Theology Club: Does Open Theism Question/dispute the Omniscience of God

Stripe

Teenage Adaptive Ninja Turtle
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Yeah, that's why I in th' Witness Protection Program.

You too? :shocked:

Got the T-shirt?

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Lon

Well-known member
If you persist in applying an absurdly strict literal interpretation then God is the author of ALL evil, for no EVIL could be done without God doing it.

God as the source of ALL THINGS is part of the equation of evil. Willingly? :nono: I disagree strongly with those who believe so or accuse so.

Don't mistake this: BOTH sides have an absurdity AND a serious problem with logical conclusion. In the Calvinist position, God is seen as author/responsible for sin by others and a few/some Calvinists themselves. In Open Theism, however, God is seen as NOT in control of the universe and thus not really God, but a man-contrived man-conceived being little better than man and inept to stop sin from happening.

Neither of these are acceptable scenarios HOWEVER we both simply must contemplate the problem with our own respective theology position.
After that, I think it is important for you and I to understand why we prefer the one over the other. Is it better that God is inept? Or that God is the author of evil? Imho, the answer is somewhere else: Genesis 3:15 We can ask all kinds of questions after that that trouble our theology, but for me, those are left 1) with me trusting and 2) No immediate answer after long long contemplation and wrestling. I've seen (and had at one time) answers myself. I've found rather that for me, the answer is 1) Trust and 2) Wait. There is no immediate answer that isn't or doesn't seem contrived to me. I appreciate the cocky theologian as I've been one in the past (still am but working on it). They are confident and I appreciate it. Romans 14:5

Lord, I offer this up for conversation I pray honors you and is pleasing between us in your sight. Amen

-Lon
 

glorydaz

New member
In Open Theism, however, God is seen as NOT in control of the universe and thus not really God, but a man-contrived man-conceived being little better than man and inept to stop sin from happening.


-Lon

I don't think that's true, Lon. It's like the claim that those who believe in eternal security are in danger of wilfully sinning. It just doesn't compute.

Good to see you, btw. :wave:
 

Lon

Well-known member
I don't think that's true, Lon. It's like the claim that those who believe in eternal security are in danger of wilfully sinning. It just doesn't compute.

Good to see you, btw. :wave:

It is voluntary, but the problem is that it reduces God to 'us' to be relational. Certainly the Lord Jesus Christ became a man, but He was fully God. John 21:17 My point was "God is 'seen' as not in control" by volition. He gives it up according to Open Theism thus does not know and is at the mercy of creation unfolding. That said, they do believe God is the product of time (a physical property). They may not mean to have a God more like man than the rest of us, but that is what they describe and embrace and I do want to reflect those beliefs 1) accurately and 2) back to them for consideration. :e4e:

Good to see you too! Hope your holidays are blessed -Lon
 

Derf

Well-known member
Lon,
Our Thanksgiving was very nice, thank you. Food, family, friends, fun, and fellowship!

In some of your post, I think you are associating with me a different aspect of some open theists' remarks--that God doesn't know stuff. I'm proposing that God knows what will happen through normal circumstances (like the physical and chemical and biological laws He set up, as well as consequences for whatever behavior we exhibit) as well as what He plans to do. Hezekiah fits into one of the two scenarios, but I'm not presuming to know which (though I think the latter is in play).

Yes, but take it to its logical conclusion: He will reconcile all things to Himself and we will be "just like Him" 1 John 3:2.

A 'free' will isn't part of good theology discussion in light of such and such affections of our goals. Agreed?

Somewhat. The 'tautology' is about the difference as well as what we, His people want ourselves. We say, at least, that we want what He wants and that we desire to be like Him. Doesn't that make 'free' will discussion a tautology as well? Imho, a prescriptive will is incredibly less of a tautological consideration in such light and my Christian (Christ-seeking) affections, interests, and calling. "Nothing now remains, only what you do for Me..." (for any Keith Green fans). I'm trying to ascertain in my theology, which is the greater tautological problem. It seems to me, at present, that 'freewill' is the greater of these two. :think:
I'm getting the sense that we're still talking past each other in some of this. You keep bringing out the "free will is a good thing" vs "free will is a bad thing" question, and not dealing with what appears to be a fact--that free will exists. And what requires it to exist is that without some type of will that is opposed to God, God is the author of sin.

The fact that He reconciles anything, ever, is a recognition that some things are NOT reconciled to Him at some point in time. And that is impossible if ONLY His will is done. "Sin" is something that is in opposition to His will, and it requires another's will. I can see your point that such a will, being opposite to God's, is a bad thing--no question about that. But it certainly must be the case that such exists. That is NOT an admission that all free will is bad, just that the existence of "bad" is a proof of free will or God being two-faced.

It is still the goal of us, to be subsumed in Him 1 John 3:2 Not only that, I'm absolutely 100% convinced that John 15:5 means 'nothing.' It means that as much as we are loved and valued, it is that which is AND MUST BE God's that is loved in us. It is a 'subsumed' consideration. I'm worth nothing BUT for Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11-16ff

back to 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 'counts' means 'what doesn't burn up as worthless.'

Yes, but only that which is NOT burned remains and exists after that.

To me, after long thought, the ONLY thing that matters, even to you, here, about/concerning me, is what is God's. The rest? Forgettable. Only what reflection I have of Christ, and you to me, is of any worth and value. At least, that is what I'm reading from 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 and understanding.
Yes, but "nothing" is an equivocation, since "sin" is not what Christ wants in us. In John 15:5 Christ wasn't talking to EVERYBODY.

And again, the fact that there is something "forgettable" in God's creation suggests that other agents were at work. Unless you are saying God isn't glorifiable in everything he does.

