NAU Romans 8:28-30 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Our initial question from part one of our studies on the doctrine of foreknowledge was: Does something occur because God foreordained it to happen, or did God foreordain it to happen because He foresaw that it would happen? We already learned in part one that God has exhaustive, infallible, foreknowledge of all past, present, and future events and we then tried to understand the relationship between foreordination, foreknowledge, and actual events. In part II of this study, we will briefly examine the heretical views of divine foreknowledge.
I. How Does God Know?
A. Both Reformed and Catholic theology that follows Thomas Aquinas accepts that there are two kinds of knowledge in God. First there is necessary knowledge. This has two parts to it. In the first part, God knows everything about Himself (1 Cor. 2:11). He is perfectly and infinitely self-conscious. He knows Himself uniquely and primarily.
B. In the second part (which some think is a second division of God’s knowledge), God knows all possibilities of things outside of Himself. He has perfect knowledge of all theoretical possibilities as we mentioned in part one. He knows them directly from within His own perfect mind. These possibilities are still possibilities, but He necessarily knows them all exhaustively and perfectly (cf. Matt. 11:21-23).
C. The second kind of knowledge in God is what is known as free knowledge. Out of the vast storehouse of possibilities, God has foreordained via His eternal decree that only some will become actual. Only God can actualize a thing; nothing actualizes itself anymore than something can come out of nothing by itself. So, the order is that God knows all that can happen, foreordains that some of them will infallibly come to pass, and then foreknows them as certainly occurring. Charles Hodge put it like this: “Being the cause of all things, God knows everything by knowing himself; all things possible, by the knowledge of his power; and all things actual, by the knowledge of his own purpose.”
II. The Theory of Middle Knowledge.
A. Now it is precisely at this point that sinful men begin to cry out against this doctrine the loudest. So they have invented several theories to escape the Biblical teaching that absolute foreordination precedes absolute foreknowledge. Perhaps the most popular is the theory of Middle Knowledge (Scientia Media), or Mediate Knowledge. Its roots go back to ancient Greek philosophy, but it was more precisely formulated in the 16th century by Jesuit theologians, especially Luis Molina. They came up with a theory to oppose the prevalent theory of the Dominicans (such as Aquinas), whom they envied; and also to counter the Reformers, who unflinchingly taught absolute foreordination and foreknowledge. Later, the theory became accepted by many Lutherans and almost all Arminians.
B. The theory says that “Middle Knowledge” is between “Necessary Knowledge” and “Free Knowledge”. Basically, it says that God foreknows because He foresees the free and unimpeded acts of men. This assumes that for men to be morally responsible beings there can be no divine interference. Richard Mueller gives the following definition: “Middle knowledge is a conditional and consequent knowledge of future contingents by which God knows of an event because of its occurrence . . . Such events are outside the divine willing.”
C. The theory of Middle Knowledge has been rejected by all orthodox Calvinists. Louis Berkhof wrote, “It is objectionable, because it makes the divine knowledge dependent on the choice of man, virtually annuls the certainty of the knowledge of future events, and thus implicitly denies the omniscience of God.” Middle knowledge contradicts both absolute foreordination and absolute foreknowledge.
III. Various Theories of Limited Omniscience and Foreknowledge.
A. Jerome said that it was absurd to lower the divine majesty by asserting that “God knows how many mosquitoes are born each single moment and how many die; how many bugs, fleas and flies there are in the world; how many fishes swim in the water, and how many of the smaller ones should constitute a meal for the bigger ones.” But sadly, the early church father Jerome sounds too much like our post-enlightenment modern skeptics and atheists. Scripture often says that God knows all about and cares for all the animals (Psa. 36:6; 90:11; 104:27; Matt. 6:26, 10:29, etc.).
B. Aristotle, Cicero, Marcion, Origen and others denied omniscient foreknowledge because they could not harmonize it with autonomous libertarian free will. They assumed that human responsibility means that God cannot interfere. Later, the Socinians said that God knows all that is knowable, but human acts are not knowable in advance because they are by nature neutrally decided and totally free (contra the total inability of man per John 6:44; 8:44; Rom. 8:7-8, etc.). The decision of free will cannot be predicted with total accuracy by anyone, including God. But, as we learned earlier, the Scriptures expressly and repeatedly state that God knows with perfect knowledge all things that have come to pass and all things that will ever come to pass.
