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RunnerOnAir
October 4th, 2002, 05:01 PM
I have been reading sections of Bruce A. Ware's book "God's Lesser Glory" and would like to present an interesting verse that was brought up:

Genesis 18:20-21 "And the Lord said, 'the outcry against Sodom and Gomorroah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know."

Now, this verse brings an interesting scenario for the open theism hermeneutic of interpreting divine knowledge texts. Applying the open theism hermeneutic, we come to a denial of more than foreknowledge. First, God doesn't know NOW the vastness of their sin--a denial of God's present knowledge. In addition, in addition, it denies GOd's OMNIPRESENCE, as He must actually "go down" to the city to "find out." So for the open theist to be consistent, he must deny other attributes of God as well.

Arminian
October 4th, 2002, 06:45 PM
First, God doesn't know NOW the vastness of their sin--a denial of God's present knowledge.

They don't deny any present knowledge. It's the future knowledge they have a problem with. The verse seems like one they would want to employ to the degree that God is acting within history to investigate.

So the verse isn't exactly the best for or against their case, nor the non-OV'er's case.

Yxboom
October 4th, 2002, 07:18 PM
Speaking as OV I was gonna to respond to that; however, you did so as I would have so thanks. The act of "going down and investigating" the matter was a traditional act of a judge to determine greivious matters. As a physical going to Sodom is not an OV concept for the 2 angels sent were representative for YHWH and sufficient for judgment.
As for omnipresence well that is another matter all together. ;)

Yxboom
October 4th, 2002, 07:21 PM
On an aside I will have to agree with Arminian's conclusion that the passage used neither builds nor exterminates the case for OV. Not only does OV'ers have to qualify that passage but so does any other view. Therefore it doesn't bolster nor discredit any proof against it.

RunnerOnAir
October 4th, 2002, 07:34 PM
<Not only does OV'ers have to qualify that passage but so does any other view. Therefore it doesn't bolster nor discredit any proof against it.>

I would agree here. However, it does show one thing: that both the traditional view of God and OV come at the divine knowledge verses with assumptions from the rest of Scripture, and, consequently, they shouldn't be used to prove the OV position, since there isn't consistency...

RunnerOnAir
October 4th, 2002, 07:39 PM
To Quote Bruce Ware on the matter:

"Hermenuetical consistency, it would seem, requires that if Genesis 22:12 (a classic OV proof text) means that God learned something new, as open theists claim, then Genesis 18:21 means that God does not know all of the past or present and that He is spatially confined. SO which should it be? Shall we follow the openness appraoch consistently and deny even more of God's attributes than have already been trimmed away? Or shall we, with great caution and care, consider whether Scripture elsewhere teaches, with sufficient clarrity and fullness, that God in fact knows the past, present, and future and is everywhere present, in order then to reconsider the narrative and personal dialogue form of these Genesis texts and others, to discern in them their proper and intended meanings?"

In other words, our doctrines of God's knowledge must come from elsewhere than these anthropomorphic verses, as they would lead to major doctrinal inconsistency and the hermenutic must be selectively applied to support the OV.

Yxboom
October 4th, 2002, 07:40 PM
I am having a problem following that? Because there is different types of language used (not dialects) regarding God's knowledge we are to discredit all knowledge? I am unclear.

RunnerOnAir
October 4th, 2002, 07:43 PM
"They don't deny any present knowledge. It's the future knowledge they have a problem with. The verse seems like one they would want to employ to the degree that God is acting within history to investigate."

I understand the open position only denies certain future knowledge. But the problem is that their hermeneutic takes divine knowledge verses literaly, and you can't be selective in your hermenutic application when its these verses you use to prove your position.

RunnerOnAir
October 4th, 2002, 07:45 PM
"I am having a problem following that? Because there is different types of language used (not dialects) regarding God's knowledge we are to discredit all knowledge?"

Sorry, I'm having a hard time following your question...

Yxboom
October 4th, 2002, 07:45 PM
When Jesus says "I am the door" John 10:9. The context is quite clear regarding the anthropormorphism. It is not one of consistency as it is one of reasonability.

Yxboom
October 4th, 2002, 07:47 PM
Contrast that passage with Jesus saying that He is the way. Is He really the way?

RunnerOnAir
October 4th, 2002, 07:51 PM
Maybe an example might be in science. You employ a very set method in investigating ants to prove a certain thing about ants. However, one day, your method proves something different about ants than you had hypothesized. So therefore you change your method that day to fit your hypothesis. So the open theist method is to always interpret divine knowledge passages literaly to prove that God is only limited in His foreknowledge. However, when you come across a passage that the literal interpretation doesn't fit what you are trying to prove, you change your method and don't take it literaly--i.e. it must be figurative because we know God is omnipresent. So the Open theist doesn't apply their method consistently, only when it proves their point.

