Middle Knowledge... A Practical Understanding!

Sketo

Well-known member
This video helped me to understand the Philosophical god of Middle Knowledge...



Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:16

Who wrote the “book”?
 

Sketo

Well-known member
Herman Bavinck critiques this “middle knowledge” saying...

“[Middle knowledge teaches that] God does not derive his knowledge of the free actions of human beings from his own being, his own decrees, but from the will of creatures. God, accordingly, becomes dependent on the world, derives knowledge from the world that he did not have and could not obtain from himself, and hence, in his knowledge, ceases to be one, simple, and independent—that is, God.

Conversely, the creature in large part becomes independent vis-à-vis God. The creature did indeed at one time receive “being” (esse) and “being able” (posse) from God but now it has the “volition” (velle) completely in its own hand. The creature sovereignly makes it own decisions and either accomplishes something or does not accomplish something apart from any preceding divine decree. Something can therefore come into being quite apart from God’s will.

The creature is now creator, autonomous, sovereign; the entire history of the world is taken out of God’s controlling hands and placed into human hands. First, humans decide; then God responds with a plan that corresponds to that decision.

…What are we to think, then, of a God who forever awaits all those decisions and keeps in readiness a store of all possible plans for all possibilities? What then remains of even a sketch of the world plan when left to humans to flesh out? And of what value is a government whose chief executive is the slave of his own subordinates?

In the theory of middle knowledge, that is precisely the case with God. God looks on, while humans decide. It is not God who makes distinctions among people, but people distinguish themselves. Grace is dispensed, according to merit; predestination depends on good works”

Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 201 (slightly edited).

Bavinck made it clear that Reformed theology firmly rejects middle knowledge because it strays from the teaching of Scripture that God – not man! – is completely omniscient and sovereign. He is on the throne, we are not. We are but clay in the hands of the Potter (Jer. 18:6, Rom. 9:21). Not to us, but to Him be the glory (Ps 115:1)!


Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:16

Who wrote the “book”?
 

zerinus

Well-known member
Herman Bavinck critiques this “middle knowledge” saying...

“[Middle knowledge teaches that] God does not derive his knowledge of the free actions of human beings from his own being, his own decrees, but from the will of creatures. God, accordingly, becomes dependent on the world, derives knowledge from the world that he did not have and could not obtain from himself, and hence, in his knowledge, ceases to be one, simple, and independent—that is, God.

Conversely, the creature in large part becomes independent vis-à-vis God. The creature did indeed at one time receive “being” (esse) and “being able” (posse) from God but now it has the “volition” (velle) completely in its own hand. The creature sovereignly makes it own decisions and either accomplishes something or does not accomplish something apart from any preceding divine decree. Something can therefore come into being quite apart from God’s will.

The creature is now creator, autonomous, sovereign; the entire history of the world is taken out of God’s controlling hands and placed into human hands. First, humans decide; then God responds with a plan that corresponds to that decision.

…What are we to think, then, of a God who forever awaits all those decisions and keeps in readiness a store of all possible plans for all possibilities? What then remains of even a sketch of the world plan when left to humans to flesh out? And of what value is a government whose chief executive is the slave of his own subordinates?

In the theory of middle knowledge, that is precisely the case with God. God looks on, while humans decide. It is not God who makes distinctions among people, but people distinguish themselves. Grace is dispensed, according to merit; predestination depends on good works”

Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 201 (slightly edited).

Bavinck made it clear that Reformed theology firmly rejects middle knowledge because it strays from the teaching of Scripture that God – not man! – is completely omniscient and sovereign. He is on the throne, we are not. We are but clay in the hands of the Potter (Jer. 18:6, Rom. 9:21). Not to us, but to Him be the glory (Ps 115:1)!



Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:16

Who wrote the “book”?
You are still making the mistake of trying to fathom how God can be omniscient, and have perfect foreknowledge of all future events, while at the same time granting complete libertarian freewill to all his creatures. The answer is that we don't know. He hasn't told us how. But just because we don't know how he does it, it does not logically follow that he can't. It is sheer madness for the finite mind of man to try to fathom the infinite mind of God, and then to conclude that because we can't fathom how he does something, therefore it follows that he can't. I don't know how he created the world in six days neither, it does not logically follow that therefore he couldn't have.
 

Sketo

Well-known member
You are still making the mistake of trying to fathom how God can be omniscient, and have perfect foreknowledge of all future events, while at the same time granting complete libertarian freewill to all his creatures.
This assumes “complete libertarian freewill” without evidence of such!

No... this thread points out that “the mistake of trying to fathom how” is with those who philosophically invent “middle knowledge” as a way to “fathom how” to fit “complete libertarian freewill” into scripture! It’s not necessary!

Wouldn’t you agree that “middle knowledge” is “trying to fathom how”?
The answer is that we don't know how

And that is a respectable answer... from you!

The Bible does not teach the how because that philosophical assumption does not come from scripture!

He hasn't told us how.

Because “libertarian freewill” is an assumption brought to the Bible... not taught by the Bible!

But just because we don't know how he does it, it does not logically follow that he can't.
Logically that is true but if one claims to know how we can examine the claim and see if it is biblically sound. I believe James White and Herman Bavinck have done a great job of showing that the “how claim” of middle knowledge is not biblical or logical! It’s not even necessary to explain the how because “libertarian freewillism” is not there to need explaining in the first place!
 

zerinus

Well-known member
This assumes “complete libertarian freewill” without evidence of such!
The evidence is all over the Bible. On every page of the Bible where God commands man to do one thing or another, with the promise of a reward or punishment, it implies libertarian freewill.
No... this thread points out that “the mistake of trying to fathom how” is with those who philosophically invent “middle knowledge” as a way to “fathom how” to fit “complete libertarian freewill” into scripture! It’s not necessary!
But the reason why you are bringing that up is in order to demonstrate to your way of thinking that it cannot be done. You are citing that failed attempt as evidence that libertarian freewill and divine foreknowledge are incompatible, therefore it cannot be true, which does not logically follow. One failed attempt is not evidence of impossibility.
Wouldn’t you agree that “middle knowledge” is “trying to fathom how”?
Yes, but the reason why you are bringing it up is because you think it is evidence of impossibility, which it isn't.
And that is a respectable answer... from you!
It is the only reasonable answer from the Bible.
The Bible does not teach the how because that philosophical assumption does not come from scripture!
The Bible does not teach the “how” of a lot of things. It expects us to accept the truth of them in faith.
Because “libertarian freewill” is an assumption brought to the Bible... not taught by the Bible!
Wrong. It is an assumption necessitated by the Bible.
 

TomFL

Well-known member
Herman Bavinck critiques this “middle knowledge” saying...

“[Middle knowledge teaches that] God does not derive his knowledge of the free actions of human beings from his own being, his own decrees, but from the will of creatures. God, accordingly, becomes dependent on the world, derives knowledge from the world that he did not have and could not obtain from himself, and hence, in his knowledge, ceases to be one, simple, and independent—that is, God.

If God cannot possess middle knowledge then support is lent to open Theism

Contrary to the article

R.C. Sproul writes: "God's omniscience refers to God's total knowledge of all things actual and potential. God knows not only all that is, but everything that possibly could be

II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions

Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 26.

Paragraph 2. Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions,5 yet hath He not decreed anything, because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
London Baptist confession

However as God would possess such knowledge in eternity long before anything was created I think Bavinck misses the mark
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
The evidence is all over the Bible. On every page of the Bible where God commands man to do one thing or another, with the promise of a reward or punishment, it implies libertarian freewill.

Here is a perfect example where Mormons use "implied", when they ACTUALLY mean "assumes".

Wrong. It is an assumption necessitated by the Bible.

Here the poster slips up and actually uses the accurate term.

