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

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    Over 1500 post club Derf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post

    I haven't gotten around to reading my copy of the Book of Mormon, and I suspect it is as you say, few Christians know much about Mormonism.
    I suggest you don't bother. It was long, boring, and not true (except where it borrowed from the bible). And it doesn't really give the details of their theology. That would be found in other documents, I suppose, like Pearl of Great Price (which I haven't read).

    Just my opinion...

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    Lon (October 9th, 2018)

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    Over 1500 post club Derf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    I've always found "Greek" an odd conversation starter from Open Theists. I sometimes bring up 'Mormons also believe this Open Theism tenant" but only in passing. There isn't much point other than brief illustration. "Open Theists are just Reinvented Mormons" is never going to fly. I'm pretty sure most Open Theists have never read the Book of Mormon. It just isn't profitable or worthwhile discussion for the most part.

    I tend to agree with you on the Greek thing. If they are right, as backed up by scripture, we can safely hold on to their ideas. If they are wrong, as denounced in scripture, we can safely discard their ideas.

    I think the reason open theists use that argument is because they DON'T see the traditional theist's view of God in the bible, and are searching for a source. Whether they are right or wrong about that, it is not a very good conversation starter, but something for down the road. Are we down the road in this conversation? I think not. Imo, that point comes when the traditional theists says, "Okay, if the traditional view is not correct, why is it so pervasive in even early writings of the church fathers?"

    But I think @Rosenritter's concern is valid--that if some false philosophy has crept in, it should be noted and rooted out.

    The same works for the open theism concept. If it is the same as what some other group belives (Mormon, you say), that doesn't mean it's wrong, but if it is wrong it should be rooted out. What we should NOT ever do, at least as a final judgment, is say, "It's not traditional, therefore, since it matches Mormon belief, we must root it out." I don't think you are doing that, Lon, but I think you're coming close.

    What I think you are saying is "It's not traditional, therefore, since it doesn't match my belief, it isn't correct." This is what I think the conversation about perfection borders on.

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    Over 4000 post club Rosenritter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    Then I submit Open Theists need a lesson from Greeks. They are correct, by Webster's dictionary definition, anyway. Perfection, by definition, does not allow change else it is no longer perfect. We need to discuss whether there are 'multiple' versions of perfection or not. I say not, else I'd not be commanded to 1) be perfect 'as' my Heavenly Father 2) follow Paul, as he follows Christ, etc. I'd like to challenge a few problematic "Greek philosophy" scapegoats perpetrated by a few open theist pastors on this particular. Frankly, 'they' are wrong and the Greeks are/were right. Simply saying 'Greek' doesn't give them an out for illogical and faulty theology. They need to be called on this one.

    "They are correct, by Webster's dictionary definition, anyway.Perfection, by definition, does not allow change else it is no longer perfect?"

    perfect adjective per·fect | \ ˈpər-fikt \
    Definition of perfect (Entry 1 of 3)
    1a : being entirely without fault or defect : FLAWLESS
    a perfect diamond
    b : satisfying all requirements : ACCURATE
    c : corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept
    a perfect gentleman
    d : faithfully reproducing the original
    specifically : LETTER-PERFECT
    e : legally valid
    2 : EXPERT, PROFICIENT
    practice makes perfect
    3a : PURE, TOTAL
    b : lacking in no essential detail : COMPLETE
    c obsolete : SANE
    d : ABSOLUTE, UNEQUIVOCAL
    enjoys perfect happiness
    e : of an extreme kind : UNMITIGATED
    a perfect brat
    an act of perfect foolishness
    4 obsolete : MATURE
    5 : of, relating to, or constituting a verb form or verbal that expresses an action or state completed at the time of speaking or at a time spoken of
    6 obsolete
    a : CERTAIN, SURE
    b : CONTENTED, SATISFIED
    7 of a musical interval : belonging to the consonances unison, fourth, fifth, and octave which become augmented or diminished when raised or lowered by a half step
    8a : sexually mature and fully differentiated
    a perfect insect
    b : having both stamens and pistils in the same flower
    a perfect flower
    Does it actually say in Webster's that "perfect" means "unable to change?" But even if we found a Webster's dictionary with such as one of its listed definitions (perhaps under a specialized "theological" entry) would that logically exclude the other normal meanings of the word?

  6. #304
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    I tend to agree with you on the Greek thing. If they are right, as backed up by scripture, we can safely hold on to their ideas. If they are wrong, as denounced in scripture, we can safely discard their ideas.

    I think the reason open theists use that argument is because they DON'T see the traditional theist's view of God in the bible, and are searching for a source. Whether they are right or wrong about that, it is not a very good conversation starter, but something for down the road. Are we down the road in this conversation? I think not. Imo, that point comes when the traditional theists says, "Okay, if the traditional view is not correct, why is it so pervasive in even early writings of the church fathers?"
    Preview for that day: It never arrives. I'm convinced everything I believe about God is directly from the scriptures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    But I think @Rosenritter's concern is valid--that if some false philosophy has crept in, it should be noted and rooted out.
    It generally happens with unbelievers in the church. The reason the United Methodist Church is unbiblical is because there are few Christians in its walls. Yet, I agree with you both that scripture does warn against false teaching and teachers. We really need to know our bibles.


    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    The same works for the open theism concept. If it is the same as what some other group belives (Mormon, you say), that doesn't mean it's wrong, but if it is wrong it should be rooted out. What we should NOT ever do, at least as a final judgment, is say, "It's not traditional, therefore, since it matches Mormon belief, we must root it out." I don't think you are doing that, Lon, but I think you're coming close.
    Not at all. There are very good things Mormons in general do. Two showed up at the food bank I was working at and worked hard. Rather, when I say something like this, it is the 'wrong' thing I'm concerned with regarding biblical doctrine and the nature of God. I don't think Open Theists and Mormonism influenced one another any more than someone could make a case that I've been influenced by Greeks. Once another group is mentioned it 'may' help one know what the other is talking about but comparison is little good. It is much better to just describe the problem. That is why I say "Reinvented Mormons" is never going to fly. It just doesn't work. So, I'm surprised that after I've said such "isn't" profitable in discussion, to hear you say I'm rather close to such Rather, Open Theists often try and do the same regarding the Greeks. THAT was my point. The comparison to Mormonism was just example of the same problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    I think you are saying is "It's not traditional, therefore, since it doesn't match my belief, it isn't correct." This is what I think the conversation about perfection borders on.
    Not 'traditional' but 'biblically true.' Perfection, τέλειος is a biblical word. It means 'complete, cannot get better, the thing to become.' That IS the biblical definition. No Greek taught me that (they had imperfect gods, not perfect ones).
    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    "They are correct, by Webster's dictionary definition, anyway.Perfection, by definition, does not allow change else it is no longer perfect?"



    Does it actually say in Webster's that "perfect" means "unable to change?" But even if we found a Webster's dictionary with such as one of its listed definitions (perhaps under a specialized "theological" entry) would that logically exclude the other normal meanings of the word?
    τέλειος
    More importantly is the biblical word and definition for our considerations. Matthew 5:48 Hebrews 13:8
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

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    Ask Mr. Religion (October 9th, 2018)

  8. #305
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    Not 'traditional' but 'biblically true.' Perfection, τέλειος is a biblical word. It means 'complete, cannot get better, the thing to become.' That IS the biblical definition. No Greek taught me that (they had imperfect gods, not perfect ones).

