Open View of God

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by keith, Oct 13, 2001.

  1. keith

    keith
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    This view has helped me comprehend prayer, evil in the world, my sense of freedom and prophecy in new and richer lights.

    Basically it says God ceated the world, granted GENUINE human freedom to mankind and is overseeing what that freedom is resulting in on a moment by moment basis. He cannot be often pleased, he suffers when we sin, he listens and reacts to our prayers, he intervenes regularly in subtle ways and occasionally in large dramatic ways (most prominently in Jesus Christ). But he is not the author/cause of all that happens as the Westminister Confession of Faith claims Article II (I believe) which paradoxically says God is not the author of evil after just having said he is the cause of all that happens. He does not know in detail what decisons we will make in the future.

    I believe it is what most Christians believe deep down in their hearts as demonstrated by their actions (and I've been around alot of fundamentalists, evangelicals, moderates, Reformed and to a lesser extent liberals, charismatics and Arminian types)

    The Bible (especially OT) supports this - claims of antromorphisms aside. It is inconsistent IMO to say God exhaustively knows the future and claim we have any true freedom of choice. God has excellent anticipation and can announce ahead of time how He plans to intervene. This explains most prophecies (of a foretelling nature) with most others being explained by the fact they are conditionally given (e.g. I will deport ya'll to Babylon if you don't behave). Peter's denials is really the ony example of a true foretelling of an apparently free human decision (tell of others if you know any that are not preannouncements of God's intention or conditional).

    Good reading on this is Open View of God (Clark Pinnock, etal), Most Moved Mover (Pinnock), God of the Possible (Greg Boyd), The God who Risks (John Sanders), etc. Refuting books include God Lesser Glory (Bruce Ware), No Place for Sovereignty (McGregor) and The Lord God Almighty (Millard Erickson). Many others as well -it seems to have struck a nerve!

    Note that the BF&M 2000 section of God was changed by our vanguards of truth (Mohler, etc.) to attempt to nip this in the bud (before it was thoroughly discussed). This is really a very exciting recovery from St. Augustine's over-incorportaion of Greek philosophy into the Chrstian tradition. Good read of this is The Story of Christian Theology (by Roger Olson) altoug it is long.

    What do ya'll think.
     
  2. Chris Temple

    Chris Temple
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    The Open view of God is a heresy, which denies the God of the Bible and His divine attributes as articulated in Scripture. It is a view not held by historic Calvinists and Arminians alike. It changes the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man——and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Rom 1:23).

    Before latching onto this heresy, I advise you to do an exhaustive study on the inexhaustible sovereignty of God.

    One excellent starting place to begin is here:
    The Foreknowledge of God
     
  3. Chris Temple

    Chris Temple
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    Is the Glory of God at Stake in God’s Foreknowledge of Human Choices?
    Jonathan Edwards’ Response to Gregory Boyd


    John Piper
    The Jonathan Edwards Institute
    Evangelicals Seeking the Glory of God
    July, 1998 (Message #1)

    If Evangelicals really want to seek and magnify the glory of God, then according to Jonathan Edwards, two things must happen. We must see God with true understanding and we must savor God with due affections. See him truly and savor him duly.

    God glorifies Himself toward the creatures . . . in two ways: 1. By appearing to . . . their understanding. 2. In communicating Himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in, and enjoying, the manifestations which He makes of Himself. . . . God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. . . . He that testifies his idea of God’s glory [doesn’t] glorify God so much as he that testifies also his . . . delight in it.

    Last year I emphasized the call to glorify God by savoring him duly; this year I am going to emphasize the call to glorify God by seeing him truly. The conviction here is that true doctrine is the foundation of true delight. And if we do not get our doctrine of God right, we will destroy the foundations of delight. Joy may flourish for a generation when the root is severed, but in the end, delight in God will die without true doctrine. And both means of glorifying – seeing and savoring – God will vanish.

    Not Flinching from the Truth that Is under Attack

    So, for the sake of the glory of God, I come to you this year with a very specific burden about the doctrine of God. I set the stage with a quote from Martin Luther:

    If I profess, with the loudest voice and clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle field besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

    For me this has meant a twenty-year engagement with the attack on God’s foreknowledge of his creature’s moral choices. The engagement has been sporadic until recently. And in the last two years has been intense. In 1977, a book was published called Did God Know? The book affirmed that "God’s knowledge is perfect and boundless." But it argued that omniscience cannot include what is by nature unknowable, namely, future choices made by free creatures. "[God] cannot know something which is nothing," said the author, and future choices are not yet in existence to know. They are nothing. So it is no limiting of God’s foreknowledge to say he cannot know nothing, namely, the future his creatures create.

