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Reload this Page Theology Club: What is Open Theism?
Open View Theology The Open View teaches that God can change the future. He interacts with the flow of history and changes the outcome of the future as it unfolds by His decisions and actions. This forum is dedicated to the discussion of openness theology.

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What is Open Theism? - November 20th, 2012, 07:33 PM

In a nutshell: The belief that possibilities are real. God created a world in which the future is, to some degree, open; open to possibilities.

http://reknew.org/2012/11/video-qa-what-is-open-theism/



   
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November 20th, 2012, 07:52 PM

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Originally Posted by surrender View Post
In a nutshell: The belief that possibilities are real. God created a world in which the future is, to some degree, open; open to possibilities.

http://reknew.org/2012/11/video-qa-what-is-open-theism/
Basically, the following;


What is Open Theism?

by Matt Slick

Open Theism, also called openness and the open view, is a theological position dealing with human free will and its relationship to God and the nature of the future. It is the teaching that God has granted to humanity free will and that in order for the free will to be truly free, the future free will choices of individuals cannot be known ahead of time by God. They hold that if God knows what we are going to choose, then how can we be truly free when it is time to make those choices --since a counter choice cannot then be made by us, because it is already "known" what we are going to do.1 In other words, we would not actually be able to make a contrary choice to what God "knows" we will choose thus implying that we would not then be free.

In Open Theism, the future is either knowable or not knowable. For the open theists who hold that the future is knowable by God, they maintain that God voluntarily limits His knowledge of free will choices so that they can remain truly free. 2 Other open theists maintain that the future, being non existent, is not knowable, even by God.3 Gregory Boyd, a well-known advocate of Open Theism says,

"Much of it [the future], open theists will concede, is settled ahead of time, either by God's predestining will or by existing earthly causes, but it is not exhaustively settled ahead of time. To whatever degree the future is yet open to be decided by free agents, it is unsettled."4

But open theists would not say that God is weak or powerless. They say that God is capable of predicting and ordaining certain future events because He is capable of working in the world and bringing certain events to pass when the time is needed. Therefore, God could inspire the Old Testament writers to prophesy certain events and then He could simply ensure that those events occurred at the right time.

Furthermore, open theists claim that they do not deny the omniscience of God. They, like classical theologians, state that God is indeed all-knowing. But they differ in that God can only know that which is knowable and since the future has not yet happened, it can not be exhaustively known by God. Instead, God only knows the present exhaustively, including the inclinations, desires, thoughts, and hopes of all people.

In Open Theism God can make mistakes because He does not know all things that will occur in the future. According to them, God also takes risks and adapts to the free-will choices of people. They claim biblical support for their position by citing scripture where God changes His mind (Exodus 32:14), is surprised (Isaiah 5:3–7), and tests people to see what they will do (Genesis 22:12).

Finally, Open Theism tends to portray the God of orthodoxy as distant, controlling, and unyielding while promoting the God of openness as involved, adapting, loving, interacting, and caring for humanity.





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November 21st, 2012, 12:32 AM

Matt is anti-Open Theist, Calvinistic. He does not always represent it properly.

www.opentheism.info (John Sanders site)





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I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

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November 24th, 2012, 03:38 PM

Do you not believe that omniscience signifies that God is all knowing and completely wise. Doesn't He see the past, present and future and understand everything about situations, even the details we could not possibly discern? Doesn't He identify exactly what we need and how to provide it but also recognize how to best use our difficulties to build us up and mature our faith (Romans 8:28). Is not Luke 1:37, "Nothing will be impossible with God", simple truth?





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November 24th, 2012, 04:17 PM

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Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
Do you not believe that omniscience signifies that God is all knowing and completely wise. Doesn't He see the past, present and future and understand everything about situations, even the details we could not possibly discern?
Maybe this article by Greg Boyd will help:

I am an “Open Theist” – though I honestly don’t care for the label, because as I’ll show, the uniqueness of this view isn’t in what it says about God but in what it says about the nature of reality. (I think it would be better to call us something like “Open Futurists.”)

