Is it Possible to Surprise God?

God is all-knowing and all-powerful, existing outside of time he knows all that will happen from the beginning of time until the end of time. In the Book of Hebrews we read, “No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.”

Knowing this prompted a listener named Gary to call in to Father Simon Says™ and ask, “God knows our past, our present, and he knows who we will be. Are we able to surprise God?”

Fr. Simon responded by saying, “No, but we are able to delight him. It’s kind of interesting because for God there are no surprises but there are delights. I don’t know if you are a parent or not, but kids try to surprise you and they end up delighting you. But I would be surprised if we could surprise God.”

However, Fr. Simon clarified his answer by pointing out, “Jesus in his humanity was, for instance, amazed at the faith of the centurion. So in his humanity, though it was a perfect humanity, he was able to be surprised.”

“As the Son fo God he had all knowledge and all power,” Fr. Simon explained. “But if you read the second chapter of Philippians it says that he laid down the rights and prerogatives of his divinity and became a man. Fully like us except for sin. It’s as if he laid those prerogatives on the heavenly throne like a garment, and he chose not to know the future.”

Scripture tells us that Jesus said things like “The hour is known only to the Father” and “The Father is greater than I.” These illustrate the ways in which Jesus set aside the privileges of his divinity, but it does not mean he set aside his divinity by becoming man.

“He never ceased to be the Son of God, because the perfection of God is a perfection in love,” said Fr. Simon. “It isn’t a perfection in knowledge, though God has perfect knowledge. It isn’t in power, though God is all-powerful. God’s perfection is a perfection in love. And Jesus never ceased to be the perfect Second Person of the Trinity in his divinity and in his humanity. But he chose not to know the future in his humanity, for love of us. So Jesus was surprised occasionally. In the Scriptures we see it.”

Listen to the full discussion below:

Father Simon Says airs weekdays at 1:00 p.m. Central on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

surprise
Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.