predecessor of "pre-." A lesser-known "scire"-derived word is "nescience." "Nescience" means "ignorance" and comes from "scire" plus "ne-," which means "not" in Latin.

In the book of  Job G-d engages in a lengthy monologue to make the point that Job is not G-d.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements?  (Job 38:4-5)

The work of Creation is the primary focus of G-d's points.  G-d doesn't ask Job if he made anything (the sun, the stars, etc) instead He asks Job if he knows any of the things of which G-d speaks:

Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. (Job 38:18)

Christians often say (rightly so) that G-d is "omniscient" and knows all things.  He, of course, is also prescient and knows things before they happen.  Why is this so?  Did G-d get a "sneak peek" at the events of human history before He started time?  Does G-d have a time machine that allows Him to zip ahead a few days or hours and get the jump on us?

Not even close.

G-d speaks in Isaiah 46:10 and gives us a bit of insight:

Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';

G-d doesn't just know the beginning from the end He declares the beginning from the end.  G-d is sovereign over all of His creation for all time.  How can this be?  Don't humans have any free will?  Yes... but only within the boundaries of G-d's sovereignty.

G-d makes it even clearer in Revelation 22:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." (Revelation 22:13)

He is the beginning.

He is the end.

What is not stated but what must be known is that He is also everything in between.

Because He is ("I am that I am"- Exodus 3:14, "Before Abraham was born, I am"- John 8:58) then He knows all things... things past, things present, and things future.

He is prescient because He is the first and the last, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim 1:17)

Last modified on 07 January 2017

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