    τέλειος
    More importantly is the biblical word and definition for our considerations. Matthew 5:48 Hebrews 13:8
    The former word "perfect" in Matthew 5:48 clearly refers to "love" as in 'love thy enemies" and is not used in relation to whether God exists inside or outside of time, or whether he can make a decision and then change his mind. If anything, it would seem to indicate an ability to change his ruling of condemnation in favor of mercy.

    Hebrews 13:8 KJV
    (8) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.


    Hebrews 13:8 GNT-TR
    (8) ιησους χριστος χθες και σημερον ο αυτος και εις τους αιωνας

    I don't see where that words occurs in Hebrews 13:8, so I don't understand the reasoning you are using to connect those two passages. They seem totally unrelated.

  9. #306
    TOL Legend Lon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    But wouldn't we also say that the God is perfect in form as well as character?
    No. "Forms" is polytheistic in tenor. I don't think Open Theism means to, but at times it 'thinks' within finite confines that have God as a product of the universe rather than Creator thereof. [/QUOTE] However much you and they want God to be relational, you lose Him as separate and that is incredibly important 1) scripturally and 2) if sin is horrible and we need to be redeemed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    Surely you wouldn't say that his form as Spirit was imperfect? Therefore, a change in form is also a change within this discussion. God existed in a perfect form.
    This is 'physics.' You are inadvertently constraining God to a 'form' within your conception of Him. "Form" is finite in conception. God is infinite.
    The Unitarian may avoid this difficulty by claiming Jesus was not God, but for the rest of us that acknowledge the Word and Jesus as the Creator of All Things and "Before Abraham was, I AM" now we do have a change from a perfect form into another form, namely "God was manifest in the flesh."
    ...And man is the manifestation of God's image in the first place. The incarnation is difficult to discuss without being sloppy or glossing over other important truths. A true mystery is given because infinite, as far as our minds can conceive, cannot be contained in finite 'form.'
    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    John 4:24 KJV
    (24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
    Right, not 'form' but Spirit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    Unless God was always "manifest in the flesh" this is a change, and we know at one time "flesh" had no existence.
    Colossians 1:17 Thus He created Himself? O.o Hebrews 13:8 "Something happened" and that is an acquiescence of at least my finiteness being in the ballpark of your finiteness in trying to grasp the infinite. It cannot (CANNOT) be done. 1 Corinthians 13:12



    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    Excellent.



    I haven't gotten around to reading my copy of the Book of Mormon, and I suspect it is as you say, few Christians know much about Mormonism. On the other hand, Greek philosophical influence is easily shown as to having influenced early Christian traditions, even to the degree where doctrinal descriptions start to echo the terms used by Plato, and you yourself have defended the "closed view" as being "traditional". So if a presumption of orthodoxy enters into the discussion, it is only to be expected that a cross-examination of that presumed orthodoxy also becomes fair play.
    When in Utah... Greeks, Romans, Jews, wherever Christianity was, the warning was always to be wary of false teaching. Do I, for a minute, think Christ is incapable of delivering His bride spotless???

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    I tried to keep that short... may I borrow a bit from your response to Derf?

    The Open Theist doesn't want a Roman god, the Roman gods were devils. The Open Theist wants a God that is less like the Platonic ideal of "changeless" and "without passion" and more like Christ, God manifest in the flesh, the image of the invisible God.
    Immutability ISN'T Greek, even. It is biblical. There is no Greek that believed in the gods being immutable. Read Greek and Roman theology and mythology. There is nothing like an immutable, Omni God among them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    Matthew 15:21-28 KJV
    (21) Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
    (22) And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
    (23) But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
    (24) But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
    (25) Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
    (26) But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
    (27) And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
    (28) Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

    How many times did Jesus answer this woman? Once in silence, a second time when he said that he was sent only to Israel, and a third time when he said it was not fit to take the children's bread to cast unto the dogs. Most people would read that account and gather that his answer was "NO."

    What changed between "No" number one, "No" number two, "No" number three, and the "Yes" of the fourth time? The woman's faith hadn't changed... The only things that changed were the amount of instances she persisted in real time and Christ's answer to her faith.
    [spoiler]I would grant possibility that the woman's faith was not yet determined and was actually being decided by her very actions at that moment. In such a case it might be said that her faith did change.
    An assumption. I'll repeat something I always say: Story is very difficult to derive theological principle. More often than not, the point one derives is NOT the point of the story. These 'truths' are anecdotal. A 'relational' Open Theist won't be too concerned, but to me, it is just not the way Bible doctrine is done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    Ask anyone who isn't specifically in the process of defending a Calvinist position of "God does not change" and you would have a near unanimous answer that Jesus changed his mind from "No" to "Yes."
    No, I think you are over-shooting those numbers. Most of the church believes in immutability. Read this philosophical treatment, it springboards from scriptural truth and sets to prove God is immutable. It doesn't matter if the guy were Greek (he isn't). It matters if he is right.

    You may try to reason that Jesus had already determined to say yes, or that this was not a change of his character, but that isn't what the English phrase "change of mind" actually means.
    Change of mind Take a look at 'change another's mind': to convince another to change his action.


    Problem? That you or I, mere humans and imperfect unholy beings, are NEEDED to change a holy perfect and INCREDIBLY more intelligent Being's mind AND behavior as if it were wrong or problematic. That just doesn't make sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    God is willing to change his mind as to what action he will take depending upon our actions. That isn't a wild-eyed heresy, that's how the Bible speaks. It's nothing to be afraid of.
    I disagree. It has every earmark of heresy and god-created-in-man's-image written all over it. THAT is, as I said, the main problem of Open Theism: It is so caught up in whether God does or can 'relate' to a man, that it can miss altogether that God is transcendent, another important Biblical word and theology definition. If you miss Biblical-givens in scripture, you miss some things important. There was an argument I heard in Christian camp in my teens: "God is my friend." "...and your God." She shook her head "Nope, I just think of Him as my friend." If I had to describe that conversation, I'd say "proto open theism." It is the same struggle in conversation here.
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

  10. #307
    TOL Legend Lon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    The former word "perfect" in Matthew 5:48 clearly refers to "love" as in 'love thy enemies" and is not used in relation to whether God exists inside or outside of time, or whether he can make a decision and then change his mind. If anything, it would seem to indicate an ability to change his ruling of condemnation in favor of mercy.

    Hebrews 13:8 KJV
    (8) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.


    Hebrews 13:8 GNT-TR
    (8) ιησους χριστος χθες και σημερον ο αυτος και εις τους αιωνας

    I don't see where that words occurs in Hebrews 13:8, so I don't understand the reasoning you are using to connect those two passages. They seem totally unrelated.
    You'll have to stretch your mind: Hebrews 13:8 is the definition. The word isn't used, but it IS describing immutability and in that light, what 'perfection' means as well. The truth is given, not by Greeks, nor Plato, but by God. It is important to your proper theology, to not miss it.
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

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    Over 4000 post club Rosenritter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    This is 'physics.' You are inadvertently constraining God to a 'form' within your conception of Him. "Form" is finite in conception. God is infinite.
    I am not actually constraining God at all, I am trying to sound out how you're thinking here. So I hear you saying that if God was Spirit, then he exists as Spirit and also in the flesh, that is not a "change." This is analogous to how I responded that a "perfect birthday cake" is unconcerned with insignificant details, and a change does not necessarily require imperfection.

