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Thread: toldailytopic: What is Open Theism? What do you think of it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    Couldn't the future be open from the perspective of the human observer and exhaustively known from the perspective of God?
    Surely. And, from the perspective of the human, how would God exhaustively knowing the future have any impact on the way the human would go about living day to day? Moreover, isn't peace a corollary of God's omniscience?

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    Couldn't the future be open from the perspective of the human observer and exhaustively known from the perspective of God?
    Most certainly. But I believe the Open Theist would say that it is an intrusion on free will. However, God knowing all things makes no such assertion.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son of Jack View Post
    Surely. And, from the perspective of the human, how would God exhaustively knowing the future have any impact on the way the human would go about living day to day? Moreover, isn't peace a corollary of God's omniscience?
    And, to make sure I'm being clear, I want to point out that I think the human who believes in God's omniscience and the one who believe in openness will make decisions in the same way. Neither one knows what the future holds. So, both are in the same position regarding their own openness, are they not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son of Jack View Post
    And, to make sure I'm being clear, I want to point out that I think the human who believes in God's omniscience and the one who believe in openness will make decisions in the same way. Neither one knows what the future holds. So, both are in the same position regarding their own openness, are they not?
    I believe so in that Open Theism disputes the exhaustive foreknowledge of God. Please show me if I'm wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    I believe so in that Open Theism disputes the exhaustive foreknowledge of God. Please show me if I'm wrong.
    By omniscience, I mean God knows all things. If they use omniscience, they mean God knows all things, except the future. So, I would mean all without qualification, and they would mean all with qualification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son of Jack View Post
    By omniscience, I mean God knows all things. If they use omniscience, they mean God knows all things, except the future. So, I would mean all without qualification, and they would all with qualification.
    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 Selaphiel View Post
    That philosophy addresses the problem of evil by viewing the openess (that is ultimate indeterminacy) of reality as metaphysical, rather than as a decision by divine fiat.
    I view it as a logical necessity of reality. There is nothing particularly metaphysical about it.

    According to the process view, God cannot even in principal unilaterally control everything
    I believe that God can in principle control everything. But he couldn't control himself otherwise he would not be sovereign. He must always be open to himself. However, in being open to himself he also (probably) has to be open to the world, which implies that practically speaking, God does not control everything. That he has created a world which is open, is his primordial act of love, a self-giving which has its ultimate fulfilment in the death of his son, the Christ.

    since all other actual occasions (that is the fundamental unit of reality in process thought) has at least a degree of subjectivity, that is self-determination. Evil occurs when an actual occasion does not act according to the ideals of God.
    I believe that the existence of evil as an absolute is an illusion. Evil is relative just as most things are in the world. Everything we do and are is in relation to other things and ultimately to all other things. The definition of who we are is carried by all the other things and doesn't exist in some absolute realm as taught by Plato.

    And to be a bit pedantic, it is dipolar theism, not bipolar
    Actually, I think you are wrong about that. But it is only a technical point.

    However, process thought goes beyond human evil. It feels that natural evil must be considered as well. Not just the suffering of humans, but the suffering that seems to be a part of fundamental processes such as evolution and natural disasters.
    Here, you seem to be equating evil with suffering. Suffering is a natural consequence of openness because it provides the boundary of the personality and allows a person to be an individual. For the most part suffering is bearable and healthy though it is true that sometimes it is unbearable or at least deleterious, leading to adverse changes in the personality. This explanation of suffering is complete and realistic, though you may not like it and is another score for openness. This explanation won't make suffering go away but it does explain it without resort to personal guilt or arbitrary spiritual influences.

    So a process thinker would say that open theism where God by divine fiat makes an indeterminate creation is not sufficient to deal with the problem of evil since the ultimate responsibility for evil, at least natural evil, would rest upon that primordial decision rather than metaphysical necessity.
    Since I don't believe there is such a thing as evil in an absolute sense, there is nothing to blame God for and the issue disappears like dew on a midsummer morning.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; April 12th, 2013 at 12:15 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    The TheologyOnline.com TOPIC OF THE DAY for April 10th, 2013 05:00 AM


    toldailytopic: What is Open Theism? What do you think of it?






    Take the topic above and run with it! Slice it, dice it, give us your general thoughts about it. Everyday there will be a new TOL Topic of the Day.
    If you want to make suggestions for the Topic of the Day send a Tweet to @toldailytopic or @theologyonline or send it to us via Facebook.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign
    I view it as a logical necessity of reality. There is nothing particularly metaphysical about it.
    Within process thought it is definitely a metaphysical necessity, since it is the way that the fundamental units of reality (that is actual occasions) work, it is a truth prior to any concrete reality.

