top of page

De Moor IV:34: Divine Knowledge

Now follow the Communicable Attributes of God, distinct from His Faculties: Knowledge, which has immediate regard to His Intellect; Goodness and Righteousness, which have immediate regard to His Will. Of course, the Spiritual Faculties of Intellect and Will our AUTHOR referred to the divine Nature or Essence, § 16, while he considers Knowledge, Goodness, and Righteousness as Communicable Attributes of the divine Essence. Moreover, Intellect and Will, together with a Spiritual Nature, are able also to be considered as communicated to Man or the human Soul by Creation for the Image of God.

[With the useless disputations concerning explaining the Will and its Attributes before Knowledge dismissed.] See BURMAN’S Synopsin Theologiæ, book I, chapter XX, § 6. The πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, is that the Root of Possibility is to be sought in the Decree of Possibility, and that all Goodness and Truth flow from the divine Will; concerning which see in this Chapter, § 21, 37.

Knowledge is everywhere attributed to God, under the language of דֵּעוֹת/knowledge; אֵ֤ל דֵּעוֹת֙ יְהוָ֔ה, Jehovah is a God of knowledge, 1 Samuel 2:3: of תְּבוּנָה/understanding; לִ֜תְבוּנָת֗וֹ אֵ֣ין מִסְפָּֽר׃, to His understand there is no limit: σοφία καὶ γνῶσις, wisdom and knowledge; Ὦ βάθος πλούτου καὶ σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως Θεοῦ, etc., O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, etc. Now, from the Intellect, as a Faculty of God’s Spiritual Nature, alleged for God, divine Knowledge, wherewith His Intellect is conceived as furnished, follows of itself; while in the perfectly Simple God Intellect or the Power of understanding, and Knowledge as Intellectual Perfection, do not really differ. As Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom, etc., do not differ in God, which terms are used promiscuously to exhibit overwhelmingly the multifaceted excellence of divine Cognition.

Clement of Alexandria

[And many Philosophers of the Gentiles also were involved in claiming Knowledge for God.] Among these Pythagoras contrived the name of φιλοσοφίας/philosophy, and called himself the first φιλόσοφον/ philosopher, saying that, μηδένα εἶναι σοφὸν ἄνθρωπον, ἀλλ᾽ ἢ Θεόν, no man is wise, but God alone; see DIOGENES LAERTIUS, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, preface, segment XII. DEMOPHILOS, in his Pythagorean Sentences, concerning divine Omniscience has this, page 621, Ἐὰν ἀεὶ μνημονεύῃς, ὅτι ὅπου ἂν ᾖ ἡ ψυχή σου, καὶ τὸ σῶμα ἔργον ἀποτελεῖ, Θεὸς ἐφέστηκεν ἔφορας, ἐν πάσαις σοῦ ταῖς εὐχαῖς καὶ πράξεσιν αἰδεσθήσῃ μὲν τοῦ θεωροῦ τὸ ἄληστον, ἕξεις δὲ τὸν Θεὸν σύνοικον, If you are always mindful, that in whatever place either thy soul or body accomplishes any deed, God is present as overseer; in all thy prayers and actions thou shalt venerate the presence of the inspector, and, at the same time, have as an intimate. There is a similar admonition in SENECA, Epistolis LXXXIII, “Certainly life is to be lived just as if we were living in His sight. Thus thoughts are to be thought, just as if one were able to inspect our inmost being. And it is possible: for what is the profit for anything to be secret from man? nothing is hidden from God.” Add Epictetus in ARRIANUS,[1] Discourses of Epictetus, book II, chapter VIII, page 188; and GATAKER ad Marcum Antoninum, book I de Rebus suis, § 3; PFANNER,[2] Systemate theologiæ Gentilis purioris, chapter II, § 26. Hence the Gods were called ἐπόψιοι, overlooking all things; see EZEKIEL SPANHEIM, ad Callamachi Hymnos, in Jovem, verse 82, pages 35, 36. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA relates that the Egyptians dedicated to the Gods Eyes and Ears, so that they might signify the Omniscience of God, book V, Stromata, page 566 at the end: Τάτε ὦτα καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς οἱ δημιουργοῦντες ἐξ ὕλης τιμίας, καθιεροῦσι, τοῖς θεοῖς ἀνατιθέντες εἰς τοὺς νεώς· τοῦτο δήπου αἰνισσόμενοι, ὡς πάντα Θεὸς ὁρᾷ καὶ ἀκούει, And there are those that fashion ears and eyes of costly material, and consecrate them, dedicating them in the temples to the gods: by this plainly indicating that God sees and hears all things.

[The Personal… γ. …Divine Wisdom.] In this way, namely, Metonymically, by Metonymy of the adjunct for the subject, which is pertinent when Virtues are put in the place of the Persons themselves; the Son of God is rightly called Wisdom, just as in other respects Light, Life, etc., that is, Most Wise, consummately wise; and the Wisdom of God, α. since He in a most perfect manner is a partaker of the divine Wisdom by His eternal Generation, according to His humanity also furnished with wisdom and understanding οὐκ ἐκ μέτρου, not by measure:[3] β. in whom, as the Son and Mediator of the elect, God expressed and manifested His Wisdom in a most excellent manner: γ. through whom Wisdom also descends to the elect and is shared with them. But in addition the denomination of the Wisdom of God attributed to the Son is rightly expounded Metaphorically, that is, so that thus it might be indicated that the Son of God is indeed truly distinct from the Father and is brought forth by Him; just as human Wisdom is distinct from the soul itself, and is acquired dexterous exercise of the mind: but in such a way that the Son is always in the presence of the Father, in the Father, and ἶσος/equal to the Father; almost just as Wisdom inheres in our human soul. Thus, that the context of Proverbs 8 is to be expounded of the Personal Word, the Son of God, is to be held against the Socinians; see Crellius, de Deo et Attributis, chapter XXIV, opera, tome 4, pages 72, 73; compare below, Chapter V, § 8.

[1] Lucius Flavius Arrianus of Nicomedia was a second century Greek historian and a Roman senator.

[2] Tobias Pfanner (1641-1716) was a German Lutheran theologian, and served as secretary of the archives to the duke of Saxe Gotha.

[3] See John 3:34.

26 views0 comments


bottom of page