In any event, I and other Open Theists absolutely affirm God’s “omniscience.” God knows all of reality perfectly, exactly as it is. Open Theists differ from traditional theists not in our understanding of the perfection of God’s knowledge but in our understanding of the reality that God perfectly knows. The difference comes down to this: we believe that the reality God perfectly knows includes possibilities. Since God gave us free will, we believe some of the future is left up for us to decide. We may freely choose one course of action or we may choose another. To this extent the future is “open.” We base this view primarily on Scripture, since the Bible consistently ascribes free will to people and often presents the future as partly open (see my book God of the Possible for a brief presentation of the scriptural portrayal of the future as partly open).

So, Open Theism does not in any way limit God’s knowledge. Precisely because God’s knowledge is perfect, he knows possibilities as possibilities. (If he knew them any other way, his knowledge would be mistaken.)

Now, does this mean that God doesn’t know the future perfectly? Not at all, unless you assume at the start that the future is exhaustively settled (that is, unless you assume at the start that Open Theism is wrong). If the future is “out there” as an exhaustively settled reality then of course something would be lacking in God’s knowledge if he didn’t know it. But leveling this charge against Open Theists is begging the question, since this is the very view of the future we deny. If one rather sees the future as partly composed of possibilities, then God knows the future perfectly precisely because he knows it as partly composed of possibilities.

Think of it this way. Suppose I’m the author of one of those Choose Your Own Adventure children’s books. In these books, various possible story lines are laid out, but the reader gets to choose which of the possible story lines they want to read. Now, do you think it would be accurate to say that I, the author of this book, didn’t know the future of each of the characters of my book perfectly simply because I let the reader decide which of the possible futures a character has? Of course not! As the author, I know all the possible story lines for each character, so of course I know each character’s future perfectly.

So it is in Open Theism. If you grant that the future is partly comprised of possibilities, you can say, “God knows the future perfectly.”

http://reknew.org/2008/01/is-it-true...ure-perfectly/




Last edited by surrender; November 24th, 2012 at 04:50 PM..
   
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November 24th, 2012, 04:26 PM

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Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
Doesn't He identify exactly what we need and how to provide it but also recognize how to best use our difficulties to build us up and mature our faith (Romans 8:28). Is not Luke 1:37, "Nothing will be impossible with God", simple truth?
This also may be of help:

You and I and all other humans lose anticipatory power (power to effectively anticipate possibilities) when we have to attend to possibilities as opposed to certainties only because we have finite intelligence. We have to spread our limited intelligence thin to cover the possibilities. Hence, the more possibilities we have to anticipate, the more anxious we tend to get.

But because God has unlimited intelligence, he doesn’t have to “spread his intelligence thin” to cover the possibilities. He can treat each and every one of a trillion trillion possibilities as though each and every one were the only possibility. In other words, a God of infinite intelligence can anticipate a possibility as effectively as a certainty. In fact, for a God of infinite intelligence, there is no functional difference between a possibility and a certainty.

To illustrate, if you’re playing God in chess, from the beginning of the game he would have anticipated and prepared a response for every possible move you could possibly make, and he would have done so as effectively as if he was certain you were going to make the exact moves you ended up making. It’s just that God is so smart, you didn’t have to make the moves you ended up making for God to anticipate them as though you did have to make them. In other words, God is so smart, he doesn’t lose any advantage by virtue of not knowing what moves you will make and he wouldn’t gain any advantage if he did know what moves you were going to make. Only a being of finite intelligence would play chess more effectively if he foreknew the moves of his opponents.

If the angel Gabriel were to approach God while he’s playing you and whisper in his ear, “Sir, we happen to have a blueprint of exactly how your opponent is going to move,” God would respond, “What on earth would I need that for? I already perfectly anticipate every possible move my opponent will make as though she had to make them. Don’t insult me!”