    I believe that God can in principal control everything. But he couldn't control himself otherwise he would not be sovereign. He must always be open to himself. However, in being open to himself he also (probably) has to be open to the world, which implies that practically speaking, God does not control everything. That he has created a world which is open, is his primordial act of love, a self-giving which has its ultimate fulfilment in the death of his son, the Christ.
    A process thinker would deny this. Within process thought, God cannot unilaterally override the subjectivity of an actual occasion. To explain how divine providence is understood in process thought, I would have to give a rather technical description of the fundamental metaphysics which would be far off topic. Long stories short, I can give a limited metaphor: God of process philosophy is akin to a conductor of a symphony.

    I believe that the existence of evil as an absolute is an illusion. Evil is relative just as most things are in the world. Everything we do and are is in relation to other things and ultimately to all other things. The definition of who we are is carried by all the other things and doesn't exist in some absolute realm as taught by Plato.
    Evil is not an absolute in process thought. Evil is conceived of as what leads to suffering, dysfunction and uglyness.

    Actually, I think you are wrong about that. But it is only a technical point.
    I'm pretty sure I'm right, I'm writing my master thesis on process theology

    Here, you seem to be equating evil with suffering. Suffering is a natural consequence of openness because it provides the boundary of the personality and allows a person to be an individual. For the most part suffering is bearable and healthy though it is true that sometimes it is unbearable or at least deleterious, leading to adverse changes in the personality. This explanation of suffering is complete and realistic, though you may not like it and is another score for openness. This explanation won't make suffering go away but it does explain it without resort to personal guilt or arbitrary spiritual influences.
    But suffering goes beyond that in process thought. It is not just human persons that experience suffering from the actions of other human persons. It is not only Auschwitz that is evil, the immense suffering of the 2004 Tsunami in Phuket is an example of natural evil. Process thought states that not only does human persons enjoy freedom, subjectivity is a reality in all actual entities, human consciousness being the highest form of subjectivity we know about. Nor is the process view of evil anthropocentric, it also problematizes the suffering involved in natural processes such as the process of evolution (it sees it as a theological problem if God is conceived of as omnipotent in the traditional sense).

    Since I don't believe there is such a thing as evil in an absolute sense, there is nothing to blame God for and the issue disappears like dew on a midsummer morning.
    To deny evil as an absolute reality does not mean that there is no such thing. The suffering, dysfunction and uglyness is quite apparent to us every day. The process thinker will say it is so apparent that it makes classical theism incoherent.
    "By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." (Luke 1:78-79)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    Rather, I see evidence of prescience so conclude that God has observed what we call the future.
    I don't see any evidence of prescience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    Couldn't the future be open from the perspective of the human observer and exhaustively known from the perspective of God?
    No, that would rob God of His free will, omnipotence, and creativity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I believe that God can in principal control everything. But he couldn't control himself otherwise he would not be sovereign.
    Why do you believe that God must lack self-control in order to be sovereign?
    Many human sovereigns attained their positions because of their great self-control. Alexander the Great is one example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    Rather, I see evidence of prescience so conclude that God has observed what we call the future.



    Couldn't the future be open from the perspective of the human observer and exhaustively known from the perspective of God?
    Reality is objectively the same even if men perceive it wrong or in a limited way.

    It is 2013 for God and us. God did not and cannot see me typing this post a trillion years ago before I existed and before I used my capacity in real space-time to sit here now.

    Other theories are more akin to speculative nonsense, sci-fi, not biblical fact.

    Time is also not a created thing and it is unidirectional. Time travel is nonsense, even for God.
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    What do I think about open theism?

    This:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    In Pinnock we see the real motivation of open theism: mixing a theological system with contemporary culture which appeals to our modern world. After all, ours is a world nowadays that needs a feel-good God in its culture of egalitarianism, extravagance, and self-absorption. Philosophical humanism, liberalism, and modernism packaged up in the guise of a supposed enlightened re-thinking of the doctrine of God.

    AMR
    Especially good points raised in this article (originally linked by AMR)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knight View Post
    toldailytopic: What is Open Theism? What do you think of it?
    What DR said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Open theism, openness, free will theism, is essentially a belief that truth is not mediated by statements but by relationships.

    Christian faith, in particular, is thus not an adherence to certain doctrines but a relationship of trust in Jesus Christ.

    Such a relationship - an open relationship - implies respect for the other. This means that the other is not your servant, is not there to suit just you but exists in their own right.

    It also means that you can't easily make general statements about the other in a relationship because in so doing you limit the scope of the other's existence.