    ...And man is the manifestation of God's image in the first place. The incarnation is difficult to discuss without being sloppy or glossing over other important truths. A true mystery is given because infinite, as far as our minds can conceive, cannot be contained in finite 'form.'
    Caution, pardon, stop please. Man is not the manifestation of God's image. Man was made in the image of God, Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God and God manifest in the flesh. There's a huge different there in the subtle difference of the English wording. As similar example, there is a huge difference between "the son of God" and "the sons of God" and "the only begotten Son of God" ... as vast a difference as between men and created angels and the LORD Jesus Christ who created all things. I don't think that you had a major point pending on that wording, but I wanted to head that off.

    Colossians 1:17 Thus He created Himself? O.o Hebrews 13:8 "Something happened" and that is an acquiescence of at least my finiteness being in the ballpark of your finiteness in trying to grasp the infinite. It cannot (CANNOT) be done. 1 Corinthians 13:12
    I don't understand the confusion here, but I am guessing that it is something to do with mind-boggling at the incarnation of God in the flesh? Seems to be getting a little off-track, I'm not sure how this got tied in here.

    When in Utah... Greeks, Romans, Jews, wherever Christianity was, the warning was always to be wary of false teaching. Do I, for a minute, think Christ is incapable of delivering His bride spotless???
    I'm not sure what you are thinking, but there is no guarantee that the saints of God will always be correct in doctrine and understanding. If the Holy Spirit will "lead us into all truth" that implies that for some time along the way there are times when we are not in total truth.

    Immutability ISN'T Greek, even. It is biblical. There is no Greek that believed in the gods being immutable. Read Greek and Roman theology and mythology. There is nothing like an immutable, Omni God among them.
    1. I haven't seen you show "immutability" as biblical. We have shown a lot of examples of where God and Jesus did change their mind, but you have dismissed these as anecdotal or not actually real.

    2. The Greek gods are different creatures than the ideal Gods of Greek philosophy. One were more like humans and devils, the other was more Gnostic and Mystic. I think you might be mixing the two together.

    An assumption. I'll repeat something I always say: Story is very difficult to derive theological principle. More often than not, the point one derives is NOT the point of the story. These 'truths' are anecdotal. A 'relational' Open Theist won't be too concerned, but to me, it is just not the way Bible doctrine is done.
    When God preserves the story in the bible for the entire world to see for a hundred generations, I am inclined to think that he meant for us to read the story and take something from it.

    No, I think you are over-shooting those numbers. Most of the church believes in immutability. Read this philosophical treatment, it springboards from scriptural truth and sets to prove God is immutable. It doesn't matter if the guy were Greek (he isn't). It matters if he is right.

    Change of mind Take a look at 'change another's mind': to convince another to change his action.
    Unless and until you can obtain some sort of quantitative measure of the common perception of what it means to "change your mind" an argument that "the church believes in immutability" (by which you mean your particular church tradition) isn't persuasive to me. I can also summon the common dictionary definition,

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dic...ange-your-mind

    "change your mind" in American English
    change your mind

    to form an opinion or make a decision about something that is not the same as the one you first had:
    Jesus made and expressed a decision not to help the Gentile woman. Then, based on her actions, he arrived at a different decision, and healed her daughter in response to her continued and expressed faith. That is a change of mind based on the Cambridge Dictionary definition above. I'm not worried about theological dictionaries which have their own different view on everything, I'm talking about normal spoken English like we use every day.

    Problem? That you or I, mere humans and imperfect unholy beings, are NEEDED to change a holy perfect and INCREDIBLY more intelligent Being's mind AND behavior as if it were wrong or problematic. That just doesn't make sense.
    Yet this is what God expressly states and it also makes sense to me. Our behavior does affect how he chooses to deal with us, and a change in our heart and behavior likewise changes his decision concerning us.

    Ezekiel 18:23 KJV
    (23) Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?


    I disagree. It has every earmark of heresy and god-created-in-man's-image written all over it. THAT is, as I said, the main problem of Open Theism: It is so caught up in whether God does or can 'relate' to a man, that it can miss altogether that God is transcendent, another important Biblical word and theology definition. If you miss Biblical-givens in scripture, you miss some things important. There was an argument I heard in Christian camp in my teens: "God is my friend." "...and your God." She shook her head "Nope, I just think of Him as my friend." If I had to describe that conversation, I'd say "proto open theism." It is the same struggle in conversation here.
    Are you sure that is an important biblical word? Transcendent, 0 verses found, 1 word, 0 hits. Not a biblical word.

    John 15:13-15 KJV
    (13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
    (14) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
    (15) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

    I'm not sure I followed who was saying what in that conversation with someone unnamed, but Jesus is our Lord and our God and our friend.

  12. #309
    Over 4000 post club Rosenritter's Avatar
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    Lon, a question or two for you closed-time model:

    Is there any point in praying to God to change an outcome? We already reviewed an occasion where God told a king that he should die, and yet before the prophet had left the courtyard God had changed his decree that the King would live a longer time. What of David?

    2 Samuel 12:14 KJV
    (14) Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

    First, was David wrong to pray for a change of outcome? We have already seen examples where the account gives the certain impression that prayer and repentance did bring about a change of a decree.

    2 Samuel 12:22-23 KJV
    (22) And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
    (23) But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

    Second, if David was not wrong to pray for the child while it lived, was he wrong to cease praying for the child while it was dead? If God is truly "outside of time" then he could decide to change events that have already happened, or at least that might appear to us as if they had already happened. Do you see God as being able to change what has already happened to cause something different to happen instead?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post

    Is there any point in praying to God to change an outcome?
    http://theologyonline.com/showthread...=1#post5143697


    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    Second, if David was not wrong to pray for the child while it lived, was he wrong to cease praying for the child while it was dead? If God is truly "outside of time" then he could decide to change events that have already happened, or at least that might appear to us as if they had already happened. Do you see God as being able to change what has already happened to cause something different to happen instead?
    Prayer can't change the past.


    The accidental necessity of the past is analogous to the fixity of the future (given predestination). And many freewill theists grant the accidental necessity of the past.


    In both cases, you can't change the outcome. That, however, doesn't mean you can't affect the outcome. Answered prayer is a factor in historical causation. Prayer is one of God's appointed means to further his appointed ends. Absent answered prayer, history would turn out differently. That applies to retroactive prayer as well as hopes and prayers about a predestined future.

    WCF 5.2:
    "Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly,a yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently."

    What do each of these mean in this context: necessarily, freely, and contingently?

    Material actions result necessarily from the second cause, without volition. Moral actions result freely, in accord with the constitution of human nature. The question with regard to contingency is whether it is designed to refer to a distinct result, in which case it would be speaking of sinful actions, that they are the result of an existing condition; otherwise, it might be taken as a middle point between necessity and freedom, in which case it refers to actions which are accidental from the perspective of the second cause.

    Fairly representative examples:

    Necessarily - a clock's mechanism or a chemical reaction
    Freely - Human choice
    Contingently - Dice (God has foreordained and controls the result, even though it appears random from human perspective)

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    (I apologize that the Quote function is not behaving right now)

    So boiling down AMR's answer, prayer can never affect God's action:

    1) to change God's will for things that have not yet happened
    2) to change the reality of what has already happened (such as to make something different happen instead).