So, in the open view of the future, God can have an eternal purpose planned for every event in case it comes to pass. But in the open view, you don’t need to believe God allowed or caused an event for a good reason, as in the blueprint worldview. (As though God is secretly behind child mutilations, the Holocaust and people going to hell!) No, God can be in every sense of the word against what happens. But he’s so smart, he’s still got a plan in place to respond to it.

You might say that, while in the blueprint worldview everything happens for a reason, in the open view of the future, everything happens with a reason. But in the latter, as opposed to the former, you don’t need to think God is in any sense complicit in the event. In any event, the open view of the future can give the same assurance the blueprint worldview gives.

http://reknew.org/2008/01/how-can-yo...of-everything/



   
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November 24th, 2012, 04:48 PM

Then, you do not believe that there are things that God doesn't know. Is that correct?





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November 24th, 2012, 04:53 PM

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Then, you do not believe that there are things that God doesn't know. Is that correct?
I believe there is nothing that God doesn't know. God knows all things--He knows them as either settled or as possibilities.



   
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November 24th, 2012, 04:56 PM

Do you believe that God limits His view of free will choices?





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November 24th, 2012, 05:06 PM

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Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
Do you not believe that omniscience signifies that God is all knowing and completely wise. Doesn't He see the past, present and future and understand everything about situations, even the details we could not possibly discern? Doesn't He identify exactly what we need and how to provide it but also recognize how to best use our difficulties to build us up and mature our faith (Romans 8:28). Is not Luke 1:37, "Nothing will be impossible with God", simple truth?
Some things are impossible for an omni-God. The context of that saying was relating to salvation, not logical absurdities.

I would distinguish omniscience and what are possible objects of actual/certain knowledge (God correctly distinguishes possibilities from actualities because He knows reality as it is....so we differ about the nature of reality, not whether God is omni or not...He is in both views). The future is fundamentally different than the past/present and is known as such. You wrongly blur these distinctions.

I would also distinguish intelligence and omniscience/facts. God's intelligence and wisdom allows Him to respond to any contingency even without crystal ball-like prescience/foreknowledge.

It is the glory of a king to search out a matter. Tradition is not always truth (Proverbs).

Do or do not. There is no try -Yoda





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They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

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November 24th, 2012, 05:07 PM

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Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
Then, you do not believe that there are things that God doesn't know. Is that correct?
In Open Theism, God is not ignorant of anything knowable, just as in classical theism. We disagree about what are objects of possible vs actual knowledge (the future is not fixed and not there yet to know as settled in advance if free will contingencies vs determinism are reality/true).





Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

"No Compromise!" (Keith Green)

The Pledge: He died for me; I'll live for Him.
   
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November 24th, 2012, 05:09 PM

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Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
Do you believe that God limits His view of free will choices?
It is not a matter of limiting His view, but He could see it if He wanted to. It is a consequence of His voluntary choice to make a partially open vs closed creation. The limitation is inherent and only avoidable if determinism was true (at the expense of love, freedom, relationship, responsibility, a lesser good).

The issue is a logical problem. An omniscient being cannot have exhaustive definite foreknowledge of future free will contingencies.





Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

"No Compromise!" (Keith Green)

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November 24th, 2012, 05:11 PM

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You wrongly blur these distinctions.
I'm trying to understand the distinctions.





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November 24th, 2012, 05:14 PM

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Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
I'm trying to understand the distinctions.
The past is fixed and no longer. It does not exist except in memory.

The present is actual/real.

The future is not yet, anticipatory, partially open/unsettled/unknowable.

Two main views of time/eternity are A (presentism) vs B (eternalism) theory, endless time vs timelessness.

Unless one is aware of the strengths and weaknesses of various views, I would not be too dogmatic. Modal logic, for e.g., is relevant to this debate, but few of us have a clue (myself included).





Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

"No Compromise!" (Keith Green)

The Pledge: He died for me; I'll live for Him.
   
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November 24th, 2012, 05:24 PM

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Originally Posted by Bright Raven View Post
Do you believe that God limits His view of free will choices?
It's possible. But I don't know for sure.



   
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