Friday, March 6, 2009

Open Theism a God Who Takes Risks

When I began to write about God’s omniscience, (all-knowing) I came across something very odd to me, it was a group of Christians which practice a set of tenets called Open Theism. The Open Theist does not believe in several things that would otherwise be called normal Christian doctrine, but the issue here is specifically their view on God’s omniscience.

For the Open Theist God is not all-knowing, He is “somewhat” knowing. In fact, they even go as far as to say things like “God takes risks" as a gambler  or worst of all, that "God makes mistakes”. I’m not an apologist, however, the scripture clearly teaches God Omniscience. Psalm 33:13-15 tells us God consider the works of every individual.  1 Corinthians 4:5 tells there is no secret that God does not know, even the smallest of thing does not happen without God’s knowledge (Matthew 10:29-30)

The Bible is full of prophecy, which can only happen if God already knows it. In fact, some of the Bible prophecies are happening right now, from the restoration of Israel (Matthew 24:32-33), to the appearance of false Christ and false prophets (Matthew 24:24, Mark 13:6) even in the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem was predicted by Jesus some 25 to 30 before it actually happened.

I think the biggest problem with open theist denying the Omniscience of God is that it necessarily [1] denies the inerrancy of Scripture. Moreover, since according to the Open Theist God does not know the future, we must conclude that none of the promises of God are true. And anything possibility of eternal life promised by Jesus is nothing more than his opinion, and conjecture, and therefore Jesus would be guessing about the future at best and we would be resting our faith on a mad man.

The open theist grounds his view of a god of finite knowledge, as all error in doctrine is, on an incorrect reading of the scriptures. though I surmise that it is an unwillingness or submit to Jesus as Lord. By this I mean if Jesus is Lord than they are not free to do as they will, this perversion we will address better in the following question. 

Can God Know Our Future Actions and We Still Have Free Will?
·                                 This argument carries with it some unnecessary baggage. First, it assumes there is a relationship between knowing something will happen and causally influencing that thing to happen. To state the argument better we say;  "If we have free will, and God Knows what future free will choice we will make in any given situation, then our choice is not free will at all."
Let’s consider the logic of this statement. If I give a hungry seven-year-old child the choice of a bowl of his favorite flavor ice cream or something he completely dislikes and leaves the room, I can say with confidence that I know he will choose the ice cream. However, my knowing he will choose the ice cream will not affect his decision to choose ice cream. He has within his ability the free will to select the other bowl of (let’s say spinach) which he dislikes, in fact, the child can decide that he will eat neither the ice cream or the spinach. My question then is, did my knowledge of his selection caused him to select the ice cream? Of course, not that was done of his own free will.

If God Knows All, Why Does He Ask Questions?
  • One the verse that is used to deny God Omniscience is Genesis 3:9 (KJV) And the LORD God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou? This, like other verses in which God ask a question, are instruments of confusion used by the Open Theist to show that God is not Omniscience. However, before I give an answer to this problem let me first ask a few questions. 
    • I ask you why did God who knows all things (Omniscience) ask Adam where art thou? (Genesis 3:9) didn’t God already know where Adam and Eve were hiding?
    • Why would Christ Jesus who at 12 years old while teaching in the temples asks questions of his students?
    • Why would God, in Genesis 22:12 say to Abraham “Now I know that you fear God” Doesn’t God already know the hearts of man?
    • Better yet why would I having limited knowledge just as all men have, ask these questions of you the reader?
Simply put every question is not out of ignorance, some are with the intent of provoking thought and
eliciting an intelligent response from the hearer. Have you ever told a child do not throw that ball in the house? Then you leave the room and the child throws the ball, breaks a lampshade or something of value? Then in disciplining the child you ask “Do see what you’ve done?”  or maybe he is the only child and you ask, “Who broke the lampshade?” You did not ask because you didn’t know, he was the only person in the room. You asked because you wanted him to know that in his disobedience, he has made his life worst.

In the same way, God did not ask Adam where he was because He did not know Adam’s location, He asked because He wanted Adam to look back at where he was before his sin, in perfect harmony with God living in the Garden of Eden. In comparison to where we are right now living in strife, and in suffering trying to hide from the presence of God because of his (our) sin.

In the same way, God knew that Abraham would be faithful to the end but had to bring Abraham to that understanding for himself. Moreover, Hebrews 11:19 says that Abraham expected that God would raise him (Isaac) from the dead. The message bible clears this up completely

“For he considered [it reasonable to believe] that God was able to raise Isaac even from among the dead. [Indeed, in the sense that he was prepared to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God] Abraham did receive him back [from the dead] figuratively speaking.” Hebrews 11:19 (AMP)

A God that doesn’t know all, and is not omniscient is not a God at all. How can God help us if he has no clue what we are going through? How can He love us if he has no idea how we need to be loved, or console us if he does not know how to comfort us?  But this is the lesser God of Open Theism.

We need a God that knows our problems and can sympathize with us, who is able to both cry when we hurt and give us joy everlasting. How can he meet our needs if he knows nothing about us? We need a God who knows our, individual hurts, our personal wants, and our corky laughter.   We need an Omniscient God, We need Jesus! Hebrews 4:15 reads;

“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin” Hebrew 4:15 (AMP)

Your Brother In Christ  
T. Charves FireSpeaks


[1] Necessarily in this case, means if the first assumption is true ( God is not omniscient) then the second must be true ( the Bible is not inerrant)