Theology Club: Open View and Preterism

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Derf

Well-known member
I'm not originally either Open Theistic or Preteristic, but as I've moved in the Open direction, I've also become more intrigued with preterism. I haven't settled on either yet (I'm more of a Open Open Theist, rather than a Settled Open Theist :)), but would appreciate some feedback from others on this topic.

I think the two views might fit well together.

First, Open Theism, which suggests that God makes predictions about the future actions of men based on His knowledge of their current state and inclinations, would, except in the more specific case of God's divine plan for mankind and the universe as a whole, tend to want to shorten the time between prediction and result, as predictions about a people in the far future would be less sure, even for God (yes, this is potentially a black mark against Open Theism, but hang in there for a minute).

Second, Preterism deals intrinsically with a much closer prediction-to-fulfillment time span in most cases, not based on necessity, but based on reading the scripture with a mindset toward the intended audience, and the lack of benefit such would normally receive from a prediction a couple thousand years in the future (practically no benefit at all to them).

Third, Open Theism says that the purpose of most prophecy is to get people/nations to change their ways (for example, Jonah on Nineveh, Hezekiah's sickness, Jerusalem's destruction), rather than God just bringing about a calamity to show His astounding ability to predict the future. (See Jer 18:8.) Such would drive the prediction much closer to the fulfillment in almost all cases.

The two main events in world history/future that could be considered part of God's divine plan for mankind and thus not contingent prophecies, the 2 comings of Jesus, are both laid out hundreds to thousands of years before. Other prophecies, not so much. In fact the biggest gap I can think of (besides the first and second advent) would be between Daniel's vision(s) and the abomination of desolation, assuming it to be the Antiochus Epiphanes episode (the next one, the one Jesus spoke of, moves more into the realm of Jesus' first advent. Maybe the first one does, too.)

I have been under the impression that Open Theists gravitate more toward premillennialism than preterism, but I don't have good reason for that impression.

What do you all think? Are Open Theism and Preterism more compatible than other eschatologies?
If not, why not? In general, do you find that Open Theists are more likely to be Preterists than the ratios of settled viewers?
 

themuzicman

New member
Open Theism is compatible with pretty much any eschatology, with the possible exception of "Left Behind" eschatology, which attempts to take Revelation literally rather than as an apocalyptic writing.
 

Derf

Well-known member
Open Theism is compatible with pretty much any eschatology, with the possible exception of "Left Behind" eschatology, which attempts to take Revelation literally rather than as an apocalyptic writing.

Why do you think a literal interpretation of Revelation is not ok, when Open Theists claim a more literal interpretation of other passages? I'm not disagreeing with you, by the way, I'm just processing the ideas.
 
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themuzicman

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Why do you think a literal interpretation of Revelation is not ok, when Open Theists claim a more literal interpretation of other passages? I'm not disagreeing with you, by the way, I'm just processing the ideas.

I don't think Open Theists are any more or less literalists than anyone else. Passages still have to be exegeted in context, including genre. What Open Theists don't do is yell "anthropomorphism" every time scripture records God doing something that their theology disagrees with.
 

Derf

Well-known member
I don't think Open Theists are any more or less literalists than anyone else. Passages still have to be exegeted in context, including genre. What Open Theists don't do is yell "anthropomorphism" every time scripture records God doing something that their theology disagrees with.

I get that.

May I ask what eschatology you hold to?
 

themuzicman

New member
I get that.

May I ask what eschatology you hold to?

I don't really think any of the current eschatologies are sufficiently rooted in Scripture. Each has it's points, but also places where they say things just to make their system coherent.

I do think that there are two eschatologies in scripture, one for the Old Covenant, and one for the New, but that's about as far as I go, ATM.
 

Derf

Well-known member
I thought I replied to this already, but i don't see it. I think u r saying that if the Jews behaved differently, the end times would have looked different than it will look now?
 

themuzicman

New member
I thought I replied to this already, but i don't see it. I think u r saying that if the Jews behaved differently, the end times would have looked different than it will look now?

I don't think the Jews had the option to behave in a way that would have prevented their judgment. But that's a matter of inability, not free will.
 

Derf

Well-known member
I don't think the Jews had the option to behave in a way that would have prevented their judgment. But that's a matter of inability, not free will.

So the Jews as a nation were predestined to be judged in a particular manner with a preordained result? Sounds a bit Calvinistic to me. Inability to escape judgment with the coming of one's deliverer sounds counterproductive.
 

themuzicman

New member
So the Jews as a nation were predestined to be judged in a particular manner with a preordained result? Sounds a bit Calvinistic to me. Inability to escape judgment with the coming of one's deliverer sounds counterproductive.