This is a difficult concept, but for One who IS infinite, the idea of 'change' is already within 'infinite' though infinite has no bounds. For the most part, I chalk, all of these confusions to better and worse tentative grasps of finite people with minds that 'can' only reach finite ends to understanding and grasping the infinite. As such, impassible is about 'nature' rather than becoming flesh. Such is a finite concept already. "Change" debate, in my mind, is always more or less about the difference between coming at it with either a finite or infinite perspective. That is, the tension seems always to me, to be the difference between how God relates to man, verses Him being transcendent over man. Of course He is transcendent or we'd not have a God, just a glorified man, but this is part of that conversation because it is specifically about God 'becoming' a man. For me? My mind is too finite for such things but I at least try to show how large the finite conversation is.
And if His nature includes one type of change? This gets back to the didactic from Jer 18--God changes His plans for those who either repent of their evil or repent of their good.

To me, it necessarily has to be larger than your and my house put together. It has to be infinite and eternal, thus we only have this tiny grasp (as big as our tiny brains have capacity to grasp). But as far as I do understand love, love that is consistent (immutable) is the better 'because' it isn't ruined by interaction. What I mean is, if I have a pre-planned course of perfect action as a parent, it is wholly to be preferred than my just winging it. I'm saying that the "steadfast love of the Lord never ceases." We can count on it because it is, in fact, God. He is the definition of Love. You and I 'discover' love thus find it 'greater' in expression, but God is already vast in it. Paul prayed we'd grasp the 'height, depth, and width' of God's love then explains 'which is without (there is no height, depth, or width constraint) measure" in Ephesians. Thus, for me, a love that isn't full and already accessible is 'less-than' by potential. There are those who argue unless I 'choose' love, it isn't real love. I disagree with that. Real love was defined way before I ever got to be a parent and RATHER I discover it and then express it. The better I am at expressing those already-set-in-place prerequisites, the better I actually love. I also argue that Adam and Eve loved before the Fall and DIDN'T adequately afterwards. The presence of 'free' will actually destroyed the purity and proper expression of love.


To me? The finite trying (necessarily without much success by virtue of what it is trying to grasp .(Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I offered this to a coworker by way of explanation:
Imagine creating little robots whom you programmed to say "I love you" to you every few seconds. Whatever else they were doing (which you also programmed them to do), they would stop and face you every few seconds and say "I love you." Would you feel loved by such?

Maybe I've shared that with you before, but my coworker didn't think it was "love". He thought it was creepy. There needs to be some level of agency in love or worship.



I think this is not seeing my meaning. I'm saying without Christ 'having done something and been something' then there is no 'object' for there to be belief. Now certainly those who do not believe have their own fodder, but I'm saying that Christ did everything to 'cause' our belief. He is the object of it. There is no belief without Christ. He gave it to us. That is why I say belief is the 'product' of all He did.
Of course if Christ didn't exist, didn't come to earth, didn't live and work and eat and sleep, didn't die, didn't rise again, there would be nothing to believe in. If that's "causing" our belief, then you have a funny definition of the word "cause". And that's my point--He caused that same thing for everybody in the world, if He did it for us. If you mean something else, then it's not just what He did as recorded in the gospels, but something else. And if it's something else than what is given us in the gospel (equivocation alert, but warranted, I think), is it another gospel??



No, that's not true. Rather it is 'what you took away from this conversation' that makes something true or false. Conversation is not over until God is done talking. This is a hard concept, but If I say 'Red really isn't a color' you could call me a liar. The problem is communication hasn't happened to prove otherwise, but 'red' is the reflection of light where other light is absorbed. In a way, you'd be right to correct me, but at the same time, it'd be wrong to call me a liar. The more important part of our communication is whether we understand one another in such a conversation AND what we have to do to figure out something further. In Hezekiah's case, imho, it is wrong to see 'lie' as the only option when we are trying to understand something of a greater perspective. God did not communicate a mistruth. It is, as far as my mind grasps, no different than saying 'the pot is going to boil over.' I knew, even without knowing the future, that the pot wasn't going to boil over. Moreover? You'd have no mind whatsoever to call me a liar over the fact NOR to say I miscommunicated. You get what I was saying EVEN THOUGH you too knew the pot wasn't going to boil over. Someone very pedantic might accuse me of lying. They will be 'right' in their own mind and neither you nor I can convince them otherwise. I was NOT lying in my conveyance. At least you and I know that I wasn't being a liar :(



The point being that you might read "you are going to die" as prophetic, whereas I read it as 'this follows this.' In other words, it wasn't 'you are going to die, and I'm going to make sure you've no way out of this' or "I'm making this happen and will not change my mind" but "You aren't going to recover from this illness at this point, you are going to die from it." Just like if I said, "the pot is going to boil over" I'm not, in fact, a liar if the pot doesn't boil over because that was NOT my intended message. I read it as a forecast.


Just like above, it is rather wrestling and saying "Am I CERTAIN I am reading this with the correct understanding the first time?"

That cannot be a bad thing, nor can it be but a service to nonCalvinists alike. 2 Timothy 2:15 I'm not saying we need to entertain every corrupt theology out there, but I do think Calvinist/Arminian and other, are within God-pleasing conversations. At least this is my estimation.

Then, if you are correct, there is no option BUT that I lied to my wife when I said "the pot is going to boil over." :( (I'm sorry, but I have to disagree this is the only option, because I 'could' even accuse the Open Theist of the same manufactured lie). To me, it is just poor inductive bible study method. I just think those who come up with this need to contemplate the scriptures longer and come up with the 'right' answer because it doesn't matter if one is Calvinist or Open Theist, or etc. It is simply wrong, from ANY angle, to see this as a lie, imho.

