>Open Theism as I see it

Posted: 02/11/2008 in Foreknowledge, Free will, Open Theism

>I was thinking about writing a few blogs about Open Theism. Yet, Open Theism is often so derided that I thought I should loosely define it as I think about it. Naturally, there will be several blogs about how why I prefer Open Theism to Calvinism or Arminianism. Here it is.

God knows the future as possibilities. God has perfect knowledge of the future, but this future is not a rigid rail-road track of events. It is rather an infinite list of potential events that become actual events as time moves on. Some events are more likely than others. Other events are inevitable. God can determine, or not determine, whatever he chooses. Open Theists often talk about the future being “partially open” and “partially settled” whereas other viewpoints believe the future is “completely settled.”

The world is developing and organic. When God created the world, he created a world that would change and grow in many possible ways. God did not choose “the best of possible worlds.” He did not choose to between this world, which contains evil, and some other world that had less evil or more evil. The world was simply created and became this one.

Human Beings have free will Human beings have free will in a very strong sense. Our choices, especially our moral choices, are as genuinely contingent. This means that God knew that I might have made a cup of coffee , slept in, or surfed Facebook instead of typing this blog this morning. If God knew exactly what I was going to do, there was no real choice involved because there were no real alternatives. This has serious implications because it implies that Human Beings are free enough to frustrate God’s plans by not joining with them. God may have desired that humans choose something good, but we decided to choose many bad things instead.

God is not “Outside of Time” God does not stand outside of time and look at the future in a perpetual present as one of us might look at a film strip. Instead, God is inside of time in the sense that he experiences and interacts with our world. He sees the changes and movements of the world he created. He responds to it based on what occurs within it.

God Suffers and God Loves God’s capacities of Love and emotion is of paramount importance in Open Theism. God’s relational nature involves him being affected by the actions, for good or evil, of the free agents he created. God takes calculated risks with his creation, and is grieved by the tragedies that can result. Because of this, God is able to grieve sympathetically with us in our own disappointments. Likewise, because God can see us grow and change in life, he is able to relate to us on a very genuine level.

Thanks for reading!

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