    Essentially, you treat both scenarios similarly: prayer does not change anything, and what will be is just as fixed as what has already happened. Yet David prayed to affect God's will while the child was alive, and he did not when the child was dead. David perceived a difference and acted upon it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    The problem with any time-constrained consideration (us and our perspective) is that it isn't God's. We know, at least from revelation if not total grasp, that God does not think like us, nor are His ways our ways.
    Can we then say, "God's lies are not our lies"? In other words, can we not even tell what a lie would be for God? Are we really to the point where we can't tell what is a lie for God, because his ways (and therefore His truths) are not accessible to us? I think rather that God is telling us His ways. He was telling Job His ways. He is educating us with His word. So when He tells us something about Himself, like what He expects to happen, we should not then say, "No that is NOT what He expects to happen."

    This is what God's revelation to us is all about--God reveals Himself to us, and we (hopefully) learn. What I think traditional theists are saying is, "Because we already know enough about God, we can't take the information provided without running it through our knowledge filter." This WAS Job's friends' issue, I'll agree with you. I'm not sure it was Job's issue. See below.


    It, for me, necessarily means I can only think and/or reason through so much of this and more importantly, that such becomes a faith and trust issue, and an important one. Job was wrestling over this very thing, and when God finally confronts Him, it is over Job's presumptuous 'as good/smart as God' problem. God confronted him and Job said "let me shut up!"
    I haven't studied the book of Job near enough to make proclamations about it, but I think he felt that he was owed some kind of explanation, and it wasn't forthcoming.


    What I 'can' grasp, is God is that God doesn't change Himself, He changes us. There is no point, for me, in even entertaining God 'changing His mind.' It just does me no good, and as I said, I believe it undermines confidence, faith, and trust in Him. God is perfect and holy. Those two characteristics/traits are essential to faith, hope, trust, and confidence. A God who "changes His mind" challenges these biblical givens AND digs at the foundations of faith in God.
    I don't see any change of God in the Hezekiah story. I don't see a change of purpose, if you are talking about how He relates with Israel, with the world, in His plan for salvation, or any of that. And if that is the case, then whether Hezekiah lived or died made NO difference to God's plans--of the big picture. But if Hezekiah was to be part of the big picture was eminently important. If I understand correctly, Hezekiah had no children when the prophecy came that he would die. "Putting his house in order", as commanded by Isaiah, meant figuring out who would reign after him, I think. Manasseh was born three years later, and became king when Hez finally died, 15 years later (as promised in the retraction of the first prophecy). If Hez is supposed to be in the line of Christ from day one, then I agree that God can't have meant what He said in prophecy #1. But if it is possible for God to raise up children of Abraham from stones, surely He is able to produce offspring that will fulfill the prophecies about Christ's lineage without Hezekiah, if need be.

    In Hezekiah's instance, God's 'mind' didn't change, Hezekiah changed.
    If God's understanding of the future changed, is that a change of "mind"? Remember that the idea here is that the future is what God and we make it, so if God changes the future, it is a potential change of His mind about what the future will be. OR if we change the future (by repenting of evil, perhaps, ala Jer 18), then God knows about it when we repent. The repenting doesn't have to be planned before time (and we) began.

    I don't see God's change in understanding of the future as a change in God, but a change in the future, which is not settled. Thus, there is nothing in God that changed, even if Hezekiah's outcome changed.
    How mad is God over sin and Hell? Do you want Him, honestly, more or less angry about what is killing us and doing the same to others? Do you honestly want a God who 'can' love you more, if He is ALREADY the definition of Love? How can any of these (and imho more Greek than traditional theology), be more desirable? How can the implication of imperfection ever bring an Open Theist comfort? It seems to me (not a slam, but what I get from impression), that the Open Theist would almost prefer the Greek and Roman gods who 'seem more relational.' What comfort could I have from a 'more' relational God if His perfection is compromised? I don't want a God 'just like me." I want and NEED a God in whose perfect, unchanging, Holy nature I can reach 1 John 3:2
    Do you think all those are required if we say God changed his _____ (fill in blank) on Hezekiah? Does that mean God is more human or less just or more fickle or less loving or more like the Greek gods? I don't see it.

    And I don't see implications of imperfection with an open future. If God knows what the future is in a settled future, however, and then the future changes, I see implications of imperfection. That's what the Hezekiah story describes, thus you seem to be the one clinging to an imperfect God. Now, you can disagree with me about what the story is describing, and say that it is really describing a non-event in the settled future (where Hez dies, instead of surviving), but it is a fantasy in a settled future.

    So, I guess we can go down the road CS Lewis took, and say that God either believes that Hez is going to die (and is not omniscient), or He believes that Hez is going to live (and is not telling what He really believes, which I've called "lying"), or He believes Hez is going to die until the situation changes, then He reacts to the new situation (and both His omniscience and His honor are preserved--at the expense of the settled future). Why would you hold to the settled-ness of the future over the character of God?

    I've given some of the answer above. I don't really believe most Open Theists want a relational God at the expense of His nature and character (they don't want a 'more human' God). I think most are just trying to understand stories they read in scripture and try to give people hope in a God who truly cares, as best as they can grasp such, BUT I don't think eschewing traditional/classical theology is the right tactic, nor that blaming their thoughts of God on Greeks is the best grasp of theology proper. To understand God as relational, we do not need God to be human. The Lord Jesus Christ has already done all in relating to us, as our empathetic high priest BUT such a work of God, also contrasts the unchanging stable righteousness and holiness of God. IOW, scripture itself explains immutability in God. The BETTER tack (like you are doing here) is not to dismiss the omnis or use a Greek distraction ploy, it is to dive in and understand better what is on the table and WHY it is believed to be entirely scriptural (some Open Theist leaders, imho are remise and a few others lazy, I honestly believe they lazily will not, or cannot have grasped traditional explanation of the scriptures).
    And I think they, whatever other faults they may have, are not lazily accepting traditional explanations that are internally contradictory.



    Some of this goes with above for me: "Lon, you are fairly intelligent, have a couple of degrees behind your name, and did well in school, but you don't know everything and are cocky to try to out-think God. I don't know if these two are the only options.
    Think with me a moment: Genesis 3:1-6

    Regardless if one is Open Theist or Classic, where was God? Did He WANT sin in His creation??? I'm pretty bold in these questions, as bold perhaps as Job questioning God. I'm not trying to own them as accusation against God. I'm not so bold. I'm trying to understand AND at the end of the day, Open Theist or Calvinist, it doesn't matter, I'm not this arrogant. Neither of your logical propositions fit without making God look like "He wants sin in the Garden." Look at your two logical conclusions: Both look bad. It looks bad for Calvinism, but it looks just as bad for Open Theism: God was there! He knew! He could have stopped it!
    How do you stop someone that has decided to rebel? Kill them? Chain them up? Banish them? All these methods are used by God against rebels. But I don't see story in scripture where God fixes a rebellion problem by first altering someone's mind to think good thoughts instead of bad. Even the Westminster Confession recoils at such a thought--"nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures". I recognize this is a caveat for the foregoing, where God is ordaining everything, but it is important to see where they were on this topic of free will.

