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Thread: Is the Future Open?

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Is the Future Open?

    The Bible teaches that God knows everything in the past, present and future. And since God cannot be wrong about what he knows, then all human actions will turn out only one way.

    And if this is true then how can people really have a will that can be called a "free will" since the future can turn out only one way? Therefore, some argue that man really has no free will since all that will happen has already been determined.

    However, there is a major flaw in this argument. There is really no foreknowledge with God because He lives in the ever present "now."

    God, being both infinite and eternal, is not bound by either space or time, as we are. This principle has long been understood within Calvinist circles. William Ames (1576-1655) was one of the foremost of Reformed thinkers, often known as "the Learned Doctor Ames" because of his great intellectual stature among Puritans, said the following:

    "There is properly only one act of the will in God because in Him all things are simultaneous and there is nothing before or after. So there is only decree about the end and means, but for the manner of understanding we say that, so far as intention is concerned, God wills the end before the means" [emphasis mine](William Ames, The Marrow of Theology, translation and introduction by John, Dystra, Eudsen, [Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1968], 153-154).

    According to Ames all things in the eternal state are "simultaneous and there is nothing before or after." This idea that all things are "simultaneous" with God was expressed by another prominent Calvinist author, Loraine Boettner:

    "Much of the difficulty in regard to the doctrine of Predestination is due to the finite character of our mind, which can grasp only a few details at a time, and which understands only a part of the relations between these. We are creatures of time, and often fail to take into consideration the fact that God is not limited as we are. That which appears to us as 'past,' 'present,' and 'future,' is all 'present' to His mind. It is an eternal 'now'...Just as He sees at one glance a road leading from New York to San Francisco, while we see only a small portion of it as we pass over it, so He sees all events in history, past, present, and future at one glance" (Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination [Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1932]).

    Therefore, since God does not actually look into the future because with Him all things are happening simultaneously the future in regard to human choices are not limited in anyway.

    The future is open!
    Last edited by Jerry Shugart; December 28th, 2016 at 02:10 PM.

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    Where does the Bible say God knows all those things, or that all things are simultaneous to Him?


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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post
    Where does the Bible say God knows all those things, or that all things are simultaneous to Him?
    Here we can see that He has knowledge of things present and in the future:

    " Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa.46:10).

    And here we can see that with God is not bound by time as we are

    "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet.3:8).

    What we see here is a speeding up of time being concurrent with a slowing down of time. That can only mean that with God "time" has no relevance.

    That means with Him there is no before or after so all things are simultaneous with Him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Here we can see that He has knowledge of things present and in the future:
    " Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa.46:10).
    And here we can see that with God is not bound by time as we are
    "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet.3:8).
    What we see here is a speeding up of time being concurrent with a slowing down of time. That can only mean that with God "time" has no relevance.

    That means with Him there is no before or after so all things are simultaneous with Him.
    1. Being aware that you will accomplish something in the future does not equate to exhaustive foreknowledge; it only shows that you know you will do something that you plan to do. And God can know if He will accomplish something regardless of whatever else happens without having to know what else will happen.
    2. One day being as 1000 years and vice versa is a matter of perspective, just as the awareness of the passage of time can be relative among humans. Why do you think God would be any different?

    You are making an argument from silence based on an assumption you are reading into the passages.


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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post
    [LIST=1]One day being as 1000 years and vice versa is a matter of perspective, just as the awareness of the passage of time can be relative among humans. Why do you think God would be any different?
    Why would I think that "time" is different with God that it is woith man?

    Well, as I said, we see a speeding up of time concurrent with a slowing down of time here:

    "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet.3:8).

    If you think that can be said of man then give your evidence.

    It is evident that God is not constrained by time as we so therefore there is no "before" or "after" with God. And with that in mind we can know that His knowledge about all things is not limited in any way. He sees the everything, including the past, present and the future at one glance:

    "Much of the difficulty in regard to the doctrine of Predestination is due to the finite character of our mind, which can grasp only a few details at a time, and which understands only a part of the relations between these. We are creatures of time, and often fail to take into consideration the fact that God is not limited as we are. That which appears to us as 'past,' 'present,' and 'future,' is all 'present' to His mind. It is an eternal 'now'...Just as He sees at one glance a road leading from New York to San Francisco, while we see only a small portion of it as we pass over it, so He sees all events in history, past, present, and future at one glance" (Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination [Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1932]).

    John Wesley also teaches the same:

    "For, if we speak properly, there is no such thing as either foreknowledge or afterknowledge in God. All time, or rather all eternity, (for the children of men,) being present to him at once, he does not know one thing in one point of view from everlasting to everlasting. As all time, with everything that exists therein, is present with him at once, so he sees at once, whatever was is, or will be, to the end of time" (John Wesley, Sermons on Several Occasions, 1771, Second Series, "On Predestination," Sermon #58; Christian Classics Ethereal Library).