But this is my accusation: I often think these 'simple' scripture applications are wrong. They/these don't seem to apprehend algebraic expressions and seem to miss them in their theology contemplations. God DID tell Hezekiah He was going to die. Hezekiah DIDN'T die. It doesn't matter how you got there, you aren't better off than a Calvinist for getting there. To me, the best solution is that this was not a black and white. It wouldn't matter if the Open Theist were correct, that God "didn't" know, it still amounts, with that equation, to nothing but God lying. Ignorance is not an excuse nor a good debating position. "...then God lied..." is but (for me) a wrong-headed accusation that is putting theology and bible study together incorrectly. NOBODY believes 'the pot is going to boil over' is a lie BUT the simple child. They need 1) to grow and 2) better instruction. That's the correct answer. Until they get to that point of ability, they will suffer their own ignorance. For you and I, the challenge is to put correct thoughts together and discard what doesn't fit. "God lied" doesn't fit and we both know it. We just have to do our best to explain why. To the best of my knowledge, "the pot is going to boil over" is the best answer to the dilemma.
I think your last statement should be applied to the pot boiling over scenario. "To the best of my knowledge, the pot is going to boil over." You have no idea what other things might happen, like the electricity goes out, or a breeze puffs out the flame, or your child trips and falls and accidentally knocks the pot off the stove before it boils over. This is the very nature of the divide between your understanding of "all knowing" and "not all knowing". You CAN'T apply your limited knowledge to a scenario like Hezekiah's (or the pot) without admitting that God might not know what Hezekiah is going to do ahead of time. And as soon as you do, you call on open theism (or contingent foreknowledge, if you like the term better) to answer the mail. Then you denigrate it for not acknowledging God's omnipotence.

The "lie" part is the obvious conclusion when one actually deals with your version of omnipotence--without the sly reliance on open theism.




I may not have described it as adequately as I hope I have now been....

"Hezekiah (whatever value), you have "x" illness and will die (the equal). The problem is ONLY true given these scenarios. As soon as any one of them changes, the equation does as well. All God gave, imho, is the equation of death. There is therefore no lie (neither necessary in either the Open Theist or Calvinist position). The 'equation' He gave is true. What changed? The outcome? :nono: RATHER the outcome of a 'different' equation: "Hezekiah prays (new equation), sickness(removed component) is no longer part of this new equation, therefore there is no lie, even though Hezekiah is indeed part of both.


Again, scenario one with equation was TOTALLY true. Just because ANOTHER equation with a different solution is given, does not negate or cause the previous to be untrue. It was/is STILL true that with that disease, Hezekiah WOULD have died and wouldn't have recovered.
It wasn't true in the settled theism universe. It was NEVER true that Hezekiah would die of His illness. How can you even suggest that it was? God knew exactly what Hezekiah would do in calling out to Him. And He knew exactly what He would do in response. And He ALWAYS knew. There is no variable in the equation when God's foreknowledge is exhaustive. The best you can say is that God used a little white lie to get Hezekiah to cry out to Him.


It applies to ALL theologies, not just the Calvinist perspective. Hopefully, as you've had these conversations, you've come to realize no theology perspective ever avoids these accusations. They rather tend to be questions 'put-off' rather than adequately or sufficiently answered by the other theology camp. Case in point:


In EITHER camp. NO theology perspective escapes. Simply saying "God didn't know" rather says "God lied out of ignorance" instead of exhaustive foreknowledge. To me? No help. You might as well avoid Open Theism if all it does for you is makes God 'inept' as well as a liar. See what I mean? It is RATHER important to wrestle with the text together as iron sharpens iron, imho. It helps BOTH Calvinists and Open Theists to discuss the exact same problem/accusation that is NOT avoided by the other, despite the attempt.
I disagree. The reason you think open theism doesn't escape the dilemma is because you see it through a settled-theist-who-relies-on-open-theism's eyes. The escape is exactly what you have proposed, but settled theism doesn't allow for it. That's why I say you're a closet open theist. In open theism, there is no conflict in this story. At one point Hezekiah was going to die of the disease. And God changed his future when he cried out to Him, so that at the next point he was NOT going to die of his disease. God was never saying anything that wasn't the case. That's why the urgency in turning Isaiah around so quickly--2 Kings 20:4.

Look, I'm not saying there are NO other explanations than open theism. What I'm saying is that open theism provides a decent explanation, one that is consistent with both God's character and the character of the whole bible where people interact with God, crying out to Him and having Him respond. And settled theism is NOT a decent explanation.

Yeah, but that doesn't give me any hope or confidence....
Maybe you are putting your hope and confidence in the wrong thing. Instead of putting your hope in the settledness of the future, put it in His power over the future--to change it as He sees fit.

I've been wrong enough and messed stuff up enough in the past to have absolutely no comfort from the Open Theist proposition. There is no "I'm glad God didn't make me do that!" I'd rather God stepped in and did it right as only He can. Rather, Romans 8:58 is a promise that even if I'm allowed to mess it up, God will make it right. That puts me right back into comfort and trust that God has a plan. A pre-plan and that I'm all caught up in it. The other? It seems an attempt to make man all-important in God's plans and I'm okay with it to the point of agreement that God loves us. At the same time, I don't want to get too caught up in myself. God is who counts. Our faith is self-abnegating.
This sounds very pious, but it doesn't discern truth, does it? I'll let you in on a little secret. man IS all-important in God's plan for man, as revealed in His Word. I don't make him so, but God sure did. More important than the comfort of His Son. More important than the life of His Son. And I'm certainly not saying God doesn't have a plan. But in dealing with people, whom He created to be able to go against His will should they so choose, He might have to achieve His plan in the face of those that are adamantly opposed to His achieving it. And I have no doubts that He can do so. He doesn't have to lock down all responses, behaviors, words, and deeds to only a subset He knows how to handle and set them all up to occur in His preferential order. He is fighting an enemy, and He will prevail.

I'll let you in on another secret: YOU are not all-important to God's plan. Neither am I. If we don't go along with it, then we get plan B, which is not very good.