    Your questions are good ones. And I think we do ourselves a disservice when we say these questions are too much to consider. God tells us in several places what He is attempting to do--have a godly people. If a godly people always chooses right over wrong, how do they get to that point? Do they have to experience sin in some way in order to see their need for 1. salvation (yes) and 2. godliness (I think so). But there is no such thing as "godliness" in a robot. (My attempt to segue into the following:...)

    The Open Theist and Arminian start 'freewill....' Freewill schmeewill, if my kid runs into the street after I said "no," you can bet I'm going to get him and stop him from death. The question cannot (for me) just be "freewill!" For me the answer has to be lest I be wise in my own eyes. That's not to say I'm not arrogant, just that I'm not brilliant for it. I'm well aware of my need for the Godly attribute of humility and seeing others as better than myself.
    The aversion to arrogance in our talk is commendable. Let's not use it to avoid discussion, however.

    I think your example touches on both the salvation and the godliness aspect of your child. But does your child recognize what you've done and make the right choice next time, if he never experiences the result of his impetuousness? I say he doesn't (supposition on my part). That's why we get lots of opportunities to say "no" for lesser things than running in front of cars (like touching hot stoves, perhaps). If I had the ability to bring my child back from the dead, maybe I wouldn't be quite too quick to inhibit his street access. I don't know.... There are way too many pieces of this puzzle that I haven't figured out.

    Imho? Arrogance. You are asserting this by MAKING the rules. Job got into trouble for 'thinking he was right.' I have fallen into the same trap. As I said, I love the book of Job because of this. What is the real answer? 1) I suspect God doesn't lie (and suspect you don't believe He does either, even when thinking of Calvinists) and 2) that I CAN think of a reasonable answer, but it doesn't make it so, just my attempt: If I were God, and Hezekiah was going to die, and I knew that AND I knew that if I said something, such would all change, then 'how' I convey the message doesn't mean I'm lying. Again, analyze my exact words to my wife: "that pot is going to boil over." Because you understand, you didn't accuse me of lying to my wife. I submit that 'not understanding' often times, from the Open Theist, causes the same kinds of accusation.
    I guess I don't understand how I'm making the rules. I didn't invent the definition of "lie". I didn't invent the story of Hezekiah. And I'm not inventing how the two play together. I'm using a normal definition of "lie" to say that God can't say two opposite prophecies of the future that apply to the same person without there being an element of uncertainty in the outcome at some point. Why is that "making the rules"?


    No, but interaction 'in' time changes those things. Look with me: Did God REALLY change His mind? Why did He tell Hezekiah in the first place? God didn't tell my Grandmother "your time is up." He rarely does. So why? Why DID God tell Hezekiah He was going to die? Imho, just like I would tell my wife 'the pot is going to boil over.' Technically, analytically, wouldn't it have been better for me to say "if you don't get to that pot, it will boil over"? Why didn't I? For me, easy answer "Pot, boil-over" is short enough for her to do something about it. It is CLEAR communication and no lie. Let me ask you this: SUPPOSE you and Open Theists are wrong for a moment: Is it a good or sensible thing to question the veracity and truthfulness of God regarding my Calvinist understanding? IOW, when you were a Calvinist, were you audacious enough to think God lied??? For me: Things aren't always how they look, and I'll always try to reserve judgment. The truthful gracious and trusting answer is: I don't exactly know, but I'm pretty sure God did not lie. I don't really know how omniscience works because I'm not omniscient and have no way, other than revelation from God, to grasp how it plays out.
    Interaction 'in' time might change those things, but "future" is not 'in' time. It's outside of time. Does that make sense? Future is the realm of God in traditional theism. If God can't get His own realm correct when He reveals it to us, can you convince anyone that God has power over his realm?

    And I was never a Calvinist--I was just a member of a Calvinist church for 11 years (after taking 4 years trying to decide if I should join)--though I didn't always know why I toed the line without jumping in. I'm not saying this to save face with other non-Calvinists or for any other reason than that I didn't agree with some things, and I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I think I can say now that it was the internal inconsistency. I joined with voiced reservations to the elders, and they understood that.

    And to clarify, I neither thought God lied then, nor do I now think He lied. I'm saying it is the only logical conclusion in Calvinism.


    See, to me, the ball is left in Hezekiah's and my wife's court. I didn't lie, and neither did God:
    You didn't know the future. God did in your belief system. You wouldn't be lying, because you only knew what you knew. Yours was a contingent prophecy. God could, if He foretold a false outcome, because He already knew the real outcome, supposedly. This is the difference between His omniscience and your non-omniscience in your example and belief system.


    I've never been timeless in my life so have no idea how such happens other than as God explains anything to me. I'm convinced there are things finite people like you and I cannot grasp. We are not infinite. We are not God. We are not, as intelligent as we are, that smart. We can interact with God in 'our' finiteness. To reattribute such limited qualities to God? We just cannot do it without dethroning the God of the universe to some degree. Job 38:3

    Yet, like Genesis 3:1-6, we cannot accuse God, neither of us: Open Theist OR Calvinist. Imho, there is no disputation of God's Omniscience. The thread to me, is more about everyone's hesitancy by degrees, to accept it. Again Job 38:3 John 16:30; 21:17
    Who's accusing God? I'm certainly not--unless you have assumed your interpretation of the scriptures is the truth. But we don't dethrone God by seeking Him out--by learning about Him from His revelation. We only dethrone God when we say we know more about Him than He has revealed to us. If He reveals to us that He knows that Hezekiah will die, and we say, "No, God, you already know that he is going to live another 15 years", we are rejecting His revelation of Himself. And if we reject His revelation of Himself--we say that it is not true--we call God a liar.


    I'm not sure of any equal footing to the example/story. Are you just trying to establish that if God lied, 'He lied'?
    I'm trying to offer a scenario where it is more apparent that God did not tell the future correctly. If there are no scenarios where God could ever lie, because we just turn it around and say that it doesn't count as a lie, then God never shows His character--He never shows ANY character in the realm of truth of falsehood.

    He can't sincerely say, "test me now in this" (Mal 3:10) in ANY circumstance, because if we put Him to the test, and He doesn't do what He says, you will just say, "He meant it in another fashion that we can't comprehend." It makes the whole of His revelation about Himself a joke.


    It is an important part of consideration for perfection. "We" are the imperfect ones. Perfection requires, by definition, that nothing change. The story of man, sin, and God is that man lost perfection. We can, as Job did, misapprehend perfection (like taking a birthday cake to a wedding), but perfection itself, cannot change. It'd be like suggesting God needs to make that perfect birthday cake rewritten for a wedding simply because 'we' imperfect beings want it for a wedding. That's 'our' imperfect expectation of what perfection already is.

    ...

    Progress? By making the God of the universe more like an imperfect man? Is THAT the goal of Open Theism???
    Again, you are using your definition of God as a filter for how to view God. Thus "perfect" is not how God describes Himself, but how you describe Him (or how you describe perfection).

    For discussion, a change of information doesn't mean a lack of knowledge about it.
    Then you are ok with God not knowing the future exhaustively, since "perfection" could entail some change (read: "new") information?

    It means 'we' are seeing and experiencing things 'we' didn't know about. It means God is interacting with an imperfect people to bring about perfection. Every, every, every scripture to man is to conform to God's perfect image in self-denial. Whatever you are trying to protect, imho, in an Open Theist mindset, is unworthy of such protection or esteem: Luke 9:23 John 3:30
    But the passage about Hezekiah is telling us what GOD knew, not what Hezekiah knew. And then it tells us that God knew something different--something opposite. The only way that can work, it seems to me, is for the information to have changed--the information God possessed changed.