    I knew the author’s wife and she prevailed on me to meet with him, since she did not agree with him. So this issue became a pressing personal reality in my life in the late seventies. It is not new. The Socinians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries made the same argument. "God does not know," they said, "in such a way that whatsoever he knows will surely come to pass." In other words, in regard to human choices, God knows future possibilities, but not future certainties.

    Both Calvinists and Arminians Affirm God’s Foreknowledge

    The Socinians did not carry the day. And both Calvinists and Arminians have, as a whole – along with virtually all Christendom – affirmed God’s foreknowledge of human choices. John Calvin wrote, "[God] foresees future events only by reason of the fact that he decreed that they take place." And Jacobus Arminius wrote, "[God] has known from eternity which persons should believe . . . and which should persevere through subsequent grace." Denying God’s foreknowledge of human choices has never been part of Christian orthodoxy.

    But the astonishing thing is that, here at the end of the twentieth century, it is not just quirky, self-published books like Did God Know? that make this denial, but scholars of evangelical repute, in books published by organizations that once would have regarded such views as far from orthodox.

    Clark Pinnock

    It grieved me personally to watch Clark Pinnock, for example, move not only from Calvinism to Arminianism, but beyond historic Arminianism to the denial of God’s foreknowledge of human choices. You could see it coming in the seventies, but he was most explicit in 1990 when he wrote,

    Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God. They are potential – yet to be realized but not yet actual. God can predict a great deal of what we will choose to do, but not all of it, because some of it remains hidden in the mystery of human freedom. . . . God too faces possibilities in the future, and not only certainties. God too moves into a future not wholly known because not yet fixed.

    Though his essay is called "From Augustine to Arminius" (implying that he has moved from being Augustinian to being Arminian), this is emphatically not what Arminius believed, nor what classical Arminians believe today. Pinnock has gone beyond Arminius and historic Arminianism because he now believes, with Carl Bangs, that Arminius’ orthodox affirmation of foreknowledge is unbiblical and undermines his whole system.

    Carl Bangs

    Bangs said in his 1971 biography of Arminius, "Arminius threw over his whole case in adding a predestination of individuals on the basis of a necessary foreknowledge of future things that shall be." Bangs was glad to lead others beyond what he regarded as inconsistent historic Arminianism. He was among those who led the way at the end of our century in denying the foreknowledge of human choices by saying, "Knowledge is of entities; foreknowledge is of possibilities. The first is certain; the latter, contingent." This was what Arminius and Calvin (and the entire church) were unwilling to believe, but what is now being endorsed not only as Christian, but as evangelical, by schools and publishing houses that have a history of evangelical commitment.

    This is all the more astonishing in view of the fact that reputable voices are pointing out the "disastrous theological and practical consequences for evangelical Christianity" of denying God’s foreknowledge of moral choices. Others are pointing out that "here Christians face the denial not simply of one of the distinctives of Reformation theology but of a fundamental truth held in common by every historic branch of the Christian church." And others, even from within the Arminian camp, are calling the view, very simply, "heresy."

    Greg Boyd

    What brings this issue to a point for me is that the most popular proponent of the view today is a pastor in my denomination who also teaches at our denominational school and has published this view with Scripture Press (Chariot Victor Publishing) and InterVarsity Press. Greg Boyd’s most popular book is Letters from a Skeptic. The book contains many insightful and helpful things to strengthen faith. But here he explains his view of God’s omniscience and foreknowledge:

    In the Christian view God knows all of reality – everything there is to know. But to assume He knows ahead of time how every person is going to freely act assumes that each person's free activity is already there to know – even before he freely does it! But it's not. If we have been given freedom, we create the reality of our decisions by making them. And until we make them, they don't exist. Thus, in my view at least, there simply isn't anything to know until we make it there to know. So God can't foreknow the good or bad decisions of the people He creates until He creates these people and they, in turn create their decisions.

    I have spoken to Greg Boyd personally about these things. We have debated in public. We exchange Email messages from time to time. What I have to say here I have said to him, as I have made every effort to understand his highly sophisticated view of God’s foreknowledge. I am loath to hold up a straw man. I fully expect that he will see this manuscript or hear this tape and that he will hold me accountable for treating him fairly, which is what I want to do.

    Not Historic, Orthodox Christianity

    But what I cannot do is treat this view as though it belonged to historic, orthodox Christianity, much less Biblical evangelicalism. It is a profoundly defective view of God and therefore will lead, if not checked, to the uprooting of true delight in God and the depreciation of his glory.

