What is natural knowledge and is it biblical?

by Matt Slick
6/16/2017
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Within the theological topic of Molinism are the different kinds of knowledge that God has. Molina categorized God's knowledge into three main groups: natural knowledge, middle knowledge, and free knowledge. In this article I will tackle the issue of natural knowledge to see if it is biblical or not. But, in order to do this we must first define our terms. Here are the following definitions offered by Molinists.  Underlines are added for emphasis. 

  • "In natural knowledge, the first logical moment of Molina’s structure, God knows all possibilities, including all necessary truths (e.g., the laws of logic), all the possible individuals and worlds he might create, as well as everything that every possible individual could freely do in any set of circumstances in which that individual found itself and everything that every possible stochastic [chance] process could randomly do in any set of circumstances where it existed...God knows his natural knowledge, as Molina’s nomenclature suggests, as indispensable to his very nature, such that God could not lack this knowledge and still be God." (MacGregor, Kirk R., Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, Zondervan. Grand Rapids, MI, Kindle Edition, 2015, p. 92).
  • "With natural knowledge God knows everything that could logically happen." (Andrews, Max. An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and All that God has Ordered (The Spread of Molinism Book 1, Kindle Edition, 2014, Kindle Locations 38-39).
  • "God’s natural knowledge includes knowledge of all possibilities. He knows all the possible individuals he could create, all the possible circumstances he could place them in, all their possible actions and reactions, and all the possible worlds or orders which he could create. God could not lack this knowledge and still be God; the content of God’s natural knowledge is essential to him." (Craig, William L.. The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom (Kindle Locations 2001-2004). Wipf & Stock, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.)

So let's summarize. Natural knowledge is defined as the condition where God knows everything that could happen including all truths, every possible world that he might create, as well as what anything any free will creature will choose to do in any circumstance. Molinists say that God's natural knowledge is essential to his nature. In other words, he cannot lack this kind of knowledge.

So far, everything seems correct and biblical.  God knows all things (1 John 3:20; Psalm 139:4) and his knowledge is absolute. There is nothing he does not know.  He eternally knows everything that is actual and everything that is possible, and this includes all possible worlds in all possible times in all possible conditions.

"And this God who is omniscient (all-knowing) has absolutely certain knowledge: there can never be any fact that he does not already know; thus, there can never be any fact that would prove that something God thinks is actually false. Now it is from this infinite storehouse of certain knowledge that God, who never lies, has spoken to us in Scripture, in which he has told us many true things about himself, about ourselves, and about the universe that he has made. No fact can ever turn up to contradict the truth spoken by this one who is omniscient." (Grudem, Wayne A.; Grudem, Wayne A.. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Making Sense of Series) (p. 120). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)

Conclusion

I would agree that the Molinist understanding of God's natural knowledge is correct and biblical. 

 

 

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.