    However, the whole story of God's relationship to us isn't God's need to change, it is ours, caught in sin, with DESPERATE need to rise to the occasion which we, in ourselves cannot do. It IS the redemption story: A God who reaches us to bring us up, not Himself down. Such is NO comfort at all. His only need (if such can be said) is related in John 3:16 A need to redeem, to seek and save that which was lost.
    My example is limited. It show my lack of omniscience but allows one to at least concede such in God, thus I gave it as inadequate as it was.
    I don't associate God's statements to Hezekiah with a need.

    Again, cake illustration, pushed this far lacks. It was only to get a partial understanding and grasp of the object to analyze: A change of mind vs a change of accommodation. If I made a carrot cake, certainly it is because 1) of care for the person and 2) a little of my 'forethought' regarding the need for change/accommodation. My point is that even without omniscience, for me, it isn't a change of mind. Such indicates a change of mind in my good desire and love to serve a friend. Change of mind overshadows my good intent. You'd not say "Oh Lon! You changed your mind!" with any kind of ribbing or worse; character maligning. You'd likely, being an equally good friend, not say to another "Lon changed his mind" BUT "Lon made me a cake AND another one!" A mention of my 'mind changing' would malign me and you, imho. It is a poor summation of what just happened, in love and a bit of sacrifice. It is part of the reason I don't prefer the term and especially in regard to God. "Change of mind" carries, always' negative connotations.
    I think this is a misrepresentation of the usage of "change of mind". But as I mentioned before, I'm happy to consider a different term. I don't think you've approved of any, once we talk them through. They all end up saying something about God changed, and you think it isn't possible.



    Likely true (same with Catholicism). For me? I'm open to the discussion. The older a denomination gets, the more 'leaving that denomination' is the only answer. One good thing about Open Theism is that the walls aren't so jelled as to push another divergent Open Theist out.

    I'm not too hung up on labels, personally though. There are a few different groups of Calvinists so perhaps you'll simply see which group I more closely resemble in such a conversation. A lot of Open Theists and MAD have told me I'm not one
    Ah! a fellow label eschewer. Don't feel too bad. I told AMR he's a closet open theist.

  17. #313
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    Can we then say, "God's lies are not our lies"? In other words, can we not even tell what a lie would be for God? Are we really to the point where we can't tell what is a lie for God, because his ways (and therefore His truths) are not accessible to us? I think rather that God is telling us His ways. He was telling Job His ways. He is educating us with His word. So when He tells us something about Himself, like what He expects to happen, we should not then say, "No that is NOT what He expects to happen."
    We ARE being educated but, as you well know: 1 Corinthians 13:12 1 John 3:2 As GREAT as any man thinks his/her mind is, it is well below par for where we should be. Can we then say "God, you lied." I'm having none of that and I've a fair mind and intelligence. Most of us believe enough of our own mistruths aren't as it is. It is truly sad to me when someone thinks he/she is the sole assessor of truth.

    This is what God's revelation to us is all about--God reveals Himself to us, and we (hopefully) learn. What I think traditional theists are saying is, "Because we already know enough about God, we can't take the information provided without running it through our knowledge filter." This WAS Job's friends' issue, I'll agree with you. I'm not sure it was Job's issue. See below.
    Wasn't it? Job 38:2 Job 40:4 Job 42:3
    I haven't studied the book of Job near enough to make proclamations about it, but I think he felt that he was owed some kind of explanation, and it wasn't forthcoming.
    Job 38:2;42:6

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    I don't see any change of God in the Hezekiah story. I don't see a change of purpose, if you are talking about how He relates with Israel, with the world, in His plan for salvation, or any of that. And if that is the case, then whether Hezekiah lived or died made NO difference to God's plans--of the big picture. But if Hezekiah was to be part of the big picture was eminently important. If I understand correctly, Hezekiah had no children when the prophecy came that he would die. "Putting his house in order", as commanded by Isaiah, meant figuring out who would reign after him, I think. Manasseh was born three years later, and became king when Hez finally died, 15 years later (as promised in the retraction of the first prophecy). If Hez is supposed to be in the line of Christ from day one, then I agree that God can't have meant what He said in prophecy #1. But if it is possible for God to raise up children of Abraham from stones, surely He is able to produce offspring that will fulfill the prophecies about Christ's lineage without Hezekiah, if need be.

    If God's understanding of the future changed, is that a change of "mind"? Remember that the idea here is that the future is what God and we make it, so if God changes the future, it is a potential change of His mind about what the future will be. OR if we change the future (by repenting of evil, perhaps, ala Jer 18), then God knows about it when we repent. The repenting doesn't have to be planned before time (and we) began.
    Theory is okay. Speculating is okay, but when/if we are presumptuous and such does damage to the character of God, we are in trouble. An extreme example: Demi Lovato made a video in which she hired gays to act and dance and participate and said "Like I said before, the LOVING God that I believe in, would never condemn anyone for loving another human of the same sex." Demi Lovato

    The problem to observe: It doesn't matter what God someone makes up in their head. That's not God, just a made-up non-existing wishful thinking God. It doesn't matter what God we 'want' to exist. It matters which God exists AND we BETTER love THAT God heart, soul, mind, and strength. Note with me with a little fear and trepidation how many people say "the God of Calvinism is" or "the God of Open Theism is..."

    It doesn't matter. It is unworthy for our consideration or of discussing our God. Rather, it is who God truly is that we need to be most concerned with. This, also, is one reason I try not to get into 'us/them' debates. In the end, it really doesn't matter. Only those who truly want to know their God rather than wanting to be egocentrically right, are those who will have the correct theology anyway. "My God is like...." Is somewhat pointless because it rather matters what "Our God is like...."
    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    I don't see God's change in understanding of the future as a change in God, but a change in the future, which is not settled. Thus, there is nothing in God that changed, even if Hezekiah's outcome changed.
    This statement, to me, denies and requalifies John 16:30 and John 21:17 Does God know all things, or just 'some things?' Who are you or I to make such a judgment about the God of the universe? Unless I get such explicitly from scripture, I just cannot be, but a classical traditional theist. For me, these and other scriptures fairly demand it. I'm not sure how an Open Theist manages it, but it just cannot work as I understand the scriptures. The good news? The two other guys who were wrong were Job's friends and the remedy was prayer and forgiveness. It gives me hope in such discussions as this. Job's friends were, I think, trying, albeit in theological arrogance and supposed high-road proposition. They were just called hard to accounts for poor theology but it was a correction. I think for the most part, our dueling theologies are on par within His


    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    Do you think all those are required if we say God changed his _____ (fill in blank) on Hezekiah? Does that mean God is more human or less just or more fickle or less loving or more like the Greek gods? I don't see it.
    It comes from other scriptural presuppositions. Calvinism is very much premise upon premise of scriptures. In this case, God has the number of our hairs always numbered Matthew 10:30 Philippians 2:13 James 4:14 Ephesians 2:10 (btw, I think MUCH more important than our debate/discussion, are the scriptures we bring to the table) and is Sovereign (lords/controls/makes happen) over His creation. Daniel 4:35 Acts 5:39 Romans 8:28; 9:19-21

