Believe it or not, what you said in your post puts you well outside what is considered the pale of orthodoxy by a great many Christians. Calvinism in particular would insist that there is no form or kind of knowledge that God does not possess and to suggest otherwise is blasphemy. They, of course, would also insist that such knowledge does not make God guilty of anything and if you tried to point out the contradictory nature of their position they would simply call it an antinomy and move on.It's a very good question
What does omniscient mean in reference to God
omniscient of course is not a word found in Scripture.
It could be defined as all-knowing.
Interesting there are two Greek words that I am most familiar with regarding knowing something
Oida and ginosko.
Oida referring to mentally perceiving something.
Whereas ginosko refers to knowing something by having experienced it by participating in it and being influenced by that experience.
Does God mentally perceive that evil exists?
Yes obviously he does.
But does God know evil because he has been an active agent in doing evil?
No God has never done evil not ever.
He has allowed evil to occur because he has given free will to certain of his beings in existence by his handiwork. Humans and spirit beings.
We know that one third of those Spirit beings angels rebelled against God and were cast down from heaven.
Of course Adam and Eve send against God and all humankind procreated by a human father and human mother have likewise sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
There is one thing you've said that I want to focus particular attention on. Just as the classical understanding of omniscience is an overstatement, as you have clearly put forth in your post, I think the following portion of what you said may also be an overstatement, although not nearly to the same degree.
This seems to me to be more than the bible teaches.oatmeal said:Does God mentally perceive that evil exists?
Yes obviously he does.
God tested Abraham and when Abraham passed the test God said, "Now I know..." (Gen 22:12) and when God's people prayed to God concerning the evil taking place in Sodom, God's response was go down to investigate to "see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it" and the text goes on to say "and if not, I will know.” (Genesis 18:21). Also God says that He expected righteousness to come out of Israel but no matter what He did, Israel would not produce good fruit. God asked, "What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?" (Isaiah 5:4)
It seems clear that God does not keep Himself fully aware of every event that is going in all places and at all times and that He does not know the future actions of free will agents. God is infinitely wise and has immediate access to any information that exists and so its not as if He couldn't discover whatever it is He wants to know but in order to remain strictly within biblical boundaries it seem we must say no more than that God knows all things that are knowable, that He wants to know. Anything more would seem to go beyond the testimony of scripture.