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Open View theism and Romans 8:28

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  • #16
    Originally posted by chickenman View Post
    Good morning, Angel.

    My point, which I didn't express too well, is that many will point to this passage to support individual predestination and they'll criticize others who do not take it literally. But if those people are right in their general view, then God foreknew everyone who has and will ever live. So if they were TRULY taking the passage literally, they would have to conclude that God predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies everyone who has and will ever live.

    I didn't express my full thought too well before. And I didn't have you in mind when writing it, just so you know. I only wanted to point out an observation I've made.

    To answer your question, if the Open View is wrong, then I suppose it could be talking about individual believers instead of the corporate body. If that's the case, there would need to be something to help us read it that way.

    We naturally talk in corporate terms, though, which is why it reads easily that way to me. An example I've often used is a friend of mine named Rebekah. After she and her husband had their first child - Haley - and began homeschooling her, she told us: "I knew before Damon and I were married that Haley would be homeschooled.". If this were written in the Bible and spoken by God, then many people today would conclude:
    1) God knew all about Haley long before she was ever conceived
    2) God predestined this individual little girl to be homeschooled

    But when Rebekah spoke those words, there was not a dilemma about what she meant. No one would ever hear that and assume Rebekah was a god with special foreknowledge of details of the future. No, the truth that no one would ever argue is this: a condition of their marriage was that any kids they would have would be homeschooled. Upon making that agreement, they both knew that any and all future kids of theirs would be homeschooled. Years later, it was a natural thing to say: "I knew long before she was born that Haley would be homeschooled."

    We talk that way. It's normal and understood in real life. But for some reason, we (generally as Christians) don't allow Paul or others to write/speak that way.

    I get too wordy. I should have just said, "Maybe.".

    RA
    Hi chickenman Thank you for your response. I think the passage talks about believers in general, and also as individuals.

    What i mean is that its corporate as referring to believers (not all people) and letting us know that as individual believers, He equips us to His glory.

    The passage is clear to me that its for believers (not all people) because of this part:

    28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

    God in my view having foreknowledge of the choices we will make and that others around us will make, works things together for His purpose (glorification) and making believers of others.

    Its difficult for me to imagine how God could do that without the advance knowledge of the will and intents of others, and i do not see an issue with God being all knowing/seeing and us also having free will.

    In my mind, Him knowing doesn't affect my choosing because *I* do not know the future and can clearly see from life itself that we have a will.

    I agree with you that Calvinism for example criticizes any other understanding of foreknowledge and predestination because in their view, God alone chooses who gets salvation, and i do not agree with that either - as i believe that God offers us all salvation - but all will not receive it - and that we have free will.

    I believe predestination and foreknowledge only means that He knows what we will choose, whether or not we will receive His offer of salvation and as such works things to His glory for those He knows are His.

    Both a corporate and individual thing, and also explains Ephesians 1:4, meaning like the plan of redemption known before the foundation of the world, requires His foreknowledge that man would fall, which means He can see ahead and plans ahead, knowing (not just making come to pass) the end from the beginning.

    I hope that explains my view.
    sigpic

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Angel4Truth View Post
      I hope that explains my view.
      It does. Thanks!
      Funny how threads morph.


      For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." ~ Paul


      "You should never wave to someone you don't know. What if he doesn't have a hand? Then he'll just think you're being cocky!" ~Mitch Hedberg

      __.._

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Angel4Truth View Post
        How do open theists interpret what is meant by the terms foreknowledge and predestination and predestined in scripture?
        I oftentimes fall into thinking in concrete mathematical terms. God knew X would cause Y, and Y would cause Z, etc. At some point, we become less a product of our own doing, and more-so a product of fate & predetermined variables.

        Can we, fallen creatures, really chose every possible course? Not really. For instance, and forgive my stabbing guesswork here, let's think of family - You and I could never become the same person unless we experienced the same environments.