    You are making an argument from silence based on an assumption you are reading into the passages.
    Your whole argument is based on the idea that God is bound by time. You try to limit the power of God just as do the Open Theists. But you evidently do not even realize that what I have shown proves that the future is indeed open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Why would I think that "time" is different with God that it is woith man?

    Well, as I said, we see a speeding up of time concurrent with a slowing down of time here:
    "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Pet.3:8).
    If you think that can be said of man then give your evidence.

    It is evident that God is not constrained by time as we so therefore there is no "before" or "after" with God. And with that in mind we can know that His knowledge about all things is not limited in any way. He sees the everything, including the past, present and the future at one glance:
    "Much of the difficulty in regard to the doctrine of Predestination is due to the finite character of our mind, which can grasp only a few details at a time, and which understands only a part of the relations between these. We are creatures of time, and often fail to take into consideration the fact that God is not limited as we are. That which appears to us as 'past,' 'present,' and 'future,' is all 'present' to His mind. It is an eternal 'now'...Just as He sees at one glance a road leading from New York to San Francisco, while we see only a small portion of it as we pass over it, so He sees all events in history, past, present, and future at one glance" (Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination [Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1932]).
    John Wesley also teaches the same:
    "For, if we speak properly, there is no such thing as either foreknowledge or afterknowledge in God. All time, or rather all eternity, (for the children of men,) being present to him at once, he does not know one thing in one point of view from everlasting to everlasting. As all time, with everything that exists therein, is present with him at once, so he sees at once, whatever was is, or will be, to the end of time" (John Wesley, Sermons on Several Occasions, 1771, Second Series, "On Predestination," Sermon #58; Christian Classics Ethereal Library).

    Your whole argument is based on the idea that God is bound by time. You try to limit the power of God just as do the Open Theists. But you evidently do not even realize that what I have shown proves that the future is indeed open.


    No, my argument is that time is a byproduct of the existence of God, and therefore it is not a thing which one can be inside, or outside of. It just is. It is bound by the extant.

    The passage you provided does not show time speeding up, or slowing down; it shows that God is so above it all that the notice of the passage of time is irrelevant to Him in that His experience of it is relative to His magnitude.

    It is not that sometimes one day sometimes last as though it were 1000 years, or vice versa, but that each feels no different to Him than the other, as He is the Alpha and Omega.

    I am basing this upon the text alone. You are making your argument based on things others have said after being influenced by a man, Augustine, who openly admitted that he translated the Scripture in light of pagan philosophical teachings, aka "the classics."


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    Patron Saint of SMACK Delmar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post



    Your whole argument is based on the idea that God is bound by time. You try to limit the power of God just as do the Open Theists. But you evidently do not even realize that what I have shown proves that the future is indeed open.
    Jerry
    If I make the statement that God is real, and not fictitious in any way, would you say that I am limiting God by claiming He is bound by reality?

    If God actually does one thing, and then another, and then another, it does not mean that He is bound by anything but reality.

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delmar View Post
    Jerry
    If I make the statement that God is real, and not fictitious in any way, would you say that I am limiting God by claiming He is bound by reality?
    I have already quoted a verse which demonstrates that God is not bound by time.

    It is easy to understand why you would make the assumption that "time" cannot be divorced from "reality." But just because "time" is a law of our being does not necessarily mean that it is a law of God's being.

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post
    No, my argument is that time is a byproduct of the existence of God, and therefore it is not a thing which one can be inside, or outside of. It just is. It is bound by the extant.
    You failed to give any evidence that supports that idea. Please consider the following words of Sir Robert Anderson:

    "One of the most popular systems of metaphysics is based upon the fact that certain of our ideas seem to spring from the essential constitution of the mind itself ; and these are not subject to our reason, but, on the contrary, they control it. A superficial thinker might suppose the powers of human imagination to be boundless. He can imagine the sun and moon and stars to disappear from the heavens, and the peopled earth to vanish from beneath his feet, leaving him a solitary unit in boundless space ; but let him try, pursuing still further his madman's dream, to grasp the thought of space itself being annihilated, and his mind, in obedience to some inexorable law, will refuse the conception altogether. Or, to take an illustration apter for my present purpose, wild fancy may thus change the universe into a blank, but, though there should remain no shadow and no dial, no sequence of events, the mind is utterly incapable of imagining how time could cease to flow. And the practical conclusion we arrive at is that our idea of "past, present, and future," like that of space, is not derived from experience, but depends upon a law imposed upon our reason by the God who made us" (Anderson, The Gospel and Its Ministry [Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishing, 1978], 77).

    That idea is supported by what is said about Albert Einstein here:

    "Surprising as it may be to most non-scientists and even to some scientists, Albert Einstein concluded in his later years that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously...His most descriptive testimony to this faith came when his lifelong friend Besso died. Einstein wrote a letter to Besso's family, saying that although Besso had preceded him in death it was of no consequence, '...for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one."


    In the created universe as well as in the eternal state there is no such thing as "time" but instead it is but a "law imposed upon our reason by the God who made us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    I have already quoted a verse which demonstrates that God is not bound by time.
    No you didn't. You quoted a verse that shows how God relates to the passage of time.