C. Process Theology. This heretical theology more or less began with the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead and has been developed by the pseudo-theologian Charles Hartshorne. Process Theology denies absolute foreknowledge by denying that God has absolute omniscience. This theory says that God is in the “process” of growing, evolving, learning, and developing with the rest of the created universe. Otherwise, they say, if God has perfect knowledge then He is stagnant. And so, absolute omniscience would be cosmic stagnation, according to the Process Theologian. So, who knows what will happen next? Well, according to the Process Theologian it can’t be God because He can only make an extremely accurate guess. This silly theory hardly requires refutation. The truth is that God is perfect in knowledge, perfectly perfect in all He is. And being perfect, He cannot be “stagnant”, does not change, and does not experience going through any “process” of development, either by way of increased knowledge or otherwise.
D. Sowing the Seeds of Open Theism: There are several other varieties of Arminian theories which deny absolute foreknowledge. Most of them are but variations of the Middle Knowledge view. One of them is known as semi-Socinianism. It posits that God knows all things. But the future is not a thing. Therefore God does not know it since; technically it doesn’t exist because it’s not a “thing” per se. He can, however, make increasingly accurate predictions because new things are happening every day to add information which increases the probability that God will make accurate predictions future events. The more moderate exponents of this nonsense say that God foreknows the future with virtual but not actual certainty. In other words, God has very good foreknowledge, but not perfect and absolute. There is still a slight chance that something else will happen. There are more extreme exponents of this view that enjoy the supposed adventure of what should really be called blind fore-ignorance.
E. Open Theism: A more popular Arminian theory is growing in evangelical ranks, namely the theory of an “Open God.” A Seventh-Day Adventist named Richard Rice has published a little book entitled The Openness of God; in the second edition, it has been retitled as God’s Foreknowledge and Man’s Free Will. Eight of the nine chapters have the terms “open” or “openness” in their titles. Rice and his followers capitalize on the unsavory connotations of the term “closed”. And we certainly don’t want a God that has a “closed mind”! No, he says, God has an open mind. In fact, this leads directly into Process Theology, for it implies that God also has an open nature that is subject to change. This in turn is related to the Barthian heresy which distorts the independence of God to such an extent that God is free to become His opposite. But can the Lord ever become imperfect in knowledge and still declare Himself as being “perfect in knowledge”? (Job 37:16)
F. And then there is yet another heresy of limited foreknowledge. An example is a chapter by Clark Pinnock in the volume of four essays entitled Predestination and Free Will. The title of Pinnock’s essay tells it all: “God Limits His Knowledge.” There is supposedly something wonderful and glorious about the idea of God playing cosmic peekaboo, sometimes choosing not to know some things, and sometimes choosing to know other things. Pinnock slightly differs from the theory of Middle Knowledge by suggesting that God’s foreknowledge is limited by Himself and not by anything external to Himself. But Pinnock betrays his frequent similarities to the heretical Process Theology, even by his own admission. But no heresy is really new. There was a philosophic form of this theory long before Pinnock and his crowd. Charles Hodge dismissed it with a cogent rebuttal: “But this is to suppose that God wills not to be God; that the infinite wills to be finite.”
G. Lastly, there is a Barthian theory that runs like this. Jesus didn’t know the day of His return (Matt. 24:36). Therefore, He was not omniscient nor did He have absolute foreknowledge. Moreover, “God” is exactly what Jesus is. Therefore, God Himself does not know the future as such. Now this theory totally contradicts itself, as well as the very Scripture it quotes. Matthew 24:36 says that only the Father knows. Therefore, the Father has absolute omniscience and foreknowledge. It is very important to point out that this statement was made while Jesus was existing in his humble, incarnational pre-glorified state as the God-man (cf. Phil. 2:5-11). So, what about the Son? In His humanity – which by nature was finite – Jesus was not omniscient. He had to grow in knowledge and wisdom (Luke 2:40, 52). Yet in His divine nature, Jesus knew all things (John 2:24-25, 6:64, 16:30; 21:17, etc.).
The heretical theories put forth by heretical Arminian theologians and secular philosophers can’t even come close to refuting the robust biblical teaching of God’s exhaustive infallible foreknowledge. Not only is this doctrine untouchable from a biblical perspective, but when comparing the biblical teaching to the false philosophies and ideas brought forth by heretics and secularists, it is quite evident that man always desire to dethrone God, control Him, and enthrone himself as the king of his own universe. What better place to start than with the doctrine of God’s knowledge? And so, we’ve seen that all of this detailed study about foreknowledge is important and necessary because if you misrepresent it, carry it out to its logical conclusion, then you end up constructing an idol, and as Calvin said, man’s mind is a notorious idol factory. In summary we can say this: If this is not true then God is not God. But it is true, for the Lord is God, and awesome are His works! (Psa. 66:3)
NAU 1 Corinthians 1:19-20 For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
 This of course does not refer to Jesus in His humiliation and incarnation, where as a young boy He “kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52) However, preincarnationally and post resurrection, He was and is omniscient, as is the rest of the Godhead.