This only affects the Jews (John 12:40, Romans 9, etc.).

And this is evidence that God can predestine things without exhaustive, definite foreknowledge. Thus, it is not Calvinism.
 

Clete

Truth Smacker
Silver Subscriber
I'm not originally either Open Theistic or Preteristic, but as I've moved in the Open direction, I've also become more intrigued with preterism. I haven't settled on either yet (I'm more of a Open Open Theist, rather than a Settled Open Theist :)), but would appreciate some feedback from others on this topic.

I think the two views might fit well together.

First, Open Theism, which suggests that God makes predictions about the future actions of men based on His knowledge of their current state and inclinations, would, except in the more specific case of God's divine plan for mankind and the universe as a whole, tend to want to shorten the time between prediction and result, as predictions about a people in the far future would be less sure, even for God (yes, this is potentially a black mark against Open Theism, but hang in there for a minute).

Second, Preterism deals intrinsically with a much closer prediction-to-fulfillment time span in most cases, not based on necessity, but based on reading the scripture with a mindset toward the intended audience, and the lack of benefit such would normally receive from a prediction a couple thousand years in the future (practically no benefit at all to them).

Third, Open Theism says that the purpose of most prophecy is to get people/nations to change their ways (for example, Jonah on Nineveh, Hezekiah's sickness, Jerusalem's destruction), rather than God just bringing about a calamity to show His astounding ability to predict the future. (See Jer 18:8.) Such would drive the prediction much closer to the fulfillment in almost all cases.

The two main events in world history/future that could be considered part of God's divine plan for mankind and thus not contingent prophecies, the 2 comings of Jesus, are both laid out hundreds to thousands of years before. Other prophecies, not so much. In fact the biggest gap I can think of (besides the first and second advent) would be between Daniel's vision(s) and the abomination of desolation, assuming it to be the Antiochus Epiphanes episode (the next one, the one Jesus spoke of, moves more into the realm of Jesus' first advent. Maybe the first one does, too.)

I have been under the impression that Open Theists gravitate more toward premillennialism than preterism, but I don't have good reason for that impression.

What do you all think? Are Open Theism and Preterism more compatible than other eschatologies?
If not, why not? In general, do you find that Open Theists are more likely to be Preterists than the ratios of settled viewers?
The foundational principle of Open Theism is rationally sound doctrine informed by a plain reading of the text of scripture and so while the idea of Preterism itself isn't antithetical to Open Theism, Preterism's use of scripture surely is. Preterism wants to turn virtually any passage of scripture that seems to teach against their doctrine into a metaphor or otherwise symbolic passage. It isn't their eschatological approach that's the issue its their hermeneutics that's the problem.

Take Romans 9-11 as a prime example.

In Jeremiah 18, God explains that just because God says He's going to do something to or for and nation doesn't set it in stone. If God promises to give a nation a kingdom but that nation does evil, then God said that He will repent of the good He intended to bless the nation with and vise versa...

Jeremiah 18: 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will repent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will repent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.​

In Romans 9-11, Paul explains that Israel has been cut off because of the principle taught in Jeremiah 18. In short, Israel was cut off because of unbelief (Romans 11:20). They did not believe that Jesus was their Messiah. God wanted to bless Israel and to give her a kingdom but they refused (Romans 10:21) How then can God give a kingdom to a nation which rejects the King? Thus God, intending to make Israel into a vessel of honor, made it instead into a vessel of dishonor. (Romans 9:21)

Now, that isn't an "Open Theism reading" of Romans 9-11 per se, that's just the plain reading of it. That's what it teaches because that's what it says and, as I mentioned already, allowing the bible to mean what it says is a foundational principle of Open Theism. There's no way Preterism is compatible with such a reading and any other reading, particularly of Romans 9, not only takes you away from one of Open Theism's foundational principles (the plain reading of the text of scripture) but generally leads people to conclude that God predestines everything because we're all clay in the Potter's hands, which takes you away from Open Theism on doctrinal grounds. So, you have to pick your poison; simply reading Romans 9-11 takes you away from Preterism and do anything else with Romans 9-11 takes you away from Open Theism.

Resting in Him,
Clete
 

Derf

Well-known member
This only affects the Jews (John 12:40, Romans 9, etc.).

And this is evidence that God can predestine things without exhaustive, definite foreknowledge. Thus, it is not Calvinism.

