Moreover, God’s Knowledge extends to All Things, according to Hebrews 4:13, which passage we have just now treated. In John 21:17, when there is a question concerning Peter’s love of the Lord, which is an internal affection of the heart; but Peter means for the knowledge of things of this sort to be comprehended under all the things known by the Lord: and this confession of Peter is approved by the Lord, who acquiesces in it. 1 John 3:20: according to this text we are known better by the Lord, than by our very own heart. Acts 15:18: on this passage Socinus takes Exception, Prælectionibus, chapter IX, opera, tome I, page 546b, that this only is able to be gathered from these words, 1. that the Calling of the Gentiles (which very thing was this work of His) was known to God already from the beginning: 2. that from that foreknowledge of the divine work does not follow a foreknowledge of human actions.
I Respond: 1. Although those things in Acts 15 are related on occasion of the mention of the Calling of the Gentiles, they ought to be expounded more generally according to their universality, than relatively to that argument alone: since everywhere, in order to more fully declare or confirm some particular word, some general axiom is set forth, under which that particular theme is also comprehended, as we just now saw on the text of John 21:17.
2. The Calling of the Gentiles was the work of God, such that a great many free actions of men concur in it, both on the part of those that in the name of God were furnishing this Call, and on the part of those also that were converted to this Call: and so these actions, both Contingent and Free, that is, even whatever human deeds, without which the Vocation of the Gentiles was not able to be accomplished, were known to God from the beginning and always.
Here, Scripture is supported by Reason, which similarly dictates that God knows all things, whatsoever sort they be and in whatever state. For, α. if even the least thing should escape the divine Knowledge, it would not then in this particular be the most excellent of its kind; since it is not able to be denied that knowledge that is ignorant of nothing at all is more perfect than that from which certain things are wanting. β. If God had not known all things simultaneously, He could never have acquired the knowledge of those things that were at any time escaping His notice: since the simplicity, eternity, and immutability of independent Knowledge excludes all novelty of knowledge in God. γ. Nothing at all is able to be posited or thought beyond God, that is not totally subordinated to, and dependent upon, God as the first cause. But all things that are subordinated to God acknowledge Him as their principium, not an irrational principium, but consummately rational; and not operating at the limits of His strength, but rather by a certain choice and according to the rule of reason. And so there is nothing of those things that in some way depend upon the first cause, that in every single respect in which it depends upon Him God holds not as exhaustively search out.