    Jonathan Edwards shared this negative assessment of the denial of God’s exhaustive definite foreknowledge, and therefore devoted a major section of his greatest book, The Freedom of the Will, to the defense of God’s foreknowledge of moral choices. The title of that section is, "The Evidence of God’s Certain Foreknowledge of the Volitions of Moral Agents." Paul Ramsey, the editor of this volume of Edwards’ Works explains Edwards’ driving motive: "Into the writing of [The Freedom of the Will] he poured all his intellectual acumen, coupled with a passionate conviction that the decay to be observed in the religion and morals followed the decline in doctrine since the founding of New England." In other words, doctrine matters for life and worship. Edwards believed passionately that a defective doctrine of God would, in the end, destroy delight in God and devotion to God. And above all, this meant that the glory of God would be lost in the church and in the world.

    I think he is right, and therefore the theme of this conference, "Evangelicals Seeking the Glory of God," makes the issue of God’s foreknowledge enormously important and relevant. It is an issue ultimately about the glory of God.

    God’s Deity Connected with His Foreknowledge

    Edwards makes that clear in several ways.

    In the first place, he says that if God can’t foreknow our choices, then "in vain has God himself often spoken of the predictions of his Word, as evidences of . . . his peculiar glory, greatly distinguishing him from all other beings." The texts he has in mind are the very powerful texts in Isaiah that explicitly connect God’s deity with his foreknowledge.

    In Isaiah 41:22b-23, God calls the idols to give an account and challenges them to show that they are gods: "Announce to us what is coming; Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods." In other words, in God’s mind, the capacity to predict the future belonged to God. It was part of his deity to be able to "declare things that are to come afterwards."

    He makes the same connection in Isaiah 42:8-9, and connects his power to foreknow with his glory: "I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you." You see the connection: I am Yahweh, and this is part of my divine glory: before they spring forth, I proclaim them to you. Knowledge of what the future will bring is my glory.

    In Isaiah 45:21, God throws up the challenge of whether there is any other God besides him. He does it by asking about the powers to announce the future: "Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long [ago] declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me." Here again, God says that what is at stake in his capacity to announce the future affairs of men and nations (involving thousands of critical human choices) is his deity. Who can do this? I, the Lord! And there is no other God besides me.

    Perhaps the most famous word of all on God’s claim on the future is Isaiah 46:9-10, "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’"

    Two Classes of Future Events?

    Those who deny God’s exhaustive definite foreknowledge object that the predictions in view here are only of things God intends to bring about himself. And, they say, of course he knows what he intends to do. But they deny that God claims to foreknow certainly what others will do.

    But that assumes there are two classes of future events: those God predetermines and therefore foreknows; and those that arise from some other source than his plan, and which he does not know are coming, namely, those that arise from human and demonic choices. But does Isaiah make this distinction? I don’t think so. For this reason: virtually all the predictions God has in mind in these texts in regard to Israel’s future judgment and rescue involve thousands of human choices to bring them about; yet God foreknows them; and this knowing is what it means for him to be God. Isaiah does not separate what God is planning to do and what man will choose to do. Virtually all God’s judgments and deliverances involved choices that humans would make as instruments of God’s plan.

    So I think Jonathan Edwards is right when he says that God’s predictions of human events are "evidences of . . . [God’s] peculiar glory, greatly distinguishing him from all other beings." The issue of God’s foreknowledge is the issue of God’s glory. And if Evangelicals hope to seek and see and savor and show the glory of God, we should defend this doctrine and define ourselves as those who believe in it.

    The Very Precise Predictions Made by Jesus

    The second way Edwards defends the glory of God in the exhaustive, definite foreknowledge of God is to focus our attention on the precise predictions of Jesus, especially concerning the choices of Judas and Peter for which they were morally accountable. Edwards says, "What a contradiction is it, to say that God certainly foreknew that Judas would betray his Master or Peter deny him, and yet certainly knew that it might be otherwise, that is, certainly knew that he might be deceived!" In other words, it would be utterly inglorious in God if he claimed to know that something is a future certainty and at the same time that it is only a future possibility, not a certainty. The glory of Christ is to know what is coming upon him with certainty and specificity.

    John’s gospel makes this explicit by connecting Jesus’ foreknowledge with his deity, similar to the way Isaiah made God’s foreknowledge evidence of his deity. For example, in John 13:19, Jesus says at the Last Supper, "From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am." With the words "I am" Jesus lays claim on deity in words that God uses of himself in texts like Isaiah 43:10 ("‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am.’"). And the warrant for believing that he is divine, he says, is that he is telling the disciples what is going to befall him before it comes to pass.

