Greg Stafford on God’s Ignorance (Part 4): God As Man’s Prophet

Regarding the creation of mankind, the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q10) asks “How did God create man?” And it answers the question by stating “God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures” (emphasis mine). And because we are made in the image of God, we are to image Him (as only man can), in all of our being. We tend to look at this section of Genesis (1-3) as man either obeying and disobeying God strictly in their ethic (how they live their lives).

But as God’s creatures, Adam and Eve were to be Yahweh’s servant with all their being. We are told that the greatest commandment is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (emphasis mine). This commandment, although not stated in Genesis was certainly Adam greatest commandment. And just as we are not to love and serve God in our own strength, according to our own dictates, Adam, again, was no different.

It is clear from the NT that part of the image that is being restored has to do with knowledge. What we know, how do we know it, etc. One picture of the Christian, is that he is as priest, offering up to God our own bodies (including our minds) as living sacrifices, and in doing so our minds will be transformed, to know God’s will. We are told in other places that we are to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2Cor. 10:5). In Eph. 4:22-23 Paul states “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” and in Col. 3:10 Paul continues this line of reason stating “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

If one of the goals of our sanctification is that we are “think God’s thoughts after him” as Cornelius Van Til stated, we can safely assume that in the garden, prior to the fall, Adam possessed the knowledge Paul speaks about in the above verses. The difference being, that Adam before the fall did not have to “take every thought captive,” this was a given. Adam, prior to the fall, was thinking God’s thoughts after Him.

Being made in the image of God, man was to be God’s prophet, priest and king. He was to rule over creation, he was to subdue creation and he was to proclaim the works and mind of the mind of his creator to the creation. After all, if Adam failed in any of these before the actual fall, we would have a pre-fall. But we know this wasn’t the case.

When we look at the teachings of Mr. Greg Stafford, we see the roles of prophet exchanged from man being the prophet of God, to God being a prophet for man. Mr. Stafford has established for himself (with the help of Jehovah’s Witness publications) that there is knowledge God is not aware of and can not know until man reveals it. After man says what he says, it becomes revelation for God, and now God can speak forth what Adam, apart from his image-bearing, has made known. Remember, Mr. Stafford has told us that when God told Adam to name the animals, that God did not know what Adam was going to name them. God’s knowledge was limited to the free choices of man. God, now thinks man’s thoughts after him.

One important point to recognize here is that built into in Mr. Stafford’s theology, is a place for man’s autonomy. He (man) is a law unto himself. Before the fall, he can do things and say things without thinking God’s thought after him. Man, apart from God, makes decisions, which in the end, bind God and instead of man being the prophet for God, God becomes the mouth piece for man. Man becomes the final reference point and the the creator-creature distinction is blurred.

I can not say it better than Van Til at this point when he states “It is only when this point is carefully noted that the Christian and the non-Christian points of view are seen in their right relationship to one another. The two positions have mutually exclusive views of the ultimate reference point in predication” (Christian Apologetics, 2ed., 43).

[Note: The thoughts in this post are being developed for a paper I am currently writing for an apologetics class. When finished, Lord willing, I will post the paper on the blog. I am certainly open to your thoughts; positive or negative].

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45 Comments

  1. April 4, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    [...] Read the rest of this great post here [...]

  2. Mondo said,

    April 4, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Apparently you do not understand what Stafford is saying.

    His argument is not that God cannot know, it is that God ****chooses**** not to know. There is a difference. If God wanted to know before hand what man would have named the animals he could have, but he, in his infinite ability, has even the ability to limit himself (for his abilities would not truly be infinite if he could not control even them).

  3. Jeff said,

    April 4, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Even if God chooses not to know, it doesn’t change anything I’ve said in this post. But, apparently you’ve missed the point.

    That’s Ok. This is where we ended up last time.

  4. Mondo said,

    April 4, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    It changes everything because you are thus attacking a strawman, making your article fallacious from the jump.

    For example, you say: “Mr. Stafford has established for himself (with the help of Jehovah’s Witness publications) that there is knowledge God is not aware of and can not know until man reveals it.”

    As Stafford has never ‘established that there is knowledge God can not know’ your paper is just one big fallacious attack.

