Read Psalm 139.

Imagine you are omniscient. You know everything. Your memory is perfect. You remember past events—how you felt, what you were thinking, how you experienced them. In fact, you remember them as clearly and as vividly as the present. In a very real sense, they are still present to you. How would you differentiate past events from the now?

And you are able to anticipate the future. You know how it will feel, what you will be thinking, how you will experience it. You do experience it.

But the future depends on your actions. Not only can you anticipate the future, you can even anticipate what the future would be for each set of actions you might undertake. All of the possible futures that depend on your actions are available to you. Knowing what actions you will choose, you experience the future in almost the same way that you experience the now.

There is one difference in your experience of past, present, and future: your actions take place in the present. You can’t change the past. But why would you want to? Your thoughts now are the same as your thoughts then. They don’t change. Anything you might decide you should have done at that past time, you would have decided then and done. And you can’t yet effect the future. But you know what you will do and what the outcome will be. It is present to you now.

Your relationship to people would be very different. To you, their entire lives are present. More, all of their possible lives, depending on your actions, are known. Each potential action you might take can potentially change each person. What power!

Now imagine that you are also omnipotent. All possible actions are possible to you, from creating universes down to nudging butterfly wings. All of these actions have immense ripple effects throughout creation and time. You can calm the chaos, breathing your Spirit across the waters. By speaking, you create.

Imagine too that you are omnicharitable. You choose the good for all people, for all that you create. You create to bring about glory. You are a master artist of good, creating a glorious masterpiece. You create people in your own image, with free will, so that they have the possibility of even greater glory. You do not override their free will—to do so would be to remove your image, to uncreate them. You do not place them in happy, easy lives, for then they would not strive for the good. Instead, you hide yourself, so that they are not overwhelmed, so that they have true freedom. You cut and chip away at them, sculpting them into what you would have them be.

Based on your foreknowledge, you choose your actions to glorify as many as can be enticed to choose you. You choose the circumstances that are best for each one. You bring peace to those of goodwill.

You stop at nothing in creating your great masterpiece. There is no half-effort among the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnicharitable of the universe. In fact, if it were possible and good, you would go so far as to bring about your own death. And resurrection. And ascension, along with those who desire to join you, into the glory of the Holy Trinity.

Mind. Blown.

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin University and the director of and