Doctrine of Divine Knowledge

September 6, 2014


A. Definition.
1. God is eternal, therefore, His knowledge is eternal. God exists eternally unsustained by Himself or any other source. Therefore, His knowledge of Himself is as unalterable as He is Himself unalterable. God’s knowledge of Himself precedes both time and space; therefore, His knowledge of Himself is not subject to time and space. (He will not know more about Himself tomorrow.)
2. God is infinite; therefore, His knowledge is without boundary or limitation. It is absolute and eternal knowledge, whether directed toward Himself or creatures, whether related to time or space. Since this absolute and eternal knowledge existed in eternity past it means that God invented certain things in order to resolve the prehistoric angelic conflict. For example, He invented the volition of your soul.
3. God is sovereign; therefore, His knowledge is not only infinite, eternal, and absolute, but in control at all times. God has never lost control of anything. Jesus Christ controls history and allows the volition of mankind to take him into certain ways that are very miserable. God’s knowledge is infinitely superior to angelic or human perception or genius. No matter how desperate or out of control a situation may be, it is never out of control in heaven, and God gave us a spiritual life to understand and apply that fact so that we may never be out of control ourselves in an uncontrollable situation.
4. Since the future is as perspicuous to God as the past, time has nothing to do with God’s knowledge.
5. All God’s knowledge is simultaneous. There never was a time in eternity past or in history when God did not know all the knowable about everyone and everything. God’s knowledge cannot be more or less than it is. His knowledge of Himself cannot be more or less than it is today, in eternity past, or in eternity future. Everything that is knowable in history about any creature was always inside the mind of God and never outside the mind of God.
6. God’s knowledge is never irrational, emotional, speculative, theoretical, unknown, or forgotten. God has never lost track of you.
7. God’s knowledge is never complicated by ignorance, absurdities, or emotional reaction.
8. God’s knowledge is absolute; therefore, God cannot change or be inaccurate in any of His knowledge.
9. Since God invented human volition or free will of mankind, He knew simultaneously and eternally how each free will of every person in history would function, has functioned, and is functioning at any time.
10. Application.
a. God’s knowledge has all the facts, and has had them since eternity past. Therefore, all divine provision for the believer is always and inevitably a matter of God’s grace. We must never be under the illusion that we have earned or deserved anything from God. When we complain about anything, we are complaining about things God knew about in eternity past. Why are we complaining? Because we are not applying the doctrine of God’s knowledge to that situation.
b. It is the grace of God from His immutable and eternal omniscience and foreknowledge that has provided something better for every believer in the Church Age.
c. We do not earn or deserve these better things. We do not have these better
things because we are special. We have them because of who and what God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are. It is always the essence of God that counts, not the human personality.
d. The corrected translation of Heb 11:40, “God having foreseen something better for us…” indicates that God has provided for the Church the greatest spiritual life of all time. Furthermore, He has provided in grace a system for learning these things.
11. God cannot change; His knowledge of Himself or others cannot change.
12. God cannot lie or deceive about what He knows. If He deceived about one point of doctrine, He would be relative truth instead of absolute truth, thus making God less than omniscient.
13. God’s knowledge exists in three categories: self-knowledge, omniscience, and foreknowledge.

B. Divine Self-Knowledge.
1. Each person of the Godhead has infinite and eternal knowledge about Himself as well as the other two persons of the Trinity. God’s self‑knowledge is related to the other members of the Trinity as well as to Himself. What God knows about Himself, He knows about the other members of the Trinity inasmuch as they have an identical essence. Therefore, God is said to be one in essence.
2. God’s self‑knowledge is infinite, eternal genius.
3. God has eternally known Himself. Each member of the Trinity has perfect subjective knowledge of Himself and all His attributes of deity, plus how they function in relation to Himself and the other members of the Godhead.
4. Each member of the Trinity has perfect subjective knowledge of self and perfect objective knowledge of the other members. This divine knowledge is the basis for God’s spiritual self‑esteem.

