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This perfect knowledge finds its classic expression in Ps God is also, according to the Old Testament, free from all limitations of time, so that His consciousness is not in the midst of the stream of the succeeding moments of time, as is the case with the human consciousness. God is not only without beginning or end of days, but with Him a thousand years are as one day. Hence, God knows in one eternal intuition that which for the human consciousness is past, present and future.

In a strict sense, therefore, there can be no foreknowledge or prescience with God, and the distinction in God's knowledge made by theologians, as knowledge of reminiscence, vision and prescience, is after all an anthropomorphism. Nevertheless this is the only way in which we can conceive of the Divine omniscience in its relation to time, and consequently the Scripture represents the matter as if God's knowledge of future events were a foreknowledge or prescience, and God is represented as knowing the past, present and future.

It is God's knowledge of events which from the human point of view are future that constitutes His foreknowledge in the sense of prescience. God is represented as having a knowledge of the entire course of events before they take place. Such a knowledge belongs to the Scriptural idea of God from the very outset of special revelation. He knows beforehand what Abraham will do, and what will happen to him; He knows beforehand that Pharaoh's heart will be hardened, and that Moses will deliver Israel Ge ff; Ex ; ; ff. The entire history of the patriarchal period of revelation exhibits plainly the foreknowledge of God in this sense.

In prophecy this aspect of the Divine knowledge is made the subject of explicit assertion, and its religious significance is brought out. Nothing future is hidden from Yahweh Isa ff; Isa ; ; ; ; Da ; Am , and this foreknowledge embraces the entire course of man's life Ps Hebrew 16 ; Heb ; ,16; Job These passages from Isa show that it is from the occurrence of events in accordance with Yahweh's prediction that the Prophet will prove his foreknowledge; and that in contrast with the worshippers of idols which are taken by surprise, Israel is warned of the future by the omniscient Yahweh.

In the New Testament likewise, God's omniscience is explicitly affirmed. Jesus taught that God knows the hidden secrets of man's heart Lu ; and this is also the teaching of the apostles Ac ; ; 1Co ; ; 1Th ; Re In a word, according to the author of the Epistle to the He, everything is open to God, so that He is literally omniscient Heb And as in the Old Testament, so also in the New Testament, foreknowledge in the sense of prescience is ascribed to God.

Jesus asserts a foreknowledge by God of that which is hidden from the Son Mr , and James asserts that all God's works are foreknown by Him Ac Moreover, the many references in the New Testament to the fulfillment of prophecy all imply that the New Testament writers ascribed foreknowledge, in this sense of foresight, to God. Denials of the Divine foreknowledge, in this sense of prescience, have been occasioned, not by exegetical considerations, but by the supposed conflict of this truth with human freedom.

It was supposed that in order to be free, an event must be uncertain and contingent as regards the fact of its futurition, and that too in the most absolute sense, that is, from the Divine as well as the human point of view. Hence, the Socinians and some Arminians denied the foreknowledge of God. It was supposed either that God voluntarily determines not to foresee the free volitions of man, or else that since God's omniscience is simply the knowledge of all that is knowable, it does not embrace the free acts of man which are by their nature uncertain and so unknowable. And upon this view of freedom, this denial of God's foreknowledge was logically necessary.


If the certainty of events with respect to the fact of their futurition is inconsistent with freedom, then human freedom does conflict with God's foreknowledge, since God cannot know future events as certainly future unless they actually are so. Since, therefore, the Divine foreknowledge is quite as inconsistent with this view of freedom as is the Divine foreordination, the view of those who regard God as a mere onlooker on the course of future events which are supposed to be entirely independent of His purpose and control, does not help matters in the least.

If God foreknows future events as certain, then they must be certain, and if so, then the certainty of their actually occurring must depend either upon God's decree and providential control, or else upon a fate independent of God. It was to escape these supposed difficulties that the doctrine known as scientia media was propounded. It was supposed that God has a knowledge of events as conditionally future, that is, events neither merely possible nor certainly future, but suspended upon conditions undetermined by God.

But this hypothesis is of no help and is not true.

God helps those who help themselves

Besides being contrary to the Scripture in its idea that many events lie outside the decree of God, and that God must wait upon man in His government of the world, there is really no such class of events as this theory asserts. If God foreknows that the conditions on which they are suspended will be fulfilled, then these events belong to the class of events which are certainly future; whereas if God does not know whether or not the conditions will be fulfilled by man, then His foreknowledge is denied, and these events in question belong to the class of those merely possible.