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    And I don't see implications of imperfection with an open future. If God knows what the future is in a settled future, however, and then the future changes, I see implications of imperfection. That's what the Hezekiah story describes, thus you seem to be the one clinging to an imperfect God. Now, you can disagree with me about what the story is describing, and say that it is really describing a non-event in the settled future (where Hez dies, instead of surviving), but it is a fantasy in a settled future.
    I think it is important that all Open Theists do 1) because most of us believers are not Open. There are few of you so it is important to know 'why' most Christians are not. 2) Traditional/Classic theology carries other presuppositional scripture truths as paramount to proper theology and one of these is that God not knowing the future is tantamount to a future outside of His reality. He is ALREADY the first and last. He is ALREADY infinite. Such a theory is not supported well by any scripture and does damage to scriptural doctrines concerning the very essence and character of God and importantly, "as revealed in scriptures." We really have to serve one another by pointing repeatedly to scriptures on this debate. I can see no higher or better purpose to these discussions than causing a brother/sister to read and consider the scriptures together further. Thank you again, for such.
    So, I guess we can go down the road CS Lewis took, and say that God either believes that Hez is going to die (and is not omniscient), or He believes that Hez is going to live (and is not telling what He really believes, which I've called "lying"), or He believes Hez is going to die until the situation changes, then He reacts to the new situation (and both His omniscience and His honor are preserved--at the expense of the settled future). Why would you hold to the settled-ness of the future over the character of God?
    Exactly the opposite as addressed above, but thanks for your sincere thoughts and feedback. I have to believe God is somewhat handicapped in talking to us because we are handicapped in what we actually can conceive and understand. How much? I think a great deal. Again, I'm encouraged by how God treated Job's friends. They were certainly wrong and chastised, but... Hebrews 12:5-9

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    And I think they, whatever other faults they may have, are not lazily accepting traditional explanations that are internally contradictory.
    Yet, some of this IS problematic in that laymen who haven't studied near enough, are gaining the pastorate and imho, without really the where-with-all to lead flocks when they have little knowledge of the overall progression and 'scriptural' founding of some of these important truths. When I see an Open Theist being able to interact with scriptures without explaining away "Lord you know all things," I'm encouraged.


    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    How do you stop someone that has decided to rebel? Kill them? Chain them up? Banish them? All these methods are used by God against rebels. But I don't see story in scripture where God fixes a rebellion problem by first altering someone's mind to think good thoughts instead of bad. Even the Westminster Confession recoils at such a thought--"nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures". I recognize this is a caveat for the foregoing, where God is ordaining everything, but it is important to see where they were on this topic of free will.
    Wasn't Saul's conversion exactly this way? Philippians 2:13 Isn't Ephesians 2:10 true of you? How much of 'you' do you want to keep? We are incredibly self-preserving. None of us wants to die to self. John 12:24,25
    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    Your questions are good ones. And I think we do ourselves a disservice when we say these questions are too much to consider. God tells us in several places what He is attempting to do--have a godly people. If a godly people always chooses right over wrong, how do they get to that point? Do they have to experience sin in some way in order to see their need for 1. salvation (yes) and 2. godliness (I think so). But there is no such thing as "godliness" in a robot. (My attempt to segue into the following:...)
    For me, God can use us in one another's life but scripture, His word, does not return void and Ephesians 2:10 may seem invasive, but to me, extremely comforting along with Philippians 2:13 because sink or swim, in the end, God wins AND He carries us to completion Philippians 1:6

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    The aversion to arrogance in our talk is commendable. Let's not use it to avoid discussion, however.
    Rather, and I think you catch some of it, my point is/was a 'rest' that I entered in Him. Hebrews 4:11 and again Ephesians 2:10

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    I think your example touches on both the salvation and the godliness aspect of your child. But does your child recognize what you've done and make the right choice next time, if he never experiences the result of his impetuousness? I say he doesn't (supposition on my part). That's why we get lots of opportunities to say "no" for lesser things than running in front of cars (like touching hot stoves, perhaps). If I had the ability to bring my child back from the dead, maybe I wouldn't be quite too quick to inhibit his street access. I don't know.... There are way too many pieces of this puzzle that I haven't figured out.
    You are not sovereign my friend. This question kind of assumes it. While I'm not into shirking 'responsibility' and there is a dichotomy between doing, and God doing, I'm convinced and with Hebrews 4:11 try to make every effort to enter that rest which I believe is knowing He is keeping His promises.

    I guess I don't understand how I'm making the rules. I didn't invent the definition of "lie". I didn't invent the story of Hezekiah. And I'm not inventing how the two play together. I'm using a normal definition of "lie" to say that God can't say two opposite prophecies of the future that apply to the same person without there being an element of uncertainty in the outcome at some point. Why is that "making the rules"?
    I sometimes assess the open theist is making a child-like first response accusation. There are some Open Theists I have on ignore simply because they actually ARE simple. They just think two-dimensionally and cannot get it through their heads they aren't 'brilliant' but actually shallow. There was a time on TOL I'd get 'baited' by simplistic yes/no questions that truly aren't but simpleton questions like "Can God make a rock He cannot pick up?" (the problem is a simple and simplistic mind for asking this particular question, the answer is "poor/incorrect comprehension of what you are 'trying' to ask - I used to have this limited understanding too, when I first heard the question).


    Interaction 'in' time might change those things, but "future" is not 'in' time. It's outside of time. Does that make sense? Future is the realm of God in traditional theism. If God can't get His own realm correct when He reveals it to us, can you convince anyone that God has power over his realm?
    Not my job and not 'my' wisdom, as smart as I think I am. Rather God IS the premier and for me, only Player worth mentioning. Let me state/ask this way: Is there ANY point to playing chess with God? 1) Can you EVER beat Him? 2) Is that ever going to change? So, 'what is the point?' I maintain, in the traditional sense, that the point is that "I" will change and get better for the effort. I don't pray to 'win.' Many many times, I pray rather "God, you know better than I" when praying on behalf of another.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    And I was never a Calvinist--I was just a member of a Calvinist church for 11 years (after taking 4 years trying to decide if I should join)--though I didn't always know why I toed the line without jumping in. I'm not saying this to save face with other non-Calvinists or for any other reason than that I didn't agree with some things, and I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I think I can say now that it was the internal inconsistency. I joined with voiced reservations to the elders, and they understood that.
    For me? I've been in NO denomination that has consistency, including Open Theists. I absolutely see problems in all theological schools of thought (how could any of us not? This very thread points them out, clearly, imho).

    And to clarify, I neither thought God lied then, nor do I now think He lied. I'm saying it is the only logical conclusion in Calvinism.
    Why do YOU get to be spokesman for/to Calvinism? I, as a Calvinist, have never, ever, thought God lied. I'm trying to tell you, you are imposing that upon Calvinism 'as if' it were true. It is an accusation/assessment, that most of us Calvinists do not share. Honestly, as a good thinking Calvinist, this thought just hasn't been on the table and never will be. To me, it seems you are saying that in order 'for you' to have been or could be Calvinist, you'd have to assume God is lying 'from your own' viewpoint. If so, fair enough.


