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Thread: Does Open Theism Question/dispute the Omniscience of God

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    LIFETIME MEMBER Bright Raven's Avatar
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    Does Open Theism Question/dispute the Omniscience of God

    Does Open Theism question the total omniscience of God?
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

    Jim Elliot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    Does Open Theism question the total omniscience of God?
    No, it accepts it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    No, it accepts it.
    Not so

    Gotquestions.org

    Question: "What is open theism?"

    Answer: “Open theism,” also known as “openness theology,” the “openness of God,” and “free will theism,” is an attempt to explain the foreknowledge of God in relationship to the free will of man. The argument of open theism is essentially this: human beings are truly free; if God absolutely knew the future, human beings could not truly be free. Therefore, God does not know absolutely everything about the future. Open theism holds that the future is not knowable. Therefore, God knows everything that can be known, but He does not know the future.

    Open theism bases these beliefs on Scripture passages which describe God “changing His mind” or “being surprised” or “seeming to gain knowledge” (Genesis 6:6; 22:12; Exodus 32:14; Jonah 3:10). In light of the many other Scriptures that declare God's knowledge of the future, these Scriptures should be understood as God describing Himself in ways that we can understand. God knows what our actions and decisions will be, but He “changes His mind” in regard to His actions based on our actions. God’s disappointment at the wickedness of humanity does not mean He was not aware it would occur.

    In contradiction to open theism, Psalm 139:4, 16 state, “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD...All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” How could God predict intricate details in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ if He does not know the future? How could God in any manner guarantee our eternal salvation if He does not know what the future holds?

    Ultimately, open theism fails in that it attempts to explain the unexplainable—the relationship between God's foreknowledge and mankind's free will. Just as extreme forms of Calvinism fail in that they make human beings nothing more than pre-programmed robots, so open theism fails in that it rejects God's true omniscience and sovereignty. God must be understood through faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6a). Open theism is, therefore, not scriptural. It is simply another way for finite man to try to understand an infinite God. Open theism should be rejected by followers of Christ. While open theism is an explanation for the relationship between God's foreknowledge and human free will, it is not the biblical explanation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    Not so

    Gotquestions.org

    Question: "What is open theism?"

    Answer: “Open theism,” also known as “openness theology,” the “openness of God,” and “free will theism,” is an attempt to explain the foreknowledge of God in relationship to the free will of man. The argument of open theism is essentially this: human beings are truly free; if God absolutely knew the future, human beings could not truly be free. Therefore, God does not know absolutely everything about the future. Open theism holds that the future is not knowable. Therefore, God knows everything that can be known, but He does not know the future.

    Open theism bases these beliefs on Scripture passages which describe God “changing His mind” or “being surprised” or “seeming to gain knowledge” (Genesis 6:6; 22:12; Exodus 32:14; Jonah 3:10). In light of the many other Scriptures that declare God's knowledge of the future, these Scriptures should be understood as God describing Himself in ways that we can understand. God knows what our actions and decisions will be, but He “changes His mind” in regard to His actions based on our actions. God’s disappointment at the wickedness of humanity does not mean He was not aware it would occur.

    In contradiction to open theism, Psalm 139:4, 16 state, “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD...All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” How could God predict intricate details in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ if He does not know the future? How could God in any manner guarantee our eternal salvation if He does not know what the future holds?

    Ultimately, open theism fails in that it attempts to explain the unexplainable—the relationship between God's foreknowledge and mankind's free will. Just as extreme forms of Calvinism fail in that they make human beings nothing more than pre-programmed robots, so open theism fails in that it rejects God's true omniscience and sovereignty. God must be understood through faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6a). Open theism is, therefore, not scriptural. It is simply another way for finite man to try to understand an infinite God. Open theism should be rejected by followers of Christ. While open theism is an explanation for the relationship between God's foreknowledge and human free will, it is not the biblical explanation.
    Most Open Theists I know about would trust the bible over Gotquestions.org. What you quoted above is an interpretation of an interpretation of the bible, so it's one level below what Open Theism is, which is just an interpretation of the bible.

    But I see Gotquestions did quote a single passage from the bible, although not the whole thing. It's amazing what you can prove by quoting partial verses. Let's look at vs 4, in context.
    [Psa 139:1 KJV] [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known [me].
    [Psa 139:2 KJV] Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
    [Psa 139:3 KJV] Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted [with] all my ways.
    [Psa 139:4 KJV] For [there is] not a word in my tongue, [but], lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
    [Psa 139:5 KJV] Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.