Nor do the Scripture passages to which appeal is made, such as Ge ; Ex ; De ; 1Sa ; 2Sa , etc. The Scripture of course recognizes that God has put all things in relations of mutual dependence, and speaks of what can or cannot happen under such and such conditions; but none of these passages assert or imply that the events are suspended upon conditions which are either unknown or undetermined by God.

God's foreknowledge, according to the Scripture teaching, is based upon His plan or eternal purpose, which embraces everything that comes to pass. God is never represented as a mere onlooker seeing the future course of events, but having no part in it. That God has such a plan is the teaching of the entire Scripture. It is implied in the Old Testament conception of God as an Omnipotent Person governing all things in accordance with His will.

This idea is involved in the names of God in the patriarchal revelation, 'El, 'Elohim, 'El Shadday, and in the prophetic name Yahweh of Hosts. This latter name teaches not only God's infinite power and glory, but also makes Him known as interposing in accordance with His sovereign will and purpose in the affairs of this world, and as having also the spiritual powers of the heavenly world at His disposal for the execution of His eternal purpose.

Not only in this conception of God as omnipotent and sovereign Ruler is the thought of His eternal plan evolved; it is explicitly asserted throughout the whole Old Testament. The purpose of God as determining human history in the Book of Gen lies clearly upon the surface of the narrative, as, for example, in the history of Abraham and of Joseph.

And where there is no abstract statement of this truth, it is evident that the writer regards every event as but the unfolding of the purpose of God. In the Psalms, Prophets, and Wisdom literature, this truth finds explicit and reiterated assertion. Yahweh has an eternal purpose Ps , and this purpose will certainly come to pass Isa ; This purpose includes all events and renders certain their occurrence Isa ; ; ; Zec In the Wisdom literature the ethical character of this plan is dwelt upon, as well as its all-embracing character, and the certainty of its fulfillment Pr ,33; ; ; Job The providential control wherewith Yahweh executes this plan includes the heart of man Pr The New Testament likewise regards all history as but the unfolding of God's eternal purpose Ac , which includes man's salvation Eph ; 2Ti , the provision of Christ as Saviour 1Pe , and the good works of the Christian Eph Now while the writers of the Old Testament and the New Testament do not write in an abstract or philosophical manner nor enter into metaphysical explanations of the relation between God's foreknowledge and foreordination, it is perfectly evident that they had a clear conception upon this subject.

Although anthropomorphisms are used in regard to the manner in which God knows, He is never conceived as if He obtained His knowledge of the future as a mere onlooker gazing down the course of events in time. The idea that the omnipotent Creator and sovereign Ruler of the universe should govern the world and form His plan as contingent and dependent upon a mere foresight of events outside His purpose and control is not only contrary to the entire Scriptural idea of God's sovereignty and omnipotence, but is also contrary to the Scriptural idea of God's foreknowledge which is always conceived as dependent upon His sovereign purpose.

According to the Scriptural conception, God foreknows because He has foreordained all things, and because in His providence He will certainly bring all to pass. His foreknowledge is not a dependent one which must wait upon events, but is simply the knowledge which God has of His own eternal purpose.

Dillmann has called this "a productive foreknowledge" Handbuch d. This is not exactly correct. The Old Testament does not conceive God's foreknowledge as "producing" or causing events. But when Dillmann says that in the Old Testament there is no hint of an "idle foreknowledge" on God's part, he is giving expression to the truth that in the Old Testament God's foreknowledge is based upon His foreordination and providential control of all things.

The Divine foreknowledge, therefore, depends upon the Divine purpose which has determined the world plan Am , and all its details Job Before man is born God knows him and chooses him for his work Jer ; Job , and God's thorough knowledge of man in Ps is made to rest upon the fact that God has determined man's lot beforehand Ps The same thing is true of the New Testament teaching on this subject. The Divine foreknowledge is simply God's knowledge of His own eternal purpose. This is especially clear in those cases where God's eternal purpose of redemption through Christ is represented as a mystery which is known by God and which can be known by man only when it pleases God to reveal it Eph ; ,9.

While, therefore, the foreknowledge of God in the sense of prescience is asserted in the New Testament, this is not the meaning of the term when used to translate the Greek words proginoskein and prognosis. These words which are translated in the King James Version and the Revised Version British and American by the word "foreknowledge," and once by the word "foreordain" 1Pe the King James Version , mean much more than mere intellectual foresight or prescience.