        I never had a real human father, yet I had three younger sisters. This emboldened me to mature more rapidly as a person and take an active interest in my younger siblings. Furthermore, it changed my outlook on women, of male authority, etc. I could not have possibly altered these conditions, yet these conditions served as variables which altered the end product: me.

        In the end, God, being Infinite Wisdom, could see clearly since the fall of man who would become what & when, since the fallen nature of man is easily predictable. For this reason, I think it is unthinkable that God would destroy humans before they had an equal opportunity to share in a relationship with Him - in the same way Adam and Eve did. (I believe all humans will attain salvation, though perhaps not all will desire to remain in it)

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Knight View Post
          Those He foreknew are the Body of Christ. Corporately not individually. It's really no different than God's elect (I.e. Israel). God's chosen people are Israel. Not individual people, but corporate Israel. And isn't it interesting that most of God's chosen people rejected Him and ended up in Hell? Why would that be if God chose individuals as opposed to corporate Israel?

          Therefore in Romans those who He foreknew and predestined is a description of the corporate Body of Christ.

          One final and tortured example would be as follows....

          If United Airlines stated... "Anyone who shows up at the United Airlines ticket gate tomorrow between 1PM and 3PM will get a free airplane ticket to anywhere in the continental US."

          United Airlines has in effect predestined that anyone who shows up in that time frame will get the free ticket. They don't know who the individuals will be but they know that at the end of the day there will be a group of people with free airline tickets.

          Corporate vs. individual election.

          Well said

          Comment


          • #20
            Explained my interpretation of these verses here if interested.


            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Angel4Truth View Post
              Thanks, I understand that in the context of that verse, but it still leaves this question:

              How do open theists interpret what is meant by the terms foreknowledge and predestination and predestined in scripture?
              Foreknowledge – to know something beforehand or, in some cases in Scripture, to envision oneself in a relationship with someone beforehand

              Predestination, predestined – to determine one’s destiny beforehand

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Angel4Truth View Post
                For the sake of the argument concerning predestination and the thread, how do open theists interpret this passage that states being foreknown and states predestined:

                Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

                How does open theism defined what is meant by foreknowledge and predestination?
                Romans 11:2: “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” It really doesn’t make sense that the word “foreknew” means “knew about beforehand” because God knows about every nation beforehand. So, I take the word as meaning “to envision oneself in a relationship beforehand.” Before the conception of Israel, God envisioned Himself in a relationship with them. I take the word “foreknew” in Romans 8 in a similar fashion. Before the conception of the Body of Christ, God envisioned Himself in a relationship with them. And this body with whom He envisioned Himself in a relationship, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. All within the body of Christ are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. All within the body are called, justified and glorified.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Angel4Truth View Post
                  how do open theists interpret this passage that states being foreknown and states predestined:

                  Romans 8:28
                  Let me do this verse by verse in context. I'll give my translation followed by my interpretation.

                  8.24 For we are living in anticipation: but what is actual is not anticipated, for who ever anticipates what he can already see?

                  In this verse, any idea that Paul teaches exhaustive predestination can surely put to rest. The rhetorical question rules this out. The idea of living in anticipation is important for all that we do as Christians. There are some who say that God has achieved all that he intended to in creation when he set up the church. The idea is that God is in the church and the church is therefore the source of all healing and light and wisdom and spiritual power on Earth. This is partly correct and there is no doubt that many Christians don’t recognise the church as the victorious New Jerusalem. They only see this New Jerusalem vision as a future hope and therefore often fail to live up to the glorious purpose God has for the church. However, the church in its present situation is not the final purpose of God. It happens to have been the final vision in the book of Revelation but it is simply an expression of the fact that history is where God wants it to be for now.
                  Total Misanthropy.
                  Uncertain salvation.
                  Luck of the draw.
                  Irresistible damnation.
                  Persecution of the saints.

                  Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
                  (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

                  RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
                  Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
                  Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    8.25 But if we have an expectation of something that we cannot see, then our longing involves perseverance.