Forgive my denseness, but I don't see how Jn 12:40, at least, says any such thing. In it God is the one that blinds eyes and hardens hearts, and while it may not require exhaustive foreknowledge to do that, it is the same language used by Calvinists to say that we need God to change our minds before we can believe, and if He's doing the changing anyway (before we believe), and if He knows what He's planning to do (a tenet of both Calvinism and Open Theism), and if He always is able to accomplish what He decides to do (also a tenet of both), then how can you say it is NOT Calvinism, at least based on Jn 12:40?

I'll admit to some serious misgivings about whether I can understand exactly what Rom 9 is saying, but Clete's description above seems reasonable, if incomplete. But if Clete is correct, then Rom 9 doesn't really address exhaustive, definite foreknowledge at all--it just allows for God to do one thing or another depending on what a nation does.

Those two ideas, that God causes the blindness and hardheartedness on the one hand and deals with nations according to their autonomous actions on the other, are antithetical to each other on the surface in terms of what "exhaustive, definite foreknowledge" means ("God knows the future because He does the action" or "God knows the future because He sees the action"). Only the former is Calvinistic. The latter is Arminian. The solution to the obviously false dichotomy is likely Open Theism, from what I understand of it--that God deals with people/nations according to what they do, but He still is able to fulfill any plans He decides don't depend on anyone else's actions.

And I believe that God CAN and DOES harden people's hearts, though He uses means to do so which cause the effect through the people's own wills. Pharaoh's case in point, God hardened Pharaoh's heart and he hardened his own heart, and I think I can see in a little way how God did that. For one thing, He gave Moses miracles (sounds better than magic tricks, but possibly the same effect) that were easy to replicate for Pharaoh's magicians. Until the lice. And by then, Pharaoh was accustomed to hardening his heart because of the magician's duplicative tricks, and this was just one small step beyond that (Ex 8:19).

But I'm getting a little off topic. To bring it back home:

I think God does harden people's hearts, but I question whether He plans long centuries before-hand which ones He's going to harden. Thus a preterist view shrinks the timescale of the intentions to harden or bring other judgment to either the generation God is dealing with ([Mat 24:34 KJV] Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.), or at most 3 or 4 generations, at least in the large majority of cases.

[Num 14:18 KJV] The LORD [is] longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing [the guilty], visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation].
[Exo 20:5 KJV] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;



And God does turn the hearts of kings like rivers ([Pro 21:1 KJV] The king's heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.), but there are some interesting things to note about that. 1. that rivers don't (usually) turn on a dime, and 2. the effect is most often felt just downstream a little. If you've ever tried to block a small stream, you can see that it is possible to do so, but the effort is not trivial--you put up dams and dig channels to make it go where you want, and the faster the change, the more effort (and materials) required. To make the turn occur at the proper point, you have to start the dams and channels upstream a bit, but only a bit. And eventually the stream rejoins its previous course. (Think of turning the Mississippi river and trying to make it dump into the Pacific Ocean).

In terms of time, if God wanted to do something to somebody that had not yet been born, nor had his parents or grand or great-grand parents (etc.) been born, and thus nobody had done anything to deserve that thing (good or bad), prophecies concerning that somebody would mostly be unappreciated by the people that received them.
 

Derf

Well-known member
The foundational principle of Open Theism is rationally sound doctrine informed by a plain reading of the text of scripture and so while the idea of Preterism itself isn't antithetical to Open Theism, Preterism's use of scripture surely is. Preterism wants to turn virtually any passage of scripture that seems to teach against their doctrine into a metaphor or otherwise symbolic passage. It isn't their eschatological approach that's the issue its their hermeneutics that's the problem.

Take Romans 9-11 as a prime example.

In Jeremiah 18, God explains that just because God says He's going to do something to or for and nation doesn't set it in stone. If God promises to give a nation a kingdom but that nation does evil, then God said that He will repent of the good He intended to bless the nation with and vise versa...

Jeremiah 18: 1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will repent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will repent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.​

In Romans 9-11, Paul explains that Israel has been cut off because of the principle taught in Jeremiah 18. In short, Israel was cut off because of unbelief (Romans 11:20). They did not believe that Jesus was their Messiah. God wanted to bless Israel and to give her a kingdom but they refused (Romans 10:21) How then can God give a kingdom to a nation which rejects the King? Thus God, intending to make Israel into a vessel of honor, made it instead into a vessel of dishonor. (Romans 9:21)

Now, that isn't an "Open Theism reading" of Romans 9-11 per se, that's just the plain reading of it. That's what it teaches because that's what it says and, as I mentioned already, allowing the bible to mean what it says is a foundational principle of Open Theism. There's no way Preterism is compatible with such a reading and any other reading, particularly of Romans 9, not only takes you away from one of Open Theism's foundational principles (the plain reading of the text of scripture) but generally leads people to conclude that God predestines everything because we're all clay in the Potter's hands, which takes you away from Open Theism on doctrinal grounds. So, you have to pick your poison; simply reading Romans 9-11 takes you away from Preterism and do anything else with Romans 9-11 takes you away from Open Theism.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Hi Clete. Thanks for the response!