RunnerOnAir
October 4th, 2002, 07:55 PM
"When Jesus says "I am the door" John 10:9. The context is quite clear regarding the anthropormorphism."

Yes, because you know elsewhere that God is Spirit. However, what other passages besides these "divine knowledge (or lack thereof)" passages do OV use to support their position? You take "I am the door" as anthropomorphism becuase God is not a door. Consequently, classical theism takes divine knowledge passages as anthropomorphic because we believe other places in Scripture teach that God doesn't change His mind and that he knows the future. So you can't accuse classical theism of misinterpretation of the obvious any more than you can accuse a Christian of misinterpreting the "obvious" statement that Jesus is a door.

Arminian
October 4th, 2002, 08:01 PM
"When Jesus says "I am the door" John 10:9. The context is quite clear regarding the anthropormorphism."

He's not giving human characteristics to the door. It's not an anthropormorphism.

Arminian
October 4th, 2002, 08:05 PM
However, when you come across a passage that the literal interpretation doesn't fit what you are trying to prove, you change your method and don't take it literaly--i.e. it must be figurative because we know God is omnipresent. So the Open theist doesn't apply their method consistently, only when it proves their point.

I don't know what an OV'er would say. However, we need to be careful not to get too philosophical. Narrative is written to be experienced by the reader.

It's clear from the narrative the God wanted us to know that he was going to turn his attention there and consider what needed to be done. That can't be ingored.

Yxboom
October 4th, 2002, 08:25 PM
Originally posted by Arminian


He's not giving human characteristics to the door. It's not an anthropormorphism.

No it is not.

Yxboom
October 4th, 2002, 09:03 PM
It is an animatism. My apologies.

Yxboom
October 4th, 2002, 10:03 PM
Where did I accuse classical theism of anything? I just pointed out what Arminian had already done so well.

RunnerOnAir
October 4th, 2002, 11:15 PM
<Where did I accuse classical theism of anything? I just pointed out what Arminian had already done so well.>

Ok, sorry about the personal pronoun :) I was making a point about the open theist in general, in that they have no grounds for accusing the classical theist of misinterpreting the so called "divine knowledge" passages as anthropomorphic, as the open theist does the same thing when it suits their assumptions from the rest of Scripture (example of Genesis 18:21-22)...

geralduk
October 5th, 2002, 05:01 AM
One must be carefull in denying that which is CLEAR in scripture;in this case the omnipresence of God and OMNISCIENCE.
So to presume this verse contradicts that which MANY other assert is a too hasty decision.

Perhaps a look at the account of the LORD cursing the fig tree will help.
In that He saw there were leaves and so went to get soem figs.
saw that it did not have any and cursed the tree from its ROOTS.

Now this was not some arbitary action ruled by a quick temper becasue He did not gte what He wanted.
But the FIG TREE is a type for ISREAL.
Not only that a fig tree has the FRUITS FIRST then comes the leaves.
The leaves SPOKE that it had FRUIT but had none.
So it was cursed.
The Lord often SPAKE inparables but here He WORKED a parable.
For it was when He was going up to JERUSALEM for the last time.
and ISREAL were rejecting the kingdom.

If we look at the building of the tower of BABLE we see what MEN said.
"let us build us a tower up to heaven and make a name for our selves.
But God had ALREADY said they were to "go out into all the world"
NOT stay "in this place"
So as their voice CAME up to Him in rebellion He WENT DOWN in JUDGEMENT.

If we look at the account of Caine and ABLE.
Ables blood SPOKE to Him out of the ground.
and so He came and SPOKE to CAINE.

As Moses was up in the mountain with God the VOICES of the tumult BELOW came UP.
So He went DOWN.

There is a TIME when SIN has reached its PEAK,the cup is FULL and when the STINK reaches heaven.
It is then when God comes down.
and DEALS with it.
God is JUST and does not go by hearsay.
nor by a SMELL but will come and see if it is so.
bringing His judgement with Him.

So it will be in the last days also.

Yxboom
October 5th, 2002, 06:20 AM
Originally posted by geralduk
One must be carefull in denying that which is CLEAR in scripture;in this case the omnipresence of God and OMNISCIENCE.
So to presume this verse contradicts that which MANY other assert is a too hasty decision.

Perhaps a look at the account of the LORD cursing the fig tree will help.
In that He saw there were leaves and so went to get soem figs.
saw that it did not have any and cursed the tree from its ROOTS.