    Then two verses later, in John 13:21, Jesus specifically predicts the betrayal of Judas. "Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me." The disciples wonder whom he is talking about, and Jesus says in verse 26, "‘That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.’ So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas." Jesus had known it from the beginning, as it says in John 6:64, "Jesus knew from the beginning . . . who it was that would betray Him." And he not only knew that it would happen and who would do it, but also when it would happen. Matthew 26:2: "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is handed over for crucifixion." And it says that when he had given the morsel to Judas he said, "What you do, do quickly" (John 13:27). He knows that it is coming, who will do it, and when.

    Two things are crucial to note here: one is that Jesus foreknows the evil deed of Judas with certainty. The other is that Jesus himself says that this foreknowledge is part of his glory as divine: "I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am" (John 13:19). If Evangelicals have a passion for the glory of Christ, we must join him in affirming, not denying, his ability to foreknow with certainty human choices without removing moral accountability. It’s his glory to know them.

    His knowledge of Peter’s three-fold denial is even more remarkable. In Luke 22:31-34 Jesus not only predicts that Peter will deny him three times that very night, but treats the act with such certainty that he is already praying for Peter’s future repentance and future ministry. "‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.’ But he said to Him, ‘Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!’ And He said, ‘I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.’"

    Foreknowledge Does not Remove Responsibility

    This absolute knowledge that Peter would sin, how often he would sin, when he would sin, and that he would repent does not remove Peter’s moral responsibility in the least, which is made plain by the fact that Peter weeps bitterly precisely when he remembers the words of Jesus’ prediction. Peter does not say, "Well, you predicted this sin, and so it had to take place, and so it can’t have been part of my free willing, and so I am not responsible for it." He wept bitterly. He was guilty and he knew it.

    Jesus was glorious in the prediction, and Peter was guilty. Why do all four gospels tell this remarkable prediction in detail? Surely the deepest answer is the one given by John 13:19, "I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am." His foreknowledge of "all the things that were coming upon him" was an essential aspect of his glory as the incarnate Word, the Son of God. The denial of this foreknowledge is, I believe John would say, (whether intended or not) an assault on the deity of Christ.

    Foreknowledge and the Fall

    A third way that Edwards upholds the glory of God in the foreknowledge of human choices is his treatment of the Fall and all of redemptive history that God brought about in response to it. Edwards argues like this:

    If God [doesn’t] foreknow the volition of moral agents, then he did not foreknow the fall of man, or of angels, and so could not foreknow the great things which were consequent on these events; such as his sending his Son into the world to die for sinners, and all things pertaining to the great work of redemption; all the things which were done four thousand years before Christ came, to prepare the way for it; and the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ . . . etc.

    But in fact, Edwards observes, God must have foreknown the fall of Adam with all its disastrous moral effects, because, for example, in 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul says that from all eternity God has planned to give us saving grace in Christ Jesus as our Savior. "[God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity." In other words, God not only foreknew in eternity the sinful choice that Adam would make (and Lucifer before him), but he also planned to give us grace through Jesus Christ in response to the misery and destruction and condemnation resulting from the Fall that he foreknew.

    Now add to this the teaching of Paul in Ephesians 1:4-6 and you see clearly how the glory of God is at stake in the denial of God’s foreknowledge of the fall of Adam and its consequent miseries. Paul says, "[God] chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace." In other words, before the foundation of the world – before the sinful choice of Adam (which Boyd says was not foreknowable by God) – God chose us in Christ and predestined us for sonship through Christ so that the free and sovereign grace of God would be seen as glorious: "unto the praise of the glory of his grace."

    But if God did not foreknow the Fall, and, as some argue, was surprised by it, then Paul’s argument for the glory of God’s grace manifest in his eternal plan to rescue us from the fall is not valid. So I say again: if Evangelicals love the glory of God manifest in the redeeming work of Christ planned before the foundation of the world, then we should affirm and cherish – and not deny – God’s exhaustive, definite foreknowledge of human choices.

    Scriptures that seem to Deny God’s Foreknowledge

    A fair and earnest person will ask at this point: How do Greg Boyd and others defend their view Biblically? The answer is that Boyd directs our attention to passages of Scripture that seem to demand a denial of God’s foreknowledge of human choices.

