I thought God is omniscient. So how come He doesn't know the place he will be worshiped during the exodus?

Notice the Bible says the place God will choose, not the place God will reveal.

there will be a site that God will choose as the place dedicated to His name. It is there that you will have to bring all that I am prescribing to you as your burnt offerings, eaten sacrifices, [special] tithes, hand-delivered elevated gifts, and the choice general pledges that you may pledge to God.

Later, the Jews believe that the place is Jerusalem and the Samaritans, never being told where the place should be, just picked their own place.

Was God still undecided where the place of the temple would be, during the Exodus?

He didn't know what he would choose?

  • You already asked the same topic which was migrated to Hermeneutics - Why did the Samaritans worship God in Mount Gerissim rather than Jerusalem? – Mawia Sep 13 '13 at 5:55
  • It's a different question. This one question God's foresight. That one is just historical. – user4951 Sep 13 '13 at 6:32
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    It's the same question asked in Mi Yodeya though. Cross-posting is frowned upon, especially since the answers there are likely to be the same as the answers here since the question is about the OT. – Andrew Leach Sep 13 '13 at 6:45
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    I searched Google to find where the reference came from since it's not been added to this question. The other question came up in the results. Google indexes SE sites very quickly. It would be a good idea to acknowledge the cross-posting in each site, explaining "I've posted here because I want to learn X point of view; it's also posted in Y and Z because I want to learn those points of view." – Andrew Leach Sep 13 '13 at 6:50
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    You need to clear a lot of things up here: 1) Where is the quote from? 2) Why you are cross posting. There is a lot of inside history on this topic for you. 3) You can't ask "Why does God do X" because we don't know. You need to ask something more like how do certain groups interpret this topic. – fгedsbend Sep 13 '13 at 19:19

God did not reveal everything at once to the Prophets in the past. Revelation from God is a progressive revelation. Lets see some examples-

  1. The Law was a progressive addition: God gave few laws to Noah after the flood (Genesis 9). God then gave circumcision law to Abraham (Genesis 17). At last, the complete law was given in a written form to Moses.

  2. Messiah was not clearly revealed in OT: For the Christians, the New Testament is the truth for interpreting the Old Testament. The NT is the final revelation of who the Messiah is and gives us a clear picture of the Messiah, not a vague and shadowy picture like the OT. The name of the Messiah as "Jesus" was not clearly predicted in the OT. If the name of Messiah was clearly written in OT, I believe there is higher probability for the Jews to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The OT did not clearly mention that Messiah will be crucified, though the NT says the prophecy is hidden in Psalms 22 and others.

Applying the same concept to the Temple, we can infer that God did not reveal the chosen site for the Temple at once to Moses.

How the Temple site was chosen in Jerusalem: In 1 Chronicles 21, David aroused the anger of the LORD by counting the fighting men in Israel. The Lord sent Gad, David's prophet to inform the punishment from God. God sent a plague on Israel and sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem.

Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord. While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground. David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.” (1 Chronicles 21:18-22, NIV)

David then decided to built the Temple there at the threshing site of Araunah the Jebusite.

Then David said, “The house of the Lord God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” (1 Chronicles 22:1, NIV)

The Bible doesn't clearly mention why David chose that place for the Temple site. There was probably some divine understanding given to David that God has chosen that site for the Temple or David was divinely inspired because he was a man of God. We can see how God approved the alter built there by sending a fire.

So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. (1 Chronicles 21:25-26, NIV)

And later, when Solomon built the Temple there, God approved it.

The Lord said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. (1 Kings 9:3, NIV)

  • The bible doesn't say that God hasn't revealed the place for worship. The bible says that God hasn't decided yet. – user4951 Sep 14 '13 at 2:11
  • How do you understand the phrase "God will chose"? Do you understand it as "God hasn't decided yet" or "God will decide"? NET translates this as "God chooses" – Mawia Sep 14 '13 at 5:00
  • NET translates that probably from samaritan bible where God has chosen. What's the correct translation anyway? – user4951 Sep 14 '13 at 5:49
  • @JimThio Please ask that question in Hermeneutics. I'm no expert on that. :) – Mawia Sep 14 '13 at 6:19

Mawia is correct (+1):

God did not reveal everything at once to the Prophets in the past. Revelation from God is a progressive revelation.

God is eternal. He exists outside what we know as "time and space". That means that he can see everything within our time and space — he is omniscient. And he doesn't change.

However, in order to interact with mankind, he needs to act within our time and space. He isn't limited; he could do whatever he wanted; but by acting within the laws he created for our time and space he doesn't blow our tiny minds.

This means that although he knows what the situation is (in his time-frame, whatever that is), we need to work though a process and he needs to facilitate that by a progressive revelation.

  • It doesn't say he will reveal. It says he will choose. – user4951 Sep 14 '13 at 2:13
  • Same thing as far as the timeline and perception is concerned. – Andrew Leach Sep 14 '13 at 9:53

The Holy Scripture speaks here from man's perspective. It does not limit God in any way. It will appear that God chooses a place when he reveals it to David. From the fact that Isaac was 'sacrificed' by Abraham on the same spot clearly shows that the all-knowing God had this spot in mind all along.

  • Another theory would be that the bible is written by mere humans and hence, in the story, God, originally isn't all knowing. Then the canon changes. I wonder if I can know which theory is correct. – user4951 Sep 21 '13 at 9:44
  • @JimThio To make such a decision you really need to take the Bible for what it is. It is a Book that has made numerous prophecies about people and events hundreds of years before they appeared and it has a spotless track record. (Cyrus [called by name] in Isaiah [150+ years prior], Nebuchadnezzer in Jeremiah, Alexander the Great in Daniel [300 years prior], The Messiah the Prince in Daniel [483 years prior]) Those are but a few... – McGafter Sep 23 '13 at 11:02
  • And how do we know that Isaiah talked about cyrus 150 years before he became king? – user4951 Sep 24 '13 at 9:24
  • @JimThio Another undeniable proof of the Bible's prophetic capabilities is the fact that there in spite of the Jewish people enduring persecution like no other in history, yet there exists a state of Israel today as was prophesied by Ezekiel in chapter 37. – McGafter Sep 24 '13 at 11:44
  • @JimThio Isaiah lived around 700-680 BC, Cyrus lived 580-529 BC [iranchamber.com/history/cyrus/cyrus.php]. Isaiah 44 to 45 speaks of him in no uncertain terms. – McGafter Sep 24 '13 at 11:52

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