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Responding to Open Theism in Fourteen Words

By Andrew Wilson

Because of the controversy over open theism twenty years ago, there is a huge range of books and articles out there, both critiquing it and defending it. Greg Boyd’s website is a fount of free resources in defence; Crossway’s generosity means that in many ways the most significant critique, Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, is also free to download or read online. But when theological debates hit the person in the pew, there is a place for keeping things simple. So here are fourteen common sense objections to open theism, framed around thirteen words and one number. Here’s hoping they help.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

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What Is Open Theism?

By Andrew Wilson

So what is open theism? It is the idea that God does not exhaustively know the future, because the future is “open”: what will happen tomorrow is not yet fully determined, but depends in part on the free decisions of God’s creatures. Here’s Richard Rice in The Openness of God:

Instead of perceiving the entire course of human existence in one timeless moment, God comes to know events as they take place. He learns something from what transpires. We call this position the “open view of God” because it regards God as receptive to new experiences and as flexible in the way he works toward his objectives in the world. Since it sees God as dependent on the world in certain respects, the open view of God differs from much conventional theology.

Clark Pinnock, in The Grace of God, The Will of Man, says similarly:

Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God. They are potential— yet to be realized but not yet actual. God can predict a great deal of what we will choose to do, but not all of it, because some of it remains hidden in the mystery of human freedom … God too faces possibilities in the future, and not only certainties. God too moves into a future not wholly known …

Or here’s Greg Boyd in Letters from a Skeptic:

In the Christian view God knows all of reality—everything there is to know. But to assume He knows ahead of time how every person is going to freely act assumes that each person’s free activity is already there to know—even before he freely does it! But it’s not. If we have been given freedom, we create the reality of our decisions by making them. And until we make them, they don’t exist. Thus, in my view at least, there simply isn’t anything to know until we make it there to know. So God can’t foreknow the good or bad decisions of the people He creates until He creates these people and they, in turn, create their decisions.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1-Chapter 10-The Knowledge of God

February 6, 2015 2 comments

CHAPTER 10-THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

When Massillon arose to deliver the funeral oration of Louis XIV, his opening sentence was: “Only God is great.” Luther once told Erasmus that his thoughts of God were too human. A person criticized a certain preacher by saying that he did not make God big enough. We believe this is a general fault of the ministry in this, our day: we do not make God big enough in our preaching. God is great, incomprehensibly great, in every attribute. The Psalmist says that “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (#Ps 147:5).

The knowledge of God is called His omniscience, which means that His knowledge is universal, reaching to all things, to all persons, and to all events. The contrast between God and man is very marked. Man knows very little; his understanding has been darkened by sin. He begins his earthly career in almost complete ignorance, and after a lifetime of study knows nothing as he ought to know it: “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know” (#1Co 8:2). While in this world the wisest of men can hardly turn over the first page in the book of knowledge. And the smarter the man is, the more he realizes his ignorance. It is the fool who thinks he knows it all. Moreover, the more valuable a truth is, the denser is the ignorance of man concerning it. The truth about God and eternal things is the most valuable of all truth, and yet the ignorance of man is more evident here than on any other subject. Moral and spiritual truths are hid to the eyes of the wise and prudent and revealed to babes: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight” (#Lu 10:21). God hath made foolish the wisdom of this world with regard to spiritual things: “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (#1Co 1:20). The world by its own wisdom cannot know God: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (#1Co 1:21). To be wise every man must become a fool, that is, he must renounce his own reasonings and accept God’s revelation about eternal things. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (#Pr 3:5).

Paul preached the gospel to both Jew and Greek alike to the natural, prejudiced Jew it was a scandal, and to the natural, proud Greek it was foolishness: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” (#1Co 1:23). Before they could see the wisdom and power of God in the gospel of Christ, they had to be called; by which call their minds were illuminated by the Holy Spirit, so that the Gospel was no longer hid to them: “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (#1Co 1:24); “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (#2Co 4:4,6).

God’s understanding is infinite: “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (#Ps 147:5). The original reads, “Of His understanding there is no number.” The objects of God’s knowledge are beyond computation. The mind of man does not have a mind that can fathom the knowledge of God. David wrote concerning the knowledge of God and, after a few lines, said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (#Ps 139:6).

“Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off” (#Ps 139:2). God observes us when we sit down to meditate, and when we arise to pursue the activities of life and He knows the thoughts that regulate all our ways. He knows our thoughts before we know them. Before a thought is our own, it is foreknown to God. God said of Israel, “And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware” (#De 31:21). God knew what their thoughts and actions would be before He brought them into Canaan. Christ knew what Peter’s thoughts and words would be and predicted that he would deny Him. “And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice…And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept” (#Mr 14:30,72).

“Thou compassest my path and my Iying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” (#Ps 139:3). God knows our path and our pallet. He knows us when we awake and when we are asleep. “For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether” (#Ps 139:4). God knows our speech. He knows when men take His Name in vain, and has declared that He will not hold such a man guiltless: “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (#Ex 20:7). He knows when men deny His word and “poke fun” at what He has caused to be written. And He hears the lowest whisper as well as the loudest cry. Men whisper when they wish to conceal their words, but God can hear our whispers, yea, even the mutterings of our heart.

“Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me” (#Ps 139:5). David felt himself hemmed in by God. Truly there is no escape from God! “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me” (#Ps 139:7-10). He is behind us, recording our sins; or in grace blotting them out. He is before us, knowing all our deeds, and providing for all our needs. God is a prison house of punishment to the wicked, and a haven of rest to His weary people. Every person has to have dealings with God, therefore “prepare to meet thy God.”

“O Lord, in me there lieth not but to
Thy search revealed lies;
For when I sit, Thou markest it; no less
Thou notest when I rise;
Yea, closest closet of my thought hath
Open windows to Thine eyes.”

HOW DOES GOD KNOW?

1. God does not have to acquire knowledge. His knowledge is not the result of observation, consultation, or laborious study. It is no effort for God to know. Knowledge with man is attended with much labor; with man lifetime is school time.

2. God does not increase in knowledge. He knows no more now than He did centuries ago. His understanding is infinite from all eternity. He has always had perfect knowledge of all things. God does not need to enroll in any man’s university. There are no school days with God.

3. God knows naturally. Omniscience belongs to the very nature of God; it is one of His personal perfections. Calvin defines Omniscience as “that attribute whereby God knows Himself and all other things in one eternal and most simple act.” God’s knowledge is all direct and without any intermediaries: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” (#Ro 11:34).

THE OBJECTS OF GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

1. God knows Himself. Rational creatures are endowed by God with capacity to know themselves. Even fallen men know something about themselves, of the composition of their bodies, and of the faculties of the soul. And if creatures know something of themselves, then the Creator, whose understanding is infinite, must know Himself perfectly.

Moreover, there is perfect acquaintance among the three persons of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, and can make intercession for the saints according to the will of God: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (#Ro 8:26,27). Jesus, speaking of God the Father, said, “Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.” (#Joh 8:55).

2. God knows His creation. He knows everything in nature. “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” (#Ps 147:4). The sparrow does not fall without His knowledge and consent.

God knows everything in the realm of human experience. He knows the thoughts of men, and the ways of men, and the words of men.

“Before men we stand as opaque bee-hives. They can see the thoughts go in and out of us, but what work they do inside of a man, they cannot tell. Before God we are as glass bee-hives, and all that our thoughts are doing within us, He perfectly sees and understands.” (Henry Ward Beecher).

God knows the deeds of men. Men can hide their deeds from one another, but they cannot hide them from God. No human eye saw Cain murder Abel, but God witnessed the crime. “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (#Ge 4:9,10). Achan no doubt thought he had committed the perfect crime when he stole the wedge of gold and hid it in the earth, but God brought his sin to light. “And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done” (#Jos 7:19,20). David covered up his sin with Bathsheba, but God uncovered it, “Thou art the man!” “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; … Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife” (#2Sa 12:7,10). There are no secret sins to God; “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (#Heb 4:13).

God knows the sorrows and trials of His people. “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;” (#Ex 3:7). Let us tell our sorrows to our Heavenly Father, for “Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

God knows all events, past, present, and future. He knows all the past and never forgets. “When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble” (#Ps 9:12). Here is a verse for Hitler and all other war lords. It is merciful that we can forget some things of the past. Some men brood over the past until they are driven insane. This is not the proper attitude for the believer. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (#Php 3:13,14). There is forgiveness with God through faith in His Son, and when God forgives us He remembers our sins against us no more forever. “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back” (#Isa 38:17). “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (#Isa 44:22).

God knows the present and the future. He knows the future better than men can know the past. God’s perfect knowledge of the future is illustrated in the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. Prophecy is the recording of events before they come to pass.

THE CONTEMPLATION OF GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

There is no better exercise for the soul than the contemplation of the perfection’s of God. Here is the secret of all true godliness. He who would live godly must be occupied with thoughts about God.