                    Thus, if everything that God intended had been fulfilled, there would be no perseverance, no sense of purpose in our actions. And again, it seems utterly impossible to attribute to Paul a belief in predestination as this verse would be entirely meaningless if he did.

                    Total Misanthropy.
                    Uncertain salvation.
                    Luck of the draw.
                    Irresistible damnation.
                    Persecution of the saints.

                    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
                    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

                    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
                    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
                    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      8.26 In the same way, the spirit supports us in our weakness. For we don’t know what to pray as we ought to but this same spirit intercedes with wordless sighs.



                      This refers all the way back to verses 15-17. Thus the spirit not only reassures us of our sonship but also helps us when we are weak. There is an implied connection with the perseverance in the previous verse. When we do not see the thing we live in expectation of, there is a certain loss of comfort, a certain living in the dark. We want to pray that God’s purposes will be achieved but are less than certain as to what they are. It is natural that we want to pray for their fulfillment but we are not sure what to pray. It is in this kind of circumstance that our perseverance will be tested and it is exactly here that the spirit comes to our aid. Notice that the spirit’s help and correspondingly human weakness is characterized as lack of knowledge not lack of power. The same principle is implied in James 1:1-5. Note that these verses do not amount to a statement that if we pray in tongues then that means that the spirit is interceding on our behalf (though this view has been popular in charismatic circles and supported by some academics). If that was what Paul meant then we really need more evidence for it. It does not mean either that we will necessarily know what or when the spirit is praying. Indeed it is only from a close look at the following verses in their context, that we could suggest that such intercession is on an individual basis. All we know is that if we don’t know what to pray, there is nothing to worry about. By the way, the text clearly says “what to pray” not “how to pray” as with some translations.
                      Total Misanthropy.
                      Uncertain salvation.
                      Luck of the draw.
                      Irresistible damnation.
                      Persecution of the saints.

                      Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
                      (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

                      RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
                      Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
                      Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        8.27 The one who discerns hearts knows what the intention of the spirit is, because the spirit is interceding according to the will of God on behalf of the saints.



                        “Because” could also be translated “that”. In other words, God knows that the spirit is praying for the saints. I don’t think so. But either way, there is an interesting perspective on the nature of God. The very need to call upon what is known of God to assure us that God knows what is in the Spirit’s mind seems counter-intuitive at first. What Paul appears to be saying is that God doesn’t need to know the specifics of the spirit’s prayer. He needs only know that the spirit is praying according to God’s will for the saints. Whilst this is counter-intuitive for us who have been brought up on the doctrine of the trinity, it was not so for Paul and would not have been so for Paul’s immediate readers, this is important for an understanding of the next verse.
                        Total Misanthropy.
                        Uncertain salvation.
                        Luck of the draw.
                        Irresistible damnation.
                        Persecution of the saints.

                        Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
                        (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

                        RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
                        Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
                        Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          8.28 But we know that to those who love God, everything works together to achieve good, for they are living as those called for a purpose.

                          Firstly, the translation issues: the Greek is quite ambiguous in that the words could equally mean “God works everything together for good”. However, my translation is really the more natural of the two possibilities. I won’t explain that further because you would need to know Greek. But whichever way you look at it, it doesn’t mean that there is some mysterious property of the universe dictating that believers should be favoured with all things good.

                          The other translation issue is the relation of the final part of the verse to the first two phrases. Translations which insert the final phrase into the first phrase thus:
                          “But we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his purpose…”
                          are obviously missing the point. Paul could have put them in that order if he had wanted. The purpose of the final phrase being separate is to explain why the first phrases are true. In other words, it is precisely because we are people of purpose that 'everything' works together for good. This will contrast with those who do not have purpose in life and for these almost everything that can happen works against them.

                          Also, there is no possessive here. It is not ‘according to his purpose’ as many translations state. Such translations might be trying to read a doctrine of predestination into the text by making out that God has a fixed purpose which is unique for every individual. There is nothing of the sort here. This is expained fully by Paul on the next verses.