    For example, he refers to Isaiah’s prophecy to Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:1, "Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live." Then Hezekiah weeps and prays. To which the Lord responds, in verse 5, "I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life." Boyd argues that this change in God’s expressed intention shows that God did not know what Hezekiah would do when he threatened to end his life. But when God saw Hezekiah’s (unforeknown) sorrow and heard his (unforeknown) prayer, God changed his plan and added fifteen years to his life.

    Similarly Boyd refers to Jonah’s prophecy in Nineveh. Jonah 3:4 says, "Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown." But the people and the king repented. So, Jonah 3:10 says, "When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it." So Boyd argues that God could not have foreknown this repentance or he would not have said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

    But the fact is that both Boyd and I would say that in both cases (Nineveh and Hezekiah) God’s first prediction contained an implicit condition. Both of us solve the problem of the apparent untruthfulness of the first prediction ("You will die." "You will be overthrown in forty days.") in the same way: God was saying in his own heart: "This I will do unless you repent." The difference between Greg and me is that he thinks God was thinking implicitly, "I will do this unless you repent, and I don’t know if you are going to repent." And I think God was thinking implicitly, "I will do this unless you repent, and I know you are going to repent."

    Greg would ask, "What’s the point of saying Hezekiah is going to die or that the Ninevites are going to perish (if they don’t repent), when God knows that they will, in fact, repent?" Well, my first answer to that is, God has his reasons for the way he acts that we cannot see ("Who has ever been his counselor?" Romans 11:34). But another answer would be, God warns them they will die because he wants to move them to repentance and save them. In other words, the threat of death is the means of life.

    Scriptures that Refer to God’s Repenting

    Another group of texts that Boyd refers to are the texts that speak of God’s being sorrowful that he did something. For example, he refers to 1 Samuel 15:11 where God says, "I repent that I have made Saul king; for he has turned back from following me." And he refers to Genesis 6:5-6, "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth. . . . The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart." Boyd asks, "How could the Lord possibly have regretted something he created if he was perfectly certain what would happen an eternity before he created it?"

    The implication for Boyd is that God could not regret or repent of what he foreknew. Therefore God could not foreknow the Fall and its disastrous consequences. And he could not foreknow that Saul was going to be a disobedient king.

    My answer to this is threefold.

    First, these texts to not say or teach that God does not foreknow the future in question. Rather Boyd infers this. In fact, no text in the Bible says that God does not foreknow human choices. This is always an inference based on what someone thinks is possible for God to do or say.

    Second, we have seen from 2 Timothy 1:9 that God "has saved us . . . according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity." So the gracious work of Christ, redeeming us from the curse of the Fall, was planned in eternity, and grace was given to us "from all eternity" (pro chronōn aiōniōn). The implication of this verse is just as strong that God foreknew the fall in Genesis 6:6 as that he did not foreknow the fall.

    Third, in the very context of God’s repentance over Saul (1 Samuel 15:28-29) Samuel says to Saul, "‘The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent." So in verse 11 God says, "I repent that I have made Saul king." And in verse 29 Samuel says, "The Glory of Israel will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent."

    So here is my alternative way of thinking about these texts: God foreknows the grievous and sorrowful effects of some of his own choices – for example, to create Adam and Eve, and to make Saul king. These effects are genuinely grievous to God as he sees them in themselves. Yet he does not regard his choices as mistakes that he would do differently if only he foreknew what was coming. Rather he wills to do some things which he then genuinely grieves over in part when the grievous effect comes to pass.

    Now if someone should say, This does not sound like what we ordinarily mean by "regret" or "repentance," I would say, "That is exactly why Samuel said what he did in 1 Samuel 15:29, "[God] will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent." In other words, Samuel means something like this: when I say "[God] repented that he made Saul king" (or when Moses said that God repented that he created Adam and Eve) I do not mean that God experiences repentance precisely the way ordinary humans do. He is not a man to experience "repentance" this way. He experiences it his way – the way one experiences "repentance" when one is all-wise and foreknows the entire future perfectly. The experience is real, but it is not like finite man experiences it.

    God’s Glory Is at Stake

    Which brings us to the main and final point. When Samuel protests in 1 Samuel 15:29, "The Glory of Israel will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent," what is he protesting against? And what is he protesting for? The wording of the verse gives the answer. He is protesting against making God like a man. "God is not man." And he is protesting for the glory of God. "The Glory of Israel will not . . . repent."

    Therefore I say again, as earnestly and hopefully as I know how: the issue of God’s foreknowledge of human choices is about the glory of God. And if you love the glory of God, if his glory is your treasure and your portion in this life and the next, then I urge you to say with Samuel, "The glory of Israel is not like a human being, he does not repent" – as though he did not know the future! Rather, as Jonathan Edwards said, God’s foreknowledge is "his peculiar glory, greatly distinguishing him from all other beings.