“The wicked hate the truth of God’s knowledge. They wish there might be no Witness of their sins, no Searcher of their hearts, no Judge of their deeds” (A. W. Pink).

The wicked fail to remember that God remembers all their wickedness: “And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face” (#Ho 7:2)

The contemplation of the knowledge of God should fill the soul with adoring wonder. How great must be the One who knows all things! None of us knows what a day may bring forth, but God knows all that will take place in time and in eternity.

The infinite knowledge of God ought to fill men with holy fear. Everything we think, or say, or do, is known to Him to Whom we must give account. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (#Mt 12:36). Meditation upon this divine perfection will be a mighty check upon the waywardness of the flesh. In times of temptation we need to say as Hagar did, “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?” (#Ge 16:13).

To be occupied with the infinite knowledge of God will fill the child of God with humility, adoration, and praise. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (#Ro 11:33).

The truth before us is an encouragement to prayer. There is no danger that our petitions will not be heard, or that our sighs and tears will escape the notice of God. No danger of the individual saint being overlooked amidst the throng of suppliants. An infinite Mind is capable of paying attention to millions as though only one man was seeking its attention. And we do not jeopardize our prayers by using inappropriate language, because God knows the thoughts and reads the intents of the heart. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (#Ro 8:26).

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1

Chapter 9-The Knowledge of God

February 5, 2014 1 comment

Chapter 9-The Knowledge of God

 

GOD is an intelligent being possessed or knowledge.

This may be proved:

1. From his spirituality; for intelligence is an essential element of spiritual existence.

2. From his perfection; for the perfect one must have intelligence as one of his perfections.

3. From his causal relations to other beings and things.

(1.) As the cause of mental power and action in others, he must himself be possessed of mind. As the Scriptures aptly inquire, ” He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” Ps. 94:9; so may we ask, he that made the mind, and gave the power of thought and knowledge, shall he be without intelligence?

(2.) The effects he has produced show that they are the result of, conscious action in the fulfillment of purpose, which he has formed. His causation is not like that of mechanical or chemical forces, which operate with blind productiveness or effective operation towards ends unknown to them, and not predetermined. This is possible to secondary causes, because they are the instruments of some other cause, itself intelligent and purposing. But intelligence and purpose are necessarily present in him, who is the great first cause, the prime mover and designer of all else that exists. All the evidences of design in creation, therefore, prove the intelligence of him who bears to it the relation of its first cause.

(3.) It is sometimes argued from his omnipresence, but omnipresence alone would not prove intelligence. His intelligence, however, having been established, his omnipresence enables us to determine the extent of his knowledge.

How does God know? or in what way does he possess knowledge?

1. Not as we gain it, by using faculties fitted to acquire it. There is in him nothing corresponding to observation, comparison, generalization, deduction, processes of reasoning, by which we pass from one step to another, or the contemplation or conjecture of suppositions or theories by which we account for facts.

2. It is even improper to speak of his knowing by intuition, as is frequently done.

3. All that we can say is that his knowledge is his essence or nature knowing. It is not something acquired, but something belonging to that nature itself and identical with it, in like manner as are his love, and truth, and justice. It is something so inherent in his nature that it exists exclusively of any means of attaining or perceiving it, which we call action.

4. The knowledge of God, therefore, not being acquired, cannot be increased. Time does not add to it. Succession of events does not bring it before God. All the objects of his knowledge are to him eternally present and known.

What then are the objects of his knowledge?

1. Himself his nature, or essence; the personal relations subsisting in that essence; all that that nature is, and all that it can appear to be in its manifestations; all that the purposes of God include, and all that might be purposed by him, whether to be done or to be permitted.

2. His creation in all its fullness; in its whole extent, whether marked by magnitude, or minuteness, or variety. The whole universe, with its innumerable worlds, is ever before him, while not an atom of dust, nor the most microscopic of sensitive existencies is unperceived thoroughly.

3. Not merely inanimate matter, nor simple animal natures, but all spiritual beings; he knowing their essences which to them remain unknown, and having perfect perception of the intents and thoughts of their hearts. “When Thales was asked if some of the actions of men were not unknown to God, he replied, ‘not even their thoughts.'” [Knapp’s Theology.] An inspired writer has taught us that God knows us even better than we know ourselves. “Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before him, whereinsoever our heart condemn us; because God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” 1 John 3:19, 20. His knowledge is not limited to the manifestations and operations of spiritual beings, but extends to their essences, and includes not only what they are, but also those tendencies which indicate what they may be.