I think your allusion to Jer 18 is helpful to understand Rom 9-11. I'm not sure it goes far enough, as I don't think it explains the hardening verses, which seem like they talk of God's causing the unbelief, or at least keeping the people in unbelief when they might have started to believe. I'd be interested to hear what you think about that idea.

But I'm also not sure why Rom 9-11 has anything to say for or against preterism. From Wikipedia:

Preterism as a Christian eschatological view interprets some (Partial Preterism) or all (Full Preterism) prophecies of the Bible as events which have already happened.

I don't find a particular hermeneutic required for that definition. Is there a better one you can offer?

The best I could find eschatologically in Rom 9-11 is this:
[Rom 11:25 KJV] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
[Rom 11:26 KJV] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
[Rom 11:27 KJV] For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.​

I'm not sure that it gives a prophecy of WHEN Israel will be saved, but just a recognition of HOW Israel will be saved, should/when they choose to be.

Am I missing something?
 

Clete

Truth Smacker
Silver Subscriber
Hi Clete. Thanks for the response!

I think your allusion to Jer 18 is helpful to understand Rom 9-11. I'm not sure it goes far enough, as I don't think it explains the hardening verses, which seem like they talk of God's causing the unbelief, or at least keeping the people in unbelief when they might have started to believe. I'd be interested to hear what you think about that idea.
Generally God hardens people's hearts by performing undeniable physical miracles, which people respond to with unbelief, by their own choice.

Some people (Calvinists in particular) would have you believe that God removes a person's will and forces them into disbelief and then punishes them for the very same disbelief. Any god that does such a thing is unjust and therefore unrighteous (same thing) and therefore NOT the God of the bible or of Christianity.

But I'm also not sure why Rom 9-11 has anything to say for or against preterism. From Wikipedia:

Preterism as a Christian eschatological view interprets some (Partial Preterism) or all (Full Preterism) prophecies of the Bible as events which have already happened.

I don't find a particular hermeneutic required for that definition. Is there a better one you can offer?
How can the prophecies for Israel have been fulfilled in 79AD if God cut them some forty years earlier?

Even if you wanted to dispute the precise timing of Israel's judgement, it can't have been after Romans was written and no one would dare attempt to suggest that all of Israel's prophesies had been fulfilled by that time. It makes no sense to suggest that all of Israel's prophesies have been fulfilled now, never mind before Paul was sent to the gentiles as a result of Israel being cut off.

The best I could find eschatologically in Rom 9-11 is this:
[Rom 11:25 KJV] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
[Rom 11:26 KJV] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
[Rom 11:27 KJV] For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.​

I'm not sure that it gives a prophecy of WHEN Israel will be saved, but just a recognition of HOW Israel will be saved, should/when they choose to be.

Am I missing something?
That's an excellent example of how Preterism couldn't be compatible with a plain reading to Romans. Is the dispensation of Grace finished? Has the fullness of the Gentiles come in? Has God turned again to Israel? Why would God even need to ever turn again to Israel if Preterism is true and all of Israel's prophesies have already been fulfilled?

The only possible way to make the passage you quote compatible with Preterism is to somehow "spiritualise" it and turn it into some sort of wacky figure of speech where it means something altogether different than what it seems to say by simply having read it. Which, as I mentioned before, is what Preterism is prone to do with any passage that seems to teach contrary to their doctrine. The Preterist way of handling scripture is quite incompatible with the way Open Theism does it. The two doctrines are therefore launched from two entirely different launching pads. I can't see how the two could be compatible because Open Theism REQUIRES a plain reading of the text whenever possible and Preterism REQUIRES the opposite whenever the need arises. And that's actually an important point, by the way. There is no systematic rule, in the Preterist system, for when a passage is to be taken as substance vs. when it is to be taken as shadow. That is, there is no rule other than the that which says that any passage that teaches something that conflicts with Preterism must be taken figuratively. It's a very irrational way of doing theology.


Resting in Him,
Clete
 

Derf

Well-known member
Generally God hardens people's hearts by performing undeniable physical miracles, which people respond to with unbelief, by their own choice.

Some people (Calvinists in particular) would have you believe that God removes a person's will and forces them into disbelief and then punishes them for the very same disbelief. Any god that does such a thing is unjust and therefore unrighteous (same thing) and therefore NOT the God of the bible or of Christianity.
I'll leave this without comment, except to say "thanks", as it was a rabbit trail off the OP anyway.
How can the prophecies for Israel have been fulfilled in 79AD if God cut them some forty years earlier?

