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Thread: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

  1. #121
    Full Member Kevin Jackson's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles W Christian View Post
    Well, not quite, but I see your points here.

    First, if you believe that God knows the future but does not cause it, then you are certainly within the camp of many Arminian/Wesleyans. However, you are expressing a degree of openness, too. You are saying that God gives us freedom, yet knows what we are going to choose. You are thus arguing that God does not cause the future, but the way God and time are related makes it possible for God to know something before our way of knowing, yet without causing it. In the view you express (which I have just described, I think, based upon what you said), there is a degree of Open Theism involved. The future is indeed "open" to some degree even in your view, but God knows it.

    Many Open Theists see the future as open with God knowing every possibility or contingency that will happen. Either way, in BOTH of these views, God is not caught off guard in some way. In your view, God is not off guard because due to His special relationship to time, He knows what will happen exactly. In the other view, God is not caught off guard because in His infinite wisdom He is completely prepared for every possibility (even though He doesn't know the exact possibility that will occur, since He has granted freedom).

    So, both are open views (even yours).

    Thanks,
    Charles
    Well stated Charles, you represented well what I believe. The primary issue is whether or not God is coercive, and we agree that he is not. The secondary issue is whether or not there is such a thing as exhaustive foreknowledge for God. I think there is. But as you state, either in the open view or the traditional Wesleyan view God is completely prepared for the future.
    Last edited by Kevin Jackson; April 12th, 2012 at 05:44 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #122
    Full Member Kevin Jackson's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    How about Jesus knew his disciples. In a discussion earlier in the thread Dan Henderson and I were talking about being observant and getting to know people and that we both beat the odds at predicting what certain people would do in a given situation. It isn't foreknowledge. So no, Jesus doesn't cause the act, yet he makes a rather well informed prediction. Although with Peter, maybe he planted a seed in his subconscious. I have a friend facing some criminal charges, I said this this and that are going to happen. This and that happened exactly as I said they would. Not foreknowledge, knowledge and experience with the same system and knowing my friend and his reaction to that system. If I can do it, certainly Jesus, who knows hearts, can.
    Hi Paul, I think the specifics of Jesus prophesies regarding Judas and Peter make them unlikely to be based on a prediction. First, Jesus says “you will” not “I predict that you will”. Second, Jesus quotes prophesy that was written before the disciples were born: “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written…” Third, the nature of Jesus foreknowledge was very specific: Peter will deny Jesus three times before the rooster crows. This involves knowing exactly where Peter would be and at what time, and also exactly where the three people who asked him question would be, and what questions they would ask him, and also that only three people would ask the questions. The prediction required more than an intimate knowledge of Peter.

    I think the most reasonable reading of this passage is that Jesus had genuine foreknowledge of his disciples actions (and the actions of others) before they made them. Jesus knew that his disciples would do these things, but he did not cause their actions. His knowledge was certain, but it was also based on the free will actions of the disciples themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    If it is known absolutely what I am going to do at a certain junction, then that decision has been made in advance. If I did not know that I was fated to do X at that junction and it is set in stone, then I have not made a choice, did not exercise my will, because I had no choice.
    Passive knowledge does not equal causation. People know things with certainty all the time, and their knowledge doesn't by necessity cause the event. This can be the case with God too. There is a difference between certainty and necessity. The first involves passive knowledge of what someone else will do, the second involves actively causing the actions of another. I think God's passive knowledge is something that exists in his mind, and that knowledge in and of itself is incapable of causing anything. Sometimes we have glimpses of God's knowledge in prophesies. Even in those cases his knowledge is ultimately based on what people who make free decisions will do. Our doing is the cause of his knowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    I really do not understand how you came to your conclusion concerning theodicy if God does not have foreknowledge and the future becomes the present. Would you please explain, show how you reach this conclusion?
    What I meant by the theodicy issue is that if certain knowledge does in fact cause future events (as open theists hold), then God is coercive whenever the future is settled. Open theists also believe that God can pre-settle the future when he wants to to bring about specific prophecies. Dr. Oord has criticized open theism along these lines before, and it's why he holds to process theology instead of open theism.

