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A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life in a Year:

As noted above, God knows Himself, which has reference to His speculative and practical knowledge. Knowledge is speculative, [Stephen Charnock (1628-1680)] says, “when the truth of a thing is known without a respect to any working or practical operation.” Therefore, God’s self-knowledge is only speculative “because there is nothing for God to work in himself.”

Charnock adds:

“and though he knows himself, yet this knowledge of himself doth not terminate there, but flowers into a love of himself, and delight in himself; yet this love of himself, and delight in himself, is not enough to make it a practical knowledge, because it is natural, and naturally and necessarily flows from the knowledge of himself and his own goodness: he cannot but love himself and delight in himself, upon the knowledge of himself.”

This speculative or natural knowledge that God has differs from His practical knowledge. Practical knowledge is God’s understanding of the things He has decreed. In other words, this knowledge terminates in the act of creation and so, unlike God’s speculative knowledge, is neither natural nor necessary.

God’s self-love, however, is both natural and necessary.

(A Puritan Theology, p. 69)

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