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  4. Helen

    Helen
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    Hi Keith,

    With all due respect, I disagree with you.

    The very first line of the Bible indicates that God created time itself. If you are from Huntsville, I am suspecting you are working with NASA? If so, then you know that we live in what is called a time/space/mass continuum. None can be logically considered or measured without the other two. Now look at the first sentence in the Bible:

    In the beginning -- time
    God created -- 'bara', or out of nothing
    the heavens -- space
    and the earth -- mass


    God is outside of time, and therefore has full knowledge of all that will happen through and in time. A very positive support of this may be found in Revelation 13:8, in which it states that Christ is the Lamb slain FROM THE FOUNDATION (OR CREATION) OF THE WORLD.

    God knew that we would sin before it ever happened. He chose the method by which He would deal with it before sin was ever conceived. His decision stood as fact (slain from the foundation of the world) and only needed to be worked out IN time.

    In fact, when God is proclaiming Himself for who He is in Isaiah, we read the following:

    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.


    Does this cancel free will? No, actually, it doesn't. Those who think it does do not comprehend how 'big' God is. There is a picture I can offer her:

    When my children were little, about the age of four for each of them, we gave them their first crack at decision making -- "You are getting pretty big for naps now. But if you want to take a nap then you are old enough to stay up a little later with Mommy and Daddy tonight. But if you decide to stay up, then you will go to bed at your regular time."

    I KNEW what each child would choose. I knew my children very well, and I batted a thousand on this one. I knew who would decide what and I knew when to brace myself for a battle at bedtime. And yet they each still had absolutely free choice. It's just that I was 'big' enough to be able to encompass any choice that was made.

    And God knows us ever so much more than I ever knew my children. He knows exactly what we will do and choose, and yet the choice is truly ours to make.

    You say God is not often pleased. It is worse than that -- He is NEVER pleased with anyone who is not born again in Christ. Paul says so in Romans 8:7. Isaiah mentions the same in 64:6 when he says all our righteous works are like filthy rags. In fact, from the first chapter in Isaiah we read His disgust with the very sacrifices He originally commanded! Why? Because the people's hearts are not willing and obedient.
    For the person who is found in Christ, however, the heart tends toward good, wanting to please God. Thus even when we goof up, God, praise His Name, sees what our hearts were intending! (And each time we goof up we also learn to listen for His guidance instead of trying to figure things out ourselves so much!)

    The view you are espousing, Keith, limits God's creation and person. I just don't think that is correct, and I am sure that is not what the Bible is presenting.

    In Christ,
    Helen
     
  5. keith

    keith
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris Temple:
    The Open view of God is a heresy, which denies the God of the Bible and His divine attributes as articulated in Scripture. It is a view not held by historic Calvinists and Arminians alike. It changes the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man——and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Rom 1:23).

    Before latching onto this heresy, I advise you to do an exhaustive study on the inexhaustible sovereignty of God.

    One excellent starting place to begin is here:
    The Foreknowledge of God
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Only if you read the Torah with an "open mind" and see for yourselvf that the God depicted there repents, is surprised by what happens, doesn't know what people will do, etc.

    Then go look at www.opentheism.org

    The divine attributes of God (immutability, impassivity, omniscience including exhaustive foreknowledge) have less to do with the Bible than they do Augustine and Charnock. Unless I miss my guess you're a conservative brethern that relies more on tradition than the Bible despite claims of submission to biblical authority.

    To say the open view is not held by Calvinists and Arminians is absolutely correct. But to claim it makes God like an animal is purely ludricous. Be serious.

    It actually enhances the all-loving nature of God and his unconditional grace (He is pulling for all of us you know) at the expense of some supposed God atributes of Christian tradition.

    Got to do a SS lesson tonight but by late tommorrow I'll look at the site. Will you do the same? Then we can discuss. Meanwhile any other thoughts?
     
  6. keith

    keith
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    Helen
    I am from Hunstville and am a scientist. Thanks for your thoughts.

    On another post you mentioned that Baylor did Dembski dirt. What was it? I'm an ID fan but not so for the Creationist, Genesis- is-science gangs. Genesis had a whole other purpose (IMO)- explaining the nature the things not a recounting of their creation.

    Got to go.
     
  7. John Wells

    John Wells
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    Keith,

    Please join us (Helen and others) in the "Creation/Evolution" forum to discuss issues related as such, and feel free to continue discussing the "Open View" topic here. I believe you will agree that will help focus rather than splinter this debate. Thanks!
     