  5. Jane said,

    April 5, 2008 at 1:15 am

    I agree with Mondo, your paper is just one big fallacious attack. If God chooses not to know, then your claim that Greg’s saying that God “can not know until man reveals it” is false.

    God CAN choose not to know until he gets to know by observation. Pre-knowledge is not something out of God’s control, not something that “hits” God inevitably and there’s nothing He can do about it. What does Gen 18:20,21 say?

    Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I WILL GO DOWN AND SEE if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. IF NOT, I WILL KNOW.”

  6. mike interbartolo said,

    April 5, 2008 at 4:13 am

    Jane and Mondo, I’ll cut to the quick to get beyond this “fallacious attack” jazz and direct your attention to Bruce A. Ware’s book entitled, God’s Lesser Glory and Millard Erickson’s, What Does God Know and When Does He Know It ?. Please give those two books some keen attention in the light of Proverbs 15:14 and vs. 28. Shalom.

  7. Jeff said,

    April 5, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    If good chooses not to know, I can only assume in Mr. Stafford’s theology, that God is true to Himself and therefore, doesn’t actually know. So, if God held back from knowing what Adam was going to name the animals, God came into knowledge that he did not previously have.

    My post was certainly not fallacious, it was the simple outworking of Mr. Stafford’s theology.

    The point of my post went much further in regarding to how Adam, pre-fall, knew things, in comparison to what regenerate man looks like (although certainly not complete).

    See this page for other resources on Open Theism (recent movement, but nothing really new except the name), which is the theology that Mr. Stafford and JWs are advocating.

  8. Mondo said,

    April 5, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Jeff,

    None of what you are saying changes the fact that your attack is fallacious, because it says that Stafford believes God “can not” do something when in fact he believes no such thing. You have built and attacked a straw man.

    Stafford suggests, contrary to you, that God truly is infinite in what he is capable of. He is so powerful that he has the ability to control his own power rather than having unrestrained power.

  9. Mondo said,

    April 5, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Mike,

    I already have Erickson’s work, but not Ware’s. Thanks for suggesting it.

  10. Jimmy Li said,

    April 6, 2008 at 3:43 am

    Questions for Mondo and Jeff,
    (If you guys have time!)
    I have to ask an even more fundamental question, how can God *chooses* not to know?
    Curious…like how did Stafford get that idea from?
    If his god *chooses* to not know about something, which means that this god does not know about something, could this god really be an *all knowing* God? And how much does God have to *know* in order for Him to be considered an *all-knowing* God?

    Also, does this god who choose not to know something knows he does not about the subject he does not know about?
    Does he know the reason why he did not *choose* to know? And if he knew why he did not want to know, can he suspect why he made this choice, and therefore still knows what he supposedly does not know?

    In the gist, I just wonder really, how can god *chooses* not to know?
    I think this is so strange and that the god of the Watch Tower seem to be a god of confusion, something that Stafford and those who attend Kingdom Hall seem to think he cannot be.

    Thank you for your time.

  11. Mondo said,

    April 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Jimmy,

    We certainly cannot expect to understand an infinite God with our finite minds, but the Bible clearly speaks of occasions where God comes to know things while also showing similar cases where he foresees things before they happen. The Bible articulates the sovereignty of God while also speaking of the choice of man.

    So one must inquire, how is it that in one instance God can already know the future while in another he waits to allow man to make a decision? If in the one situation he already knows and we know that he is not limited by the choice of man, yet at the same time in the other he allows man to choose for himself, so he does not always see what the choice will be (cf. Jer. 18:5-10).

    The answer seems best understood in that he controls what he foreknows based upon his own discretion, choosing somehow not to know in cases where he wants others to have the choice.

    This means only that God chooses not to know something, not that he can not know it. If he desires to know something he does just as if he desires something to exist that does not it does. I don’t know exactly how it comes to exist only that he makes it do so, just the same I do not know how he does not know something but then can instantly know it, only that he can.

  12. Jane said,

    April 6, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Jimmi Li said:

    > I have to ask an even more fundamental question, how can God *chooses* not to know?
    > In the gist, I just wonder really, how can god *chooses* not to know?

    Well, it seems to me God is not all-powerful because he CANNOT choose to pre-know. Please, this is not about God knowing as you would like to present it, it is God not wanting to have pre-knowledge of something – for whatever reason (doesn’t He do as He pleases?)