    Verses 1, 2, 3, and 5 are obviously talking about God knowing something about the author that is available to be known. It says "Thou hast searched me" (past tense). It doesn't say "Thou searched me even before I existed." It says "Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising." It doesn't say "Thou knew that I was going to sit down at this time even before I was born." It says "Thou understandeth my thought afar off." It doesn't say "Thou understoodeth my thought before I even thought it." It says "Thou art acquainted with all my ways." It doesn't say "Thou art acquainted with the ways I will go in ten years." It says "[Thou] laid thine hand upon me." It doesn't say "Thou will lay thine hand upon me tomorrow."

    So, the context of vs 4 is things that God can know about or do with us currently, not something He knows about our future. Does vs 4 maintain such context? Yes, it does. And vs 2 gives us a clue to what vs 4 means. Vs 4 says "...not a word in my tongue, [but]...Thou knowest it altogether." How would God know a word on our tongue before we say it? Maybe He can read my thoughts. Does that fit the context? Yes--look at vs 2.

    The funny thing about Gq's article is that they think they can throw a one-passage answer at the question and they've completely obliterated Open Theist thinking. The other funny thing is that you thought the same thing.

    But just in case you think I'm being insincere, let's answer Gq's questions:
    "How could God predict intricate details in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ if He does not know the future?" How did Jesus know what to do and say when He came to earth? [Jhn 12:49 KJV] For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
    Do you think it would be hard for God to know intricate details about Jesus Christ's life beforehand? Doesn't seem like it.
    Well, maybe I'm still being to flippant about this subject. Let's consider some of the "intricate details" they allude to. How about His virgin birth? "How in the world would God know that Jesus would be born of a virgin?" I ask incredulously. Well, maybe it was because God planned to send the Holy Spirit to her: [Mat 1:18 YLT] And of Jesus Christ, the birth was thus: For his mother Mary having been betrothed to Joseph, before their coming together she was found to have conceived from the Holy Spirit,
    Do you think God could "predict" what the Holy Spirit would do? Do you think God knew what He Himself would do? Gotquestions seems to think God is impotent if He can't see into the future. Open Theists think God is quite capable of coming up with a plan and executing the plan, in spite of billions of free agents, some of whom might even work against God's purposes.

    "How could God in any manner guarantee our eternal salvation if He does not know what the future holds?" This question can be easily turned around: "How could God know what the future holds, unless He can guarantee our eternal salvation?" Do you see my point? Gotquestions has it all wrong. They are depending on God's knowledge of events He has no control over, instead of depending on His power to control events.

    We have a saying: "Knowledge is power." It means that if you know something, you have the ability to do something about it--to take control of a situation. For God, this leads to a conundrum. If God knows about something that will happen, He can't stop it without showing that He didn't really know what will happen. Read that again if it seems odd to you. Here's an example:
    Let's say that God looks into the future and sees that you will die in a car accident tomorrow when a driver going across your path runs his red. Because your mother always prays for your safety, God arranges events such that the light you were going through turned yellow, then red, 3 seconds earlier than it normally would have done, saving you from the driver that ran the red going across your path. That's wonderful, right? Except now we have to ask what God would have seen when He looked into the future the day before the accident. He would NOT have seen that you were in an accident, but that you were saved by His hand.

    Thus, the "future" has changed. It used to "show" that you die in a car accident, but now it shows that you DON'T die in a car accident. Can "the future" show two opposite outcomes? No, it can't, or it's not "the future".

    I didn't talk yet about the other part of Ps 139 Gq quoted. That was Vs 16, quoted by Gq as "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Should we look at context again? How about if we even just quote the full verse: "[Psa 139:16 NIV] Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." It seems to be talking about something besides David's life. "Unformed body"? What does that mean? Let's get the previous verses, so we can find out:
    [Psa 139:13 NIV] For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
    [Psa 139:14 NIV] I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
    [Psa 139:15 NIV] My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    [Psa 139:16 NIV] Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.