And no, that assumption is NOT "necessitated by the Bible".
It is only "necessitated" by your FALSE THEOLOGY.

Which is why you need to scrap your false theology.
 

TomFL

Well-known member

Sketo

Well-known member
If God cannot possess middle knowledge then support is lent to open Theism

“Middle knowledge” philosophically creates an unnecessary category for God to be open to the possibility of the unknown!

Therefore “middle knowledge” is just another form of “open theology”!


Middle knowledge teaches...
The creature in large part becomes independent vis-à-vis God. The creature did indeed at one time receive “being” (esse) and “being able” (posse) from God but now it has the “volition” (velle) completely in its own hand. The creature sovereignly makes it own decisions and either accomplishes something or does not accomplish something apart from any preceding divine decree. Something can therefore come into being quite apart from God’s will.

The creature is now creator, autonomous, sovereign; the entire history of the world is taken out of God’s controlling hands and placed into human hands. First, humans decide; then God responds with a plan that corresponds to that decision.

…What are we to think, then, of a God who forever awaits all those decisions and keeps in readiness a store of all possible plans for all possibilities? What then remains of even a sketch of the world plan when left to humans to flesh out? And of what value is a government whose chief executive is the slave of his own subordinates?

In the theory of middle knowledge, that is precisely the case with God. God looks on, while humans decide. It is not God who makes distinctions among people, but people distinguish themselves. Grace is dispensed, according to merit; predestination depends on good works


Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:16

Who wrote the “book”?
 

zerinus

Well-known member
“Middle knowledge” philosophically creates an unnecessary category for God to be open to the possibility of the unknown!

Therefore “middle knowledge” is just another form of “open theology”!

Middle knowledge teaches...
The creature in large part becomes independent vis-à-vis God. The creature did indeed at one time receive “being” (esse) and “being able” (posse) from God but now it has the “volition” (velle) completely in its own hand. The creature sovereignly makes it own decisions and either accomplishes something or does not accomplish something apart from any preceding divine decree. Something can therefore come into being quite apart from God’s will.

The creature is now creator, autonomous, sovereign; the entire history of the world is taken out of God’s controlling hands and placed into human hands. First, humans decide; then God responds with a plan that corresponds to that decision.

…What are we to think, then, of a God who forever awaits all those decisions and keeps in readiness a store of all possible plans for all possibilities? What then remains of even a sketch of the world plan when left to humans to flesh out? And of what value is a government whose chief executive is the slave of his own subordinates?

In the theory of middle knowledge, that is precisely the case with God. God looks on, while humans decide. It is not God who makes distinctions among people, but people distinguish themselves. Grace is dispensed, according to merit; predestination depends on good works



Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:16

Who wrote the “book”?
“Middle knowledge,” in a limited sense, is indeed found in the Bible (1 Samuel 23:11–13), which indeed also supports the concept of libertarian freewill. But as it is expressed in Molinism, meaning that God is aware of an infinite possibilities of human free choices, and creates his universe with that infinite possibilities in mind, in an infinite variety of circumstances, is an unnecessary addition to the theology of divine interactions with man; neither is it necessary to support the biblical doctrine of libertarian freewill. Libertarian freewill is supported by the Bible, without the requirement of that theological construct to establish it. It is an unnecessary addition which is not required to support libertarian freewill in the Bible.
 

TibiasDad

Active member
Something can therefore come into being quite apart from God’s will.

That is not true! Independent will is not completely autonomous nor absolutely independent of God's sovereignty. It is limited in scope, and may be overridden at God's pleasure.

As I have shared before in other threads in my years here on CARM, Genesis 2 gives three specific examples and one overarching expression of the extent of our liberties.

1) God gave man the freedom to eat of whatever tree/fruit he wanted, whenever he wanted. (Gen 2:16) God did not impose any limitations on mans choices, but stipulated but one warning if he 'chose poorly'. Man could choose for himself what to eat, without God's interference or telling him bananas are a MWF menu and raspberry a TTS, with Sunday being an all you can eat smorgasbord.