    > Curious…like how did Stafford get that idea from?

    Did you actually read Gen 18:20,21?

    > If his god *chooses* to not know about something,
    Pardon me, this is incorrect. God *chooses* no to pre-know something.

    > could this god really be an *all knowing* God?

    Please name one thing that God doesn’t know.

    > And how much does God have to *know* in order for Him to be considered an *all-knowing* God?

    See above.

    > Also, does this god who choose not to know something knows he does not about the subject he does not know about?

    Are you serious?

    > Does he know the reason why he did not *choose* to know?

    Why would you doubt he does?

    > And if he knew why he did not want to know, can he suspect why he made this choice,

    Every person who chooses something does know why.

    > and therefore still knows what he supposedly does not know?

    The one doesn’t follow from the other.

    > I think this is so strange and that the god of the Watch Tower seem to be a god of confusion, something that Stafford and those who attend Kingdom Hall seem to think he cannot be.

    No offence, but I think it would be more appropriate to state that you are the one being in confusion here, not God.

  13. Jane said,

    April 6, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Unable to make edits :) Read my 1st paragraph as:

    Well, it seems to me that YOU are the one saying God is not all-powerful because you say HE CANNOT choose to pre-know. Please note, this is not about God not knowing as you would like to present it, it is God not wanting to have pre-knowledge of something – for whatever reason (doesn’t He do as He pleases?)

  14. Jimmy Li said,

    April 7, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Thank you Mondo for your comment

  15. Jimmy Li said,

    April 7, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Jane,
    1.) “Well, it seems to me God is not all-powerful because he CANNOT choose to pre-know.”

    What exactly is ‘pre-knowledge’? Is it a subset of knowledge? If you can clarify, that would be great, as some of the comments you left and I wrote about hinges at this point; a clear explanation might allow me more where Stafford is coming from.

    Also, I’m curious, whether the concept is taught in the Bible that for God to be all powerful He has to have the ability to choose not ‘pre-knowing’ something?

    I am also suspecting that it does not necessarily follow that God’s omnipotence would lead to God not having certain pre-knowledge.

    2.)”Please name one thing that God doesn’t know”

    I am not denying God doesn’t know everything, I’m just wondering how this doctrine works within the framework of the claim that God does not know certain “pre-knowledge’, and the possibility that there is some sort of tension with the claim that God is still all knowing.

    3.) ” Are you serious?”

    Yeah, I was serious with the question, “Also, does this god who choose not to know something knows he does not about the subject he does not know about?”

    4.) “Why would you doubt he does?”

    This is your question to my question, “Does he know the reason why he did not *choose* to know?”; I ask these questions because I am trying to get at the mechanics of God’s knowledge as Stafford believes it.

    5.) “The one doesn’t follow from the other.”

    This is your response to my question, “And if God knew why he did not want to know, can he suspect why he made this choice, and therefore still knows what he supposedly does not know?”.
    It seems agreeable that you wrote, “Every person who chooses something does know why.”
    The point I was thinking about was that there are times when we choose not to know something because of a certain reason, yet the reason why we desire not to know betrays that we already know it.
    For instance, someone learns that the stock market is crashing; he hears it on MSNBC, but he does not want to find out from his stock broker because he’s upset knowing ahead of time that he’s lost alot of money. In some sense, by choosing not to know about something, the reasons why betray that he does know something about it.

    6.)”No offence, but I think it would be more appropriate to state that you are the one being in confusion here, not God.”

    I admitted I don’t understand several things, which was why I asked the questions I did. I suppose you can say I am in confusion with the confusing ideas being advanced here by Stafford’s supporters.

  16. Jane said,

    April 8, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Hi Jimmy,

    > What exactly is ‘pre-knowledge’? Is it a subset of knowledge?

    Subset of knowledge? I don’t see how the answer to this question is relevant to being all-powerful or not. If God cannot control one of his abilities, if he is not able to do so, than it seems only natural to me to conclude (based on this claim of yours) that He is not all-powerful. The moment you insinuate “He cannot”, you’re saying he’s not omnipotent.

    Is He not omnipotent because he limits his use of pre-knowledge? That is the equivalent of saying that God is not omnipotent because when he destroyed Sodom He did not destroy the whole planet! Can you conclude that He is not omnipotent because He has limited his power of destruction?

