Perfect Knowledge

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by MorseOp, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. MorseOp

    MorseOp
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    Perfect Knowledge is rooted in God's omniscience. God knows all things. He knows all things before they happen. What He knows He knows perfectly. Completely. He knows every contingency and variable. He knows not only the circumstance, but every minute detail; from the leaf blowing down the street to an asteroid tumbling through the farthest universe. He knows the hearts, minds, and motivations of men. Nothing that He claims to know, which is all things, can be questioned. He is the authority on all things. His word is final and binding.

    Contrast God's Perfect Knowledge with out finite knowledge. We know only those things God allows us to know. Even then our understanding and comprehension is limited. The Bible tells us that we know in part only. We are unable to consistently anticipate contingencies and variables. They often take us by surprise. Minute details often escape us. We have a difficult time with understanding our own heart never mind the heart of others. Everything we know, or think we know, can be questioned because we are often wrong. Our word is not the final authority. God's word is the final authority.

    Calvinists and Arminians on this board have definite opinions. Both groups think they are right. Those board members who eschew both terms believe they are right. No one thinks they are wrong or else they would not hold to the position they hold to. I have yet to encounter a person who said to me, "I believe what I believe because I think it is wrong." But for all our firm opinions about theological correctness, we possess much error. Think about that for a moment. How does God tolerate us if we misrepresent His word? Well, His mercy and grace know no limits. God understands our imperfections and finite nature because He created us. He loves us in spite of our short comings. Let me be careful not to be condoning a soft form of antinomianism. We cannot throw our hands up in the air and say, "Well, God loves me in spite of my errors, so why care?" That line of thinking was dealt a fatal blow by Paul in Romans 6:1. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may about? May it never be!" No. We should seek to rightly divide the word of truth. We should labor at it. But even at our best we will be incomplete in our understanding. We may even have arrived at wrong conclusions and misinterpreted God's word. Our prayers may not be consistent with what God wants.

    Are any of you parents, or can you remember back to your early childhood? How many children ask for things that seem silly even though they ask with a sincere heart? How many children ask for things prematurely, before they are able to handle those things? What does the good parent do in those situations? He loves the child and gives the child what is best for him, not necessarily what he requested. God acts in similar fashion. Since He possesses Perfect Knowledge, He knows what is best for His children even if His children do not know what is best.

    In our quest for doctrinal correctness it is good to keep in mind that even the most correct among us is like a colander trying to hold water compared to God. May that instill in us a true spirit of dependence and humility.
     
    #1 MorseOp, Jul 7, 2012
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  2. MorseOp

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    A wonderful passage of scripture to mediate upon is Psalm 139:

     
  3. convicted1

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    Well, you have shown me that you have limited knowledge; you didn't use the KJV in your verses you posted!! :D


    (pssst, just betwixt you and I, I own an ESV, NIV, and the Hebrew/Greek Interlinears by Jay Green), so I am not a KJVO. I am a KJVP, but I do enjoy other translations as well, but don't tell anyone about it, okay? ;) )
     
  4. ktn4eg

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    WHAT......you mean you don't believe that the KJV corrects the original texts????

    Lest anyone jumps on me, let me emphatically state that I've got nothing against the KJV. I enjoy reading it, my signature below is taken from it.

    I even wrote a tract that shows that the view by many Baptists that the KJV translators coined the word "Baptism" to confuse the issue on that ordinance's mode is probably not correct. (Its 1st [& only] edition may still be available from Tabernacle BC, Texarkana if anyone's interested.) BUT, since I wrote that tract (which was taken from a research paper I wrote for Eng Comp when I was at Clarksville [TN] Bapt College back in the early 1970's), as a lay person (I'm NOT a preacher/pastor....Never felt a calling in that direction.) I've come to enjoy other MV's since then.
     
  5. MorseOp

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    Hey! This is not a textual criticism thread! LOL
     
  6. MorseOp

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    Okay, so it is not a textual criticism thread. But who am I to stop the wheels of hijacking a thread?

    Whenever I hear the KJVO train start to whistle, I leave the station. IMHO it is one of the most decisive issues in the church today. I know new saints who were castigated for carrying and ESV, NASB, or NIV into a KJVO church. KJVO only is different than KJV preference, as I think my brother convicted1 was alluding to.

