Problem: God is unaware of events in Sodom and Gomorrah
Verses: Genesis 18:20-21; Status: Minor

At certain points, God seems less omniscient than he is generally believed to be. This is Genesis 18:20-21:

Then the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know." (ESV)

God doesn't know whether the reports are true, and has to go and take a look?

However. Here God seems to be talking to Abraham. It's conceivable that this is just a metaphor he uses to convey that which cannot be comprehended: the inner workings of God's mind. How plausible this is I don't know - the natural reading is that God, indeed, does not yet know but needs to go and find out.

A likely explanation is the existence in Genesis of myths from different authors with different understandings of the power of God.

Updated: Summer 2008

Back to main index

See also