A Big Question Technology Raises and Theology Answers

In our highly connected and technologically savvy society we have heard it said, “Do we really want those tech companies to know everything about us? It seems like they are everywhere and know everything!” We are uncertain about Big Data for one of two reasons: we aren’t sure we trust the people who know everything about us or we could be embarrassed by what is known.

Tech/Big Data seems to be everywhere and seems to know everything. And technology is raising a great question: “Do we want to be known by someone who is everywhere?”

For centuries Bible teachers have utilized famous omni-statements about God to describe His character. He is omniscient; He is all-knowing. He is omnipresent; He is everywhere. He is omnipotent; He is all-powerful. While the words are big and academic sounding, they are really practical and comforting for you. When I teach systematic theology to people in our church, I love seeing people realize how personal and practical theology is for their daily lives. (We invite people to a course we call Deep Dive: Theology and the Mission of God.)

1. You are never going to surprise God. He is omniscient.

Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; you understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; you are aware of all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue, you know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me. This wondrous knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it. (Psalm 139:1-6)

Because God has encircled you, there is never a moment in your life that catches Him off guard. You have never shocked Him. You have never informed Him of something about you that He did not already know. He has never learned something new about you. He knows what you will say before you say it and why you do what you do. We sometimes worry that if people really knew everything about us then our issues or struggles might cause them to pull away from us. But God knows everything about you and He does not pull away; He pursues you.

2. You are never going to be somewhere God is not. He is omnipresent.

Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I fly on the wings of the dawn and settle down on the western horizon, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night”— even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you. (Psalm 139:7-12)

He is everywhere. You cannot escape Him. For the Christian this is doubly true. Not only is God everywhere, but He lives within you. Not only does God encircle you, but God also inhabits you. He has moved into your life. God’s omnipresence is both convicting and comforting—convicting as He is there in our wandering, and comforting as He is there in our wrestling.  In your confusion and uncertainty, God’s right hand holds you. In your dark and painful moments and seasons, He is there.

3. You are never going to be in a situation too big for God. He is omnipotent.

For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began. God, how precious your thoughts are to me; how vast their sum is! If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of sand; when I wake up, I am still with you. (Psalm 139:13-18)

We personally know His power as He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He planned the color of your eyes, the shape of your nose, and the unique lines on your hands. He mapped out your design, and in His power, He executed His plans for you. You are never going to find yourself in a situation that is too complex for God. He had the power to choose the day you would be born, and He has the power to handle the problems of each day. God formed you in the womb, and He is committed to forming you now. God formed you when you were formless and He has the power to form you more into the person you are intended to be.

Do we want to really be known? When we understand God’s character and His good and gracious intentions for us, we do. We can trust Him. By His grace He has removed our shame, so we are not embarrassed before Him.