Limitation on our Knowledge of God

John M. Frame in his book (textbook) p 20 ‘The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God‘:

Our limitations are of several kinds. First (as we have mentioned), sin motivates fallen people to distort the truth, to flee from it, to exchange it for a lie, and to misuse it. This is one potent source of falsehood and ignorance in our thinking, even in the redeemed mind. Because of Christ, Christians have that problem under control (Rom. 6:14), but it will not completely disappear until the Last Day.

Second, errors in our knowledge arise from immaturity and weakness. Even if Adam had not fallen, the acquisition of knowledge would not have taken place all at once. It would have been a historical process, part of the „subduing of the earth” (Gen. 1:28; cf. 2:19f.). Even Jesus „grew” in wisdom and stature (luke 2:52) and „learned” obedience (Heb. 5:8) in His life as a perfect man. Certainly then, even apart form sin, human knowledge may be incomplete; we may be ignorant in comparison to what we may know later.

Frame then gives a list of ‘discontinuities’ ways in which our thoughts are not like God’s thoughts on p.22. Here are a few of them:

  • God’s thoughts ultimately determine, or decree, what comes to pass
  • God’s thoughts, therefore, are self validating; they serve as their own criteria of truth. God’s thoughts are true simply because they are His… Our thoughts are not necessarily true, and when they are true, it is because they agree with the thoughts of someone else, namely God, who furnishes the criteria for our thinking.
  • God does not need to have anything ‘revealed’ to Him; He knows what He knows simply by virtue of who He is and what He does. But all of our knowledge is based on revelation. When we know something, it is because God decided to let us know it, either by Scripture or by nature.
  • God has not chosen to reveal all truth to us. For example, we do not know the future, beyond what Scripture teaches. We do not know all of the facts about God or even about creation.

You can listen to the first chapter in mp3 format here – John_Frame_Doctrine_of_the_Knowledge_of_God_chapter_1.mp3

You can access or download a study guide for this book here –

You can find dozens of articles and some mp3 messages from John M. Frame at the monergism website  at this link –

Books by John M. Frame –

7 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. gabebogdan
    iul. 13, 2012 @ 01:36:12

    Amazon has it on kindle. Do you recommend it??

    • rodi
      iul. 13, 2012 @ 10:28:31

      Definitely! It is a huge book though (over 400 pages in my hardcover edition). This book and another of his ‘The Doctrine of God’ were 2 of my dad’s training tools when he first became a pastor and part of the library that he wanted kept in the family from generation to generation. It is also a book he gave to other pastors to have in their collection (and hopefully to read).

      John Piper endorses his most recent book ‘No other God’ and uses his works in some sermons on sovereignty and sin. (Frame is Reformed and holds to the inerrancy view of the Bible (for any other readers reading this is a higher view of Scripture than the „inspired” view), got his degrees from Priceton,Yale and Westminster Seminary and now teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando)

      Lastly, the book opens the reader up to a view of God, not yet imagined, yet is permeated with biblical evidence in support of all of Frame’s teaching. It is profoundly interesting and full of wisdom leaving one with a sense of awe and in turn, an understanding of our place in this biblical story.

      Here’s the link to the other book too – The Doctrine of God 2 awesome theological textbooks!

      Once you get into either book, you will want to recommend them; they do for us kind of what Piper did with his books- open up our minds with biblical insight to the greatness of God and give us that sense of awe that we did not have before. When we ‘think’ of God as great, we usually fail to explain that in words. Well, Frame gives us a deeper idea (400+ pages of it) of what ‘great’ means with plenty of examples so we can actually explain what we mean when we say „God is great” and how much of God we have come to know in our own limitations. Ok, to sum it up YES! 🙂

  2. gabebogdan
    iul. 14, 2012 @ 01:46:43

    Ok than…. you convinced me… i’ll let you know what i think about it…
    I usually read a big book every year… i guess this will be the one for 2012 🙂
    Better be good …..

  3. gabebogdan
    iul. 14, 2012 @ 02:42:12

    wow .. just got to read the beginning … like a Banya told Jerry Seinfield in one show:” It is gold Jerry , it is gold „… 🙂
    Sorry …those are some left over memories from the days when my mind was not regenerated … 🙂

    • rodi
      iul. 14, 2012 @ 10:19:36

      That’s how I felt 🙂 When I leaf through a book, I’ll open random pages several times and sample a paragraph or two. As I did that to this book, each sample reading had the ‘wow’ effect for the biblical explanation that I had not heard before (in full explanation, and digging deeper than anyone I have read or heard preach before) and also delighted, but maybe that’s more the byproduct of the subject matter – GOD!

      In my opinion everyone should read this book!

  4. Gabi
    iul. 16, 2012 @ 00:41:38

    „the aplication of the Word of God by persons to all areas of life”
    probably the most complete definition of ” theology” I heard so far…
    This guy is brilliant …
    Everyone should not read this book…. once…. Everyone should read it twice .. 🙂

    • rodi
      iul. 16, 2012 @ 01:07:06

      I agree, everyone should read it, over and over because there is so much profound wisdom. Since it’s a textbook, intended for a year’s length course, he covers all the bases, like giving definitions (as you mentioned for every day words that broaden our understanding tremendously!

      Frame IS a brilliant man, I am still in the first chapter, taking notes (that I’ll post periodically) and thinking deeply on each section and soaking it in (even reading some parts 2 or 3 times 🙂 ) and realizing the smallness of our ‘creaturely’ thinking when it comes to God. What an awesome find this book turned out to be! Happy reading

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