Dear Open Theist,
I really want to believe that we know and worship the same God, the One we read about in both the Old and New Testaments. My first exposure to your view of God’s knowledge of the future came from those who oppose it, so I dismissed it in toto as heretical.
Now I don’t believe my first reaction was the correct one. I should have done the wise thing and read your actual writings and not what someone else had to say. Well, I began reading what you have to say, and as a result, a few questions have emerged.
[ I’ve taken several quotes from Greg Boyd’s blog on Open Theism ]
1. You affirm that God is all knowing, yet you say “that part of the reality which God perfectly knows consists of possibilities as well as actualities.” Isn’t this a logical contradiction? How can God be all knowing when there are events that remain “possibilities as well as actualities”?
2. You affirm the absolute perfection of God, yet you say, “I do not see, however, that Scripture teaches that the future must be predetermined either in God’s mind or in God’s will for God to be perfect.” It appears to me that you’re both affirming and denying the absolute perfection of God. For some reason I’m getting the feeling that you’ve actually placed God in your theological box. Are these observations of mine accurate? What am I not getting?
3. Regarding the power of prayer, you affirm that “because my view allows for the future to be somewhat open, I believe it makes the best sense out of the urgency and efficaciousness which Scripture attaches to prayer.”
I noticed that you have created the classic either/or fallacy: it’s either the future is “somewhat open” or “the urgency and efficaciousness which Scripture attaches to prayer” do not make sense. Aren’t you presuming upon God since he has hidden certain things from us, including how prayer actually works? Aren’t you also presuming to know the future by saying that it is “somewhat open”? How do you know that? Isn’t that up to God? But again, I’m still trying to understand this God of yours.
4. Regarding biblical prophecy, you affirm that “God can and does determine and predict the future whenever it suits his sovereign purposes to do so,” yet you say, “But I deny that this logically entails, or that Scripture teaches, that the future is exhaustively determined.” It seems to me that Scripture does not support your objection:
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do. (Isa 46:9-11, TNIV, emphasis added)
It appears that the prophet has made some absolute statements about God’s knowledge of the future. Why can’t I conclude from these verses that God has “exhaustively determined” the future? What am I not getting?
Open theist, I am honestly trying to understand your view of God and the future, but the above questions were on my mind. I’m looking forward to your reply, and I really want to believe that we know and worship the same God.
In His Son’s Name,