  8. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Keith,

    Don't expect to find much support here for open theism, except for mine. But then my non-Calvinism is enough to be considered heresy here.
     
  9. John Wells

    John Wells
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    Keith said, "Then go look at www.opentheism.org"

    I did. Not much there. One thing completely missing is the first reference to scripture in this proposed theology. Don't know about you, but my warning flags go up immediately when that happens! :(

    You asked me what I think so I'm gonna tell you! Your god is not my God!

    1 John 3:20 (ESV)
    for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

    John 18:4 (ESV)
    Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”

    John 21:17 (ESV)
    He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

    Romans 8:28-30 (ESV)
    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV)
    O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
    You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
    You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
    Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
    You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

    Isaiah 40:13-14 (ESV)
    Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?

    2 Samuel 14:20 (ESV)
    In order to change the course of things your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”

    John 16:30 (ESV)
    Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”
     
  10. Chris Temple

    Chris Temple
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by John Wells:
    You asked me what I think so I'm gonna tell you! Your god is not my God!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Amen, John. Open theism is deification of self and transference of humanity to the Almighty God, using selective, liberal hermeneutics rather than the whole counsel of God. It is a damnable heresy which puts man at the center of the universe, rather than God. I quote the inspired apostle again:

    Romans 1:18-25 (ESV)
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. [21] For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
    [24] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    The gospel is a gospel of grace: it is all of grace and none of man. It is about a holy, omnipotent, omniscient, sovereign God reaching down, regenerating totally depraved elect sinners, enabling them to believe what they previously could not, and saving them, all for the glory of His own name. A portrayal of any other God is no god at all.

    Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV)
    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— [7] not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
    [10] For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
     
  11. keith

    keith
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chris Temple:



    Amen, John. Open theism is deification of self and transference of humanity to the Almighty God, using selective, liberal hermeneutics rather than the whole counsel of God. It is a damnable heresy which puts man at the center of the universe, rather than God. I quote the inspired apostle again:


    Romans 1:18-25 (ESV)
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. [21] For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
    [24] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.


    The gospel is a gospel of grace: it is all of grace and none of man. It is about a holy, omnipotent, omniscient, sovereign God reaching down, regenerating totally depraved elect sinners, enabling them to believe what they previously could not, and saving them, all for the glory of His own name. A portrayal of any other God is no god at all.


    Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV)
    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel? [7] not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
    [10] For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Will you please calmly tell me what these verses have to do with the Open View. I see nothing indicating exhaustive foreknowledge. The first (Romans 1) is about those that can't see God in nature and the second is about the Judaizers (the circumcison party). You seem to pick out Paul's most vehement statements against other divergent views and assign it to the open theists.

    Man is not in the center of the Open View; a gracious and loving God is. What on earth makes you think it deifies man? I really cannot follow anything you say. Then again it appears to be given with a lot of anger for some unknown reason.

    You call it liberal - I meet with a group in Hunstville devoted to the Open View / Moral Governmant theology / Revival tehology. All of them (except myself) are self described Fundamentalists and Baptists.

    As for Biblical evidence go to:
    www.revivaltheology.com/boyd_Bible_Open_View_of_the_Future.htm

    And for more articles go to:
    www.revivaltheology.com/articles/pages/Omniscience_and_the_Openness_of_God/index.html

    Now this survey so far has been about 5-1 against the Open View. Oh well, truth is truth and is not decided by vote.
     
  12. keith

    keith
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by John Wells:
    Keith said, "Then go look at www.opentheism.org"


    I did. Not much there. One thing completely missing is the first reference to scripture in this proposed theology. Don't know about you, but my warning flags go up immediately when that happens! :(


    You asked me what I think so I'm gonna tell you! Your god is not my God!


    1 John 3:20 (ESV)
    for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

    (Keith- this does explicitly say He knows all the future exhaustively. It can be interpreted to say He knows all that is available to be known)


    John 18:4 (ESV)
    Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, ?Whom do you seek??

    (keith - the OV does not claim God doesn't know any of the future , He doesn't know all of it especially those freely made, future decisions/actions of man)

    John 21:17 (ESV)
    He said to him the third time, ?Simon, son of John, do you love me?? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ?Do you love me?? and he said to him, ?Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.? Jesus said to him, ?Feed my sheep.

