Guide Open Theism: Understanding God, the Future and His Perfect Plan

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The last paragraph is powerful and conclusive. Well done. Oh no, please. I believe that God is outside of time and knows the future even as he knows the past both of which concepts are largely irrelevant to an eternal being , but that man still has freedom to act according to his own will. He's not constantly backpedaling against our rebellions which disrupt his plan because his entire plan is to offer salvation to each and every one of us. Thus, his plan is already accomplished, and what is there for our freedoms to thwart? Leinad: Before I answer your questions, do you mind explaining exactly what you mean by free will?

It was damnation ; and he took it lovingly. I'm actually in a theology class at a Christian university right now, and we've spend several hours on free will vs divine foreknowledge. I don't come down as a hard Calvinist or Armenian. Do humans have free will or does God have divine foreknowledge Just yes.

But open theism is, indeed, a distortion of Biblical truth.

Does God Know The Future? Open Theism vs Calvinism Q:1

It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all. I don't have much experience with theology and theological terminology, but I suppose I would describe free will as the ability to choose, uncompelled, between more than one course of action, i. For example, tomorrow I could have eggs for breakfast, or I could skip breakfast and go on a killing spree, and from the perspective of the present it is not yet determined which of these things I will do. I hold to reformed doctrine, yet I agree that extremist Calvinism is something to avoid. I suppose that Open Theism could be described as an extreme form of Arminianism.

Leinad: I would agree that from the perspective of finite man, the future is indeed undetermined. However, we both agree that God knows the future perfectly. Thus, from his perspective, the future is determined.


Open theology claims that an action, in order to be truly free must be contingent and uncaused. At the same time they were transgressing the revealed will of God. Are Judas and Plate to be commended for bringing to pass the secret will of God? Of course not! We will be judged by how we have kept the revealed will of God. We have to leave the secret will up to God. He will perform all his pleasure and bring to fruition all his purposes.

The very hairs of our head are all numbered. We are totally in his hands. That is our comfort. Let us rejoice in that.

Open Theism or Veiled Heresy?

As an aside we should note that this distinction in the will of God is also a crucial issue in the Calvinist-Arminian debate. This is obvious and should be beyond debate, unless one is a universalist, for it is clear, from both Scripture and history, that not all men are saved and that multitudes are on the road to perdition or have already gone to a Christless eternity. In this view God is impotent to save anyone. He has done all he can do. He has offered up his Son to make men savable, to provide a potential salvation for all men, and is now awaiting to see the results of his attempt to redeem humanity from its sins.

Fortunately, most Arminians do not express such sentiments. They are far too Biblical to press their theology to its logical conclusions. Now how does all this relate to the issue before us? Well let us take the issue of whether men can by the exercise of their free will frustrate the will of God.

We sin daily, and every sin is violation of the revealed will of God. The real issue before us is can men frustrate the secret will of God.

Open Theism: God’s "Limited Knowledge"? - Resources - Eternal Perspective Ministries

That is the issue at stake between Calvinists and Arminians. That is a major issue when confronting the proponents of Open Theism. And it is in that sense, as referring to the secret will of God, that the term the will for God is used in this discussion. It denies that God can know the future. Open Theists reason as follows.

If God knows the future, then the future has been determined. They acknowledge that God is omniscient, but postulate that the future is unknowable, since the free choices upon which it is contingent have not as yet been made. Now, it is only fair to state that Open Theists are not uniform in their beliefs.

I. Introduction

They postulate that God can lay aside his attribute of omniscience and selectively decide not to exercise it. This, however, creates even more problems. They now have a God who can change, and who can change his attributes at will. Can God now change other attributes, such as his faithfulness, his omnipotence, his holiness? Can God now change his word, his promises, his covenants? This is a quagmire that effectively destroys theology and would make us all agnostics.

God would be unknowable. His word and promises would become unreliable. This precipitates a theological disaster of unimaginable proportions. Secondly, it is a logical fallacy that God could selectively set aside his omniscience. God would have to know what future events to selectively restrict from his knowledge.

Therefore, to eliminate them from his omniscience he would first have to know them, and then will to forget them. This is a logical absurdity. The testimony of both Scripture and logic are relentlessly arrayed against such errors. Let us examine the claims of the first class of Open Theists who declare that the future is unknowable. We readily admit that for us the future is entirely unknowable.

We may think we know what will happen by experience and by our knowledge of what specific people always do in certain circumstances, but we really do not know. We can be surprised. The question is does God know with absolute certainty what will happen in the future?

PDF Open Theism: Understanding God, the Future and His Perfect Plan

The question becomes is God ever surprised? What saith the Scriptures on this issue? One hardly knows where to begin here. These passages show the knowledge of God concerning how the soldiers who crucified Christ would dispose of his garments centuries before they worked it out at the foot of the cross. God is both knows the future moral choices of men and has all such events under his control.

Additionally, we have a parallel passage that states…. The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. In this passage again the Lord, through his prophetic word, demonstrates his complete knowledge of future events, including the choices and actions of Herod, Pilate, and the rulers of the Jews, and declares that it was all according to his determinate counsel, in other words according to his predestined purposes, his secret will.

God knows all things and he is in control of all things and he uses that control to bring to pass his secret will, his eternal decrees from before the foundation of the world. That is the uniform testimony of Scripture. I have chosen to concentrate the examples on the events of the death of Christ, but the Scriptures contain a multitude of fulfilled prophecies covering many different events and many different personalities.

We can now answer the question we proposed earlier; God knows the future and he is never surprised. Nonetheless, Open Theists beg to differ. They propose that God does not know the future and that therefore he is at times surprised, that he makes mistakes, that he repents of his mistakes, that he learns from his experiences, that he changes his mind as unexpected events occur, and that he tests men to see what they will do.