    So I think there are only two reasonable options: 1) Classical foreknowledge with free will - God has passive knowledge of the future, but we still have free will and make the decisions. or 2) Process theology. For me, option #1 creates the least amount of tension, but I also prefer #2 over open theism, because I don't think God is ever coercive.
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  3. #123
    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jackson View Post
    What I meant by the theodicy issue is that if certain knowledge does in fact cause future events (as open theists hold), then God is coercive whenever the future is settled. Open theists also believe that God can pre-settle the future when he wants to to bring about specific prophecies. Dr. Oord has criticized open theism along these lines before, and it's why he holds to process theology instead of open theism.
    I haven't kept up with the literature on open theism, but I don't recall anything I'd read ever saying that certain knowledge of the future = causation. It may mean that it's settled, and therefore no longer free. But that's not the same as God "actively causing the actions of another."

    I also don't recall open theists saying that God can "pre-settle the future." I remember them saying that God can determine beforehand what he himself will do (just like any of us can, though we can be limited and hindered by outside forces). But I don't remember them saying that God ever "pre-settled" the future choices of free agents.

    Have I missed something that Open Theists themselves have said? Or have I just missed the arguments made by those arguing against it in favor of some other alternative?

  4. #124
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jackson View Post
    Passive knowledge does not equal causation. People know things with certainty all the time, and their knowledge doesn't by necessity cause the event. This can be the case with God too. There is a difference between certainty and necessity. The first involves passive knowledge of what someone else will do, the second involves actively causing the actions of another. I think God's passive knowledge is something that exists in his mind, and that knowledge in and of itself is incapable of causing anything. Sometimes we have glimpses of God's knowledge in prophesies. Even in those cases his knowledge is ultimately based on what people who make free decisions will do. Our doing is the cause of his knowing.
    First no one has suggested that knowledge is causative. Necessity is not causative. Yet, it remains that if a decision of another is known with absolute certitude before the person encounters the situation and that person has no prior knowledge it appears to her to be a choice, but because it was firmly decided before hand then there is no choice, no real decision. Knowing this does not cause it. The knowledge is, as you say, passive, neutral. Whatever set that incident in stone prior to it actually occurring is the causative agent. It is that causative agent that made the decision that the puppet/person thinks she makes, yet does not.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jackson View Post
    What I meant by the theodicy issue is that if certain knowledge does in fact cause future events (as open theists hold), then God is coercive whenever the future is settled. Open theists also believe that God can pre-settle the future when he wants to to bring about specific prophecies. Dr. Oord has criticized open theism along these lines before, and it's why he holds to process theology instead of open theism.

    So I think there are only two reasonable options: 1) Classical foreknowledge with free will - God has passive knowledge of the future, but we still have free will and make the decisions. or 2) Process theology. For me, option #1 creates the least amount of tension, but I also prefer #2 over open theism, because I don't think God is ever coercive.
    I have yet to encounter an open theology that suggests that knowledge is causative. Knowledge may be deterministic, as in the collapse of the wave function in the theory of quantum mechanics, but it is not causative.

    I do not believe God is coercive either.

    For me classical foreknowledge precludes free will. If God is not coercive then another force has made the decision and made immutable the apparent choice. So, it is problematic, that's why I tend to lean towards process.
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  5. #125
    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Borger View Post
    Why are so many people determined to see a rigid God that just made some rules that we have to follow? Why aren't more people willing to give up everything they have just for the smallest of opportunities to serve a God who loves us so much that He was willing to become one of us and suffer more than we have ever suffered?
    Maybe because grace, mercy and love are not a part of their religious backgrounds?
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


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  6. #126
    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Let me know what you think about this. It seems that no one would want to claim that God is unable to do or know anything. We don't want to say that God is weak, but that God is capable of doing whatever He pleases. But then we begin to have some conversations that begin to sound like we are limiting what God can do, and that becomes a problem for some. Is that correct?