Now this was not some arbitary action ruled by a quick temper becasue He did not gte what He wanted.
But the FIG TREE is a type for ISREAL.
Not only that a fig tree has the FRUITS FIRST then comes the leaves.
The leaves SPOKE that it had FRUIT but had none.
So it was cursed.
The Lord often SPAKE inparables but here He WORKED a parable.
For it was when He was going up to JERUSALEM for the last time.
and ISREAL were rejecting the kingdom.

Curious that the fig tree was cursed for not having any figs when it was out of season!

Mark 11:13 KJV And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

Yxboom
October 5th, 2002, 07:07 AM
Originally posted by RunnerOnAir
<Where did I accuse classical theism of anything? I just pointed out what Arminian had already done so well.>

Ok, sorry about the personal pronoun :) I was making a point about the open theist in general, in that they have no grounds for accusing the classical theist of misinterpreting the so called "divine knowledge" passages as anthropomorphic, as the open theist does the same thing when it suits their assumptions from the rest of Scripture (example of Genesis 18:21-22)...
I am not getting it! Gen 18:21-22 I thought we established was poor proof text against the OV. If it is you are attempting to use this passage against the OV there are a few misunderstandings that you have of the OV.

That passage states:

Genesis 18:21-22 KJV I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. (22) And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

Does classical theism hold to the literal presence of YHWH before Abraham, or was this anthropomorphic? Was the man that Abraham sat down to eat with was it YHWH? A literalistic interpretation of this passage does not hinder the OV but rather call into question what you interpret this passage to mean. To reiterate that which I had already stated. In ancient near east custom it was customary for a judge to witness first hand a grievous complaint. In the representation of the 2 angels that actually went into Sodom, YHWH did in fact "go down to see". What other rendering of this passage is it that you are providing?

geralduk
October 5th, 2002, 08:09 AM
Originally posted by Yxboom

Curious that the fig tree was cursed for not having any figs when it was out of season!

Mark 11:13 KJV And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.


As I said,the fig tree produces the FRUIT first before THE LEAVES.
So if the leaves were there it SHOULD have had the FRUIT also.
So even if it was out of season the tree was bearing leaves.
So it was SAYING it was FRUITFULL but in fact was barren.
Which was why it was cursed.

Yxboom
October 5th, 2002, 08:37 AM
What?! In all sincerity that makes no sense.
You state that the the time was not the season for figs. Yet although it was not fig season, the tree should have had figs and because it had not any figs (although out of season) it was cursed. Do you know what the term "out of season" means?

geralduk
October 6th, 2002, 03:36 AM
Originally posted by Yxboom
What?! In all sincerity that makes no sense.
You state that the the time was not the season for figs. Yet although it was not fig season, the tree should have had figs and because it had not any figs (although out of season) it was cursed. Do you know what the term "out of season" means?

yes of course I do.

But oh why do we look at scripture with a jaundiced and unbelieving eye?

I ALWAYS come to the scriptures BELIEVING God FIRST and on the foundation that He is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Now by so doing I come to this passage KNOWING the LORD in some measure know that He did and DOES nothing arbitarily or out of wrong motives and NEVER in a bad temper!

So what WAS happening?

Accepted that the tree was not in season.
BUT it had LEAVES on the tree nonetheless.


and according to its scycle if it has leaves then there SHOULD be fruit!
The basic premise is that it SPOKE that it had FRUIT but in fact was barren.
which is why it was cursed.

Now relating to the 'season' there must also be more to the story as well.
IN that the fiig tree relates to isreal we must conclude that the season had passed or was not yet come for its FRUITFULL time.

Isreal BOASTED to herself that because she had the LAW and the PROPHETS she therefore was rightous.
This is also brought out when they disputed with the LORD about being sons of Abraham.
So claiming fruitfullness she was in fact BARREN of fruit.
and was about to reject THAT fruit which the OLD testament was pointing to.
In which was the SEED.
Is it not written soemwhere of God speaking of rejecting the offerings of bulls and goats because, in a word; it did not produce the right fruit?
So she was out of season and her time was passed but there is also a time to come when she will be one day fruitfull as well.
Is there not also written about a husbandman coming to atree and finding it fruitless oredered oit to be choped down but the gardener said let me do such and such and leave it for a year perchance then it will bring forth fruit?
But in this case the LAW cannot bring forth the fruit of rightousness but only sin and death so being the curse of the law.
So this tree even though out of season was still saying it was fruitfull and so was cursed.

1013
October 7th, 2002, 08:34 PM
genius that I am, <proceeds to pat his own head in a mood of self congratulatoriness> I anticipated this question a while ago. It is a very difficult problem to solve for a layman so I went to an openness think tank where many of the posters are somewhat heavy (or very heavy) on scholarship and I posted this question. (and of course we have similar folks here now, but not specifically from the openness camp).