    (Keith - the OV certainly believes God knows our hearts everything about them in their current condition)


    Romans 8:28-30 (ESV)
    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    (keith - the first part of this squares nicely with the OV since we emphasize God's great resourcefulness in working things out- He is very adaptive. the foreknowledge leading to predestination is a problem for the OV, but there are so many more problems for teh non-OV - see link in last post)

    Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV)
    O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
    You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
    You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
    Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
    You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

    (keith - this can just mean again He knows our heart so well that He knows the substance of what we are about to speak - OV says God has excellent anticipation)

    Isaiah 40:13-14 (ESV)
    Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?

    (keith - huh?)

    2 Samuel 14:20 (ESV)
    In order to change the course of things your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.?

    (keith - note the present tense in "all things that are on the earth")


    John 16:30 (ESV)
    Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    (keith - huh?)

    Thanks for the challenge John.

    Good night ya'll and how about them Auburn Tigers!
     
  13. John Wells

    John Wells
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    Keith,

    Would you care to show verse-by-verse where the scriptures I quoted do not show "exhaustive foreknowledge?" Your god is at the mercy of man to make the next move so that he can figure out how to act. Do you or do you not believe that the God of the Bible is omniscient?
     
  14. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Keith,

    Chris Temple is against everything and everyone that disagrees with his militant fundamentalist Calvinism. He is also a strict literalist--that is, until the literal reading does not accord with his views. Then he goes into his favorite dance--the twist.
     
  15. keith

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    Whoops I meant to say in response to John's first verse:

    (Keith- this does not explicitly say He knows all the future exhaustively. It can be interpreted to say He knows all that is available to be known)
     
  16. keith

    keith
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by John Wells:
    Keith,


    Would you care to show verse-by-verse where the scriptures I quoted do not show "exhaustive foreknowledge?" Your god is at the mercy of man to make the next move so that he can figure out how to act. Do you or do you not believe that the God of the Bible is omniscient?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Like minds think alike. I had just replied to your verses best I could.

    Yes I believe God is ominscience. I just define omniscience to say He knows all there is to know. What hasn't happened cannot be known. I wouldn't claim, one didn't believe in omnipotence because God might not be able to make a rock so big He cannot lift it.
     
  17. keith

    keith
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    Keith,


    Chris Temple is against everything and everyone that disagrees with his militant fundamentalist Calvinism. He is also a strict literalist--that is, until the literal reading does not accord with his views. Then he goes into his favorite dance--the twist.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Thanks Michael, good to hear from you again. So Chris Twists and Shouts.
     
  18. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Keith,

    I doubt if he shouts; he wouldn't want anyone to mistake him for a Pentecostal--another "damnable heresy", you know. ;)
     
  19. Chris Temple

    Chris Temple
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by keith:

    Will you please calmly tell me what these verses have to do with the Open View. I see nothing indicating exhaustive foreknowledge.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If you can't see it, all the evidence in the world will not turn your presuppositions to it. The Open Theist god is one who cannot answer prayers, for he does not know what man will decide to do; he cannot predict events because he is unsure what man may do, and he cannot control events, because it may interfere with the sovereignty of man. He is a god made in the image of man.

    The Open theist commits the same error and the hyper-arminian and the hyper-calvinist: finding a few 'proof' verses and blanketing their corrupt theology upon them. Biblical theology considers the whole counsel of God; that God is All Sovereign, and man has limited freedom within God's sovreignty. It should concern you that your Openness position is new in the 6000 years of biblical theology.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Isaiah 40:18 ¶ To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
    19 The workman molds an image, The goldsmith overspreads it with gold, And the silversmith casts silver chains.
    20 Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution Chooses a tree that will not rot; He seeks for himself a skillful workman To prepare a carved image that will not totter.
    21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
    22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
    23 He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless.
    24 Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
    25 "To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.
    26 Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.
    27 ¶ Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the LORD, And my just claim is passed over by my God"?
    28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Isaiah 46:5 ¶ "To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal And compare Me, that we should be alike?
    6 They lavish gold out of the bag, And weigh silver on the scales; They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god; They prostrate themselves, yes, they worship.
    7 They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it And set it in its place, and it stands; From its place it shall not move. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer Nor save him out of his trouble.
    8 "Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors.
    9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,
    10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
    11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  20. Chris Temple

    Chris Temple
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    Keith,

    Chris Temple is against everything and everyone that disagrees with his militant fundamentalist Calvinism. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Ah .. the master of useless ad hominem speaks! :rolleyes:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>He is also a strict literalist--that is, until the literal reading does not accord with his views. Then he goes into his favorite dance--the twist.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Again no proof cited ... btw, that "strict literalist" would be argued against by those who know I am not a dispensationalist! :eek:
     

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