Thank you too. I've prayed a bit and rewrote a few of these. I've appreciated your love for Christ and deference to me too. In Him -Lon
As I do yours to me.

God's blessings on you, Lon
Derf
 

Rosenritter

New member
God as the source of ALL THINGS is part of the equation of evil. Willingly? :nono: I disagree strongly with those who believe so or accuse so.

Don't mistake this: BOTH sides have an absurdity AND a serious problem with logical conclusion. In the Calvinist position, God is seen as author/responsible for sin by others and a few/some Calvinists themselves. In Open Theism, however, God is seen as NOT in control of the universe and thus not really God, but a man-contrived man-conceived being little better than man and inept to stop sin from happening.

The idea that "God is not really God if he created anyone with free will" is not a biblical concept nor a right conclusion.
 

Rosenritter

New member
It is voluntary, but the problem is that it reduces God to 'us' to be relational. Certainly the Lord Jesus Christ became a man, but He was fully God. John 21:17 My point was "God is 'seen' as not in control" by volition. He gives it up according to Open Theism thus does not know and is at the mercy of creation unfolding. That said, they do believe God is the product of time (a physical property). They may not mean to have a God more like man than the rest of us, but that is what they describe and embrace and I do want to reflect those beliefs 1) accurately and 2) back to them for consideration. :e4e:

Good to see you too! Hope your holidays are blessed -Lon

Your generalization doesn't hold up. Would you say that humans a product of distance, or that lightning is a product of speed? If not, then neither should you generalize as "God is a product of time" as the relation of time would only have meaning between events.
 

Lon

Well-known member
Lon,
... dealing with what appears to be a fact--that free will exists. And what requires it to exist is that without some type of will that is opposed to God, God is the author of sin.
Sort of. I'm saying that we are never not in bondage. We are either in bondage to God, or we are in bondage to something else. So, imo, it is never a 'free' will EXCEPT when one might suggest 'free' from God or 'free' from sin and death. The point for me: it is a trade-off of bondage as far as the will is concerned.
Genesis 3:1 is about the serpent introducing the 'other' will (free). It may be we are talking past one another yet, but I hope this helps.

The fact that He reconciles anything, ever, is a recognition that some things are NOT reconciled to Him at some point in time. And that is impossible if ONLY His will is done. "Sin" is something that is in opposition to His will, and it requires another's will. I can see your point that such a will, being opposite to God's, is a bad thing--no question about that. But it certainly must be the case that such exists. That is NOT an admission that all free will is bad, just that the existence of "bad" is a proof of free will or God being two-faced.
Again, in my estimation this doesn't require a 'free' will. A will in bondage is what Paul describes in Romans 7:11-25
To me, it doesn't sound like Paul is describing his will as 'free.' In fact, it he describes a frustration of not being able to exercise what he actually desires, so much so he cries "Who will save me from this!??"


Yes, but "nothing" is an equivocation, since "sin" is not what Christ wants in us. In John 15:5 Christ wasn't talking to EVERYBODY.

And again, the fact that there is something "forgettable" in God's creation suggests that other agents were at work. Unless you are saying God isn't glorifiable in everything he does.
As an outcome? Romans 8:58 This doesn't mean all is desirable.
We have to talk about what God desires (wills decretive) and what He allows (wills prescriptive).

And if His nature includes one type of change? This gets back to the didactic from Jer 18--God changes His plans for those who either repent of their evil or repent of their good.
It 'assumes' God was unaware of the final outcome' to suggest a 'change'. Your assumption is in the proof and thus it is only good for those who assume as you do. I do not. Change never happens like you are believing, in God. It is RATHER our circumstances. Think of it this way: A man meets an immovable rock, the man moves, the opposite direction as a result, not the rock. This is crudely, the largest difference between traditional theology and Open Theism. In Open Theism, the rock is seen as 'interactive' and 'relational' and thus 'moving.' It just isn't the right description for what is going on. Yes, Open Theism wants to make a 'caring' rock instead of an immovable one.

God IS relational but man does the changing. The full character of God is at stake and MUST be left untouched by anthropomorphic grasps and understandings. Why? Because they just don't do God justice. It is like saying "Yeah, but that rock felt me!" It is giving a little TOO much credit to the guy colliding with the rock. It was really forgettable.

Bringing it back to what we are talking about: God knows what is best. While He may allow something subpar to His will (sin), it is not His intervention that makes such happen. Hezekiah was going to die. WHY did God tell him that? Simply: So He'd repent. THEN when Hezekiah prays, God responds (and in my bible studied opinion) with what He wanted to happen BY intervening in the first place! Is that then a change? :nono: I realize the Open Theist is making "You will die and will not recover" the lynchpin, but as I said, a good many of this don't read it or interpret it the same.

I offered this to a coworker by way of explanation:
Imagine creating little robots whom you programmed to say "I love you" to you every few seconds. Whatever else they were doing (which you also programmed them to do), they would stop and face you every few seconds and say "I love you." Would you feel loved by such?
If they meant it? Yeah. Does 'independence' require love to exist? :nono: My dog 'loves' me because I take care of him. It IS a programmed response. He will respond to me according to 'my' interaction. We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Love isn't love because we chose it. Love is love because we have been loved.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Love isn't love because we chose it. Love is love because we have been loved. This is huge. I believe someone who doesn't grasp this is still caught in egocentrism for concepts of love (I am too, but we really have to grasp His love to love like Him). Love: committed to another's highest good.
Maybe I've shared that with you before, but my coworker didn't think it was "love". He thought it was creepy. There needs to be some level of agency in love or worship.
Is he a believer?
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Love isn't love because we chose it. Love is love because we have been loved. This is huge. I believe someone who doesn't grasp this is still caught in egocentrism for concepts of love (I am too, but we really have to grasp His love to love like Him). Love: committed to another's highest good.