There are two answers to this such that the open theist can easily accomodate these verses without sacrificing a consistent approach to scripture. In one, exhaustive definite present knowledge is indeed left behind citing that God withdraws his presence from grieviously wicked people. So to see if S & G had indeed gone to the point of deserving total annhilation, God has to investigate.

I myself find this interesting but reject it. Greg Boyd has made an interesting observation of the hebrew citing that this is a very difficult passage to interpret. Other possible interpretations of the Hebrew allow for open theists to take this straightfowardly without sacrificing exhaustive definite present knowledge.


Verse 21 is not the easiest of verses to translate, so this is tentative, but it seems to me that what English translations I have here all overlook something. You have the Hebrew kalah, an adverbial particle modifying the verb íasu (the "they have done" of the RSV, NIV, NAS, and KJV). kalah means (check it for yourselves) something like "accomplished or completed end," "full end," or "finish." Here kalahdirectly follows the verb "they have done," which comes out in the RSV as "whether they have done altogether as the outcry" or, in the NAS as "whether they have done entirely according to its outcry."

However, itís possible that these translations slightly miss the point. After checking on how kalah is used in the OT (e.g., 1Ki 6.38; Neh. 9.31; Isa. 10.23; 15.6; Jer. 5.18; 8.20; Dan. 11.36; Nah. 1.8f; 2.1 and others) it seems to me that v. 21 ought to be understood as saying something like, "I will go down to see whether or not their deeds have reached their fill as the outcry suggests."...

That God both knows perfectly existing realities (i.e., the state of Sodomís sinfulness) AND would desire to further know something about Sodom is not a contradiction of terms any more than that God perfectly knew Abraham but yet desired to resolve Abrahamís potential for better or worse on a particular point. Likewise, God goes down to Sodom not to know whether or not the information provided by the outcry was accurate or not (this WOULD involve God in ignorance of an existing reality), but rather to resolve the potential for better or worse with respect to the "will" of Sodom and Gomorrahís citizens.

The thread this comes from is pretty short (though some of the posts are long). You can read more of the discussion here:

http://www.gregboyd.org/gbfront/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1271


regarding the issue of God "going down" as interpretable against the notion of his omnipresence. The bible frequently speaks of changes in God's presence (just as we see in this passage). An open theist who holds to God's omnipresence is going to view these as variations in the intensity of God's presence. God is present everywhere, but in someplaces, he is moreso than others (like in the tabernacle). Open theist Terrence Fretheim has a considerable section on this in his book The Suffering of God.

Thus as God tests the Sodomites to see how they will fulfill their potential for repentence or for evil (the reactions of the people to the visitation by the angels is considered to be the test; they failed as they wanted to have their way with them) the testing, as it is God's activity in the city is this intensification in the city. It is how he was present their.

chance
October 22nd, 2002, 07:24 PM
I had thought of this as God appearing as a theophany, as one of the angels in the story. This way the the specificly located angel of LORD is actually going down to S&G to give them a chance to respond to His presence. Sort of like God testing someone to know what is in their heart based upon their response. So I also agree that God can be more present among a people based upon their relationship with Him. Hell is said to be where God is not. The verse in Psalms about nations that forget God being turned into Hell comes to mind. Sounds just like S&G.

1013
January 3rd, 2003, 11:08 PM
Blop!

Yxboom
January 3rd, 2003, 11:13 PM
You gonna get that checked out any time soon 1013?

1013
January 4th, 2003, 12:23 AM
uh no, I like the sensation.

GrayPilgrim
January 4th, 2003, 12:46 AM
Okay first off which one of you punks "borrowed" my BHS:cry:


I am going to give a brief survey of the literature, prior to going to bed then I will give my view tomorrow (or the next day or two, as I am starting classes Monday)

Okay, the Jerusalem Bible, kind of follows along his take--


I propose to go down and see whether or not they have done all that is alleged in the outcry against them that has come up to me. I am determined to know.

One slight problem with it though-- it was a French translation of the Bible, that was translated directly into English from the French, so it is not the most reliable witness to the text itself.

Okay now let us look at a few other translations--



ESV Genesis 18:21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know."

JPS Genesis 18:21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know.'


TNK Genesis 18:21 I will go down to see whether they have acted altogether according to the outcry that has reached Me; if not, I will take note."



Okay the latter two are by the Jewosh Publication society, the first dating around 1909 the latter 1985.

So the Jewish (JPS/TNK) scholars who both predate and have no stock in the debate go with the traditional understanding.