    It is apparent, when read in context, that David is speaking of the process of building a human being. Vs 13 talks about being knit in my mother's womb. Vs 15 talks about "the secret place", and being "woven together in the depths of the earth". Now we understand what "unformed body" is referring to--a fetus' progression. So if the first half of vs 16 is referring to a fetus's progression, what is the second half of vs 16 referring to? Maybe the same thing? And how long does a fetus's progression usually take? 9 months, maybe? How long do you think it took back in David's day? 9 months, maybe?

    Do you see how it might make more sense if David is referring to the length of time it takes to make a baby rather than how long David would live?


    BUT...
    None of this has anything to do with your OP, nor my answer to it.
    Last edited by Derf; August 9th, 2018 at 02:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    Most Open Theists I know about would trust the bible over Gotquestions.org. What you quoted above is an interpretation of an interpretation of the bible, so it's one level below what Open Theism is, which is just an interpretation of the bible.

    But I see Gotquestions did quote a single passage from the bible, although not the whole thing. It's amazing what you can prove by quoting partial verses. Let's look at vs 4, in context.
    [Psa 139:1 KJV] [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known [me].
    [Psa 139:2 KJV] Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
    [Psa 139:3 KJV] Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted [with] all my ways.
    [Psa 139:4 KJV] For [there is] not a word in my tongue, [but], lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
    [Psa 139:5 KJV] Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.


    Verses 1, 2, 3, and 5 are obviously talking about God knowing something about the author that is available to be known. It says "Thou hast searched me" (past tense). It doesn't say "Thou searched me even before I existed." It says "Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising." It doesn't say "Thou knew that I was going to sit down at this time even before I was born." It says "Thou understandeth my thought afar off." It doesn't say "Thou understoodeth my thought before I even thought it." It says "Thou art acquainted with all my ways." It doesn't say "Thou art acquainted with the ways I will go in ten years." It says "[Thou] laid thine hand upon me." It doesn't say "Thou will lay thine hand upon me tomorrow."

    So, the context of vs 4 is things that God can know about or do with us currently, not something He knows about our future. Does vs 4 maintain such context? Yes, it does. And vs 2 gives us a clue to what vs 4 means. Vs 4 says "...not a word in my tongue, [but]...Thou knowest it altogether." How would God know a word on our tongue before we say it? Maybe He can read my thoughts. Does that fit the context? Yes--look at vs 2.

    The funny thing about Gq's article is that they think they can throw a one-passage answer at the question and they've completely obliterated Open Theist thinking. The other funny thing is that you thought the same thing.

    But just in case you think I'm being insincere, let's answer Gq's questions:
    "How could God predict intricate details in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ if He does not know the future?" How did Jesus know what to do and say when He came to earth? [Jhn 12:49 KJV] For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
    Do you think it would be hard for God to know intricate details about Jesus Christ's life beforehand? Doesn't seem like it.
    Well, maybe I'm still being to flippant about this subject. Let's consider some of the "intricate details" they allude to. How about His virgin birth? "How in the world would God know that Jesus would be born of a virgin?" I ask incredulously. Well, maybe it was because God planned to send the Holy Spirit to her: [Mat 1:18 YLT] And of Jesus Christ, the birth was thus: For his mother Mary having been betrothed to Joseph, before their coming together she was found to have conceived from the Holy Spirit,
    Do you think God could "predict" what the Holy Spirit would do? Do you think God knew what He Himself would do? Gotquestions seems to think God is impotent if He can't see into the future. Open Theists think God is quite capable of coming up with a plan and executing the plan, in spite of billions of free agents, some of whom might even work against God's purposes.

    "How could God in any manner guarantee our eternal salvation if He does not know what the future holds?" This question can be easily turned around: "How could God know what the future holds, unless He can guarantee our eternal salvation?" Do you see my point? Gotquestions has it all wrong. They are depending on God's knowledge of events He has no control over, instead of depending on His power to control events.

    We have a saying: "Knowledge is power." It means that if you know something, you have the ability to do something about it--to take control of a situation. For God, this leads to a conundrum. If God knows about something that will happen, He can't stop it without showing that He didn't really know what will happen. Read that again if it seems odd to you. Here's an example:
    Let's say that God looks into the future and sees that you will die in a car accident tomorrow when a driver going across your path runs his red. Because your mother always prays for your safety, God arranges events such that the light you were going through turned yellow, then red, 3 seconds earlier than it normally would have done, saving you from the driver that ran the red going across your path. That's wonderful, right? Except now we have to ask what God would have seen when He looked into the future the day before the accident. He would NOT have seen that you were in an accident, but that you were saved by His hand.

