Remembering to Forget

Amelia A.
September 15, 2016

Blog / Remembering to Forget

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted as a part of Verity’s Biblical Worldview Application Portfolio (BWAP) course. Learn more about these assignments on the Academics page.

The human mind is an astonishing contraption filled with a myriad of wonders and curiosities ranging from the instructions for basic motor skills to emotional inclinations such as romance, hate, passion, and greed. Among the many marvels of the little gray cells lies an unparalleled and utterly wondrous phenomenon: memory. Although it is a fascinating and staggering thing to attempt to realize all that the human brain is capable of in this field, we are all too often forced to recognize the fact that, due to our depraved and corrupt mortality, our recollections are, many times, tainted, and our remembrances often faulty or subject to be lost altogether.

The concept of memory lapses is a familiar one to college students. According to a 2014 project conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, freshman college students forget an average of 60% of the information that they “learn” in their senior years of high school (Baulkman). Though many students employ a number of memory prompts (such as color coding and flashcards) to aid them in their studies for various courses and tests, no one method has been proven to always be able to provide students a lasting knowledge of their subject.

Freshman college students forget an average of 60% of the information that they “learn” in their senior years of high school.

Being a sin-inclined race laced with all manner of faults and shortcomings, it is little wonder that humanity is cursed with a knack for seemingly “losing” information with time. Such a concept has not been overlooked by either the Creator or his Word; the word “forget” is used in seventy-eight separate instances in the King James Version of the Bible (King James Bible Online). In several passages, it is made known that God’s memory is certainly better than that of humans; He said Himself that a nursing mother would sooner forget the baby at her breast than He would forget His children (Holy Bible, Isaiah 49.14-15).

Such a declaration indeed creates a powerful picture, denoting the idea that God’s memory is a perfect one. Why then would there be passages elsewhere in the Scriptures that seem to allude to apparent “lapses” in God’s memory? Such a theme is found in verses such as Isaiah 43:25: “I [God], even I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins”, and in the New Testament in Hebrews 8:12: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more”.

Is God contradicting Himself? Can the omniscient Creator and Lord of heaven and earth forget? Does certain information slip the mind of the Almighty Heavenly Father Who has always been, even before the dawn of time? If God is truly omniscient, how can there be information that He does not remember?

Erwin Lutzer addresses this issue in his sermon series on forgiveness entitled “After You’ve Blown It.” Regarding God’s apparent forgetfulness, Lutzer writes,

[Isaiah 43:25] doesn’t mean that God has lost some knowledge. When the Bible says that God does not remember our sins, it simply means that He’s not bringing it to the table every time we come to Him. He doesn’t [constantly hold account of our wrongs]. Now that’s the way we are, but that’s not the way God is. He does not remember our sins” (Lutzer).

God does not forget our sins in that they slip loose from the bounds of His memory, but rather, He makes a conscious decision to choose to remember them no more, as if they did not occur. This is not a divine overlook as much as it is a testament to the power of the blood of Christ, for it is that and only that which enables us to be on the safe side of God’s forgiveness, it is by that which God remembers to forget. Without the blood, God’s memory must be permanent. Without the blood, we are bound without hope to our own faults.

Therefore, let us live like we are forgiven, for how are the slaves of dark unforgiveness to realize that there is hope if we live as though we are doomed as they are? What difference does forgiveness make in a life if it is not reflected in every word, every deed, and every thought of the reconciled one? How shall we then live if not as those who are forgiven? How shall we then speak if not as slaves set free from bondage? How shall we then walk, if not as children of the King?

Works Cited

Baulkman, J. “First-Year College Students Forget Up To 60 Percent Of Material They Learned High School.” University Herald, 23 June 2014. Web. 19 July 2016.

Holy Bible. Chattanooga, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Bibles, 2003. Print. King James Version.

King James Bible Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2016.

Lutzer, Erwin W. “What God Does with Forgiven Sin.” Moody Church Media Ministry, 16 April 2003. Web. 25 July 2016.

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