Of course if Christ didn't exist, didn't come to earth, didn't live and work and eat and sleep, didn't die, didn't rise again, there would be nothing to believe in. If that's "causing" our belief, then you have a funny definition of the word "cause". And that's my point--He caused that same thing for everybody in the world, if He did it for us. If you mean something else, then it's not just what He did as recorded in the gospels, but something else. And if it's something else than what is given us in the gospel (equivocation alert, but warranted, I think), is it another gospel??
If it is funny/strange, I cannot help that. He caused my faith BY giving me what to believe in. Believe, imho, is always otherly unless you are talking about 'cognitive apprehension' instead (another definition of believe that is legitimate). When I use it, I'm talking about trusting and cognitively-holding-as-true that Christ died, was buried, and rose again. It is mine but it was given to me, wasn't it?


I think your last statement should be applied to the pot boiling over scenario. "To the best of my knowledge, the pot is going to boil over." You have no idea what other things might happen, like the electricity goes out, or a breeze puffs out the flame, or your child trips and falls and accidentally knocks the pot off the stove before it boils over. This is the very nature of the divide between your understanding of "all knowing" and "not all knowing". You CAN'T apply your limited knowledge to a scenario like Hezekiah's (or the pot) without admitting that God might not know what Hezekiah is going to do ahead of time. And as soon as you do, you call on open theism (or contingent foreknowledge, if you like the term better) to answer the mail. Then you denigrate it for not acknowledging God's omnipotence.
Take it further: Then God lied regardless because Hezekiah did not surely die, if your interpretation is the only one available. Open Theism doesn't take the lying accusation away, it just sidesteps it by clouding the issue, imho. It isn't imho, as well thought out as traditional theology addresses this.

The "lie" part is the obvious conclusion when one actually deals with your version of omnipotence--without the sly reliance on open theism.
:nono: No traditional theist would have even thought God lied. Open Theists came up with this. The problem? "Their" problem imho, didn't go away and didn't get addressed. It seems to me, slight of hand that will work for those who aren't doing inductive Bible study or looking further. For me? Doesn't and cannot work: It is just dodging the question 'they' brought up in the first place.


It wasn't true in the settled theism universe. It was NEVER true that Hezekiah would die of His illness. How can you even suggest that it was? God knew exactly what Hezekiah would do in calling out to Him. And He knew exactly what He would do in response. And He ALWAYS knew. There is no variable in the equation when God's foreknowledge is exhaustive. The best you can say is that God used a little white lie to get Hezekiah to cry out to Him.
Three points: We experience things linearly. What is true linearly (time-wise) is NOT true outside of the linear BUT it is STILL true of the linear. A carrot, for example, is NOT "one inch." It is relationally one-inch AND it is not a lie to say, however, it is one inch. You understand this. You have to then, be careful not to be too black, and white when discussing the inch aspect of a carrot. You know it isn't an inch but you NEVER say someone who gives you a length, they are liars. NEVER. It never comes up but for an Open Theist being pedantically obtuse and missing what is MORE pertinent.

Let me be careful: To me, spending any time on 'God lied to Hezekiah' in my bible reading, is just a waste of unproductive time. It never enters my mind and is unimportant to entertain for the story. I realize it is paramount to an Open Theist, and that is problematic to me. It is, imho missing the forest for the trees. The story of Hezekiah is about a man and his God and his NEED for His God. John 15:5 is my particular application from ever reading that passage.


I disagree. The reason you think open theism doesn't escape the dilemma is because you see it through a settled-theist-who-relies-on-open-theism's eyes. The escape is exactly what you have proposed, but settled theism doesn't allow for it. That's why I say you're a closet open theist. In open theism, there is no conflict in this story. At one point Hezekiah was going to die of the disease. And God changed his future when he cried out to Him, so that at the next point he was NOT going to die of his disease. God was never saying anything that wasn't the case. That's why the urgency in turning Isaiah around so quickly--2 Kings 20:4.
Not sure what you mean. Isaiah came because Hezekiah had shown all his riches to foreigners (bragging is most often not a good thing).

Look, I'm not saying there are NO other explanations than open theism. What I'm saying is that open theism provides a decent explanation, one that is consistent with both God's character and the character of the whole bible where people interact with God, crying out to Him and having Him respond. And settled theism is NOT a decent explanation.
We totally disagree on this point. I believe Open Theism humanizes God and constrains Him to simplistic platitudes (personal conviction not meant to malign anybody).
Maybe you are putting your hope and confidence in the wrong thing. Instead of putting your hope in the settledness of the future, put it in His power over the future--to change it as He sees fit.
An appeal is no bad thing, but I've looked at Open Theism and find it too simplistic to deal rightly with scriptures. To me, it misses a lot of scripture truth about the nature and character of God. I'd challenge any Open Theist to do a serious study with traditional theology concerning the nature and character of God. A systematic theology would be a good start, then reading the scriptures and understanding that character and nature would be of tremendous instruction imho.

This sounds very pious, but it doesn't discern truth, does it? I'll let you in on a little secret. man IS all-important in God's plan for man, as revealed in His Word. I don't make him so, but God sure did. More important than the comfort of His Son. More important than the life of His Son. And I'm certainly not saying God doesn't have a plan. But in dealing with people, whom He created to be able to go against His will should they so choose, He might have to achieve His plan in the face of those that are adamantly opposed to His achieving it. And I have no doubts that He can do so. He doesn't have to lock down all responses, behaviors, words, and deeds to only a subset He knows how to handle and set them all up to occur in His preferential order. He is fighting an enemy, and He will prevail.
It should humble, however. I used to hear "if you were the only one, God would have died for you."

I'll let you in on another secret: YOU are not all-important to God's plan. Neither am I. If we don't go along with it, then we get plan B, which is not very good.
To me? Looks like a closet-Calvinist rema

As I do yours to me.

