Tagged: God of the Possible

Objections to Open Theism

As I’ve said before, objections to Open Theism don’t come from Scripture. Typically classical theists ignore the Scripture used by open theists and argue in other ways. So while I consider those other ways less important, they aren’t completely invalid, and I will address some of the most common objections here: why is it such a minority view in church history? why don’t we accept the idea that God changing his mind or emotions is simply anthropomorphic poetry? why do we think God can’t know future free actions? and the biggest one, is this not limiting God?

Church History

Some object to open theism on the basis of it being a minority view throughout history. That is very true, although there have been some theologians who have defended it. The first response from the Protestant view is that even if they do disagree, Scripture always trumps church tradition. If it is as clear in Scripture as I argued it is in my post on the biblical arguments for open theism, then church history is secondary. But another interesting thing to note is that classical theism has never been a part of any major creed of the church. Although the majority of theologians believed it, it has never been an official position of the church, so even for those traditions that hold the early councils as authoritative, there is no conflict.

The Practical Advantages of Open Theism

Two caveats to start this post. For one, this is secondary to my belief in open theism. My belief comes not from these advantages but from Scripture – see my Biblical Arguments for Open Theism. Second, this is not a core belief of Christianity. Most of the day-to-day decisions of our lives will be the same whether we are Calvinist, Arminian, or Open Theist. But there are some significant practical differences so it is still worth talking about. So what are some of these practical things? It solves the problem of evil, it provides meaning to prayer, it aligns with our natural instincts about choice, and more which you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

The Clarity of God’s Word

See back on my previous post, but I’d like to emphasize that the biblical arguments for open theism are plentiful. Taking the classical theist position means that you need some seriously creative hermeneutics to decide which texts to take seriously and which to ignore. Well, maybe it isn’t that creative, because it is more about aligning with Greek philosophy so classical theists take seriously those texts that agree with Plato and ignore the ones that don’t. But that poses a problem for Christian theology, especially evangelical theology that claims to be based in the Bible.

Bible

The Biblical Arguments for Open Theism

There are a few categories of texts that support open theism. Many will also be surprised to find that there are a lot. I won’t nearly cover them all here, but I will take a sampling primarily from Greg Boyd’s God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God. Boyd’s argument which I agree with is that classical (Calvinist and Arminian) theologians essentially ignore these texts and when explicitly asked about them dismiss them as metaphorical while still holding that texts otherwise identical are obviously literally true of all knowledge. The Open Theist view is simple: take all the texts seriously instead of picking and choosing based on a Greek philosophy presupposition. If you do, you’ll inevitably end up at a view of a partially settled and partially open future.

A God Who Regrets

Before the flood, “The LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (Genesis 6:6) How can God be sorry for how humanity turned out if he knew all along that it was going to turn out this way?

God intends to bless Saul and his household for many generations (1 Sam 13:13).

God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God

Regular readers know that I am a fan of the teachings of Greg Boyd. You would also probably know that I am an open theist, of which Greg Boyd is one of the most outspoken defenders. You probably don’t know, though, that before a few days ago, I had actually only read one Greg Boyd book (Myth of a Christian Religion: Losing Your Religion for the Beauty of Revolution) and I had not read any books on open theism. I’ve mostly become familiar with Boyd through his sermons at Woodland Hills Church which are available online. I similarly hadn’t done much real research into Open Theism, although I knew what it was and some of the general arguments and counter-arguments. So all that to say, this book was an exciting read for me to finally get the whole picture of the view from probably my favourite teacher. In general, it lived up to the hype I had going into it.