De Moor IV:35: God's Knowledge Eternal and Self-Sufficient

Johannes a Marck

2. From this the Eternity of His Cognition flows, asserted in Acts 15:18, where αἰὼν,[1] because it is used of God and His Essential Perfection, is believed rightly to denote the most absolute Eternity; see our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Textuales XLIII, Part IV, § 4. Certainly the Knowledge of a Being Eternal, altogether Simple, and always Infinitely Perfect, ought also to be Eternal. And God is not able to know by a Most Simple Act, so as to prevent Him from knowing whatever He does know from all eternity. Which same Perfection of the divine Intellect, knowing by a Most Simple Act, causes it to be, that whatever He knows once He always knows; and here forgetfulness of a thing known is no more induced, or remembrance of forgotten knowledge is no more excited, than knowledge of any unknown thing is acquired: for in this manner divine Knowledge would not remain immutably and infinitely perfect and as great as it is able to be.

[Which, again, the Anthropopathic Speech in Genesis 18:21; 22:12 does not destroy.] Concerning the sense of these passages I shall speak in the Response to the first Objection against the Knowledge of Future Free and Contingent Acts being competent to God in § 36.

3. That God knows all things by a Most Simple Act, and from Eternity, it thence happens that He knows all things Of Himself, learns nothing from things, but knows all things by considering Himself, and both His own Understanding, which is the measure and exemplary cause of all things, by the standard of which all things have been produced; and His Sufficiency, whereby He is able to execute whatever He perceives by His Intellect to be possible; and His Will, which from eternity determined whatever is going to happen in time.[2] α. And so, since all things depend upon God, and nothing, except Him, is Independent; He, as completely Independent, is able also to know nothing except in a manner agreeable to Himself, and in the same manner in which He exists, that is, Independent, in accordance with His own Essence; neither does God have any need here of any sensation, experience, ratiocination, and similar weak props of human cognition. β. Certainly He who by Independence is suffient unto Himself for existence, is hardly less sufficient unto Himself for understanding. γ. There is no dobut that an Independent Mode of knowing is far more perfect than a dependent mode: but only an altogether perfect Mode of knowing is able to be attributed to the Infinitely Perfect God.

[1] Acts 15:18: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world (ἀπ᾽ αἰῶνός).”

[2] See, for example, Ephesians 1:11.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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