God's blessings on you, Lon
Derf

I realize we are postured here, but that can be a good thing. The better we understand 'why' we are opposed, I think the better we are equipped to look at our own theology and understand both its strengths and flaws. In a way, I am a closet open theist as you suggest but ONLY as God relates to man 'in his environment.' God has to interact in a constrained and linear fashion for us to conceive Him. He is ALL our universe, but we are not all His. I simply disagree that God is 'constricted' in that interaction. He is only as 'wet' as His involvement. When I reach into my fish tank, I'm not all wet and can easily bring all of me to bear on their needs. Even if I came to them 'as' a fish, there'd be other aspects beyond the ability of fish to grasp me. God is not all wet. Again, in a crude (simplistic) way, this is the difference between traditional theology and Open Theism to my mind.

In Him -Lon
 

Lon

Well-known member
The idea that "God is not really God if he created anyone with free will" is not a biblical concept nor a right conclusion.
I disagree. As I've stated, Genesis 3:15 IS biblical. To me? Undoes any 'unbiblical' assertion. I'm getting it 'from' the Bible.
Nor the idea that God can't create anyone with a free will and maintain His sovereignty.

Same as above. These are mere assertions from an embraced presuppositional desire. It is trying to over-inflate ego that I am independent of God :nono: John 15:5 Colossians 1:17 1 Corinthians 4:7 Even if you have scriptures that show you have an independent will (meaning from God), explain that. Why do you want or need a will 'independent "from" God's will?" :think:
 

Lon

Well-known member
Your generalization doesn't hold up. Would you say that humans a product of distance, or that lightning is a product of speed? If not, then neither should you generalize as "God is a product of time" as the relation of time would only have meaning between events.
If man were held in check by distance? How so? How is lightening held in check by speed? Yet God, according to Open Theism, is indeed held in check by linear time.
 

Rosenritter

New member
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Originally Posted by Rosenritter
The idea that "God is not really God if he created anyone with free will" is not a biblical concept nor a right conclusion.


I disagree. As I've stated, Genesis 3:15 IS biblical. To me? Undoes any 'unbiblical' assertion. I'm getting it 'from' the Bible.

Would you please explain how you see any relation between Genesis 3:15 and the denial of free will? That seemed like a very random response.
 

Rosenritter

New member
If man were held in check by distance? How so? How is lightening held in check by speed? Yet God, according to Open Theism, is indeed held in check by linear time.

Maybe if you are thinking like Orson Wells, or like Dr. Who that time is "wiggly jiggly."
 

Derf

Well-known member
Sort of. I'm saying that we are never not in bondage. We are either in bondage to God, or we are in bondage to something else. So, imo, it is never a 'free' will EXCEPT when one might suggest 'free' from God or 'free' from sin and death. The point for me: it is a trade-off of bondage as far as the will is concerned.
Genesis 3:1 is about the serpent introducing the 'other' will (free). It may be we are talking past one another yet, but I hope this helps.

Again, in my estimation this doesn't require a 'free' will. A will in bondage is what Paul describes in Romans 7:11-25
To me, it doesn't sound like Paul is describing his will as 'free.' In fact, it he describes a frustration of not being able to exercise what he actually desires, so much so he cries "Who will save me from this!??"
This is the same Paul that said, 16 Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. [Rom 6:16 NLT] (I don't usually opt for the New Living Translation, but it helps to wade past the obscurity of "ye yield yourself" in KJV.) And that seems to jive with your reference to Gen 3:1--Satan offered a different "bondage" in your terminology, but that means they were in bondage to God first, and they were able to leave that bondage. That doesn't seem like a type of bondage that I recognize. On the other hand, we can't leave the bondage of sin without the help of Jesus and His sacrifice. And He sets us free. Is it possible that He sets us free to pick the right master? Is it also possible to now pick the wrong one? I'm wondering if that is what the gospel is all about--telling folks they need to pick the right master now that He has set us free from sin and death.


As an outcome? Romans 8:58 This doesn't mean all is desirable.
We have to talk about what God desires (wills decretive) and what He allows (wills prescriptive).
I've read this thru a few times now, and I still don't understand what you mean.

It 'assumes' God was unaware of the final outcome' to suggest a 'change'. Your assumption is in the proof and thus it is only good for those who assume as you do. I do not. Change never happens like you are believing, in God. It is RATHER our circumstances. Think of it this way: A man meets an immovable rock, the man moves, the opposite direction as a result, not the rock. This is crudely, the largest difference between traditional theology and Open Theism. In Open Theism, the rock is seen as 'interactive' and 'relational' and thus 'moving.' It just isn't the right description for what is going on. Yes, Open Theism wants to make a 'caring' rock instead of an immovable one.
Actually it only assumes an outcome to suggest a change--not the outcome. "Final" denotes permanence and singularity of outcome. Maybe the rock illustration would be better if the rock were moving in a particular direction, and the man asked it to alter course, but not destination. Intermediate locations would be altered, but the final one remains. There may be some intermediate ones that also stay fixed, but not all.

God IS relational but man does the changing. The full character of God is at stake and MUST be left untouched by anthropomorphic grasps and understandings. Why? Because they just don't do God justice. It is like saying "Yeah, but that rock felt me!" It is giving a little TOO much credit to the guy colliding with the rock. It was really forgettable.
You lost this argument when you started talking about a rock. The references to God as a Rock are in relation to His solidness and stability, not to His immovability.

Bringing it back to what we are talking about: God knows what is best. While He may allow something subpar to His will (sin), it is not His intervention that makes such happen. Hezekiah was going to die. WHY did God tell him that? Simply: So He'd repent. THEN when Hezekiah prays, God responds (and in my bible studied opinion) with what He wanted to happen BY intervening in the first place! Is that then a change? :nono: I realize the Open Theist is making "You will die and will not recover" the lynchpin, but as I said, a good many of this don't read it or interpret it the same.
So God was only able to accomplish His will when the man did something God had to coerce Him to do? That doesn't sound that great to me.