Even if you wanted to dispute the precise timing of Israel's judgement, it can't have been after Romans was written and no one would dare attempt to suggest that all of Israel's prophesies had been fulfilled by that time. It makes no sense to suggest that all of Israel's prophesies have been fulfilled now, never mind before Paul was sent to the gentiles as a result of Israel being cut off.
Part of the beauty of open theism is that it doesn't see everything as prophecy that MUST be fulfilled, but sometimes as something that MIGHT or MIGHT NOT be fulfilled, depending on the actions of the prophecy's focus group. Much of the prophecies Jesus gave in Matt 24, for example, would make sense if fulfilled in the same generation that Jesus spoke to--thus the "this generation" reference.

On the other hand, preterism in its less extreme form (not hyper-preterism, in other words) allows for some prophecy to be put off 'til another time future to 70 AD.
That's an excellent example of how Preterism couldn't be compatible with a plain reading to Romans. Is the dispensation of Grace finished? Has the fullness of the Gentiles come in? Has God turned again to Israel? Why would God even need to ever turn again to Israel if Preterism is true and all of Israel's prophesies have already been fulfilled?

The only possible way to make the passage you quote compatible with Preterism is to somehow "spiritualise" it and turn it into some sort of wacky figure of speech where it means something altogether different than what it seems to say by simply having read it.
I'll repeat my passage here so we know what we're talking about.
[Rom 11:25 KJV] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
[Rom 11:26 KJV] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
[Rom 11:27 KJV] For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.


My point before was that it might not be a prophecy at all. A "plain" reading (meaning, I suppose, one without a theological bias) is nigh impossible for either side, but that was my intent in suggesting it's not eschatological at all. Read through it again and see if you can read "my" plain reading in it.
Which, as I mentioned before, is what Preterism is prone to do with any passage that seems to teach contrary to their doctrine. The Preterist way of handling scripture is quite incompatible with the way Open Theism does it. The two doctrines are therefore launched from two entirely different launching pads. I can't see how the two could be compatible because Open Theism REQUIRES a plain reading of the text whenever possible and Preterism REQUIRES the opposite whenever the need arises. And that's actually an important point, by the way. There is no systematic rule, in the Preterist system, for when a passage is to be taken as substance vs. when it is to be taken as shadow. That is, there is no rule other than the that which says that any passage that teaches something that conflicts with Preterism must be taken figuratively. It's a very irrational way of doing theology.
I tended to agree with your opinion there, until I read Is 13 in conjunction with Matt 24. In particular:
[Mat 24:31 KJV] 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

and

[Isa 13:3, 5 KJV] 3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, [even] them that rejoice in my highness. ... 5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, [even] the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

"His elect" (Jesus is talking here, so it's not "Jesus' elect") and "my sanctified ones" (God talking here, so it's also not Jesus' saints) are likely referring to the same kind of group--one that is composed of armies gathered for destroying a land, in Is 13 the land is Babylon; in Matt 24, the land is Jerusalem/Judea (which some associate with "mystery Babylon" in Revelation).

I'm not saying all is well understood in the preterist camp. But if it makes sense that the "elect" that is gathered is along the same lines as the "sanctified ones"--that it's not talking about the saved--it brings some cohesion to a difficult passage. It could well be talking about the Roman armies under Vespasian and Titus.

I still have some grave concerns about wildly diluting the judgment passages to try to fit them into a preconceived notion--I'm certainly not convinced about preterism. But the idea that much of the wrath of God would be directed at the city that killed His only Son is very, very compelling. It makes sense of the "harlot" references in Revelation, as it only makes sense to refer to a group that is considered already attached to God to become a harlot--either the church or Jerusalem. And it makes more sense from an open theism point of view to consider such judgmental prophecies within the 1 to 4 generations of the event. And it makes more sense to consider that if Jesus said "this generation", He might have really meant the generation He was talking to.
 

themuzicman

New member
Forgive my denseness, but I don't see how Jn 12:40, at least, says any such thing. In it God is the one that blinds eyes and hardens hearts, and while it may not require exhaustive foreknowledge to do that, it is the same language used by Calvinists to say that we need God to change our minds before we can believe, and if He's doing the changing anyway (before we believe), and if He knows what He's planning to do (a tenet of both Calvinism and Open Theism), and if He always is able to accomplish what He decides to do (also a tenet of both), then how can you say it is NOT Calvinism, at least based on Jn 12:40?