4. He knows all the past, present, and future of all things, knowing the future with the same certainty and accuracy with which he knows the present and past; for that future is already as present to him as though actually existing with the creatures and time belonging to it, and is as distinctly perceived as it shall be then.

But more specifically as to his knowledge of future events it may be said:

1. That he knows all events that are certain or fixed. The certainty that they will come to pass is based upon his decree. He therefore knows all things that shall come to pass.

2. He knows all events that could possibly come to pass. This is based upon his infinite knowledge of himself and of all his creatures, by which all things or events, which could at any time or under any circumstances occur, are known to him.

In these two classes are necessarily included all objects of knowledge.

Knapp lays down a third kind of knowledge, namely, the knowledge of contingent events, or events which might take place under certain circumstances; for example, that God foresees that if James lives until he is grown, he will commit murder; he therefore determines to prevent this by removing him from life. The knowledge of the murder is here claimed to be that of a contingent event. And hence it is claimed to be another kind of knowledge.

But to examine this. It is readily admitted that the murder does not come under the classification of things certain or decreed, because it will not take place. But it does come under the head of things possible, and between it and all other possible things no distinction can be made. All possible things are contingent until made certain by a decree. Every possible thing is only possible in connection with the circumstances under which it can happen. There is therefore no distinction between possible things and contingent things, and consequently no third class is to be added.

The kind of knowledge which he thus speaks of as contingent is stated by Knapp to be what is called Scientia Media. It is one form only, in which Scientia Media is presented by those who maintain it.

Another form of Scientia Media is, however held by some. According to this, the future event to which it refers is known to God as an event that will take place, but his knowledge of that fact is attained, not through his decree, but through his foreknowledge that, under certain circumstances, a man will pursue one course of action rather than another.

This kind of Scientia Media teaches:

(1.) The future event as certain.

(2.) That God knows it as such.

(3.) That this knowledge does not arise from his decree.

(4.) But, from his knowledge of the nature of the man, together with that of the circumstances that will surround him, he knows that he will act in a particular way.

The only question here is as to the 3d and 4th, for it agrees with the usual orthodox statement in saying, 1st, that it is certain, and 2d, that God knows it as such.

But the 3d and 4th assert that this knowledge is the result of a foreknowledge of God as to how a man will act under certain circumstances. It is evident, however, that this foreknowledge is necessarily accompanied by a determination to allow him so to act.

Now the question arises, is this universally the method of God’s action? If it be so, then God has left the world entirely to itself, without any influence from him. Everything has come to pass, not because of his will and action, but because he has left the general laws, under which he has placed the world, to work out their results without any action or influence on his part.

But this is so manifestly untrue and unscriptural, that it never has been maintained by any Christian men, and it is by Christian writers only that the idea of Scientia Media referred to above has been presented.

It is therefore denied that this is what is meant, and they say that while God does operate in and interfere with the world, and carry on his own purposes in certain matters, he does not choose in other events to exercise any influence, but simply refrains and leaves the events to work out their own effects; and that the knowledge which he has of these events is based upon the fact that they will take place if he does not thus interfere.

The theory thus presented, as will be seen, admits the continued preservation of all things, with all their powers. This can only result from God’s providential action, and involves all that concurrence with events on the part of God through which alone they preserve and exercise effectively the powers he has given them.

This being admitted, then the views held by these parties, stated in any form in which they could hold them, would involve no additional fact beyond the distinction, recognized by all orthodox divines, between the absolute and permissive decrees of God.

But in any event there is a decree, determination, intention, purpose, or whatever else men may call it,–in the broadest language, a will, or volition,–to leave these things so to operate. And upon this will or decree is based his knowledge that these things will be; for without the knowledge of such a purpose, how could he know that he will not at some time choose to change the circumstances or prevent their accomplishment of the event?

It will be seen that in neither of the forms of Scientia Media thus far referred to is there any serious disagreement from the truth. The objection to them is more the lack of accuracy and the mistaken notion that some new idea is involved; or rather the great objection has been the purpose by which men have been led, viz., a desire to lay down the distinction of conditional decrees in salvation. According to these decrees:

(1.) God offers salvation to every man.

(2.) But does not decree his salvation or damnation.

(3.) Yet only decrees his salvation if he believes.

(4.) Or his damnation if he does not believe.