    We know that God can't send a flood to destroy the world again. Because He promised He wouldn't and God doesn't break promises.
    We know that God can't kill himself. (At least I hope not.)
    We know that God can't be something that He is not. Many would say that God can't be evil. But then we debate how evil exists if God created.
    Then we get back to how can something exist that is outside of God's control if we are indeed saying that evil is outside of God.
    How about if God knows of evil and knows that it will happen and does nothing to prevent it, then God is responsible for the evil action. So if God is aware of evil but does nothing does that make God evil or simply ambivalent.
    Is it possible for God to limit himself in some ways so that His creation works as intended and sometimes breaks his rules to fix things or make specific things happen as intended for the future?
    Are miracles God's response to mistakes? If God knew it was going to happen, and God didn't want it to happen why didn't God change something to make sure it didn't happen in the first place?
    Does God operate within our concept of time? Does God know that which has not happened yet? If you say no, does that mean that God doesn't know everything there is to know?
    Is it possible that God knows every possible scenario that can happen based on every single movement or decision made by every living and physical object in the universe but not the choice that is being made?
    If God knows every possible scenario and knows our heart and our thoughts how can God not really know what our choice will be? So is that the same as already knowing the future which would mean there is no choice or is it different because God hasn't seen the future but simply knows what we will do and has planned for it?

    How does God have emotional response to us if He already knows everything we are going to do? Does that mean we can surprise God? Why would God be angry if He knew a thousand years ago that we were going to do that? Has God been angry at that action ever since he created us because he knew when he created us that we would do that and if he knew that we would do something that would make him angry why would he create us?

    I just kind of went with it, so just pick one that jumps out to you.

    Ok, one rule. In your response don't act like I own these. I'm not claiming all of them or any of them for that matter. I simply want to see how some of you would respond. I want to know where you are coming from and how you work out your ideas.

    My inclination is that although we know the nature of God, there are still many things about God that puzzle us. It would seem that so called open theism may be an attempt to give God latitude to operate outside of our understanding and outside of rules that we may have created for God in an attempt to understand God.

    It has been 20 years since I jumped in deep in some of these discussions so I am a little rusty and some of the concepts remain in the foggy recesses of my mind. I plan on reading some of the links you have included here. If you have more, be sure to share.

    If some of the thoughts expressed here freak you out. That's ok. Just tell us why and how you come to your conclusions and remember our purpose here is to not dismiss God or limit God in any way. If anything it is an attempt to somehow describe just how wonderful and powerful God is. Sometimes when we start of with a certain thought it takes us to a very bad and un-scriptural conclusion. The important thing is to recognize that and learn from it. Some people continue to hold to such thoughts because they never take the time to question it or compare it to scripture or have other people help them figure out if Jesus would ever support it.
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  7. #127
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    For everyone who likes to discuss this further, IRL, there's a conference coming! : The Future Of Openness , April 4-6, 2013 http://theopenview.org/

    Quoting Tom Oord:

    Open Theology for the Church — The Future of Openness

    To date, most organized events exploring Open theology have been designed for scholars in the academy. This conference is different. As its subtitle indicates, the Open Theology Conference is aimed at the wider church. It’s the very first event of its kind!

    With this wider church perspective, the open theology conversation will be freed to take new forms. At this conference, new voices—you!—are invited to discuss issues that matter most. Together, we can all express the hope and insight that comes from affirming a God of love in relationship with creation whose future is open.

    The 2013 Open Theology Conference is meant for Christian leaders of all types. Lectures, table discussions, and “dreaming of the future” sessions will explore theological issues and practical concerns with an eye toward relevance for contemporary Christians.


    I'd love to be there! Not likely to happen but it sounds very good.
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    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    For everyone who likes to discuss this further, IRL, there's a conference coming! : The Future Of Openness , April 4-6, 2013 http://theopenview.org/

    Quoting Tom Oord:

    Open Theology for the Church — The Future of Openness

    To date, most organized events exploring Open theology have been designed for scholars in the academy. This conference is different. As its subtitle indicates, the Open Theology Conference is aimed at the wider church. It’s the very first event of its kind!