Because it's only pointed at the JEWS. It points to Isaiah 6, where it is directed to "these people", the Jews.

Nowhere in Scripture are Gentiles blinded.

Although it is true that drawing is required before one is ABLE to believe (John 6:44), drawing does not automatically result in coming to Christ, so this isn't Calvinism.

I'll admit to some serious misgivings about whether I can understand exactly what Rom 9 is saying, but Clete's description above seems reasonable, if incomplete. But if Clete is correct, then Rom 9 doesn't really address exhaustive, definite foreknowledge at all--it just allows for God to do one thing or another depending on what a nation does.

We have different interpretations there, too,

Romans 9, again, is only about Israel. The "children of the flesh" (Jews who didn't accept Christ) were blinded to their messiah. The "children of the promise" (Jews who did accept Christ) were drawn to Christ out of their blindness.

Has nothing to do with Gentiles.

The question of "nations" vs. "individuals" is a misunderstanding of the election of Jacob. Jacob was elected to fulfill covenant, not to eternal life.

And I believe that God CAN and DOES harden people's hearts, though He uses means to do so which cause the effect through the people's own wills. Pharaoh's case in point, God hardened Pharaoh's heart and he hardened his own heart, and I think I can see in a little way how God did that. For one thing, He gave Moses miracles (sounds better than magic tricks, but possibly the same effect) that were easy to replicate for Pharaoh's magicians. Until the lice. And by then, Pharaoh was accustomed to hardening his heart because of the magician's duplicative tricks, and this was just one small step beyond that (Ex 8:19).

In places where it serves His purpose, yes.

But I'm getting a little off topic. To bring it back home:

I think God does harden people's hearts, but I question whether He plans long centuries before-hand which ones He's going to harden.

See Isaiah 6.

Thus a preterist view shrinks the timescale of the intentions to harden or bring other judgment to either the generation God is dealing with ([Mat 24:34 KJV] Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.), or at most 3 or 4 generations, at least in the large majority of cases.

[Num 14:18 KJV] The LORD [is] longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing [the guilty], visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation].
[Exo 20:5 KJV] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;


Daniel comes into play, here. AD70 is pretty close to the time frame of the 490 years. That's some serious long suffering.

And God does turn the hearts of kings like rivers ([Pro 21:1 KJV] The king's heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.), but there are some interesting things to note about that. 1. that rivers don't (usually) turn on a dime, and 2. the effect is most often felt just downstream a little. If you've ever tried to block a small stream, you can see that it is possible to do so, but the effort is not trivial--you put up dams and dig channels to make it go where you want, and the faster the change, the more effort (and materials) required. To make the turn occur at the proper point, you have to start the dams and channels upstream a bit, but only a bit. And eventually the stream rejoins its previous course. (Think of turning the Mississippi river and trying to make it dump into the Pacific Ocean).

In terms of time, if God wanted to do something to somebody that had not yet been born, nor had his parents or grand or great-grand parents (etc.) been born, and thus nobody had done anything to deserve that thing (good or bad), prophecies concerning that somebody would mostly be unappreciated by the people that received them.

God's omnipotent. And all-wise. He can handle it.
 

Derf

Well-known member
Because it's only pointed at the JEWS. It points to Isaiah 6, where it is directed to "these people", the Jews.

Nowhere in Scripture are Gentiles blinded.

Although it is true that drawing is required before one is ABLE to believe (John 6:44), drawing does not automatically result in coming to Christ, so this isn't Calvinism.
So I think you're saying that because the scriptures is talking about Jews, it isn't a description of How God deals with all people, therefore it does not support Calvinism as claimed by Calvinists, right? I'm ok with that, if that's what you're getting at.
We have different interpretations there, too,

Romans 9, again, is only about Israel. The "children of the flesh" (Jews who didn't accept Christ) were blinded to their messiah. The "children of the promise" (Jews who did accept Christ) were drawn to Christ out of their blindness.

Has nothing to do with Gentiles.

The question of "nations" vs. "individuals" is a misunderstanding of the election of Jacob. Jacob was elected to fulfill covenant, not to eternal life.
I think I'm ok with all that, too, although if anyone is blinded to the messiah as individuals, such that they cannot accept Christ by God's choice, and only a select few are drawn out of their blindness to Christ, again by God's choice, I don't see much difference from Calvinism, whether or not it has to do with Gentiles. If God does that to any people, so that they are chosen centuries before to be blinded and not accept Christ, it doesn't seem to allow for Open Theism, at least for that people group.
In places where it serves His purpose, yes.