    Thus, the "future" has changed. It used to "show" that you die in a car accident, but now it shows that you DON'T die in a car accident. Can "the future" show two opposite outcomes? No, it can't, or it's not "the future".

    I didn't talk yet about the other part of Ps 139 Gq quoted. That was Vs 16, quoted by Gq as "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Should we look at context again? How about if we even just quote the full verse: "[Psa 139:16 NIV] Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." It seems to be talking about something besides David's life. "Unformed body"? What does that mean? Let's get the previous verses, so we can find out:
    [Psa 139:13 NIV] For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
    [Psa 139:14 NIV] I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
    [Psa 139:15 NIV] My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    [Psa 139:16 NIV] Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.


    It is apparent, when read in context, that David is speaking of the process of building a human being. Vs 12 talks about being knit in my mother's womb. Vs 15 talks about "the secret place", and being "woven together in the depths of the earth". Now we understand what "unformed body" is referring to--a fetus' progression. So if the first half of vs 16 is referring to a fetus's progression, what is the second half of vs 16 referring to? Maybe the same thing? And how long does a fetus's progression usually take? 9 months, maybe? How long do you think it took back in David's day? 9 months, maybe?

    Do you see how it might make more sense if David is referring to the length of time it takes to make a baby rather than how long David would live?


    BUT...
    None of this has anything to do with your OP, nor my answer to it.
    What is Open Theism?


    by Matt Slick

    Open Theism, also called openness and the open view, is a theological position dealing with human free will and its relationship to God and the nature of the future. It is the teaching that God has granted to humanity free will and that in order for the free will to be truly free, the future free will choices of individuals cannot be known ahead of time by God. They hold that if God knows what we are going to choose, then how can we be truly free when it is time to make those choices --since a counter choice cannot then be made by us, because it is already "known" what we are going to do.1 In other words, we would not actually be able to make a contrary choice to what God "knows" we will choose thus implying that we would not then be free.

    In Open Theism, the future is either knowable or not knowable. For the open theists who hold that the future is knowable by God, they maintain that God voluntarily limits His knowledge of free will choices so that they can remain truly free. 2 Other open theists maintain that the future, being nonexistent, is not knowable, even by God.3 Gregory Boyd, a well-known advocate of Open Theism says,

    "Much of it [the future], open theists will concede, is settled ahead of time, either by God's predestining will or by existing earthly causes, but it is not exhaustively settled ahead of time. To whatever degree the future is yet open to be decided by free agents, it is unsettled."4

    But open theists would not say that God is weak or powerless. They say that God is capable of predicting and ordaining certain future events because He is capable of working in the world and bringing certain events to pass when the time is needed. Therefore, God could inspire the Old Testament writers to prophesy certain events and then He could simply ensure that those events occurred at the right time.

    Furthermore, open theists claim that they do not deny the omniscience of God. They, like classical theologians, state that God is indeed all-knowing. But they differ in that God can only know that which is knowable and since the future has not yet happened, it can not be exhaustively known by God. Instead, God only knows the present exhaustively, including the inclinations, desires, thoughts, and hopes of all people.

    In Open Theism God can make mistakes because He does not know all things that will occur in the future. According to them, God also takes risks and adapts to the free-will choices of people. They claim biblical support for their position by citing scripture where God changes His mind (Exodus 32:14), is surprised (Isaiah 5:3–7), and tests people to see what they will do (Genesis 22:12).

    Finally, Open Theism tends to portray the God of orthodoxy as distant, controlling, and unyielding while promoting the God of openness as involved, adapting, loving, interacting, and caring for humanity.

    Orthodox Christianity
    Historic Orthodox Christianity states that God knows all things, even the entirety of the future, exhaustively. 1 John 3:20 it says, "...for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things." Likewise, Peter said to Jesus in John 21:17, "...You know all things; You know that I love You..." God's sovereignty is clearly taught in scripture, and His sovereignty is tied to His omniscience. Orthodox Christianity teaches that God is very loving, very involved, and even condescends to our level and interacts with us in a manner that we can understand. This means that we will see what appears to be instances of God changing His mind, testing, and adapting. But, this is all due to God's working with creatures who have limited vision, short life spans, and are sinners. God must work on our level since we cannot work on His.