    With this wider church perspective, the open theology conversation will be freed to take new forms. At this conference, new voices—you!—are invited to discuss issues that matter most. Together, we can all express the hope and insight that comes from affirming a God of love in relationship with creation whose future is open.

    The 2013 Open Theology Conference is meant for Christian leaders of all types. Lectures, table discussions, and “dreaming of the future” sessions will explore theological issues and practical concerns with an eye toward relevance for contemporary Christians.


    I'd love to be there! Not likely to happen but it sounds very good.
    The link didn't work. It might be temporary. I hope to be there.

  9. #129
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Borger View Post
    The link didn't work. It might be temporary. I hope to be there.
    You're right. I now got:

    "Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later. "

    edited:

    Kyle, the link is working right now, 16:22 CEST, that's 09:22 CDST
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  10. #130
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Borger
    Is it possible that God knows every possible scenario that can happen based on every single movement or decision made by every living and physical object in the universe but not the choice that is being made?
    I am still thinking about your entire post, but chose to address this question, because I have thought about this before.

    I, personally, think that He can know all possible choices every creature faces, know the most likely choice that will be made, yet not know definitely. I further think that God may know the most likely choice and hope that another will be made. In this scenario God has foreknowledge, yet not of the type that requires the future to be solidified, therefore allowing full freedom of choice for creatures. This way of knowing also accounts for God regretting decisions He made, allows for the emotion you speak of in another question. The future remains open.
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  11. #131
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Borger View Post
    We know that God can't send a flood to destroy the world again. Because He promised He wouldn't and God doesn't break promises.
    Can't is not the same as won't

  12. #132
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    Can't is not the same as won't
    By implication God is NOT bound by His covenants and promises IF He can at will break them. No, I believe God bound Himself and cannot unbreak that covenantal bond. I believe that God voluntarily limited His available choices when He made the covenant with Noah and all living things. It goes to God's Nature. God remains true to God's nature of necessity.
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  13. #133
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    By implication God is NOT bound by His covenants and promises IF He can at will break them. No, I believe God bound Himself and cannot unbreak that covenantal bond. I believe that God voluntarily limited His available choices when He made the covenant with Noah and all living things. It goes to God's Nature. God remains true to God's nature of necessity.
    I'm not getting your logic here. I do not see any logic to the argument that a covenant cannot be broken just because it isn't I think that is called argument from silence, but I may be misapplying that logic jump here.

  14. #134
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    I'm not getting your logic here. I do not see any logic to the argument that a covenant cannot be broken just because it isn't I think that is called argument from silence, but I may be misapplying that logic jump here.
    For one that is not my argument. I won't argue that because God hasn't broken covenant He cannot, that would be nonsensical. I do argue that God cannot break His covenant, that when He made the covenant He knew that He would be bound by it and would limit His future choices, in this case He covenanted with all of creation, all living creation that He would never destroy all life with a flood again.

    God by His very nature, as testified to in the biblical witness, is one of Love and Truth. It is antiLove and antiTruth to break the covenant. God cannot act against His nature. If He can then we really need to reconsider what we think about His nature. To break the covenant of Genesis 9 God would have to act opposite to His nature. The Bible tells us that God's nature is unchanging.

    Further IF God can break His promises and covenants what's to say He won't? How are we to have faith in His promises? (I've avoided these because they feel as though they contain some informal fallacies). How do we know anything God says is true
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  15. #135
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    For one that is not my argument. I won't argue that because God hasn't broken covenant He cannot, that would be nonsensical. I do argue that God cannot break His covenant, that when He made the covenant He knew that He would be bound by it and would limit His future choices, in this case He covenanted with all of creation, all living creation that He would never destroy all life with a flood again.

    God by His very nature, as testified to in the biblical witness, is one of Love and Truth. It is antiLove and antiTruth to break the covenant. God cannot act against His nature. If He can then we really need to reconsider what we think about His nature. To break the covenant of Genesis 9 God would have to act opposite to His nature. The Bible tells us that God's nature is unchanging.

