What is omni-resourcefulness?
Question: What do you mean when you refer to God’s omni-resourcefulness? Can you support this with Scripture?
Answer: I and others use the term omni-resourcefulness to highlight a feature of God in Scripture that the classical theological tradition consistently overlooks. Part of the greatness of the God of the Bible, we argue, is that he confidently faces a future that is comprised partly of possibilities. He doesn’t need to pre-settle the future in order to guarantee that he can use evil for good and ultimately triumph over evil. For he is a God who is infinitely wise and creative. He is omni-resourceful.
One example of God’s resourcefulness occurs right after God reveals himself to Moses as the God who will be whatever he wills to be (Exod. 3:14). The Lord reveals his plan to deliver Israel and tells Moses to announce this to the Israelites. “The elders of Israel will listen to you,” God assures him (Exod. 3:18).
Now this assurance might imply that God had predetermined the whole event—as though everything was going to follow a blueprint God had of the future. But the subsequent conversation between Moses and Yahweh reveals that this was hardly the case.
Moses inquires of the Lord, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me…?” (Exod. 4:1). The Lord does not respond by reminding Moses of his power to control things, or of a blueprint he has of how things have to proceed. Rather, God demonstrates his intelligence and resourcefulness by revealing to Moses that, if necessary, he will miraculously turn Moses’ staff into a snake and then back again, in order to convince the elders that Moses’ message is true (4:3–5). But if this is not enough to convince them, the Lord reveals to Moses that, if necessary, he’ll miraculously make Moses’ hand leprous and then restore it (4:6–7). The Lord says, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign they may believe the second” (4:9).
But even this, the Lord acknowledges, might not suffice, and so he continues:
If they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground. (4:9)
The Lord is trying to convince Moses that he has the resources to do what he told Moses he’d do: namely, convince the elders that Moses was sent by God and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. That the elders would believe was certain. How many miracles it would take to convince them was not. But so long as Moses trusted God’s omni-resourcefulness, he need not worry about this uncertainty. God is prepared for every contingency.
I believe many people find security in the idea that God predestines, or at least foreknows as settled, the whole of the future because they don’t trust God’s omni-resourcefulness.
The classical view of God’s transcendence in theology is in large borrowed from a major strand within Hellenistic philosophy. In sharp contrast to ancient Israelites, whose conception of God was entirely based on their experience of God acting dynamically and in self-revelatory ways in history, the concept of God at work in ancient Greek philosophy…
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