    > Also, I’m curious, whether the concept is taught in the Bible that for God to be all powerful He has to have the ability to choose not ‘pre-knowing’ something?

    You are going too specific for a concept. The common-sense concept concerning this issue is the following: if there’s one tiny thing one being cannot do, he’s not omnipotent. Having no control over what you experience or what you can do is a trait common to creatures, not God.

    > I am also suspecting that it does not necessarily follow that God’s omnipotence would lead to God not having certain pre-knowledge.

    Of course; God’s omnipotence doesn’t automatically lead to God not having pre-knowledge. When you say “God is omnipotent” you don’t say “God does not have pre-knowledge”. It only leads to the fact that God is able to control pre-knowledge.

    It’s about the ability to choose and to decide what happens to yourself or whether you want to acquire something or not.
    Is pre-knowledge hitting you inevitably and you can’t do a thing about it? It just happens to you? You’re a creature.
    You see, pre-knowledge is not like a river flowing toward you, like a flux of information bombarding your mind whether you want it to or not.
    But it is like fountain which YOU go to with a bucket to take some water from it.

    > I am not denying God doesn’t know everything, I’m just wondering how this doctrine works within the framework of the claim that God does not know certain “pre-knowledge’, and the possibility that there is some sort of tension with the claim that God is still all knowing.

    Just to clarify, which doctrine are you talking about know?

    > Yeah, I was serious with the question, “Also, does this god who choose not to know something knows he does not about the subject he does not know about?”

    The question seemed not serious because you are essentialy saying “does God know about the subject he doesn’t know about”? Your question is a contradiction. God knows the subject. In my example (Genesis 18), the subject is “people have the chance to change their course”.

    > 5.) “The one doesn’t follow from the other.”

    > This is your response to my question, “And if God knew why he did not want to know, can he suspect why he made this choice, and therefore still knows what he supposedly does not know?”.
    > It seems agreeable that you wrote, “Every person who chooses something does know why.”
    > The point I was thinking about was that there are times when we choose not to know something because of a certain reason, yet the reason why we desire not to know betrays that we already know it.
    > For instance, someone learns that the stock market is crashing; he hears it on MSNBC, but he does not want to find out from his stock broker because he’s upset knowing ahead of time that he’s lost alot of money. In some sense, by choosing not to know about something, the reasons why betray that he does know something about it.

    This example does not fit the issue. YOU ALREADY KNOW what the situation is from MSNBC. That’s why I said “The one doesn’t follow from the other.”

    BTW, could you please answer my question about Genesis 18? Thank you.

  17. Jimmy Li said,

    April 8, 2008 at 2:11 am

    Jane,
    I think it is wise that rather than respond point by point, you clearly present what exactly is pre-knowledge, and secondly, how pre-knowledge is different than knowledge itself.

    THen we will go from there.

  18. Jeff said,

    April 8, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    I do apologize for not having a chance to interact. Hebrew (and other classes) have me tied down at the momement. I am certainly not impress with what I’m hearing. It is interesting that the main point of my post has not been touched.

    We certainly do see the need to stress the creator-creature distinction in our apologetic.

    In the mean time, I would recommend the following lecture by Dr. Lane Tipton titled Implications for Human Knowledge. If that link does not work, try <a href=”http://two-age.org/online_sermons/ltipton/cov3.ramthis one (it is Real Media and requires their player).

    I do agree with Jimmy at this point. I dealt with Mr. Stafford in a clear fashion and pointed out, IMHO the lack of cogency in his theology on this particular point. No one (or at least I do not) has time to respond point-by-point. How about giving us a clear statement (even though you’ve might have said it above) on the doctrine of the knowledge of God the doctrine of the knowledge of man and how the two relate to each other.

    Thanks, Jeff Downs

  19. Jane said,

    April 9, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Jeff, Jimmy, please do not make me repeat what I’ve already said.

    If I don’t have time I make time. Jeff, if you don’t want to make time for yourself concerning this matter then maybe it’s not that important for you.

  20. Jeff said,

    April 9, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I’m sorry Jane, but this comment of your Jeff, if you don’t want to make time for yourself concerning this matter then maybe it’s not that important for you. is just silly. I made the time to write the post, which again, the main issue was not even addressed.

