God’s prescience, a siamese twin of omniscience, is one of His most astounding attributes to see in action.
Contra the annoying insistence of Open Theism, which purports that God doesn’t know the future because it hasn’t happened yet, the doctrine of prescience teaches that God knows absolutely everything before it happens. And not in a predictive “I can see where this story is heading” kind of way, but in a “I’ve seen this movie before the world began” kind of way. Or more like “I wrote this movie” calibre of certainty.
How did Shakespeare know Macbeth would end up king, and then killed by one untimely born (sorry for the spoiler)? He didn’t figure it out. He made it happen.
Prescience is often seen laying the table for God’s providence. Providence is when God accomplishes His will using His laws of nature as opposed to a miracle, which is God accomplishing His will by breaking His laws of nature.
So prescience and providence are a train and rail pair. To provide for a future event perfectly one needs to anticipate the future completely; one attribute guides the other. And to perceive prescience in action is as jaw-dropping as witnessing a bona fide miracle. When Jesus told Peter to make a cash withdrawal from the first fish to bite his line, and it produced the exact change of that tax that was required, His deity was being proven as incontrovertibly as when He calmed a storm with a word. No laws of nature were bent or broken with the piscine ATM miracle, and yet no one is left in any doubt as to the event’s “miraculous” nature.
A recent tragedy has highlighted one of the most startling examples of God’s prescience on display to make the news in recent times.
On July 20, 2012 at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie, Dark Knight Rises, in Aurora, Colorado, a shooting rampage left twelve people murdered and 58 more wounded. One of the victims left in critical condition was the 22-year-old lady, Petra Anderson (pronounced Pay-trah). Besides the injury to her arm, a bullet hit her in the face, travelled through her brain, and lodged in her skull. And she survived. Not only is Petra alive, but she has been left with zero brain damage.
How is this possible? It’s not.
But with God all things are possible.
Rather than recount it for you I have taken this excerpt from the blog of Petra’s pastor, Brad Strait:
It seems as if the bullet traveled through Petra’s brain without hitting any significant brain areas. The doctor explains that Petra’s brain has had from birth a small “defect” in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear. Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.
But in Petra’s case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting, enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself. Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra’s brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channeled in the least harmful way. A millimeter in any direction and the channel is missed. … It’s just like the God I follow to plan the route of a bullet through a brain long before Batman ever rises. Twenty-two years before.
This is a perfect illustration, not only of God’s prescience, power, wisdom, foreknowledge, omniscience, and sovereignty, but also of His love. Let those of us who are believers be in prayer to our Lord for the continued recovery of Petra Anderson, and that the knowledge of His greatness will resound from this display of His involvement in His creatures’ lives.
News like this should make you want to read the Book of Ruth, which is God’s inspired illustration of these attributes.
It should make you cease worrying and trust your sovereign God.
It should make you want to worship, which is the whole point of God’s deeds, whether miraculous or mundane.