900.11d Uniqueness of Divine Knowledge (pps.121-122)
hard cover page 121
900.11d Uniqueness of Divine Knowledge
It has been posited by many distinguished philosophers that the Divine exists beyond time or out-of-time.491 It is also within the bounds of both Jewish and Christian theology that God’s knowledge is different from man’s knowledge and that it is above time.492
Maimonides, for example, removed God from all relation to time. God, according to Maimonides, stands above time. His knowledge, therefore, is unique.
His [God’s] knowledge is not the same kind as ours, but totally different from it.
Things reduced to actuality in time are known by us successively in time, but by God they are known in eternity, which is above time.
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491 See Bleich, With Perfect Faith, p. 203. “God, as an infinite being, has no beginning in time; since He is the uncaused First Cause, God must always have existed. As an infinite being, God’s existence is subject to no limitations.
. . . According to Maimonides, time is an object of creation. If this is so, it follows that God cannot conceivably exist in time. God, the Creator of time, is transcendental; He stands above the process of time . . . . God is neither eternal nor noneternal; He is totally removed from all time processes and all time concepts. Eternity, like all other attributes, can be attributed to God only in a negative sense. In ascribing eternity to God one can only intend to convey the idea that God is not limited by time. .. .Nevertheless, God is independent of all time. A being which is dependent upon time is limited in power. God, who is omnipotent, is eternal.”
Cf. Bleich on Saadia in With Perfect Faith, p. 496. “Saadia accepts both the principle of Divine omniscience and the reality of human freedom. . . . This can best be understood in light of the proposition that God transcends time.”
Cf. Stitskin in Studies in Torah Judaism, p. 85, where God is described as “ineffable, removed, incomprehensible.”
Cf. Anselm, Proslogium, chap. XIX and XX. “Thou wast not, then yester- day, nor wilt thou be tomorrow . . . but simply thou art outside all time.” Cited by Kretzmann, “Omniscience and Immutability,” in Brody. Readings in the Philosophy of Religion, p. 371.
492 The Midrash Shemuel of Samuel b. Isaac of Uceda is cited in Jacobs, Principles of the Jewish Faith, p. 328, as putting forward the idea that God is outside of time and therefore sees all events in an eternal, as opposed to human, “NOW.”
493 Guide 3:20.
494 Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, pt. I, article 13, reply objection 3.
Cf. ibid., 14, 13 ad 3. “To us. because we know future contingent events as future, there can be no certainty about them; but only to God, whose knowing is in eternity, above time.” As cited in Kenny, Aquinas: A Collection of Critical Essays, p. 261.
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