The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Does perfect knowledge require total love?


Mike Tyson - To know him is to love him?

Mike Tyson - To know him is to love him?

I came across a pretty bizarre claim today, courtesy of one Mr John Loftus. That claim is that omniscience is incompatible with the idea of a God who would inflict wrath. What inspired this unusual claim? Why, Oprah Winfrey interviewing Mike Tyson – naturally, what else?

Apparently Mr Loftus thought Mike was just a big jerk before watching the interview, but after watching the interview that jerked a few tears (OK I exaggerate), since he now understood where he had come from, John’s tune had been changed. And how exactly does this translate into the somewhat left field theological claim made above? Like so:

Once we understand someone and what made that person who he is, we can love him. If I only understood everything about a person and every experience he has ever had that made him who he is, then I could love him completely. An omniscient God supposedly has that understanding of all of us. Hence an omniscient God can never be angry with us. Q.E.D.

Q.E.D.? Seriously? That’s supposed to be a logical proof? How exactly does JL know that if God knew us completely he would also love us completely? This is only true if we are completely worthy of divine love. Are we? Maybe a proof of a similar form actually disproves the argument as follows: If I knew everything about a person, I would know whether or not they are worthy of complete and unqualified love (since this is something about a person). We have considerable flaws that make us unworthy of completely unqualified love. To borrow JL’s turn of phrase, “an omniscient God supposedly has that understanding of all of us.” Consequently an omniscient God knows whether we are worthy of such love and as such would not give us complete and unqualified love, leaving room for the possibility of divine wrath.

Is turnabout fair play?

Glenn Peoples


John Piper – 30 years on


Agreeing with Bertrand Russell


  1. Presumably then John believes the only reason people are not madly in love with Hitler is that they are ignorant.

    If the knew all the facts they would love him.

    So next time John sees someone denounce the Nazi’s I suppose he will dismiss them as uninformed.

  2. Precisely Matt. If only we knew better we would realise that people like Hitler are just misunderstood and supremely worthy of our affection.

  3. Jared

    Or Chairman Mao, for that matter.

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