See Isaiah 6.
I read it. I know Christ cited it. I question whether its a prophecy of the time of Christ, or a statement of the character of the nation that still applied in the time of Christ. In Isaiah's time, it appeared to be an indication that God had decided to bring judgment on the Jews (Babylon's invasion), and there wasn't much that could be done to stop it. That judgment was for the sins of the people up to that time. If those sins apply to the time of Christ, then it seems like God punished them twice for the same offense. If there are new sins that God is judging at the time of Christ, it seems like either the Is 6 prophecy is a contingent one, or that God knew they would sin, which is antithetical to open theism, right?
Daniel comes into play, here. AD70 is pretty close to the time frame of the 490 years. That's some serious long suffering.
I think this gets into the meat of the matter. If the prophecies of Daniel are planned judgment for planned and future sins (planned by God, since the perpetrators aren't born yet), then it doesn't support Open Theism, unless it's contingent. But Daniel's prophecies are the least likely to be contingent prophecies of any in the bible, imo.
God's omnipotent. And all-wise. He can handle it.
You sound Calvinistic again. Of course he can handle it. But what is He handling? If He's planning sins for the Jews to commit rather than looking down the corridor of time to see them (Calvinism), we would say He's the author of sin. If He's looking down the corridor of time to see that the Jews sin and need judgment (Arminianism), we'd say the future is closed. Open Theism isn't supported in either case. Is that what you are saying?

But all of that is about prophecy and fulfillment that have already taken place, which is a tenet of preterism. So I guess you are agreeing with me on the preterism part, but not necessarily on the open theism part.
 

Clete

Truth Smacker
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I'll leave this without comment, except to say "thanks", as it was a rabbit trail off the OP anyway.
Part of the beauty of open theism is that it doesn't see everything as prophecy that MUST be fulfilled, but sometimes as something that MIGHT or MIGHT NOT be fulfilled, depending on the actions of the prophecy's focus group. Much of the prophecies Jesus gave in Matt 24, for example, would make sense if fulfilled in the same generation that Jesus spoke to--thus the "this generation" reference.

On the other hand, preterism in its less extreme form (not hyper-preterism, in other words) allows for some prophecy to be put off 'til another time future to 70 AD.
I'll repeat my passage here so we know what we're talking about.
[Rom 11:25 KJV] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
[Rom 11:26 KJV] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
[Rom 11:27 KJV] For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.


My point before was that it might not be a prophecy at all. A "plain" reading (meaning, I suppose, one without a theological bias) is nigh impossible for either side, but that was my intent in suggesting it's not eschatological at all. Read through it again and see if you can read "my" plain reading in it.
I tended to agree with your opinion there, until I read Is 13 in conjunction with Matt 24. In particular:
[Mat 24:31 KJV] 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

and

[Isa 13:3, 5 KJV] 3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, [even] them that rejoice in my highness. ... 5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, [even] the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

"His elect" (Jesus is talking here, so it's not "Jesus' elect") and "my sanctified ones" (God talking here, so it's also not Jesus' saints) are likely referring to the same kind of group--one that is composed of armies gathered for destroying a land, in Is 13 the land is Babylon; in Matt 24, the land is Jerusalem/Judea (which some associate with "mystery Babylon" in Revelation).

I'm not saying all is well understood in the preterist camp. But if it makes sense that the "elect" that is gathered is along the same lines as the "sanctified ones"--that it's not talking about the saved--it brings some cohesion to a difficult passage. It could well be talking about the Roman armies under Vespasian and Titus.

I still have some grave concerns about wildly diluting the judgment passages to try to fit them into a preconceived notion--I'm certainly not convinced about preterism. But the idea that much of the wrath of God would be directed at the city that killed His only Son is very, very compelling. It makes sense of the "harlot" references in Revelation, as it only makes sense to refer to a group that is considered already attached to God to become a harlot--either the church or Jerusalem. And it makes more sense from an open theism point of view to consider such judgmental prophecies within the 1 to 4 generations of the event. And it makes more sense to consider that if Jesus said "this generation", He might have really meant the generation He was talking to.

I don't want to get bogged down into the details concerning specific passages. That is typically more of a distraction. I would however like to respond to a couple of points here...

First and foremost, Jesus is God and so your distinction concerning one elect group vs another is spurious at best and even if it were an accurate distinction, which I seriously doubt, Matthew 24:31 comes immediately after Matthew 24:29-30. There is no way, now how, no chance that the Sun has been darkened, the stars stopped shining, or that anyone has seen the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

I'm telling you that the Preterist manner of handling scripture is frivolous and even careless. There is no hermeneutical principle aside from interpreting anything and everything to agree with their a-priori, "all prophesy is fulfilled" assumption.