    It also means that what statements we do make about the other party in a relationship are necessarily contextual and not absolute.

    Open theism is specifically about the openness of God and relationship to God as an open being. Openness is a more general term about the nature of reality as a whole and how reality is mediated entirely by relationships and not by absolute statements. Free will theism is a specific theology that focuses on the notion that human beings have free will and that that free will determines the outcomes of the world, in contrast to the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination where free will is redefined from the natural, intuitive sense of a choice which affects the outcome of the world to instead a selection from specific options, the exact option chosen being manipulated in some way by God to conform to his own will.
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    What do I think of it?

    Openness is the only way to explain life. It is the only way to explain reality.
    These^

    I don't think I could have said it better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    I think Open Theism is an attempt to elevate men to an equal standing with God.
    Calvinism devalues God's omnipotence, making Him out to be lower than men, by claiming He is unable to to do things we can.

    Calvinists also believe in relationship between God and man, but we attribute it to Covenantalism, all of which God provides and performs for our good.

    For He is far greater than man, who will never be His equal.
    If only Calvinists actually supported their claims in this regard.

    Quote Originally Posted by sky. View Post
    I don't know what Open Theism is but I'm not about to study anything concerning God that says that God can't or doesn't know everything.
    So when God claims to not have known something what do you think He meant?

    Quote Originally Posted by False Prophet View Post
    Deut 12:8 You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes ;
    Open theism is doing what is right in your own eyes. Who needs the fear of God or keep the commandments of God when you can do what is right in your own eyes?
    You have no idea what the open view is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    Link dropping is lazy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    Whatever your sages print . .

    God either controls all things, or He chooses to control nothing.
    False dichotomy.

    This is not an either/or situation.

    Not controlling all things does not equate to controlling nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    How is any foreknowledge possible if the future is unknown by the observer?
    Something being unknown does not equate to nothing being known.

    I know that I am going to work tomorrow; at least I know I plan to. How much more does God know His plans, and how much more certain is He they will come to pass? This does not mean I know what I will be doing after work one year from tomorrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dena View Post
    My understanding is that it means God chooses not to know the outcome of the future. Is that correct?
    Not necessarily; it dictates that the future does not exist, and thus is unknowable. If it doesn't exist it cannot be known, for it does not exist as an object of knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    Nothing surprises Him? He has no reason to repent?
    According to Jonah God did repent [change His mind] regarding the destruction of Nineveh, because they repented, which was not entirely unexpected as Jonah theorized on the possibility, but God did not know they would, else He would have given an ultimatum.

    The mistake is to think that God is subject to your ideas about time.
    God is subject to existence [whatever that entails]. If time is as we believe then God would be subject to that, because He exists, as omnipresent as God is He can only be present within that which is also present/extant. For instance, God is not present in Wonderland; because Wonderland is a fictional, imaginary, place.

    Also, God is omnipotent/sovereign, is He not? If so then is He then not able to choose to be present someplace? The Bible, God's word, tells us He is absent from the Lake of Fire, and always will be, so there is someplace He is not present.

    Based on scripture, I believe that idea lacks integrity.
    What Scripture?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    What if God has already observed what we call the future?
    Then neither we, nor He, are able to do anything different than what has already been observed, and thus no one Has any will of their own, no one is free, least of all God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
    Most certainly. But I believe the Open Theist would say that it is an intrusion on free will. However, God knowing all things makes no such assertion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doormat View Post
    The appearance of detailed knowledge of the future suggests prescience. What I'm hearing from godrulz is that open theism precludes prescience. His idea of foreknowledge is not prescience.
    Define prescience.

    One time at a job my co-worker was ringing out a mop and he was pushing too hard. I told him that he was going to break the ringer. The next night he broke it. Was that prescience? Was that foreknowledge? Did I see into the future and observe it?

    Matthew 2:17-18 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."

    How is that the type of foreknowledge that godrulz described in his response to me?
    Without context how is anyone supposed to answer that?

    We need the original prophecy in whole, and the circumstances surrounding its fulfillment.

    Are you willing to provide those for the sake of intellectual honesty?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Alate_One View Post
    What do I think about open theism?

    This:



    Especially good points raised in this article (originally linked by AMR)
    The main points in the article are simply not true. Calvinists rarely understand and accurately represent Arminians and Open Theists. We also have a beef with Calvinists over the negative implications to all these points.

    Pinnock was humble and not stupid. I don't agree with all of his ideas, but the rejectable ones are not germane to Open Theism (non sequitur....just because we emphasize God's love is no reason to reject hell, etc.).
    Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

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