    Okay, rant off. I am derailing my own thread.
     
  7. humblethinker

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    In response to the OP, I am warmly encouraged by your nice framing of the question. This subject can get get technical very quickly and I don't know if everyone participating will play nice, but here we go:

    Subjects that will need to be discussed regarding God's knowledge include
    1) theory of time in this universe
    2) atemporality/temporality of God
    3) principal of Bivalence
    4) What kind of world did God create
    5) character of God

    and more.

    I'm sure that most of us can agree that God knew and knows all that can be known.
     
  8. convicted1

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    Sorry about that; I meant it in jest only. Yes, God knows all that is to be known.
     
  9. MorseOp

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    I got the jest part, brother. No worries. It is just that the KJVO issue hits a nerve with me.

    Blessings.
     
  10. Van

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    Hi MorseOp, thanks for actually posting scripture. God certainly can search our hearts and know our innermost thoughts and attitudes. We cannot fool Him with lip service faith, or with a heart that secretly treasures the things of this world as much as it treasures Christ.

    But let's discuss some specifics, what does it mean that God knew our unformed substance. Some believe this refers to before we were conceived, but that is an unwarranted extrapolation. At the minimum, it means God knew us before we were fully formed in the womb. He is the One who forms and puts our human spirit in us.

    Now let's zero in on "In your book were all written the days that were ordained for me." Now if your doctrine is exhaustive determinism, God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, you cite this as proving your doctrine. But if you think God either causes (because it was predestined and ordained) or allows (because God created us as autonomous creations which operate within the limits of His purview)
    then this says some and perhaps every one of the days of David's life were ordained. If we want to parse, it says all the ordained days of his life, not all the days of his life were ordained. Secondly, it does not say everyone's life is ordained to the same extent of David, because David played a significant role in the lives of the children of the promise.

    So at the end of the day, this passage can be understood to teach exhaustive determinism, but if read more closely it teaches God has a plan for everyone's life that is new each morning, for God is the God of the continuous chance until we die or our heart is hardened such that we can no longer seek God and trust in Christ.
     
    #10 Van, Jul 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2012
  11. MorseOp

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    The specific psalm I quoted aside, do you believe God knows (in advance) each person who is going to be born; their gender, race, date of birth, time of birth, place of birth, mother, father, et. al? By advance I mean before conception.

    Actually I posited no specific doctrinal position in the OP other than the scope of God's omniscience.


    Since you have brought Calvinism into the discussion (i.e. "determinism") let me offer a perspective that is often overlooked by non-Calvinists of all stripes. Calvinists believe that man is responsible for his own actions. Even though God orders all things He does not remove choices. Man freely chooses whatsoever it is he engages in. Should that be a source of irritation for the Calvinist? Only if the Calvinist believes he must understand what God has not revealed; namely how God's sovereignty and man's choices coincide side-by-side. I am willing to state, "I don't know" on some things. I am fine with that so long as I have prayerfully studied the topic.
     
  12. freeatlast

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    Your statement about perfect knowledge raises a question. There seems to be a contradiction here. By your account God knows all things before they happen. Yet you say that He knows every contingency and variable. How can there be any contingency or variable if all things are already known since if they are known they have to happen as He knows them and there can be no contingency or variable?
     
  13. humblethinker

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
    Freeatlast, at this point you can take the blue pill or the red pill.
    Everyone else: If God knows possibility then that is what it is and for Him to know it as certainty at the same time is contradictory, which God is not. The classical theist might say, "there is nothing that is a true possibility to God" to which one could answer "then why does reality and scripture appear to comport with such ideas and how is it glorious or loving to create a world in which created beings with awareness eternally exist due to events that were not possibe to happen otherwise?"
     
  14. Winman

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    I don't know which version you quoted, but verse 16 gives a very different meaning than the KJB.

    16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

    The KJB says no such thing about our days being ordained;

    KJB

    Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

    The KJB simply says God knew all our body parts (members) before they were ever fashioned.

    Mat 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

    Now to be fair, Mat 10:29 shows God is in complete control;

    Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

    Now, this is very clear, a sparrow cannot fall to the ground unless God allows it, but this does not mean God determines everything that happens. God could allow men to make free will decisions, though God will always direct the final outcome.