Both the verb and the noun approach the idea of foreordination and are closely connected with that idea in the passages where these words occur. Thus, in Peter's speeches in Acts the predestination which finds expression in 1Pe is practically identified with the term prognosis in 1Pe Everything which happened to Jesus took place in accordance with "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God," so that nothing happened except that which God had foreordained.

In this verse the term foreknowledge is an expansion of the idea of God's "counsel" or plan, regarding it as an intelligent prearrangement, the idea of foreknowledge being assimilated to that of foreordination.

The church and its history

The same idea is found in 1Pe John Calvin presented the same Christological view, of "The Lamb as the agent of God", by arguing that in his trial before Pilate and while at Herod's Court Jesus could have argued for his innocence, but instead remained mostly quiet and submitted to crucifixion in obedience to the Father, for he knew his role as the Lamb of God. In modern Eastern Orthodox Christology, Sergei Bulgakov argued that the role of Jesus as the Lamb of God was "pre-eternally" determined by the Father, before the creation of the world, by considering the scenario that it would be necessary to send The Son as an agent to redeem humanity disgraced by the fall of Adam, and that this is a sign of His love.

Multiple hypotheses about the suitable symbolism for the Lamb of God have been offered, within various Christological frameworks, ranging from the interpretation of Old Testament references to those of the Book of Revelation. They view Jesus as making a knowing sacrifice as an agent of God, unlike an unwitting scapegoat.

In modern Roman Catholic Christology, Karl Rahner has continued to elaborate on the analogy that the blood of the Lamb of God, and the water flowing from the side of Christ on Calvary , had a cleansing nature, similar to baptismal water. In this analogy, the blood of the Lamb washed away the sins of humanity in a new baptism, redeeming it from the fall of Adam.

Agnus Dei has been set to music by many composers, usually as part of a Mass setting. In Christian iconography , an Agnus Dei is a visual representation of Jesus as a lamb, since the Middle Ages , usually holding a standard or banner with a cross. This normally rests on the lamb's shoulder and is held in its right foreleg.

Often the cross will have a white banner suspended from it charged with a red cross similar to St George's Cross , though the cross may also be rendered in different colors. Sometimes the lamb is shown lying atop a book with seven seals hanging from it. This is a reference to the imagery in the Book of Revelation —13 , ff.

Occasionally, the lamb may be depicted bleeding from the area of the heart Cf. Revelation , symbolizing Jesus' shedding of his blood to take away the sins of the world Cf. John , In Early Christian art the symbol appears very early on. Several mosaics in churches include it, some showing a row of twelve sheep representing the apostles flanking the central Agnus Dei, as in Santi Cosma e Damiano , Rome — The Moravian Church uses an Agnus Dei as their seal with the surrounding inscription Vicit agnus noster, eum sequamur "Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow him".

Although the depiction of Jesus as the Lamb of God is of ancient origin, it is not used in the liturgical iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The reason for this is that the depictions of Jesus in the Orthodox Church are anthropomorphic rather than symbolic, as a confession of the Orthodox belief in the Incarnation of the Logos.


However, there is no objection to the application of the term "Lamb of God" to Jesus. A Paschal Lamb is a charge used in heraldry, for example as the crest of the Davie Baronets , and is blazoned : A paschal lamb [29] This charge is depicted as a lamb standing with body facing towards the dexter viewer's left , with nimbus , and with head facing forwards or turned looking backwards to sinister , termed reguardant holding under its right foreleg a flagpole, tipped with a small cross, resting at a diagonal angle over its shoulder, flying a banner of the Cross of St.

George except in Perth 's coat of arms, where it flies a banner of the Cross of St Andrew. In the Roman Catholic Church , an Agnus Dei is a disc of wax, stamped with an image of Jesus as a lamb bearing a cross, that is consecrated by the Pope as a sacramental.

Trinity | Definition, Theology, & History |

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the religious term. For other uses, see Lamb of God disambiguation. For other uses, see Agnus Dei disambiguation. Main articles: Agnus Dei liturgy and Agnus Dei music. Christianity portal. Peeters Publishers.

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Long before this controversy, Ex 12 as a story of origins and its ritual expression had been firmly fixed in the Christian imagination. Though before the final decades of the second century only accessible as an exegetical tradition, already in the Pauline letters the Exodus saga is deeply involved with the celebration of bath and meal. Even here, this relationship does not suddenly appear, but represents developments in ritual narrative that must have begun at the very inception of the Christian message.

Jesus of Nazareth was crucifed during Pesach-Mazzot , an event that a new covenant people of Jews and Gentiles both saw as definitive and defining.