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De Moor IV:36: The Socinian Denial of God's Knowledge of Free and Contingent Futures

Socinian Family Tree

The Socinians are opposed, who deny divine Foreknowledge of Free and Contingent Future Things, either entirely with Socinus and Smalcius,[1] or as determinate and infallible, which Crellius appears to maintain, libro de Deo ejusque Attributis, chapter XXIV, opera, tome 4, pages 67-72; see HOORNBEECK’S Socinianismum confutatum, tome I,book II, chapter III, section I, page 336.

It is the πρῶτον ψεῦδος, fundamental error, that knowledge of this sort in God is not able entirely to be reconciled with the Contingency and Freedom of events, but that in this way all things would happen necessarily.

Faustus Socinus

Their Scope/Goal is to deny a Decree predetermining all things, and especially to uphold the Independence of Free Will. The words of Socinus, in his Prælectibus, chapter VIII, opera Socini, tome I, page 545b, are worthy to be noted, but are hardly to be read without horror, “Let us see whether it be likely that God willed to know entirely all things, before they come to pass, even if they could have been otherwise; that is, let us consider whether it be more like that God willed to leave no freedom to man, so that He might be able to foreknow all things? or that He truly gave some freedom to man, and deprived Himself, note well, of that foreknowledge? For, from the account of our adversaries, as it is said, it is gathered that they deny that the freedom of man and that foreknowledge of God are able to consist together.”


Similarly Vorstius, with HOORNBEECK reporting in his Socinianismum confutatum, tome I, book II, chapter III, section I, page 329, writes: “Some exntend His foreknowledge to all things, as much to contingent and to necessary things, without distinction, and thus overturn the freedom of our will and all contingency of events:” read these words in Vorstius’ Notis on Disputation V de Deo, page 275, comparing them with pages 263, 264, 268, 269. Vorstius explains his opinion at greater length in his Exegese Apologetica, chapter XXIII; see TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 4, page 579, compared with pages 586, 603, 604, 605, 609, where other writings of Vorstius on this matter are also cited.

[1] Valentinus Smalcius (1572-1622) was a German Socinian theologian. He translated the Racovian Catechism into German (probably having had a hand in the Catechism’s original composition), and the Racovian New Testament into Polish.

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