    God and time
    The question about God's knowledge of the future is very important because it deals with the actual definition of God's nature in relation to the nature of the future. Is God all-knowing about the future or not? Is God existing in the future or not? Is God limited to the present or not? The answers to these questions reflect the very nature and scope of God's existence. The open theists are pushing a description of God that reduces God from knowing all things, past, present, and future, to not knowing all things in the future. God's omnipresence is also in jeopardy in Open Theism, since some open theists deny the existence of the future and thereby deny the omnipresence of God in the future.

    Conclusion
    My opinion is that openness is a dangerous teaching that undermines the sovereignty, majesty, infinitude, knowledge, existence, and glory of God and exalts the nature and condition of man's own free will. Though the open theists will undoubtedly say it does no such thing, it goes without saying that the God of Open Theism is not as knowledgeable or as ever-present as the God of orthodoxy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    Does Open Theism question the total omniscience of God?
    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    No, it accepts it.
    Sigh.

    Anti-Calvinist: Do Calvinists believe in free will?
    Calvinist: Yes

    Clearly, an example of how to not make a point when the question begs a proper answer.

    Just as free will must be defined to ensure both parties are on the same page, so should omniscience. These sort of curt answers to set some bait are the stuff of cultists seeking to appear orthodox to the ill-informed. We all can do better than the Mormons who happily affirm they believe in Jesus Christ.

    Open theists accept the omniscience of God as long as one defines omniscience to mean God knows all that there is to know, which obscures the plain views of open theists that God does not know the future because, well, the future does not exist.

    It is best to examine a wide range of critiques and analyses of open theism before actually engaging an open theist, for example:

    http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...36#post3415136

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    No, it accepts it.
    Really?

    I'm an open theist; I reject divine omniscience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    Free will must be defined to ensure both parties are on the same page, so should omniscience.
    "Free will" is a tautology; if it's not free, it's not a will.

    To have a will is to have the ability to choose. To have a free will is to have the ability to choose.

    Omniscience is complete knowledge of everything that will ever happen.

    A simple thought experiment shows the incompatibility of those two things:

    An omniscient entity — a computer that is programmed with every piece of data — places two bowls of ice cream in front of a man and declares which one he will choose.

    Then the man chooses.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    Sigh.

    Anti-Calvinist: Do Calvinists believe in free will?
    Calvinist: Yes

    Clearly, an example of how to not make a point when the question begs a proper answer.

    Just as free will must be defined to ensure both parties are on the same page, so should omniscience. These sort of curt answers to set some bait are the stuff of cultists seeking to appear orthodox to the ill-informed. We all can do better than the Mormons who happily affirm they believe in Jesus Christ.

    Open theists accept the omniscience of God as long as one defines omniscience to mean God knows all that there is to know, which obscures the plain views of open theists that God does not know the future because, well, the future does not exist.

    It is best to examine a wide range of critiques and analyses of open theism before actually engaging an open theist, for example:

    http://www.theologyonline.com/forums...36#post3415136

    AMR
    I agree with your assessment of the question.

    I question whether one needs to "examine a wide range of critiques and analyses of open theism before actually engaging an open theist". But I can understand your concern seeing that open theists are so engaging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    "Free will" is a tautology; if it's not free, it's not a will.

    To have a will is to have the ability to choose. To have a free will is to have the ability to choose.
    I knew you were going to say that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    What is Open Theism?
    by Matt Slick

    ...

    Furthermore, open theists claim that they do not deny the omniscience of God.
    ...
    There you go. Matt Slick agrees with me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    Not so

    Gotquestions.org

    Question: "What is open theism?"

    Answer: “Open theism,” also known as “openness theology,” the “openness of God,” and “free will theism,” is an attempt to explain the foreknowledge of God in relationship to the free will of man. The argument of open theism is essentially this: human beings are truly free; if God absolutely knew the future, human beings could not truly be free. Therefore, God does not know absolutely everything about the future. Open theism holds that the future is not knowable. Therefore, God knows everything that can be known, but He does not know the future.