    Second, I am currently in seminary. Third, as you know, I am writing a paper in which I’m dealing with this (and other) issue(s). Fourth, and more importantly, I also have family to love and take care of.

    So, please, don’t come in here stating that these things are not important to me. I just want you to clearly lay out your position. It is hard to read (do to time and other issues) the post withing posts (i.e. the point-by-point interaction)

    Anyway, no big deal my friend. Don’t take any more of your time. Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Jimmy Li said,

    April 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Jane,
    Can you answer my last comment (comment # 19)?
    In case you think you are repeating yourself, I am asking you (1) to define pre-knowledge and (2) give me the distinction between pre-knowledge from knowledge.

    If you think you are repeating something, show me which comment number that you answered those two questions;

    I think those two fundamental issues must be established because they are foundational to our discussion so I won’t be ‘confused’ as you say it.

    I am making time from the business of seminary (I am also taking Hebrew!) and ministry to interact here. Let’s not go on unnecessary ad-hominem rabbit trail and stick to the two fundamental questions I asked.

    Cool beans?

  22. Jane said,

    April 10, 2008 at 1:29 am

    Hi guys, I appreciate you setting time aside for this issue :)

    What exactly is pre-knowledge, and secondly, how pre-knowledge is different than knowledge itself? I can’t help but feeling like I’m stating the obvious here. It is quite simple, and rather than theorizing let’s take an example, Genesis 22:

    Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

    [...]

    When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

    What is pre-knowledge/foreknowledge? Knowing what will happen in the future. God could have exercised his foreknowledge power to foresee the way Abraham would act. He chose not to.

    Foreknowledge is a special case of knowledge, and God has an infinite capacity in exercising it. He uses it when he wants to.

  23. yahweh said,

    April 10, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    [...] Joy Studio and yahweh Ballet after Mrs. Arena was told …http://www.thesop.org/article.php?id=10563Greg Stafford on God??s Ignorance Part 4: God As Man??s Prophet Regarding the creation of mankind, the Westminster Shorter Catechism Q10 asks ???How did God create [...]

  24. Jimmy Li said,

    April 10, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Jane,
    Thank you for defining to me pre-knowledge and explaining to me how pre-knowledge relates to knowledge in general.

    I have another question: Did God always have all “pre-knowledge” to begin with, and then chooses to ignore (or remain ignorant of, forgotten, supressing the truth, choose not to know, etc) this knowledge in specific circumstances, or did he not have ‘pre-knowledge’ to begin with and then in specific circumstances uses he capability to “pre-know” something so he can know it?

    In essence, I’m asking about how pre-knowledge works according to Stafford’s supporters,is it God at first not knowing the future or God knows the future but choose not to know?

    I hope it make sense what I’m trying to ask, if it does not, I’ll try to rephrase it…I’m off to studying for now…

  25. Jane said,

    April 10, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Well, God says “NOW I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

    So He chose not to foreknow. He did not foreknow.

  26. Jane said,

    April 10, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Oh BTW, I’m not a “Stafford supporter”; I am a God supporter and a supporter of His truth. If I’m mistaken in my conceptions please correct me.

    Thank you.

  27. Jeff said,

    April 11, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Jane, did God know or not know (ahead of time) that Abraham wasn’t going to take the life of Isaac?

  28. Jane said,

    April 12, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Jeff, really, I’m puzzled, why would you ask such a thing? Please read my post again…

  29. Jimmy Li said,

    April 12, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Jane,
    I hope you see my concern when I comment here.

    If foreknowledge or ‘preknowledge’ is a type and a subset of knowledge, then really this idea of God that you mentioned really can not be all-knowing (since he does not have certain foreknowledge rather than possessing all knowledge in actuality).

    You have the irreconcilable tension with the claim that God is all-knowing and then also claiming he’s not all knowing (with certain knowledge when it concerns future events).

    Do you see what I’m saying?

  30. Jane said,

    April 12, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Yes I see what you’re saying. Please indicate where in the Scriptures it is said about God that He foreknows everything; where in the Bible does anyone say God is “all-knowing” in the sense you understand it: knowledge + foreknowledge.

    My understanding is based on what the Scriptures say. Is yours?

    Thank you.