(5.) The knowledge which God is admitted to have had of the event from the beginning arises from foresight that, under the circumstances in which the man is placed, he will exercise, or will not exercise belief.

The Scientia Media is, therefore, introduced to show how an event can be known as something that will actually take place, and yet as something not fixed by a decree of God, and consequently known upon some other ground than because decreed. This we have shown to be a mistaken conception in the forms already examined.

But a third kind of Scientia Media is by no means as harmless as the two already presented, although its absurdity is readily seen. It is given in Dr. J. Pye Smith’s first lines of Christian Theology, p. 145, as follows:

“That God foresees all future events, depending upon the will of His voluntary agents, (i. e., all possible beings and all possible actions of all possible beings), under a position of antecedents endlessly varied; and that, then, in every case certain consequents will follow. The Deity does not certainly know which, in the endless number of possible antecedents, a voluntary creature will choose and practice; but he knows what will be the result under every possible variation of these antecedents. When, therefore, the creature has made his election and fulfilled his course of action, the Deity may say that he foreknew the whole.”

The objections to this scheme are manifest.

(1.) It makes the God, whose purposes we see constantly manifested to us, a God of no purpose at all. He can have no end; he can only know that at any time given in the universe, some one end of many myriads may be the one attained.

(2.) It s contrary to the power to prophesy the actual events which shall happen at a given time, which God has exercised through his prophets.

(3.) It is opposed to his independence, for it makes him dependent upon the will of his creatures, and not their actions dependent upon him.

(4.) It is opposed to his perfection, for that perfection forbids the idea of increase or addition from without; yet, according to this view, his knowledge is constantly increasing as to what is done by his creatures. Every moment, that which heretofore has been only one of many possibilities, becomes a certain event.

(5.) As there can be no reason for God’s will not being effective at least in some respects in man, this Scientia Media, which rests upon the idea that God ought not thus to operate on the mind, even by a purpose, must be a misconception. Else how could God bestow influences upon intelligent creatures which are fitted to affect their minds, as in the gift of Christ, or of the Spirit. Even the conscience within ought not to exercise its powers, nor even to exist in man. If it be said that these would only operate with the free consent of the party, it may be replied that such is the case with all the influences arising in connection with God’s decrees. Is it said that these are influences for good only? So also is it in connection with his decrees. The effective decrees of God, by which he changes in any respect the will of his creatures, are altogether connected with influences for good. In all other respects men are left to act as they please. But their action is known, and known because of God’s decree to leave them thus to act.

(6.) That God should exert no influence over his intelligent creatures also involves that he be excluded from the physical universe.

The very circumstances under which men are supposed to act in Scientia Media are circumstances arising from things around as well as within. Neither can he who can control these circumstances be shut out from the control of those physical events which he knows will affect the will of a voluntary agent. If it be necessary to responsible freedom of the will that man shall not be influenced at all, God must be excluded from the universe; yea, every other being and thing except man. Every man also must be completely isolated from all others, even so far that he shall suppose that he owes no obligations of obedience, and that none shall know his action. These absurd conclusions might even be further extended.

The passages in Scripture supposed to support Scientia Media do not sustain it. These are Genesis 3:22; Ex. 4:8; I Sam. 23:5-14; Jeremiah 38:17-20; Matt. 11:21, 23; Acts, 27:22, 31.

 

THE WISDOM OF GOD.

Wisdom is that power which enables one to put to practical use the knowledge and skill which he possesses, to choose wise ends of action, and to attain these ends by wise means. It is that guidance of the understanding under which the will determines wisely its pleasure, and puts forth power to accomplish it.

Wisdom in God is infinite mid unerring, choosing always the best end and the best means of attaining it. It is seen in creation, and in providence, but is most signally manifested in redemption.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D.D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887 

Concerning the Doctrine of Providence

What does the doctrine of Providence imply? It implies the being of God, that there is a God. It implies that this God possesses all of the requisite attributes of Deity; that is, omniscience, knowing all things; omnipotence, having all power; omnipresence, being everywhere; and holiness and love. It implies that such a God, having the attributes of omniscience and omnipotence and omnipresence and holiness and love, created the universe, brought into being everything that you see – what is above us, what is below us, ourselves. It implies that this intelligent and powerful and benevolent being brought into existence everything that is. In other words, that God created this universe with all its creatures.

This implication denies atheism by assuming the being of God. It denies polytheism, for but one being can possess the divine attributes. It denies materialism and pantheism by assuming God’s existence before matter and His creation of it.

B. H. Carroll—The Providence of God