    Open theism bases these beliefs on Scripture passages which describe God “changing His mind” or “being surprised” or “seeming to gain knowledge” (Genesis 6:6; 22:12; Exodus 32:14; Jonah 3:10). In light of the many other Scriptures that declare God's knowledge of the future, these Scriptures should be understood as God describing Himself in ways that we can understand. God knows what our actions and decisions will be, but He “changes His mind” in regard to His actions based on our actions. God’s disappointment at the wickedness of humanity does not mean He was not aware it would occur.

    In contradiction to open theism, Psalm 139:4, 16 state, “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD...All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
    Where do words a person speaks originate? The tongue? or the brain? Does the verse say that God knows what a person says before he says it? or before he thinks it?

    Which meaning of the verse is more likely, if the verse is taken "as is":

    A) God can read the minds of men and know what they're about to say before the signal from the brain is sent to the mouth and all its components to utter sounds?

    B) God knows what a man will think before he thinks it?

    Again, the question is not "what could the verse mean", it's "what does the verse actually say."

    How could God predict intricate details in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ if He does not know the future?
    This assumes that God is incapable of planning ahead, which is the opposite of open theism. We believe God is COMPLETELY capable of planning ahead. In other words, there is no strategist who can even compare themselves with God.

    How could God in any manner guarantee our eternal salvation if He does not know what the future holds?
    Because God is smart, and He knows how His creation works, and can plan accordingly, AND He can react to changes like any good planner can. God is a living God. He is not a stone or wood idol.

    Ultimately, open theism fails in that it attempts to explain the unexplainable—the relationship between God's foreknowledge and mankind's free will.
    Blanket statements like this don't do any doctrine justice, let alone Open Theism.

    Just as extreme forms of Calvinism fail in that they make human beings nothing more than pre-programmed robots, so open theism fails in that it rejects God's true omniscience
    Omniscience is an idea read into the Bible by pagan Greek philosophers, and is one of 5 philosophical ideas accepted by Augustine.

    It's not biblical, even though there are verses that can be used to support the idea. But if God is omniscient, the Bible contradicts itself, based on the verses GQ provided above.

    And since God is not the author of confusion (and since contradictions are inherently confusing), then "omniscience (or at least the current connotation of the word) should be discarded.

    and sovereignty.
    Open theists believe that God, in His sovereignty, delegated authority to Government, church, and family

    God must be understood through faith, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6a).
    Not sure what the article's author is trying to say here...

    God doesn't want us to know him through "blind faith. He expects us to be prepared to give an answer for our faith.

    Open theism is, therefore, not scriptural.
    So the reasoning that Open Theism is not scriptural is that "God must be understood by faith"?

    Again, we should be ready and able to explain our faith in Him if someone asks.

    It is simply another way for finite man to try to understand an infinite God.
    There's nothing wrong with trying to better our understanding of Him.

    Open theism should be rejected by followers of Christ.
    This sounds like extreme bias against OT, mainly because the author doesn't seem to have taken the time to understand the points made by OT.

    While open theism is an explanation for the relationship between God's foreknowledge and human free will, it is not the biblical explanation.
    And that's just plain opinion, and not supported by his own arguments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripe View Post
    An omniscient entity — a computer that is programmed with every piece of data — places two bowls of ice cream in front of a man and declares which one he will choose.

    Then the man chooses.
    The declaration declared a contradiction is not as you assume.

    God knows because He has ordained. Because God knows Peter will sin is not a predication that Peter cannot refrain from sinning. Instead it is a predication that if God foreknew Peter would sin, then Peter does not refrain from sinning.

    Often overlooked is that God's ordaining includes the establishment of the moral agent's ability to choose according to his greatest inclinations when he so chooses. No violence is done to the will by God's ordination.

    No man is capable of making a choice contrary to the strongest desire of his heart. This is an inexorable law; there are no exceptions—even God's choices proceed from His immutable and holy nature. A person may certainly have other desires, and they may be very strong desires (Romans 7:18-23). But what he finally does is what he wanted to do most, and he is therefore responsible for the choice.

    If the choice were not his strongest desire, he would not have chosen it.

    In a sense as you regularly note, it is nonsense to talk of a free will, as though there were this autonomous thing inside of us, capable of acting in any direction, regardless of the motives of the heart.

    If there could be such a thing—a creature who made choices not determined by the desires of its heart—we would not applaud this creature as a paragon of free will, but would rather pity it as a collection of random, arbitrary, insane choices. Such a creature would not be, and could not be, a free and responsible agent. We would recoil in horror from an exhibition of such autonomous free will. Choices made apart from the desires of the heart? They would be an exhibition, not of freedom, but of insanity. "Why did you throw the vase against the wall?" "Because I wanted to go for a walk."