Now lets look at the more technical commentaries:
Westermann, "if what they have done accords at all".

von Rad, Keil & Delitzsch, and Speiser tend to more or less go with
traditional view as seen in most modern English translations.

Wenham takes "`asŻ Kal‚" as "deserve destruction"

So the majority of comentators seem to militate against Boyd's take, but then again you can't always trust a commentary can you!

More Later

1013
January 4th, 2003, 01:13 PM
Perhaps wenham comes closest to what Boyd is looking for, but it seems they all are pretty much against what he's getting at, including the ones you said were not so good. But boyd knows that his view is against what other translators have suggested and is very unique.

The problem is that this verse as it is usually translated denies that God has exhaustive knowledge of the present. This is something that most open theists do not want to promote. Thus we have boyd's translation of "having their fill" which does not necessarily imply a lack of exhaustive knowledge but allows for the notion, as Boyd has said, that there is an unresolved potential that presently exists within the hearts of the sodomites.

this also serves to solve the omnipresense problem as God is not going down to check on the present status but rather he is going down, ie. intensifying his presence to test them to see how that unresolved potential will work out. So we don't need to conclude that God is not somewhere and he doesn't know what's going on their.

There is also a more radical open position here that Boyd also mentions that flat out denies exhaustive present knowledge and omnipresence saying that S&G had become so wicked that God removed his presence and instead relied on angelic reports, thus reconciling the open view with the usual translation.

GrayPilgrim
January 7th, 2003, 09:32 PM
I think I posted it elsewhere, but I often think I wrote something and just thought it--thus as Jaltus always said "GP, you most often exhibit God's incomprehensibility!" :eek: :doh: [For those of you who don't know we went to TEDS together].

The use of anthropomorphic langugae in other judgment scenes could be helpful. Often it describes as God descending to examine the scene. Ot asking other questions which at face value appear to show a lack of exhaustive present knowledge (EPK). I have two different explanations for this 1) Parenting 101 and 2) Narrative strategies.

1) As any parent knows that when their child gets in trouble (not being a parent myself, but often on the receiving side as a wee 'ittle one), you ask questions. By asking "what did you do?" even if you know full well it is possible that you provoke the childs conscious and thus provoke him to repentance (THis explains Genesis 3 & 4). However, here as we have what appears to be a lack of EPK then we go to #2.

2) According to bar Efrat we assume that the Narrator in a text is omniscient, that is he knows all things and he either choses to reveal or conceal depending on his purpsoe in the story. So let us look at the context. God is about to test Abraham (as this text is as much a test of A. as anything else). So to show us how God entered in to a hagglefest (I just coined that word:cool:) over how God will procede in His judgment on S&G, the narrator/author gives us a portrayal of limited present knowledge. Thus it borders on #1 in that God knew but he wanted Abraham to interced on behalf of S&G.

I still need to work out a few things in the text, but and my theory but it is a work in progress, and hopefully y'all will oblige with a little "gentle assistance".

1013
January 8th, 2003, 05:50 PM
The use of anthropomorphic langugae in other judgment scenes could be helpful.

but we ov'ers like anthropomorphic language. We take them seriously.

I don't see that the parent comparison works. I don't see the point in haggling with abraham over the condition to withold justice. It seems that God is giving abraham the idea that he can affect His plans. But why? God already has it figured out. It doesn't represent the truth of the matter.

Also, it just simply doesn't seem to compare. I can see the question God poses to adam in this light "where are you?" like captain picard asking william riker what the prime directive is when riker offers to settle a dispute on a planet of amozonian's by going down and offering himself as an extra man to go around to fix their man shortage.

also, I don't know if I quite understand your narrative theory. But why should we see this as a test? it is clear that God's command to Abraham to sacrifice is a test. Why is this one a test? And if it is a test, that only helps the ov stance as God tests to find out. as we see in exodus 16:4 and Duet 13:3

Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.

[i]you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

How about Boyd's answer though? He says that the "kalah" could be translated to the effect of reaching their fill or reached an end as in 1Ki 6.38; Neh. 9.31; Isa. 10.23; 15.6; Jer. 5.18; 8.20; Dan. 11.36; Nah. 1.8f. Keep in mind, this is not about what they have "done" as our english translations prefer but rather where they are at in their hearts, which according to the ov can be a matter of unfullfilled potential.

disregarding the theological problems you may have with this, as you are not ov, is this not possible?

GrayPilgrim
January 11th, 2003, 11:40 PM
bump

1013
January 13th, 2003, 08:24 PM
hey GP, I'm interested in your input in the image of God thread in this forum.