  31. Jimmy Li said,

    April 12, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Jane,

    I think its important that before Jeff or myself give any verse to demonstrate that God is all knowing, we have to discuss about what exactly is “all-knowing” since it now appears that there is a difference in how we understand what “all-knowing” is.

    Why I say this is because we can both give verses but unless we reconcile what we mean, and what is the evidence that would be expected to prove what we mean, then when we marshal forth evidences it might appear to be evidence for both of our view because of different understanding of what “all-knowing” means.

    That was why I asked in my first comment, if I can re-word it again, when you say God is all knowing, how much does God have to know (which content is past, present or future) in order for God to be All-knowing?

    In essence, does all mean all or not so at all?

    I am also curious, Jehovah’s Witnesses have always told me that God is all knowing…

  32. Jimmy Li said,

    April 12, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Jane,
    Sorry, I accidentally submitted this before it was done…
    I am curious Jehovah’s Witnesses have always told me that God is all knowing…
    and I never got this concept explained to me like the way you have presented. Does Jehovah’s Witnesses would believe in what you articulated?

    Thank you for your patience and your willingness to be patient with me.

  33. Jane said,

    April 12, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Jimmy,

    >> I am curious Jehovah’s Witnesses have always told me that God is all knowing…
    and I never got this concept explained to me like the way you have presented. Does Jehovah’s Witnesses would believe in what you articulated?

    They might have told you so, and I don’t know whether Jehovah’s Witnesses would believe what I’ve articulated. What I believe though, when I say he is omniscient, is not that God knows NOW every single detail of the future, but that do so in a particular matter (or in all matters) whenever he desires to. There are obviously instances when He does not want to foreknow, as it is plain to see in the Scriptures.

    Take it like this: let’s say I’m all-powerful, I can do anything. Now, the fact that I do not destroy NOW a whole city does not in any way mean I’m not all-powerful. The fact that you do not see me destroying a city does not mean I cannot do it. The fact that right now I’m not exercising this power of mine does not mean I don’t have it. I AM ABLE to exercise it, and I even do it from time to time. Whenever I choose to. The same with God.

    Hope I answered your questions.

    Thank you, and you’re welcome.

  34. Jane said,

    April 13, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Corrected the text above:

    Hi Jimmy,

    >> I am curious Jehovah’s Witnesses have always told me that God is all knowing…
    and I never got this concept explained to me like the way you have presented. Does Jehovah’s Witnesses would believe in what you articulated?

    They might have told you so, and I don’t know whether Jehovah’s Witnesses would believe what I’ve articulated. What I believe though, when I say He is omniscient, is not that God knows NOW every single detail of the future, but that He can do so in a particular matter (or in all matters) whenever he desires to. There are obviously instances when He does not want to foreknow, as it is plain to see in the Scriptures.

    Take it like this: let’s say I’m all-powerful, I can do anything. Now, the fact that I do not destroy NOW a whole city does not in any way mean I’m not all-powerful. The fact that you do not see me destroying a city does not mean I cannot do it. The fact that right now I’m not exercising this power of mine does not mean I don’t have it. I AM ABLE to exercise it, and I even do it from time to time. Whenever I choose to. The same with God and foreknowledge.

    Hope I answered your questions.

    Thank you, and you’re welcome.

  35. Jeff said,

    April 14, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Jane, you said Jeff, really, I’m puzzled, why would you ask such a thing? Please read my post again…

    I am trying to restate what you’ve said, so I know where you are coming from.

    I’ll try again: did God know or not know (ahead of time) that Abraham wasn’t going to take the life of Isaac?

    Thanks.

  36. Jimmy Li said,

    April 15, 2008 at 3:03 am

    Jane,
    “What I believe though, when I say He is omniscient, is not that God knows NOW every single detail of the future, but that He can do so in a particular matter (or in all matters) whenever he desires to.”

    Would it be fair to say that concerning your view of God, He is a God that is not necessarily all knowing but more adequately described as capable of all knowing?

  37. Jeff said,

    April 16, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Well Jane, not sure if you will be back, but if I am correct in my assumption that you believe God did not know (because he chose not to know) whether Abraham was going to take the life if his son or not, how do you square that with the fact of the promise God made to Abraham in chapter 15. For it states in v. 4 that “Then behold the word of the Lord came to him, saying…but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”

    If we took your view, that God did not know, we would have to say that God did know in Chapter 15 who this particular Son was going to be and then in 22 he remember, since Abraham was being faithful to Him.