    Further IF God can break His promises and covenants what's to say He won't? How are we to have faith in His promises? (I've avoided these because they feel as though they contain some informal fallacies). How do we know anything God says is true
    One explaination that I have heard about the covenant God made with Abraham is that God agreed to keep both sides of the covenent (His and Abraham's) because he was the only one capable of keeping the covenant. That God cannot break his promise does not flow. A promise that cannot be broken seems to make the promise of no import. The strength in keeping a promise comes from the keeping of the promise. The inability to break a promise would make the promise nothing special. I do not accept your logic in this matter.
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  16. #136
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    One explaination that I have heard about the covenant God made with Abraham is that God agreed to keep both sides of the covenent (His and Abraham's) because he was the only one capable of keeping the covenant. That God cannot break his promise does not flow. A promise that cannot be broken seems to make the promise of no import. The strength in keeping a promise comes from the keeping of the promise. The inability to break a promise would make the promise nothing special. I do not accept your logic in this matter.
    You don't have to, doesn't change a thing. The thing about the covenant with Abraham and God keeping both sides is senseless, but makes no difference to me, you're going to hold to what you are going to hold to.

    Oh what you mean is you either do not accept my premises, conclusion or both, the logic is fine. And you do not have to accept either my premises or my conclusion. Didn't really think you would. In the same vein I do not accept your premises concerning promises and therefore cannot accept the conclusion.
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  17. #137
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    You don't have to, doesn't change a thing. The thing about the covenant with Abraham and God keeping both sides is senseless, but makes no difference to me, you're going to hold to what you are going to hold to.

    Oh what you mean is you either do not accept my premises, conclusion or both, the logic is fine. And you do not have to accept either my premises or my conclusion. Didn't really think you would. In the same vein I do not accept your premises concerning promises and therefore cannot accept the conclusion.
    You would be debating your own peers on this. Sorry clicked post too soon. If I accepted your logic, I would accept your conclusion. I do accept you.

  18. #138
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    You would be debating your own peers on this.
    Guess I don't understand what you are saying here
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  19. #139
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    Guess I don't understand what you are saying here
    I'm saying that my concept of God agreeing to keep both sides of the covenant comes from a Nazarene written and published lesson plan -- same subject. Your peers, assuming you are a theologian, of course, which may be an incorrect assumption on my part.

  20. #140
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    I'm saying that my concept of God agreeing to keep both sides of the covenant comes from a Nazarene written and published lesson plan -- same subject. Your peers, assuming you are a theologian, of course, which may be an incorrect assumption on my part.
    Haven't read the argument. And I argue with myself 'cause I don't always agree with me. I didn't think it was your concept when I said it was nonsensical and should've included, "Without hearing the rationale." Did Abraham break covenant? Seems that covenant was pretty much one sided, God covenanting with Abraham to make him the father of many nations.

    Kind of a slide: God's covenant with Israel was conditional. "IF you do this I will make you...." Israel breached their side. God would be in His rights to walk away from the deal. Yet He doesn't.
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  21. #141
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    Haven't read the argument. And I argue with myself 'cause I don't always agree with me. I didn't think it was your concept when I said it was nonsensical and should've included, "Without hearing the rationale." Did Abraham break covenant? Seems that covenant was pretty much one sided, God covenanting with Abraham to make him the father of many nations.

