On God’s Practical Knowledge of Creation

Andrew Errington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores a question that exercised Thomas Aquinas, the nature of God’s knowledge of creation, and more particularly, its practical character. It first sets out the logic of Aquinas’s position, articulated especially in Summa Theologiae I, q. 14, a. 16, that God does have practical knowledge of creation, but that this is contained within God’s speculative self-knowledge. It suggests that this position raises questions about the adequacy of its treatment of practical knowledge, particularly to do with the central analogy of an artisan’s knowledge of what is made. The article explores these questions, first, by drawing on contemporary philosophical discussions of practical knowledge, and second, by considering a biblical text in which both a form of practical knowledge and of the artisan analogy are prominent: the book of Proverbs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-234
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Systematic Theology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


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