Does God Know Things Other Than Himself By Proper Knowledge?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. I am thoroughly enjoying our look into the knowledge of God and I hope that you are getting a lot of knowledge out of it. The reason we’re doing this is we’re seeking to understand the Christian concept of God and I have chosen to use the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas as a guide. If you are wanting to follow along, you can read the Summa for free at, though I have no problems whatsoever, and I highly encourage it in fact, with you purchasing a copy of the Summa for yourself.

Tonight, we’re going to ask if God knows things other than himself by proper knowledge. What is meant by proper knowledge? A comparison could be by looking at your English grammar when you were growing up. You were taught about two types of nouns, common and proper.

A common noun would be that which could be general and held by many. A proper noun would be that which referred to a unique one. For instance, you could speak of blogs. We all know what blogs are. However, if you speak of the Deeper Waters blog, you are speaking of a specific blog. Blog is a common term but Deeper Waters is a proper term.

So what about God? It has been said that God knows all things seeing as he knows being, but does he only know a general idea of being? Does he know them as a particular being? The relevance of this question is that while God may love the world as John 3:16 says, do we have any reason to believe that he loves you in particular? He loves humanity, but does he love the human you?

Aquinas answers that God does have proper knowledge. It has already been said that God’s understanding is absolute, but if God did not understand you or I absolutely, then it could not be said that his knowledge is absolute. God cannot then just know us as being, but he must know us as these particular beings. He knows me not as a human being alone but as the particular human being that I happen to be.

We can hear of the Mormon doctrine of pre-existence. While we did not pre-exist as living consciouses before we came here, we certainly pre-existed in the mind of God. In fact, there has never been a time when you have not been on the mind of God. God could not be God if he was not thinking about you. His knowledge would not be complete otherwise.

Let us be careful to not too individualize this however. God still knows himself as the greatest good, but he does know us as good. He also knows you as good. Of course, whether you choose to allow him to shape you into the good that he knows that you can be is up to you. However, you can rest assured you are not an accident. There is a God who eternally knows and loves you.

Isn’t that good news?

We shall continue tomorrow.

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