2) God gave man the liberty to choose the names of all the animals, "and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name", without God's involvement or otherwise choice. (Gen 2:19)

3) God gave man the liberty to choose to believe what he said about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or not believe. (Gen 2:16-17)

And last but not least,

4) God gave man the liberty and responsibility to care the the earthly creation that God had made. (Gen 2:15)


Doug
 

Sketo

Well-known member
  • Eph. 1:11, “also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

  • Dan. 4:35, “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth. And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?

  • Lam. 3:37–38, ” Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it? 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth?”

  • Psalm 33:14-15, “From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15 He who fashions the hearts of them all, he who understands all their works.”

  • Psalm 135:6, “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”
The above Scriptures should convince us that God is not a reactionary being who lives in a world where things are outside of his control. Middle Knowledge is wrong.
 

Sketo

Well-known member
That is not true! Independent will is not completely autonomous nor absolutely independent of God's sovereignty. It is limited in scope, and may be overridden at God's pleasure.

for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. - Philippians 2:13

This is more than knowing... this is causing!


Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:16

Who wrote the “book”? This is more than mere knowing... this is creating the future!
 

TomFL

Well-known member
“Middle knowledge” philosophically creates an unnecessary category for God to be open to the possibility of the unknown!

Therefore “middle knowledge” is just another form of “open theology”!

No it is just the opposite

When middke Knowledge is a claim God knows absolutely everything how can it be a claim there are things he does not know

Your claim is contrary to the claims of middle knowledge which are appropriately more consisdtent with deniers of middle knowledge than the other way around

j



Middle knowledge teaches...
The creature in large part becomes independent vis-à-vis God. The creature did indeed at one time receive “being” (esse) and “being able” (posse) from God but now it has the “volition” (velle) completely in its own hand. The creature sovereignly makes it own decisions and either accomplishes something or does not accomplish something apart from any preceding divine decree. Something can therefore come into being quite apart from God’s will.
That looks like total nonsense

No one believe ones will is completely free

and therefore what is written above is a misrepresentation
 

SovereignGrace

Well-known member
This video helped me to understand the Philosophical god of Middle Knowledge...



Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:16

Who wrote the “book”?
If after scanning and finding out this was the best possible world, where the most # of ppl are saved, with the least amount of evil involved in it, can you imagine what the worst possible world He could have possibly created looked like? :eek:
 

SovereignGrace

Well-known member
This video helped me to understand the Philosophical god of Middle Knowledge...



Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:16

Who wrote the “book”?
Dr. White just obliterates false teachings and doesnt care where the chips fall. As the saying goes, “plain talk is easily understood.“
 

Reformedguy

Well-known member
That is not true! Independent will is not completely autonomous nor absolutely independent of God's sovereignty. It is limited in scope, and may be overridden at God's pleasure.

As I have shared before in other threads in my years here on CARM, Genesis 2 gives three specific examples and one overarching expression of the extent of our liberties.

1) God gave man the freedom to eat of whatever tree/fruit he wanted, whenever he wanted. (Gen 2:16) God did not impose any limitations on mans choices, but stipulated but one warning if he 'chose poorly'. Man could choose for himself what to eat, without God's interference or telling him bananas are a MWF menu and raspberry a TTS, with Sunday being an all you can eat smorgasbord.

2) God gave man the liberty to choose the names of all the animals, "and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name", without God's involvement or otherwise choice. (Gen 2:19)

3) God gave man the liberty to choose to believe what he said about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or not believe. (Gen 2:16-17)

And last but not least,

4) God gave man the liberty and responsibility to care the the earthly creation that God had made. (Gen 2:15)


Doug
That was pre fall Doug. Adam made a bad choice, a choice God knew He was going to make. If your choice is known beforehand by God it is certain to be made. You cannot choose otherwise. LFW is negated as a possibility
 
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