I'm not seeing "die and not recover" as a lynchpin--only as a truth. If it is not a truth, then how can God say it? And if the opposite is also said as a truth (which it was), then something changed in between. What changed? Not just Hezekiah, but also Hezekiah's outcome.

If God had to tell Hezekiah that he would die in order that he lives, that doesn't negate the need for God to always tell the truth, according to His character.

And, btw, it never says Hezekiah (at this time, anyway) was in need of repentance, nor that he did repent, only that he cried out to God.

If they meant it?
??? If you program a robot to carry out your commands, does the robot "mean" to carry out your commands? Are you now instilling the need for a free agency in a robot? I don't really understand how you can talk this way and still argue with me about the necessity of a free will (or free agency, or whatever you want to call it).
Yeah. Does 'independence' require love to exist? :nono: My dog 'loves' me because I take care of him. It IS a programmed response. He will respond to me according to 'my' interaction. We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Love isn't love because we chose it. Love is love because we have been loved.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Love isn't love because we chose it. Love is love because we have been loved. This is huge. I believe someone who doesn't grasp this is still caught in egocentrism for concepts of love (I am too, but we really have to grasp His love to love like Him). Love: committed to another's highest good.
We still have to love, which is a willing act/thought. Admittedly we are helpless to love Him without His act of love, but that doesn't mean ours is not an act of love.

Is he a believer?
Yes, but he disagrees with me on the rest--mainly based on preconceptions, as far as I can tell.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Love isn't love because we chose it. Love is love because we have been loved. This is huge. I believe someone who doesn't grasp this is still caught in egocentrism for concepts of love (I am too, but we really have to grasp His love to love like Him). Love: committed to another's highest good.
Our love isn't our love if we don't choose it. God's love doesn't require our input. Ours does. God could love every one of those little robots, but they can't love Him. They can't, unless you instill some type of free agency/will in them. That's part of the definition of love.


If it is funny/strange, I cannot help that. He caused my faith BY giving me what to believe in. Believe, imho, is always otherly unless you are talking about 'cognitive apprehension' instead (another definition of believe that is legitimate). When I use it, I'm talking about trusting and cognitively-holding-as-true that Christ died, was buried, and rose again. It is mine but it was given to me, wasn't it?
What exactly is the nature of the belief that was given? It might be a gift that allows you to do it (believe), but is the doing of it given? or does the doing of it require some kind of input from you? I say the latter, else it wouldn't be a command: "Believe on the Lord."


Take it further: Then God lied regardless because Hezekiah did not surely die, if your interpretation is the only one available. Open Theism doesn't take the lying accusation away, it just sidesteps it by clouding the issue, imho. It isn't imho, as well thought out as traditional theology addresses this.
You can only say this thinking as a settled futurist. And of course, if that's your presupposition, you will have to say it. But the settledness of the future makes the statement a lie. Open theism allows the answer to be "a" at one time and "b" at another (both as future outcomes) and still allow God to be truthful. Their is no Lying accusation, because both were true within their respective time of utterance. That is NOT the case for settled theism. One of those was always true ("b", perhaps), and the other was NEVER true ("a").

:nono: No traditional theist would have even thought God lied. Open Theists came up with this. The problem? "Their" problem imho, didn't go away and didn't get addressed. It seems to me, slight of hand that will work for those who aren't doing inductive Bible study or looking further. For me? Doesn't and cannot work: It is just dodging the question 'they' brought up in the first place.
Like I said, only with a sly reliance on an open theistic model can a settled theist ever believe that God can say both "a" and "b" are true when "a" and "b" are contradictory.



Three points: We experience things linearly. What is true linearly (time-wise) is NOT true outside of the linear BUT it is STILL true of the linear. A carrot, for example, is NOT "one inch." It is relationally one-inch AND it is not a lie to say, however, it is one inch. You understand this. You have to then, be careful not to be too black, and white when discussing the inch aspect of a carrot. You know it isn't an inch but you NEVER say someone who gives you a length, they are liars. NEVER. It never comes up but for an Open Theist being pedantically obtuse and missing what is MORE pertinent.

Let me be careful: To me, spending any time on 'God lied to Hezekiah' in my bible reading, is just a waste of unproductive time. It never enters my mind and is unimportant to entertain for the story. I realize it is paramount to an Open Theist, and that is problematic to me. It is, imho missing the forest for the trees. The story of Hezekiah is about a man and his God and his NEED for His God. John 15:5 is my particular application from ever reading that passage.
That's because you are refusing (not can't, but won't) see the forest for the trees. Your statement here says it.


Not sure what you mean. Isaiah came because Hezekiah had shown all his riches to foreigners (bragging is most often not a good thing).
Hezekiah didn't show treasures to the foreigners until after he was healed of this disease.


We totally disagree on this point. I believe Open Theism humanizes God and constrains Him to simplistic platitudes (personal conviction not meant to malign anybody).
You haven't shown that to be the case here.

An appeal is no bad thing, but I've looked at Open Theism and find it too simplistic to deal rightly with scriptures. To me, it misses a lot of scripture truth about the nature and character of God. I'd challenge any Open Theist to do a serious study with traditional theology concerning the nature and character of God. A systematic theology would be a good start, then reading the scriptures and understanding that character and nature would be of tremendous instruction imho.
So, you want me to decide what God is like BEFORE I read the scriptures? Can you say that with a straight face?

It should humble, however. I used to hear "if you were the only one, God would have died for you."

To me? Looks like a closet-Calvinist rema
Calvinism has some good points that I agree with. The settledness of the future isn't one of them.