                          Secondly, on the meaning of everything or all things. In common usage the words ‘all or ‘every’ and similar words don’t mean absolutely everything. When we sit down to a meal in the family and there are only two of us instead of the normal six and one asks “Where is everybody?” they don’t expect the answer “Mostly on the planet but a few in the Space Station”. Vast amounts of communication rely on context. Here is an example “It’s raining.” This statement is almost certainly true because somewhere in the world it is bound to be raining. But if it is raining in some other country, this doesn’t add to the understanding. What we mean is that it is raining in the vicinity of where the speaker is such that either the speaker or the hearer might be affected by the rain.

                          I digress. I don’t believe Paul is making an absolute statement here. He means everything in the present context. And that means everything that God does. This is why the final phrase is important. Thus, there is nothing fundamentally random or arbitrary about the life of a believer. All that God does, he does with a purpose. We are called to purpose by a purposeful God and that purpose is a good purpose. This also explains the previous verse; the spirit comes to our aid and because everything works together for good to those who love God, God knows that the spirit would be praying for the saints according to God’s will.
                          Total Misanthropy.
                          Uncertain salvation.
                          Luck of the draw.
                          Irresistible damnation.
                          Persecution of the saints.

                          Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
                          (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

                          RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
                          Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
                          Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I believe He literally does work it together that way, based on the knowledge of our choices.
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              8.29 For it was his purpose to know us and it was his purpose that those he would know should be changed to be like his son, such that his son would be the first of many brothers.



                              The idea of the purpose to which we are called is now expanded on in a fittingly poetic culmination to a somewhat poetic section.


                              It was always God’s plan to create a family of faith in Christ. Who the individual members of that family are, by definition depend on our faith. The point being made here and in the next verse is we are called according to purpose. God didn’t just stop at the point when we became believers. His idea was for a whole new life of purpose, namely living like his son Jesus. Jesus is the model, the pattern which is at the core of God’s purpose for us. There is nothing inconsistent in being saved by faith and being saved through the purpose of God. Indeed, there wouldn’t be much point in having faith at all if it were only to then live a life of random acts and ideals.
                              The Greek word for purpose in the previous verse can be broken down into two parts: before and -ness. Hence before-ness. In other words planned-ness. The same prefix also prefixes the operative verbs in this verse and the next. There can be no doubt that Paul is deliberately playing on the words here, hence my translation clearly links the notions of purpose in the two verses.
                              However, the idea of predestination is in direct conflict with that of having purpose because purpose only makes sense in a world which is open to the future. There is an obvious albeit implicit comparison here with those who do not have such purpose: in an open world, those who have no purpose are lost because the future is meaningless. Not just the future but all their lives. Having purpose is how we make sense of a world which is open. We make sense of objects by ordering them and describing their significant characteristics, whilst we make sense of time by having purpose. We live and move from one aim to the next and we continually make plans - we anticipate, as Paul states earlier. Being a Christian - having faith in Christ - means that we become part of the purposes of God himself such that no part of our lives is random. We are fully redeemed and can live as completely satisfied people.

                              Total Misanthropy.
                              Uncertain salvation.
                              Luck of the draw.
                              Irresistible damnation.
                              Persecution of the saints.

                              Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
                              (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

                              RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
                              Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
                              Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                8.30 Those for whom he purposed this, he also called; those he called, he also acquitted and those he acquitted, he also glorified.


                                And of course, part of that purpose was to be liberated from sin and guilt and to share in the glory of Christ. The notion of being called also refers back to verse 28. We are called for a purpose. We don’t just turn up. Purpose doesn’t arise out of nothing. And God didn’t call us and then decide what to do with us. He decided before hand what to do with us and then called us. Of course we don’t have to turn up at all but if we do, it is always because God first called us.
                                Total Misanthropy.
                                Uncertain salvation.
                                Luck of the draw.
                                Irresistible damnation.
                                Persecution of the saints.

                                Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
                                (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

                                RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
                                Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
                                Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

                                Comment

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