    I view it like a chess game. A master chess player can direct the direction of the game. He can absolutely influence the decisions that his opponent makes. But his opponent always has complete freedom to choose his moves within the options available him. His opponent may make a wise move or a foolish move, but the move is his. Nevertheless, at the end of the game God will always say "checkmate".
     
    #14 Winman, Jul 8, 2012
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  15. Van

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    Hi MorseOP

    Yes, lets side aside what scripture says and discuss our opinions! My opinion of arguments from silence is that they are the invention of men. My opinion is that every morning God has a plan for me, based on His knowledge of me, my birthday, place of birth, mother, father, the number of hairs on my head, He knows all things about me, and more than that He knows me and I know Him.

    And actually I did not assert you did. I just addressed a "contingency" what my mind considered a possibility. Arminians go the long way around the barn to deny that exhaustive foreknowledge does not set the future in stone.

    I just wanted to point the gap between what your passage actually says, and what many Arminians and Calvinist's claim.

    this could be true of many non-Calvinists, but as for me, I did not overlook it, I rejected it as nonsense. Look at it this way, I go into a store with all kinds of food. Produce here, meat, there, dairy products in the back. I can choose to eat whatever I like. But I cannot choose what I do not like, i.e. Lima beans. But all the food except for the Lima beans is poisoned and the result of every available choice is death.

    Calvinists claim God runs such a store and I say that assertion is nonsense.


    Yes, the old I know it is nonsense, but since folks have claimed its true for 400 years, who am I to say, "the king has no clothes."

    Returning now to the dreaded word of God, we make plans but he directs our feet. He allows us to make choices within the purview He allows. Like that store. Except the Lima beans are on display like show bread, and many of those who work in the store say, Try the Lima beans, they will bring you eternal life, even if you eat the strawberries!!
     
  16. MorseOp

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    I am more than happy to discuss that psalm I quoted, but you were hinting for a wider scope to your argument. So, in order to get to chase, I wanted to know what you thought about the question in the macro because it will make clearer the micro.



    This is a non answer. I did not ask you to answer from silence. I asked you a question. You are free to answer it from scripture or without scripture. Instead you provided a non-answer.

    You wrote:

    I took the pronoun "your" to refer to me, since you were replying to me.

    What exactly are you rejecting as nonsense? Your analogy escapes me.

    The only nonsense here is your accusations of nonsense. I labor hard not to offend, but you truly have no idea how to debate or present your arguments in a cogent manner. I doubt you are interested in any meaningful dialog with anyone unless they agree with you in lock step.

    This is insulting and demeaning. Do you believe you are the only one on this board who appeals to the Bible?

    You will forgive me if I do not interact with you often. I have the feeling you do not play well with others.
     
  17. MorseOp

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    Free, that is a great question. Honestly, it is.

    I used "contingency and variable" more as an anthropomorphism than to actually posit God has contingencies and variables. When the Bible suggest that God changed His mind, did He really change His mind? It appears to man that God changes His mind because we are finite beings trying to understand an infinite God. It really is a figure of speech in the same way that Jesus is really not a loaf of bread or an actual sheep.
     
  18. freeatlast

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    So if God did not change His mind when it says He changed his mind does that mean that He was bluffing?
     
  19. Van

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    Yes, I answered your question from scripture, and did not make an argument from silence. I told you what the Bible says, and you wanted speculation.



    What is nonsense is the idea that the only choices we are able to make lead to death. Scripture says God sets before us life or death, Lima beans or strawberries, and begs us to choose life, Lima beans. You claim we are unable to choose Lima beans. Nonsense.

    Often I point out what scripture actually says, and both Arminians and Calvinists say it means the opposite. For example, God sets life or death choices, meaning we are able to choose life, but Calvinists say because we are fallen, we will always "choose" death. Not what scripture says. The Calvinist verse reads, God sets death only before some and life only before others. Not scriptural.

    You are forgiven, all Calvinists retreat to questioning my character and qualifications, because they are unable to defend their doctrine from scripture.
     
  20. MorseOp

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    Read what I wrote.
     

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