    So a far more Biblical way of speaking is to speak of free men, and not of free will.

    So what exactly is a free man? He is someone who is free from external compulsion and is consequently at liberty to do what his heart desires. This is a natural liberty, and all men are in possession of it. It is the only kind of liberty possible for us, and it is a gift to us from God. Under the superintendence of God, all men, Christian and non-Christian, have the freedom to turn left or right, to choose chocolate or vanilla, or to move to this city or that one—depending entirely upon what they want to do. The foreordination of God does not violate this; it is the cause of this.

    Note here that this natural liberty is not the same thing as the freedom from sin, i.e. moral liberty. In Romans 6:20,22, Paul makes the distinction between natural liberty and moral liberty:

    For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness... But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

    Slavery to sin is true slavery, but even sin does not negate natural liberty—the slave to sin is free from righteousness, but is still not free from his own desires. This slave to sin is one who loves sin, and consequently obeys it. As a creature, he is free to do what he wants, which is to continue in sin. But he is not free to desire righteousness.

    Why is he not free to do right? Because his sinful heart does not love what is right. Like all men, he is not free to choose what is repulsive to him, and true godliness is repulsive to him. So in the realm of morality, he is therefore free in a limited sense—free from the control of righteousness. When God, by grace, liberates him from the bondage of his own sin-loving heart, he is then a slave to God. As a slave to righteousness, the Christian freely, out of a new heart, follows Christ.

    Unfortunately, not a few persons almost automatically, yet mistakenly, conclude that any assertion of foreordination along with any clarification of "free will" implies that human beings have no true freedom at all. This is quite false, and can easily be shown to be false.

    The Biblical doctrine of divine sovereignty is the very foundation for human liberty. Consequently, those Christians who dispute the doctrine of divine sovereignty are attacking more than God's sovereignty; they are attacking the only ground and foundation of true human liberty. So the debate is not between those Christians who want to affirm the liberty and responsibility of creatures, and those who do not. It is between those who consistently ground the liberty of creatures in the strength and power of God, and those who inconsistently ground it in the strength and power of man.

    All denials of divine sovereignty destroy true human liberty. The only hope for any kind of true human liberty is in the exhaustive sovereignty of the living God.

    Choices and actions are the fruit of our human nature—they are a revelation of that nature. It is impossible for a true choice to be autonomous in the sense of being independent of our heart desires. If there were a choice for which no reason at all could be given, we could no longer call it a choice. We would have to say it was a random event—Henry random-evented chocolate instead of vanilla. To say "autonomous choice" is as contradictory as to say "round square."

    The Bible teaches us that God superintends the choices made by men. He may do so immediately through providential intervention or mediately through the use of secondary agents. What is the alternative to God's sovereignty over all events?

    If we remove, for the sake of argument, God's personal and loving sovereignty from the one choosing, what is left? Only a blind, rigorous, inexorable, deterministic fatalism. If you will, imagine cupped hands around a guttering candle in a strong wind. This candle flame is the human will. The wind is the typhoon of the world around us. The cupped hands are the Lord's. Within Christianity, advocates of "free will" want the Lord to remove His hands so that the candle may burn more brightly. Human history should teach us better than this. Those who begin these optimistic crusades in the name of "free will" always end up in the fever swamps of blind behaviorism and determinism. The candle is out.

    Rather, the conclusion then is that man, as creature, is free to do as he pleases. He has this freedom only because God grants and sustains it—and perfectly controls it.

    AMR
    Last edited by Ask Mr. Religion; August 9th, 2018 at 01:57 PM. Reason: spelling
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    What is Open Theism?

    by Matt Slick

    Open Theism, also called openness and the open view, is a theological position dealing with human free will and its relationship to God and the nature of the future. It is the teaching that God has granted to humanity free will and that in order for the free will to be truly free, the future free will choices of individuals cannot be known ahead of time by God. They hold that if God knows what we are going to choose, then how can we be truly free when it is time to make those choices --since a counter choice cannot then be made by us, because it is already "known" what we are going to do.1 In other words, we would not actually be able to make a contrary choice to what God "knows" we will choose thus implying that we would not then be free.