The point you make about Open Theism seeing that not all prophesy has to be fulfilled is an excellent one but I think it further argues against the compatibility of the two systems rather than for it. Preterism doesn't teach that some prophesy went unfulfilled or even that prophesy can go unfulfilled. It teaches that it has been fulfilled. Even soft Preterism doesn't teach that anything that isn't fulfilled might not be. The whole point of Preterism is that prophesy (all or part) has already happened. Its an almost purely eschatological position. If a Preterist became an Open Theist, his motivation for seeing fulfilled prophesy behind every bush would vanish and the whole system would collapse.

Resting in Him,
Clete
 

Desert Reign

LIFETIME MEMBER
LIFETIME MEMBER
IPreterism doesn't teach that some prophesy went unfulfilled or even that prophesy can go unfulfilled. It teaches that it has been fulfilled. Even soft Preterism doesn't teach that anything that isn't fulfilled might not be. The whole point of Preterism is that prophesy (all or part) has already happened. Its an almost purely eschatological position. If a Preterist became an Open Theist, his motivation for seeing fulfilled prophesy behind every bush would vanish and the whole system would collapse.

Resting in Him,
Clete

I agree with your analysis of preterism. However, even though the system of preterism may be defective, this does not mean that everything taught by preterists is of necessity wrong. Given the somewhat enigmatic words of Jesus as recorded, if someone thought that Jesus was speaking to his own generation, warning them to flee when the Romans came and predicting the downfall of Jerusalem, regardless of any considerations of any so-called preterist system of thought, at the most basic historical level, some people listening to Jesus would have been alive at the sacking of the temple: ergo Jesus was right. I don't see how such a view can be criticised. You can disagree with it but surely it is a valid view.

Also.
'And so all Israel shall be saved'.
Does not say 'And then all Israel shall be saved'.
Paul is not teaching eschatalogy here. Not at all.
He says 'In this manner, all Israel shall be saved'. He is teaching generalities, not future history. What does he mean by 'In this manner'? It is simply this: "But if those pruned branches don’t persist in their unbelief, they too will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them back again."
In other words, God has hardened their hearts temporarily to give the gentiles time to flourish in the faith, the purpose of which is to arouse the Jews to jealousy and hence motivate them to believe. This is how all Israel will be saved. It does not mean that all Israel will be suddenly saved at one moment. This would contradict all that Paul has been saying about faith in the entire letter. It means that any Jew who does get saved, will get saved by this method, that he sees how good and pleasant faith in Jesus is because of the witness of faithful gentiles. This eliminates any dispensational interpretation of salvation. It also eliminates any replacement theology interpretation. And inasmuch as it is an ongoing principle, it would probably refute any preterist principle that Israel as a people was abolished in 70 ad.
But what I think it does do is put a great question on our own attitudes towards Jews.
 
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Derf

Well-known member
I agree with your analysis of preterism. However, even though the system of preterism may be defective, this does not mean that everything taught by preterists is of necessity wrong. Given the somewhat enigmatic words of Jesus as recorded, if someone thought that Jesus was speaking to his own generation, warning them to flee when the Romans came and predicting the downfall of Jerusalem, regardless of any considerations of any so-called preterist system of thought, at the most basic historical level, some people listening to Jesus would have been alive at the sacking of the temple: ergo Jesus was right. I don't see how such a view can be criticised. You can disagree with it but surely it is a valid view.

Also.
'And so all Israel shall be saved'.
Does not say 'And then all Israel shall be saved'.
Paul is not teaching eschatalogy here. Not at all.
He says 'In this manner, all Israel shall be saved'. He is teaching generalities, not future history. What does he mean by 'In this manner'? It is simply this: "But if those pruned branches don’t persist in their unbelief they too will be grafted in for God is able to graft them back again."
In other words, God has hardened their hearts temporarily to give the gentiles time to flourish in the faith, the purpose of which is to arouse the Jews to jealousy and hence motivate them to believe. This is how all Israel will be saved. It does not mean that all Israel will be suddenly saved at one moment. This would contradict all the Paul has been saying about faith in the entire letter. It means that any Jew who does get saved, will get saved by this method, that he sees how good and pleasant faith in Jesus is because of the witness of faithful gentiles. This eliminates any dispensational interpretation of salvation. It also eliminates any replacement theology interpretation. And inasmuch as it is anongoing principle, it would probably refute any preterist principle that Israel as a people was abolished in 70 ad.
But what I think it does do is put a great question on our own attitudes towards Jews.

I think you worded that better than I would have.

What is that "great question on our own attitudes towards Jews"?
 
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