    Or, you would have to say that the Word of the Lord [to Abraham] was just a general statement, that some child (God did not know who the particular child was going to be) would be the heir of the promise.

  38. Jane said,

    April 17, 2008 at 12:20 am

    > I’ll try again: did God know or not know (ahead of time) that Abraham wasn’t going to take the life of Isaac?

    I accept what He says, that he knew AFTER Abraham tried to sacrifice his son. He did not know. Because he chose not to.

  39. Jane said,

    April 17, 2008 at 12:26 am

    > Would it be fair to say that concerning your view of God, He is a God that is not necessarily all knowing but more adequately described as capable of all knowing?

    Not entirely. He is all-knowing. There were some instances when He did not want to know something. I have no way of knowing that He still chooses not to know in the present. As far as I know, He knows everything, except when He says He doesn’t want to. He is a God that has the ability to choose. Is He according to you?

  40. Jane said,

    April 17, 2008 at 12:32 am

    > how do you square that with the fact of the promise God made to Abraham in chapter 15. For it states in v. 4 that “Then behold the word of the Lord came to him, saying…but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”

    > If we took your view, that God did not know, we would have to say that God did know in Chapter 15 who this particular Son was going to be and then in 22 he remember, since Abraham was being faithful to Him.

    Did God say in 15:4 that Abraham’s child (He does not say which one, does He?) will be his heir only if Abraham accepts to sacrifice him?

  41. Jeff said,

    April 17, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Jane stated I accept what He says, that he knew AFTER Abraham tried to sacrifice his son. He did not know. Because he chose not to.

    Is it even possible in your theology that “he knew” might not might a knowledge of something?

    Did God say in 15:4 that Abraham’s child (He does not say which one, does He?) will be his heir only if Abraham accepts to sacrifice him?

    Excuse me? This is a red herring. Stick to the point: that God promised a son, who would be heir to Abraham; and God knew who that particular son was going to be.

    It seems pretty clear if you read scriptures in context that God certainly knew which particular son it was going to be. 15:4 reads “This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body he shall be your heir.”

    Chapter 21:1 “Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said [in chapter 15], and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised [back in chapter 15]. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.”

    It is clear that God knew which son [the promised one] was going to be Abraham heir. If we would follow your line thinking, we would have God knowing in chapter 15, 21, but when it came time for Abraham to to sacrifice Isaac, God choose to forget (or not know at this point).

  42. Jane said,

    April 18, 2008 at 2:03 am

    > Is it even possible in your theology that “he knew” might not might a knowledge of something?

    Are you arguing for another meaning of “I know now”? Someything that maybe means exactly the opposite?

    I said:

    Did God say in 15:4 that Abraham’s child (He does not say which one, does He?) will be his heir only if Abraham accepts to sacrifice him?

    > Excuse me? This is a red herring.

    No need to apologize. It is not a red herring, I stick exactly to what you said. You certainly link the identity of the heir with the sacrifice!

    > Stick to the point: that God promised a son, who would be heir to Abraham; and God knew who that particular son was going to be.

    > It is clear that God knew which son [the promised one] was going to be Abraham heir. If we would follow your line thinking, we would have God knowing in chapter 15, 21, but when it came time for Abraham to to sacrifice Isaac, God choose to forget (or not know at this point).

    This is the point where you stop making sense. Yes, God knew Isaac will be the heir (17:19). When it came time for Abraham to sarifice him, God remembering or “forgetting” – as you say – has nothing, and I repeat, NOTHING to do with Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac, it makes no sense to associate the two. This is a false problem. That’s why I asked you what I did in the first place. God was simply testing Abraham to see if he trusts/obeys him 100%.

  43. Jeff said,

    April 18, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Ok Jane. This will be my last comment. The thread is getting long and I need to move on. When my paper is finished, there will be more to interact if you so choose.

    Are you arguing for another meaning of “I know now”? Someything that maybe means exactly the opposite?

    Nope. I just asked a simple question and I see that I can’t get a straight, biblical answer from you. The word “know”, just so you know, has a range of meanings in the Hebrew.

    Jane, I asked (in posts #27 & #35) “Jane, did God know or not know (ahead of time) that Abraham wasn’t going to take the life of Isaac?”