    Just like today I went into work 45 minutes early. It seemed to take twice that as I waited to punch the clock. Yet once I was in and got busy two and a half hours had passed before I even thought about it. When I looked at the time I was surprised as I thought it had been maybe a little over an hour.

    It is easy to understand why you would make the assumption that "time" cannot be divorced from "reality." But just because "time" is a law of our being does not necessarily mean that it is a law of God's being.
    Irrational

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    You failed to give any evidence that supports that idea. Please consider the following words of Sir Robert Anderson:
    "One of the most popular systems of metaphysics is based upon the fact that certain of our ideas seem to spring from the essential constitution of the mind itself ; and these are not subject to our reason, but, on the contrary, they control it. A superficial thinker might suppose the powers of human imagination to be boundless. He can imagine the sun and moon and stars to disappear from the heavens, and the peopled earth to vanish from beneath his feet, leaving him a solitary unit in boundless space ; but let him try, pursuing still further his madman's dream, to grasp the thought of space itself being annihilated, and his mind, in obedience to some inexorable law, will refuse the conception altogether. Or, to take an illustration apter for my present purpose, wild fancy may thus change the universe into a blank, but, though there should remain no shadow and no dial, no sequence of events, the mind is utterly incapable of imagining how time could cease to flow. And the practical conclusion we arrive at is that our idea of "past, present, and future," like that of space, is not derived from experience, but depends upon a law imposed upon our reason by the God who made us" (Anderson, The Gospel and Its Ministry [Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishing, 1978], 77).
    That idea is supported by what is said about Albert Einstein here:
    "Surprising as it may be to most non-scientists and even to some scientists, Albert Einstein concluded in his later years that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously...His most descriptive testimony to this faith came when his lifelong friend Besso died. Einstein wrote a letter to Besso's family, saying that although Besso had preceded him in death it was of no consequence, '...for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one."
    In the created universe as well as in the eternal state there is no such thing as "time" but instead it is but a "law imposed upon our reason by the God who made us.
    Does God live? Does He move? Does He act? Are His actions sequential? Does God do as Delmar described and perform one act, and then another, and then yet another?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Is the Future Open?
    to us?

    sure


    to God?


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    Over 1500 post club Vaquero45's Avatar
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    2 Peter 3:8 - But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    God is patient, not slow. Doesn't say anything about being outside of time.

    Psalm 90:4 - For a thousand years in Your sight
    Are like yesterday when it passes by,
    Or as a watch in the night.

    The thousand years really happened, not a big deal to God. Why read more into it?
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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post
    No you didn't. You quoted a verse that shows how God relates to the passage of time.
    The verse I quoted demonstrates that God is not bound by time, as we are. After all, would we not be foolish to say that a day with us is as a thousand years but concurrent to that a thousand years with us is as one day?

    Irrational
    No, it is not irrational but instead according to Scriptures:

    "He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time" (2 Tim. 1:9).

    This shows God existing in the eternal state, before the beginning of time. You have not yet even provided one verse which demonstates that the Lord has always existed concurrent with "time."

    Here is another verse that demonstates that God's exists outside of time:

    "in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time" (Titus 1:2).
    Last edited by Jerry Shugart; December 30th, 2016 at 05:30 PM.

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaquero45 View Post
    2 Peter 3:8 - But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    God is patient, not slow. Doesn't say anything about being outside of time.
    Peter is only relating the things of God according to man's view. And that is in regard to the fact that "time" is the law of our being.

    The thousand years really happened, not a big deal to God. Why read more into it?
    Because there is more. Before "time" became a part of our experience God existed:

    "He has saved us and called us to a holy lifeónot because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time" (2 Tim. 1:9).

    "in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time" (Titus 1:2).

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    Over 1500 post club Vaquero45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    The verse I quoted demonstrates that God is not bound by time, as we are. After all, would we not be foolish to say that a day with us is as a thousand years but concurrent to that a thousand years with us is as one day?



    No, it is not irrational but instead according to Scriptures:

    "He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time" (2 Tim. 1:9).

    This shows God existing in the eternal state, before the beginning of time. You have not yet even provided one verse which demonstates that the Lord has always existed concurrent with "time."

    Here is another verse that demonstates that God's exists outside of time:

    "in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time" (Titus 1:2).
    How long before the beginning of time? There is no "before the beginning of time". So it must mean before the beginning of measurement/creation? Or maybe some infinite "instant" at the beginning of time? It doesn't compute. We can throw around ideas like God exists outside of time, but there is no rational understanding of what that means, is there? Straight question, I need someone who claims to understand it to draw me a picture of "outside of time". If God did two things "before the beginning of time" and someone was observing with a stop-watch, what would happen? I really don't get this idea. Maybe He can fast forward and slow down or even stop the universe/"time(?)", but still... time.
    Last edited by Vaquero45; February 24th, 2014 at 08:03 PM. Reason: edited a bit for clarity lol
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