    Kind of a slide: God's covenant with Israel was conditional. "IF you do this I will make you...." Israel breached their side. God would be in His rights to walk away from the deal. Yet He doesn't.
    I argue with myself also, occasionally, I win. I'm moving soon, so when I go through stuff, if I happen to find the lesson plain, and if I can remember the conversation, I'll post it to you.
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  22. #142
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    I argue with myself also, occasionally, I win. I'm moving soon, so when I go through stuff, if I happen to find the lesson plain, and if I can remember the conversation, I'll post it to you.
    You win when arguing with yourself? Oh man, I'm jealous. I don't always win
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  23. #143
    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul DeBaufer View Post
    You win when arguing with yourself? Oh man, I'm jealous. I don't always win
    you ignored my qualifier: "occasionally"
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post

  24. #144
    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Thank you Paul and Dan for your debate. Although it appears neither quite got where the other was coming from, it was civil and interesting to see how you approached the questions.
    Thanks Hans Deventer, Cam Pence, Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post

  25. #145
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Borger View Post
    Thank you Paul and Dan for your debate. Although it appears neither quite got where the other was coming from, it was civil and interesting to see how you approached the questions.
    You're welcome Kyle. I have a suspicion that Dan and I understand the other's position but simply disagree.

    I'm not all that interested in defending God's omnipotence. I'd rather defend His nature as love.
    You can be right or you can be in relationship
    Thanks Susan Unger, Steven Burton - "thanks" for this post

  26. #146
    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Ok, I may have scared a few off with the shot gun approach. Let's take one main topic.

    Does God know the future?

    Please provide some scripture to support your position.

    Here are some thoughts.

    A Calvinist has no problem with the question. God knows the future because God pre-determines the future.

    An Armenian would suggest that God does not predetermine the future, but gives us a choice. But God knows what that choice will be and knows the future.

    (This is a "Am I right statement"?)
    The open theist would suggest that God doesn't know the future because it hasn't happened. It isn't a matter of knowledge it is a matter of time. God can't know that which doesn't exist. (Is that right?)

    I have looked for scripture to suggest that God knows the future. Scripture does support God knowing everything, but is the future a part of that? If so, please provide.

    Can a choice be a choice if that choice is known. An argument I read suggested that it can be. If I provide my son a piece of ham or a chunk of hairy rat, my son will choose ham and I know that. (I'm not sure if that is a fair argument, but it is the one given.) I might argue that the choice was made by me not him because no reasonable person where we live would eat a piece of raw rat with hair on it over a piece of ham. It kind of seems like an unfair argument. I could equally argue that if I offer my son a ham sandwich with all of the fixings or a hamburger with all of the fixings, I'm not sure what he will choose. The counter argument would be that God knows our thoughts, so God would know what we are choosing. Could one also argue that God can't know that which hasn't been thought? In other words does God know our thoughts before we have the thoughts?

    Is it possible that in real time as the event unfolds and God is hearing or understanding our thoughts that God knows what we are choosing to do? Is it necessary to claim that God knows what I am going to do 10 years from now? If so how does that allow God to interact and live in relationship with 7 billion people? Do we allow that in relationship we impact God? That in prayer we at times encourage God to intercede on our behalf? If so did we not just change the future for 7 billion people in some way?

    What about the prophesies? God worked through the history of the Israelites to prepare the time for Jesus so that Jesus would answer the prophesies. Jesus knew where the donkey was going to be tied. Jesus knew that he would be crucified.

    Is it possible for God to have a plan for the future and adapt with us to make it happen. Is it possible that at times God performs miracles to step in and force things to happen that He needs to have happen.

    It does seem to suggest that if we remove God's power over the future that the resurrection of Jesus Christ would be impossible. Is it possible that we simply don't understand how God interacts with time and that while God knows the exact thoughts of 7 billion people and knows all the possible choices that those 7 billion people are likely to make that God restricts himself from knowing the exact future so that He can live in relationship with all 7 billion of us and respond and react to us as we interact with God. Is it possible that God knows his plan for the future but that it changes or is adjusted each time someone says no to God?

    I could keep going on. I think you get the point. I have been reading scripture to find a determination for this and it kind of leaves me scratching my head. Quite often what someone uses to support their argument means nothing to me. So when supplying your scripture please explain why.
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post

  27. #147
    Host Book, Movie & CE forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    I think in terms of capability over power. Certainly God has full capability over the future - and God has determined what the end result is: the full establishment of God's Kingdom, a joining of heaven and earth so that in all places that are, God reigns.