I realize we are postured here, but that can be a good thing. The better we understand 'why' we are opposed, I think the better we are equipped to look at our own theology and understand both its strengths and flaws. In a way, I am a closet open theist as you suggest but ONLY as God relates to man 'in his environment.' God has to interact in a constrained and linear fashion for us to conceive Him. He is ALL our universe, but we are not all His. I simply disagree that God is 'constricted' in that interaction. He is only as 'wet' as His involvement. When I reach into my fish tank, I'm not all wet and can easily bring all of me to bear on their needs. Even if I came to them 'as' a fish, there'd be other aspects beyond the ability of fish to grasp me. God is not all wet. Again, in a crude (simplistic) way, this is the difference between traditional theology and Open Theism to my mind.

In Him -Lon
I hope I'm never a "settled" theologian, at least in this life. I hope I can always be convinced of where I'm wrong, and that these conversations wouldn't just allow me to voice a wrong opinion and make it more concrete (but still wrong) in my mind.

The thing is, the bible is always expressing things as God relates to man in his environment. A few times we see images of God in His environment, but these don't give us a different view of God than He gives us in the other portions of scripture. Not that I can tell, anyway. So, if God is consistent with what He has revealed to us, then He actually changes the future. One instance is that He created the world--before God created the world, was there ever a point where God did not HAVE to create the world? If you say "no", then you are saying God is bound by His knowledge of the future--He's as much a robot as we are.
 
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Rosenritter

New member
Calvinism has some good points that I agree with. The settledness of the future isn't one of them.

I hope I'm never a "settled" theologian, at least in this life. I hope I can always be convinced of where I'm wrong, and that these conversations wouldn't just allow me to voice a wrong opinion and make it more concrete (but still wrong) in my mind.

The thing is, the bible is always expressing things as God relates to man in his environment. A few times we see images of God in His environment, but these don't give us a different view of God than He gives us in the other portions of scripture. Not that I can tell, anyway. So, if God is consistent with what He has revealed to us, then He actually changes the future. One instance is that He created the world--before God created the world, was there ever a point where God did not HAVE to create the world? If you say "no", then you are saying God is bound by His knowledge of the future--He's as much a robot as we are.

1 Kings 22:19-22 KJV
(19) And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
(20) And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
(21) And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
(22) And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

That's one of those examples of the bible expressing God in his own environment. So this brings forth the question, if the future was a "settled future" then why would God express himself to this king and his prophet with this vision?

1) If the future was "settled" and these heavenly events are not what occurred, then this vision is beyond misleading, it would be deceitful to the prophet and the king

2) If the future was "settled" but these are the heavenly events that occurred, then God is misleading both realms of men and angels as to the nature of future events, because he speaks to the angels as if their input has influenced the course of events

3) This vision reveals the character of God as being such that doesn't need to micromanage ever single detail, who is not afraid to allow his servants to volunteer courses of action. His agents remain loyal while retraining independent will and thought, even those that offer suggestions to God as to how to resolve a problem, and God not only hears them but might also heed the suggestion.

If God "knew" the future down to the last detail he certainly pretended not to, and if he is operating on the method of deceiving both realms of men and angels, why would he now change this method to a select theological group today, and for what purpose?
 

Derf

Well-known member
1 Kings 22:19-22 KJV
(19) And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
(20) And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
(21) And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
(22) And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

That's one of those examples of the bible expressing God in his own environment. So this brings forth the question, if the future was a "settled future" then why would God express himself to this king and his prophet with this vision?

1) If the future was "settled" and these heavenly events are not what occurred, then this vision is beyond misleading, it would be deceitful to the prophet and the king

2) If the future was "settled" but these are the heavenly events that occurred, then God is misleading both realms of men and angels as to the nature of future events, because he speaks to the angels as if their input has influenced the course of events

3) This vision reveals the character of God as being such that doesn't need to micromanage ever single detail, who is not afraid to allow his servants to volunteer courses of action. His agents remain loyal while retraining independent will and thought, even those that offer suggestions to God as to how to resolve a problem, and God not only hears them but might also heed the suggestion.

If God "knew" the future down to the last detail he certainly pretended not to, and if he is operating on the method of deceiving both realms of men and angels, why would he now change this method to a select theological group today, and for what purpose?
The interactions between God and Satan in the book of Job are along similar lines.

[Job 1:6-9, 11 KJV] 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? ... 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

The interesting thing in this first passage is that Satan had an impression of God that God didn't know how things would work out, otherwise it would have been a sucker's bet. Now, Satan might have been wrong, but if the story means anything at all, at least Satan was not convinced that God's knowledge was exhaustive. on God's part Could Satan, who knew God well, and was able to be in His presence, have that wrong? And God didn't offer His foreknowledge as proof of the outcome--He pointed to Job's character/integrity (Job 2:3).

The passage also addresses the idea that God knows based on ordaining--there is a hint of it, when Satan says in vs 10: Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

But Satan didn't think God knew the future exhaustively for that reason either, else he would never have asked God to remove the hedge of protection in order to win the bet.

Finally, also from Job 2:3, God presents Himself as "movable", rather than immovable. [Job 2:3 KJV] 3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

This is not a didactic passage, I suppose, but if it means anything at all, it must be taken as representative of God in His own environment, as you pointed out in the 1 Kings passage. And to say this is not how God interacted with Satan, or that God didn't really say what He said to Satan is a direct blow to the inerrancy and integrity of scripture as a whole, and especially the inspiration of scripture as a whole. I say this because the passage can only come to us in two ways--God revealed the events to a prophet/the author of the book or a man made up the events. There were no human attendees at the meetings of the sons of God. If a man made up the story, and it is wrong, then what parts of the scripture CAN we trust? And how do we know what we can trust?

And later parts of the book ARE didactic. Do they carry more weight than the earlier parts?
 
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