Middle Knowledge – Part 1

This is the first part of what is planned as a multi-part discussion on middle knowledge and free will. This part discusses the fact that God’s knowledge is intrinsically simple (undivided) but can be divided extrinsically (as to its objects) into two categories: natural and free. These two categories exhaust all the objects of God’s knowledge.

To summarize what I’ve put in the video, the following are the main points:

1) God’s knowledge is, in and of itself, simple and undivided.

2) God’s knowledge can be, however, considered by us (theologians) in relation to its objects as either natural or free.

3) Natural Knowledge is God’s knowledge of the extent of his own power without considering how God plans to exercise this power. Thus, God knows what God could do, if God so chose to do it. He knows every way that he could exercise his own power, if he wished to exercise it.

4) Free Knowledge is God’s knowledge of the actual exercise of his power. That is to say, Free Knowledge is God’s knowledge about the world that he has made and the history that he has brought into being, as well as the future that remains to be seen.


10 Responses to “Middle Knowledge – Part 1”

  1. Acolyte4236 Says:

    Turretin is here more or less just rehashing Aquinas’s view.But I’d like to know where you think Scripture teaches that God is metaphysically “smple.”

  2. natamllc Says:

    I have in mind two places in Psalms that seem to underscore God's free abilities:::>Psa 89:8 O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you? Psa 89:9 You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. Psa 89:10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. Psa 89:11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. andPsa 113:1 Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD! Psa 113:2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore! Psa 113:3 From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised! Psa 113:4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Psa 113:5 Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, Psa 113:6 who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? Psa 113:7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, Psa 113:8 to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. Psa 113:9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!

  3. natamllc Says:

    Beyond what I have already noted, this occurs to me to post as well and make a distinction about God in Eternity and mankind in creation.God is outside of time.Creations are within a scope of time created by God in Eternity. That is natural and inherent in the “deed”, out of eternity comes the temporal creature, who begins.Here are the verses and the distinction I have in mind:Luk 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Luk 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. In verse 17, there is being relayed “events” within time to Jesus, both the son of Adam’s race and the Son of God, One of Three Eternal beings.In verse 18, Jesus, living in time in the body, describes the Eternal “response” that was as fast as lightning by Them in Eternity!What occurs to me is that within a temporal period of time, Lucifer, in his contemplations within that time did what he did. What he did was known by God, who is in Eternity and knows all thoughts, words and deeds done in all time and creation.When I contemplate those temporal events as recorded for me to contemplate, Luke 10:17-18, first off, I am utililizing the time allotted to me to contemplate those temporal events as recorded.How am “I” able to contemplate these things? By the “Eternal Word” set down in a temporal format that conveys the Eternal Word of God to “me”, one of His Elect. These things will make no sense to the non-elect.By events within time and creation I am able to “know” the Only True and Eternal God in Eternity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, so as to contemplate the promises of His events He has made to His Elect within Eternity. These events have no value to the non-elect and reprobate or the demons, the beast, the False Prophet, Satan, Death, Hades, those whose name is not written in the Book of Life.So, for Lucifer or me to contemplate anything, we must first exist within a created time frame. I started within this creation. Lucifer did not, nor did any demon.Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Gen 1:2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Gen 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Gen 1:4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. Gen 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. When Jesus, Son of Adam’s race and Son of God, describes the event after the Seventy two return with Joy that even the demons are “subjected” to them in time and creation, He uses “light”, that is, He describes the fastest thing in this temporal world, to give us knowledge and understanding to contemplate “what” happened in that “moment” of time, although, what happened is, Lucifer was cast out of Heaven faster than lightning flashes, and so is everything that has anything to do with this sort of thing in its time, and not in its eternity.I am grateful to God, that He has, before the foundations of the world in Eternity, chosen me, even though, within the time frame of this temporal world where I currently exist, I have been like the devils in rebelling against God, violating the Ten Commandments of God, as a member of the fallen race of Adam.It was the “righteousness” of Lucifer “becoming” unrighteous in time before God, not God, that separated him from God because God is “Light” and there is no darkness in Him at all.1Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. It is the unrighteousness Christ bore in this temporal world before God in Eternity that He was born into, not God, that separated Him from Our Father and the Holy Ghost and by so doing succeeded in His Natural state of being to mend that separated state of being, we, the Elect, find ourselves born into.Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Oh the manifold Wisdom of God, it is past finding out, it can only be received and enjoyed all the while worshipping Him in His Glory and Grace!Psa 111:1 Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Psa 111:2 Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Psa 111:3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. Psa 111:4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. Psa 111:5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. Psa 111:6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. Psa 111:7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; Psa 111:8 they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. Psa 111:9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! Psa 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

  4. Turretinfan Says:

    Acolyte4236: That would be more of a “Volume 1” question in Turretin’s Institutes. I was a little concerned that it would raise exactly that sort of question, and trying to explain that argument in simple terms was one of the reasons for my delaying this series.Eventually, I decided not to address it in this series, largely because it is not directly related to the topic at hand.-TurretinFan

  5. brigand Says:

    But the important question is how you got your lips to move with your voice.

  6. Turretinfan Says:

    Mr. Lankford is the magician behind the animation.

  7. natamllc Says:

    Brigand,that's an easy question to answer, if TF would venture my answering it?The "creator" of the animator thought about it and used an autotone device to correspond the animation to the sound of TF's voice so what you see is insinct with what you heard.What is an even more important question to answer is this one: "is that what TF looks like in real animation"? I suppose the animator has carefully kept the anonymity and the sound of his voice such that if you were so lucky as to be in the lecture hall and TF was speaking, you would quickly say, naaaa, that's not him! Gen 27:22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." Gen 27:23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands. So he blessed him. and then:::>Gen 27:26 Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come near and kiss me, my son." Gen 27:27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, "See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed! That's why TF is so blessed! He smells like Esau but he is blessed like Jacob!! :)

  8. Turretinfan Says:

    Pottage anyone? :-)

  9. Acolyte4236 Says:

    Turretinfan,A few bible references would be sufficient to give me an idea of where in the bible you think the idea of simplicity is derived from. Can you cite a verse or two for me?Besides, I have read vol 1 of Turretin already and haven’t found biblical support there.

  10. Turretinfan Says:

    Acolyte4236,Rather than take this comment box off-topic, I refer you to the comments that Hodge has provided:http://books.google.com/books?id=0TEkThdhYcIC&pg=PA396http://books.google.com/books?id=0TEkThdhYcIC&pg=PA376http://books.google.com/books?id=0TEkThdhYcIC&pg=PA379-TurretinFan

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