    You didn't know the future. God did in your belief system. You wouldn't be lying, because you only knew what you knew. Yours was a contingent prophecy. God could, if He foretold a false outcome, because He already knew the real outcome, supposedly. This is the difference between His omniscience and your non-omniscience in your example and belief system.
    Again, this places you as the arbiter of 'truth.' I know, per fact, both you and I have believe falsehoods were/are true. What does this do to your and my objectivity in being arbiters? It doesn't. God is judge alone and we are presumptuous otherwise. Job, again, was presumptuous with God until God asked him "who is ACTUALLY God, you or me?" (paraphrase, but that's what He asked Job from Job 39-41)

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    Who's accusing God? I'm certainly not--unless you have assumed your interpretation of the scriptures is the truth. But we don't dethrone God by seeking Him out--by learning about Him from His revelation. We only dethrone God when we say we know more about Him than He has revealed to us. If He reveals to us that He knows that Hezekiah will die, and we say, "No, God, you already know that he is going to live another 15 years", we are rejecting His revelation of Himself. And if we reject His revelation of Himself--we say that it is not true--we call God a liar.
    See, here, you know more than I do in such assumption. You are making up the 'if this, THEN this." Well, yes, if this/then of course, probably, likely, maybe this, but both the premise AND the conclusion are assumed. It is like being cocky with asking if God can create a rock He cannot pick up. I've seen a few agnostics/atheists get really full of themselves and at one time I did mistake cocky for intelligence, vibrato for knowledgeable. In this case, with you, I do see your point but I just don't buy the conclusion. It isn't a 'certain must' nor is it the only option. Let me try to demonstrate:

    1) God tells Hezekiah he is going to die
    2) Hezekiah doesn't die
    .: God lied

    I realize you are seeing this ONLY from a Calvinistic viewpoint BUT your proposition applies directly to an Open Theist's understanding too. Do you know why? (why it needs work btw, it isn't true and you never escaped the same problem when you eschewed Calvinism - it is true of Open Theism "if" true (it isn't thankfully for either of us ).

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    I'm trying to offer a scenario where it is more apparent that God did not tell the future correctly. If there are no scenarios where God could ever lie, because we just turn it around and say that it doesn't count as a lie, then God never shows His character--He never shows ANY character in the realm of truth of falsehood.
    Somewhat true and good thoughts here. It applies to your kobayashi maru scenario above. We need to know our limitations and when we are asking no-win or illogical scenarios.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    He can't sincerely say, "test me now in this" (Mal 3:10) in ANY circumstance, because if we put Him to the test, and He doesn't do what He says, you will just say, "He meant it in another fashion that we can't comprehend." It makes the whole of His revelation about Himself a joke.
    Else that would be a lie. RATHER, entertain with me that your logic could use some help here, with me. Before I get too cocky, I don't always know the answer, I've just come to be able to recognize illogical scenarios better. Seeing the problem in them doesn't mean I can answer for God. In the end, we still, between us, have to trust Him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    Again, you are using your definition of God as a filter for how to view God. Thus "perfect" is not how God describes Himself, but how you describe Him (or how you describe perfection).
    "I change not" is rather His definition. It is VERY important we get this right.

    Then you are ok with God not knowing the future exhaustively, since "perfection" could entail some change (read: "new") information?
    There cannot be anything 'new' in a glass of water. Now I realize infinite is the contrast and such entails 'new' but we have to understand that God is ALREADY infinite. How? This is one of those mind-boggling scenarios but I find it theologically, scripturally consistent to believe He is all-knowing. Scripture says He is. For me, I 'think' it dangerous to second-guess such scriptural givens. It certainly isn't a desire to 'be Greek' between either of us to wrestle over these scriptures. We are rather trying to ensure that whatever theology we embrace, it grasps all scriptures. To date, I know of no theology position that doesn't have tension with some scriptures.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    But the passage about Hezekiah is telling us what GOD knew, not what Hezekiah knew. And then it tells us that God knew something different--something opposite. The only way that can work, it seems to me, is for the information to have changed--the information God possessed changed.
    Yes, but 'if/then lie' isn't cut and dry logic here. As I said, it applies, equally, genuinely, to Open Theism as well. It is a 'logical' problem, not a denominational specific problem. You truly haven't escaped it, just not thought of it. The good thing about Open Theism is that most haven't thought through the same problems that equally apply, and so it gives people hope that things can be reconciled, but they really aren't. Open theism doesn't avoid any of these same exact problems. Not a one of them.

    I don't associate God's statements to Hezekiah with a need.
    There isn't even a need at all, if I follow such logical progression, to think that this story should exist at all, by that token. What have we learned? Why is it in the Bible? Again, my answer is 'to change Hezekiah.' It is an assumption, but it makes the most sense of the passage. I also observe with you, that the bloodline to Messiah needed to be established as well. You call it a lie, oddly. I see it as a necessity of information to ensure that things would take place otherwise. "The pot is going to boil over" was not a lie.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    I think this is a misrepresentation of the usage of "change of mind". But as I mentioned before, I'm happy to consider a different term. I don't think you've approved of any, once we talk them through. They all end up saying something about God changed, and you think it isn't possible.
    I agree. I have reservation about a good many scripturally enforced characteristics of God in mind to entertain such. I'd need something compelling to do so but am willing to discuss it further.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    Ah! a fellow label eschewer. Don't feel too bad. I told AMR he's a closet open theist.
    I don't think He finds comfort in being 'Calvinist' so much as being 'Biblically faithful.' I'd think that applies to most of us.
    My New Years Resolution: 1 Peter 3:15
    Omniscient without man's qualification. John 1:3 "Nothing"
    Colossians 1:17 "Nothing" John 15:5 "Nothing"
    Mighty, ALL mighty (omnipotent). Revelation 1:8
    No possible limitation Isaiah 40:25 Joshua 24:15
    Infinite (Omnipresent) Psalm 145:3 Hebrews 4:13

    Is Calvinism okay? Yep

    Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think... Amen. -Ephesians 3:20 & 21

    1Co 13:11 ... when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. Titus 3:10 Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:11

    Separation of church and State is not atheism "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derf View Post
    How do you stop someone that has decided to rebel? Kill them? Chain them up? Banish them? All these methods are used by God against rebels. But I don't see story in scripture where God fixes a rebellion problem by first altering someone's mind to think good thoughts instead of bad. Even the Westminster Confession recoils at such a thought--"nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures". I recognize this is a caveat for the foregoing, where God is ordaining everything, but it is important to see where they were on this topic of free will.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lon View Post
    Wasn't Saul's conversion exactly this way?
    I wouldn't say Saul's conversion was that way. Saul was struck down, spoken to, and blinded, but his mind was not changed for him. We read about Paul today because he responded as God desired. One might theorize that God knew Paul well enough to know how he would respond if he were merely hit hard enough, or debate the degree of likeliness of the response, but God didn't just reach in and change his mind for him. The recorded story also ends itself to the simple explanation that Paul was confronted, but he still retained the ability to determine how he would respond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosenritter View Post
    I wouldn't say Saul's conversion was that way. Saul was struck down, spoken to, and blinded, but his mind was not changed for him. We read about Paul today because he responded as God desired. One might theorize that God knew Paul well enough to know how he would respond if he were merely hit hard enough, or debate the degree of likeliness of the response, but God didn't just reach in and change his mind for him. The recorded story also ends itself to the simple explanation that Paul was confronted, but he still retained the ability to determine how he would respond.
    @Lon
    And Jesus showed Himself to Paul, visibly. That is hardly just tweaking someone's mind.

    More later...

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