    In Open Theism, the future is either knowable or not knowable. For the open theists who hold that the future is knowable by God, they maintain that God voluntarily limits His knowledge of free will choices so that they can remain truly free. 2 Other open theists maintain that the future, being nonexistent, is not knowable, even by God.3 Gregory Boyd, a well-known advocate of Open Theism says,

    "Much of it [the future], open theists will concede, is settled ahead of time, either by God's predestining will or by existing earthly causes, but it is not exhaustively settled ahead of time. To whatever degree the future is yet open to be decided by free agents, it is unsettled."4

    But open theists would not say that God is weak or powerless. They say that God is capable of predicting and ordaining certain future events because He is capable of working in the world and bringing certain events to pass when the time is needed. Therefore, God could inspire the Old Testament writers to prophesy certain events and then He could simply ensure that those events occurred at the right time.

    Furthermore, open theists claim that they do not deny the omniscience of God. They, like classical theologians, state that God is indeed all-knowing. But they differ in that God can only know that which is knowable and since the future has not yet happened, it can not be exhaustively known by God. Instead, God only knows the present exhaustively, including the inclinations, desires, thoughts, and hopes of all people.

    In Open Theism God can make mistakes because He does not know all things that will occur in the future. According to them, God also takes risks and adapts to the free-will choices of people. They claim biblical support for their position by citing scripture where God changes His mind (Exodus 32:14), is surprised (Isaiah 5:3–7), and tests people to see what they will do (Genesis 22:12).

    Finally, Open Theism tends to portray the God of orthodoxy as distant, controlling, and unyielding while promoting the God of openness as involved, adapting, loving, interacting, and caring for humanity.

    Orthodox Christianity
    Historic Orthodox Christianity states that God knows all things, even the entirety of the future, exhaustively. 1 John 3:20 it says, "...for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things." Likewise, Peter said to Jesus in John 21:17, "...You know all things; You know that I love You..." God's sovereignty is clearly taught in scripture, and His sovereignty is tied to His omniscience. Orthodox Christianity teaches that God is very loving, very involved, and even condescends to our level and interacts with us in a manner that we can understand. This means that we will see what appears to be instances of God changing His mind, testing, and adapting. But, this is all due to God's working with creatures who have limited vision, short life spans, and are sinners. God must work on our level since we cannot work on His.

    God and time
    The question about God's knowledge of the future is very important because it deals with the actual definition of God's nature in relation to the nature of the future. Is God all-knowing about the future or not? Is God existing in the future or not? Is God limited to the present or not? The answers to these questions reflect the very nature and scope of God's existence. The open theists are pushing a description of God that reduces God from knowing all things, past, present, and future, to not knowing all things in the future. God's omnipresence is also in jeopardy in Open Theism, since some open theists deny the existence of the future and thereby deny the omnipresence of God in the future.

    Conclusion
    My opinion is that openness is a dangerous teaching that undermines the sovereignty, majesty, infinitude, knowledge, existence, and glory of God and exalts the nature and condition of man's own free will. Though the open theists will undoubtedly say it does no such thing, it goes without saying that the God of Open Theism is not as knowledgeable or as ever-present as the God of orthodoxy.
    I think you need to (re-)watch the two-part debate between Matt Slick and Will Duffy, or at least the part on OT, since

    https://youtu.be/JCNPmLIOnDg

    Also, In that conclusion, Matt merely states his opinion, and opinions are not logical conclusions.

    Just something I want to point out (again), much of the established positions which Matt adheres to come from the pagan Greek philosophers, and not from the Bible. That's where Augustine got much of his theology from, and that's where Calvin got most of his theology from.

    Fate (ie everything is predetermined) comes from the Greeks, not scripture. Again, just because something can be supported by scripture does not inherently mean that it originates in scripture.

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    So, @Bright Raven, If you are only going to throw other people's refutations at us (and poor ones at that), is it because you don't have an opinion of your own?

    Do you want to explain what you mean by "total omniscience"? And then tell us why you believe in it, using scripture, preferably?

    Thanks,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    So, @Bright Raven, If you are only going to throw other people's refutations at us (and poor ones at that), is it because you don't have an opinion of your own?

    Do you want to explain what you mean by "total omniscience"? And then tell us why you believe in it, using scripture, preferably?

    Thanks,
    Derf
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