    Between creation and fulfillment, God has chosen to unite with human beings in a relational way that allows for our free will and participation. Basically, God has made things more difficult for God (having to adjust and adapt the specifics to reach the ultimate goal) because of the value of truly free relationships with humanity.

    For me, an open view of God helps explain God more fully as a complex being.

    If we're going to go back to the child analogy - it could be like a hike from the car to the lake through the woods. I can let a kid out of the car and point him in the general direction, but he might just traipse off into the woods rather than following the path. From there, I can either pick him up and put him back on the path (a predestined direction) or perhaps not even allow him to leave the path. The other option would be to continue to change and adapt my instructions to encourage him back on the path. Those directions and instructions would be constantly changing because of the kid's choices. I would still have the whole picture in my mind and be entirely capable of making the kid go to the lake if I were so inclined.

    God doesn't force us onto a specific path and God doesn't even have to know which specific steps we'll take. God knows what the end result is and God's sight is always on the end.
    ...just my $.02.
    Thanks Kyle Borger, Steven Burton - "thanks" for this post

  28. #148
    Site Manager G R 'Scott' Cundiff's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Borger View Post
    I could keep going on. I think you get the point. I have been reading scripture to find a determination for this and it kind of leaves me scratching my head. Quite often what someone uses to support their argument means nothing to me. So when supplying your scripture please explain why.
    First, believing God knows something that can't be known is, I think, something akin to gibberish. The topic almost begs that we start with an agreement as to what exists as knowable and what doesn't. Once we agree (even if just in theory) we'll all probably land on the same side of the issue - if it's knowable, God knows it.

    Second, I find plenty of evidence in the Bible that God doesn't pre-know human decisions (like Adam naming the animals or Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son). On these matters, he didn't know before hand.

    Third, I find plenty of evidence in the Bible that God pre-knows human decisions (like Peter's coming denial or Daniel's roadmap to the future). On these matters, he knows before hand.

    So....my conclusion is that this issue can't be proven one way or another Biblically.

  29. #149
    Senior Member Doug Ward's Avatar

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by G R 'Scott' Cundiff View Post
    Third, I find plenty of evidence in the Bible that God pre-knows human decisions (like Peter's coming denial or Daniel's roadmap to the future). On these matters, he knows before hand.

    So....my conclusion is that this issue can't be proven one way or another Biblically.
    Scott, here is my place to throw a Biblical monkey wrench into the discussion. I hate to do it, but it must be done if we are to evaluate the evidence in this argument. We cannot say that Peter's denial is an example of God knowing the future. We cannot because when those words were written, Peter's denial was 30 - 55 years in the past. maybe those words are an exact retelling of the verbal story, but we must admit those words might also be a way to tell the story in a manner that emphasizes something about the character of Christ.
    Even Daniel operates in the same manner. Daniel is not a foretelling of kingdoms to be, but more likely, a later work that puts words in the mouth of these past characters to reflect present day realities, and tell a theological story in doing so. It just makes it hard to say, "The Bible proves that God knows the future."
    On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.
    Thanks Steven Burton, Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post

  30. #150
    Senior Member

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    Re: Open Theism - Why is it a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by G R 'Scott' Cundiff View Post

    Third, I find plenty of evidence in the Bible that God pre-knows human decisions (like Peter's coming denial or Daniel's roadmap to the future). On these matters, he knows before hand.

    So....my conclusion is that this issue can't be proven one way or another Biblically.
    I think the Lord knows peoples hearts and that Peter did Love Jesus but under the temptation of his very life Peter would be so afraid he stated what he stated out of fear for his life. I would like to think that God allowed this for Peters growth, that is Peter would never make that mistake again no matter if it cost his life to hold firm. Maybe others to this very day also learn from Peters mistake as well?

    I see God predicting outcomes well in advance by His own sight and by His own plans that He puts in motion such as our salvation. God also knows how the one He cast to earth rages against Him and how that one also operates. I don't see such a thing as seeing through time. Like you I agree if such a gift exists then God has it.

    Randy
    "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
    (Psalms 27:1)

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