C. Omniscience of God.
1. While God’s self‑knowledge relates to His own divine attributes and the attributes of the other members of the Trinity, omniscience is God’s knowledge related to creatures. Omniscience does not relate to God, but only to creatures and the universe.
2. Omniscience is defined as God’s objective knowledge of the universe, since it deals with someone outside the sphere of self‑knowledge, both actual and possible. God knows all the knowable simultaneously in eternity past. All of God’s knowledge is simultaneous. There never was a time in eternity past or human history when God did not know everything about each one of us. There are no surprises to God.
3. Since the divine decrees establish reality, omniscience includes all that is in the decrees plus all that is not fed into the decrees.
4. In eternity past, omniscience knew every thought, motivation, decision, and action of every creature.
5. Time has nothing to do with omniscience.
6. The omniscience of God knows the actual and the possible, the reality and the probabilities. But only the actual, the reality, is fed into the computer-decrees.
7. Omniscience knows all that would have been involved in every case where the individual action, decision, or thought might have been different.
8. Omniscience means that God knows perfectly, eternally, and simultaneously all that is knowable, both actual and possible. Therefore, God’s knowledge is totally compatible with all of His essence.
9. Only the actual is fed into the computer‑decrees. The possible are actions which are not made but could have been made.
10. Every minute detail of both angelic and human history was completely, perfectly, and simultaneously in God’s mind at all times.
11. Therefore, omniscience perceives the free as free, the necessary as necessary, together with all their causes, conditions, relations, and interactions as one indivisible system of things, every link of which is essential to the integrity of the whole.
12. Omniscience does not affect free will. It is merely aware of what volition will think and do before it does it.

D. Foreknowledge of God.
1. Foreknowledge must be distinguished from God’s omniscience. Between the two stand the decrees of God. Omniscience feeds the computer‑decrees, while foreknowledge is the printout from the decrees.
2. Omniscience programs the decrees with the facts of our actions, decisions, motivations, and thoughts. Foreknowledge is a printout of the decrees, i.e., these facts.
3. Nothing is foreknown until it is first decreed.
4. There never was a time in eternity past when God did not know every thought, motive, decision, or action we have ever had. Foreknowledge is the aspect of God’s knowledge which we can apply. It deals with what is in the decrees. What you do as reality in history, God knew as reality before anything existed. God compiled your thoughts and actions before they happened. Foreknowledge links that to us. Foreknowledge takes each one of us and relates us to God in terms of reality.
5. Only the decrees establish reality. This means that foreknowledge follows as a printout of the decrees.
6. The foreknowledge of God makes nothing certain, but merely acknowledges what is certain (the content of the decrees). Foreknowledge is a means of relating us to the plan of God as an individual since eternity past. This gives us a sense of security. You are never lost or forgotten by God. You are always in God’s mind. This application keeps you from self-pity.
7. God foreknows all things as certainly future because He has decreed them from His omniscience.
8. Omniscience feeds the facts into the decrees, while foreknowledge is the printout of those facts.

E. Summary.
1. God’s self‑knowledge and omniscience precede the decrees, while foreknowledge is a printout from the decrees. By application, God knew all your faults and sins, yet He still gave you life. Therefore, He must have a plan for your life.
2. While omniscience knows every possible act and thought of history, this is not so with the foreknowledge of God. Foreknowledge only knows the actual, the reality of what will occur.
3. Foreknowledge can make nothing certain, but only acknowledges what is certain.
4. Since the divine decrees establish certainty, nothing can be foreknown until it is first decreed.
5. God foreknows all events as certainly future because He has decreed them from His omniscience.
6. Therefore, omniscience logically came first, knowing the actual and possible.
7. Foreknowledge is limited, dealing only with the actual of history.
8. While everything was decreed simultaneously, the plan of God rationale applies only foreknowledge in the second stage of the faith-rest drill. It does not apply omniscience or self‑knowledge. Under testing, the believer must remember there is never a time when God forgets us. This is our foreknowledge rationale.
9. Foreknowledge cannot be related to speculation. When you deal with time, you deal with foreknowledge. When you deal with eternity, you are dealing with omniscience.
10. Foreknowledge is a doctrinal application the believer can apply in reverse concentration to his problems in time.