    You responded (in post #38 with “I accept what He says, that he knew AFTER Abraham tried to sacrifice his son. He did not know. Because he chose not to.”

    I took your comment to mean that God did not know that Issac would have lived or not. This is the point I was making in my question. Perhaps I wasn’t as clear as I should have been. But in post #40 you seem to understand what I was aking when you asked me “Did God say in 15:4 that Abraham’s child (He does not say which one, does He?) will be his heir only if Abraham accepts to sacrifice him?”

    My question had nothing to do with “only if Abraham accepts to sacrifice him.” This is where you are introducing something that did not address my orginal question to you, which had to do with a specific child of the promise.

    Point being, God did know ahead of time that Issac would be the heir. You agree with me on this point in your last post. The conclusion is that God knew Abraham would not sacrifice Isaac, because he was the particular person that was promised by God in chapter 15 & 21.

    In understanding of biblical theology (particularly your doctrine of God), you are going to have to address the language of scripture. Does a narrative like this, describle God as who he actually is in his person, or is it describing God on a different level, a level that we see him interacting with humanity. If there is a difference?, and from my perspective there clearly is, then God, being the creator and maker of heaven and earth, the one who sustains all things, the who who knows the beginning and the end, the one who is in need of nothing; as he is not served by human hands, the one who knows the thoughts and intentions of man, his ways are higher than our, the one who is able to keep us from stumbling (Ps. 33:11-12; Acts 17:25, 28; Ps. 94:11) certainly knew that Abraham would be faithful.

    I would encourage you to take a look at the following two articles (chapters):

    “Speech and the Image of God: Biblical Reflections on Language and Its Usage,” by Richard Gaffin in The Patter of Sound Doctrine (P&R, 2004).

    “Veiled Glory: God’s Self-Revelation in Human Likeness–A Biblical Theology of God’s Anthropomorphic Self-Disclosure” by A. B. Caneday in Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity (Crossway, 2003).

  44. Jane said,

    April 20, 2008 at 3:13 am

    > Nope. I just asked a simple question and I see that I can’t get a straight, biblical answer from you. The word “know”, just so you know, has a range of meanings in the Hebrew.

    Please go ahead and provide verses where “to know” is not to know in fact, and we’ll see if they are in the same category of meaning as this one.

    > Point being, God did know ahead of time that Issac would be the heir. You agree with me on this point in your last post.

    Yes.

    > The conclusion is that God knew Abraham would not sacrifice Isaac, because he was the particular person that was promised by God in chapter 15 & 21.

    No, that is not the conclusion. Abraham WOULD have sacrificed Isaac if he would have not been stopped by God in his attempt. He would have accomplished it, otherwise there would be no need for God to say “Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay a hand on the boy, do not do anything to him.”

    Abraham knew Isaac was the promised heir, and he had full confidence in God’s promise that he is, even when He told him to sacrifice his son. He knew God is almighty and can even bring him back to life from the dead. Otherwise this whole thing is being transformed in a charade: Abraham just pretends to believe God when He says He wants Isaac sacificed, and he just plays along. But that is certainly not the case. God declares that the very reason He blesses Abraham – the reason all nations would be blessed thru his offspring, the reason his descendants will be as numerous as the stars, the reason his descendants will take possesion of the cities of their enemies – is that Abraham would have really sacrificed Isaac:

    The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

    God does not just pretend to know Abraham would have done it, as it would be the case if Abraham was in fact not going to sacrifice Isaac. That would make the whole event a fake one, a lie. On the contrary, God knows very well now that Abraham would have done it.

    It is clear God chose not to foreknow what Abraham would do, He did not. He certainly has the capacity to control His foreknowledge, a thing you seem to God is not able to. Probably to you, God can’t help but to foreknow everything. It is simply out of His control.

  45. isaiah30v8 said,

    May 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I think many households in predominantly Christian Nations do not openly welcome Jehovah’s Witnesses because their door to door ministry seems designed to mislead the housholder into beleiving the same lies that Satan told in the Garden of Eden.

    If you read the following newsletter you should see the parallels to the Edenic Sin:

    They really are like Satan dressed in a nice suit and tie knocking on your door!

    No wonder so many Nations have banned them!


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