Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more, then, the hearts of the children of men?
Roentgen, discoverer of X-rays.
Since the seventeenth century, discovery after discovery has peeled open the universe to the eyes of men. The result has been a revelation of the miniscule and the distant, the hidden and the ancient. It began with scientists such as Galileo and Leeuwenhoek using clumsy telescopes and microscopes, and advanced as old tools were improved and new tools added. Herschell discovered the infrared. Maxwell predicted radio waves and Hertz detected them. Roentgen stumbled on x-rays. Knoll and Ruska invented the first electron microscope.
A host of other pioneers gave us radio telescopes, ultrasound equipment, ultraviolet detectors, DNA testing, magnetic resonance imaging, carbon dating and other techniques. We now can see inside cells and back to a split second after creation—things our forefathers had no idea would ever be seen. Is it any wonder then, that the Bible declares that God, the maker of all things, is able to peer into what he has made? His knowledge is infinitely advanced beyond ours. Through a spiritual back door poorly understood by us, he can even “see” what is going on in our minds and wills.
Humans are also groping toward the ability to see into others’ minds. This goes beyond what shrewd readers of body-language do when they analyze a subject’s psychological state. New techniques allow us to study brain states. Under laboratory conditions scientific teams can even determine with a fair degree of accuracy which of several pre-arranged objects a thinker is focusing on. This is all very primitive.
Jesus, too, had a deep understanding of human nature and sometimes knew just what was on a person’s mind. We have an instance in which he described Nathanael reading under the fig tree and again, before Peter had said a word, put him on the spot about the temple tax which Peter had just been discussing with religious leaders. John sums up Christ’s clear perception of humans with these words, “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25).