The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Open Theism: is it true, possible or biblical?


#22

Ok fine! I’m certainly not going to FORCE clarity upon you, RKOZ! :slight_smile:
Maybe it’s better to just throw stuff against the wall, see what sticks. You pays your money, you takes your choice. But the walls are pretty full already :rofl:
(And yes, I’ve thrown my share!!)


#23

No jesting about it.

Davo, suppose you read a family history book about your own family history—written by your cousin and a few other family members. Then you read where your cousin stated that your paternal grandfather used to beat his wife. However, you well remember your paternal grandparents as a precious couple who truly loved each other. And so you rejected your cousin’s statement about the beatings on the basis of your knowledge of your grandfather’s character. Would your rejection of your cousin’s statement imply to you that you couldn’t trust ANY of the statements made in the family history book?


#24

Davo, every debate about doctrine involves apparently conflicting scriptural evidence used to support different sides; this one is no different, it is a judgment call. To quote Greg Boyd, an open theist (emphasis mine):

“The fact of the matter is that nobody takes everything in the Bible literally and no one takes everything in the Bible to be metaphorical (anthropomorphic or otherwise). We all [each of us] have to determine what genre a passage fits into – and thus, whether it’s intended to be more literal, or more anthropomorphic.”

I have already presented Scriptures above that I believe show unambiguously that God is omniscient. (And if God is omniscient, He obviously could never learn new information, or genuinely show surprise or disappointment, OR CHANGE HIS MIND.) Yet some dismiss those particular verses and focus on other Scriptures which seem to indicate God indeed literally changes His mind.

Since you have apparently already dismissed “crystal clear” verses indicating God is omniscient, why would you ask for further textual evidence? (And by the way, the best textual evidence you’re going to get is probably within the three linked discussions offered above.)

I have argued that God sometimes uses anthropomorphism to engage people’s understanding. However, I further argue that man sometimes misuses anthropomorphism, thereby misrepresenting God.

In a sense, the following story shows the legitimate use of anthropomorphism, by Jesus himself. Jesus (God the Son, an unlimited being) comes down to mere mortal level to engage two disciples (limited beings), to meet them where they are, in order to help them—which is the same general principle as the PROPER use of an anthropomorphism:

Luke 24:13, 17-19, 27-28

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,

17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.

18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther…

BUT I hope we would agree that in this story, Jesus was not LITERALLY “learning new information,” or “changing his mind”?

As you know, I have extensively argued that the writers of Scripture sometimes grievously misunderstood and misrepresented God’s true nature, even through the MISUSE of anthropomorphism.

For example:

6 The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” Genesis 6:6-7.

I believe a worldwide flood indeed occurred, and that Noah and his family built a literal ark, and repopulated the world. But Moses presuming to quote what God thought to Himself—that He became disappointed, regretted He made humanity—and then KILLED humanity, is a terrible misattribution of the satanic to God. After all, we now know it is THE DEVIL who has the power of death, NOT GOD. Hebrews 2:14.

As you know, I recognize progressive revelation in the Scriptures: that they show increasing understanding about the true nature of God; that He is unchanging, and only love. For example, as we discover subsequently in the New Testament:

God’s nature is unchanging:

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Jesus exactly represents God:

Hebrews 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

God’s true nature is in unmistakable contrast to the devil’s nature:

John 3:17
For God did not send his Son into the world to CONDEMN the world, but to SAVE the world through him.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill l and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Conclusions:

  1. God is sometimes misunderstood and misrepresented by believers, even by writers of Scripture.

  2. The study and interpretation of Scripture is primarily to be a spiritual, not an intellectual, pursuit. If the Scriptures are not read by the Spirit, but only read by their literal meaning, they are open to misunderstanding, even about the true nature of God, resulting in death:

2 Cor. 3:6
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Again, open theism is alarmingly associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, a cancerous movement which I recognize as symptomatic of the prophesied apostasy (e.g., 1 Tim. 4:1, 2 Th. 2:3), and therefore of the antichrist spirit.

Name your poison against the truth of futurism:

70 AD preterism: All end-times warnings and events were somehow mystically fulfilled when “God” used the Romans to kill the Jews in Jerusalem. So now, let’s take over the world for Christ.

Open theism: the prophesied end-times warnings and events can be changed, since God can change His mind; so, get on board with us and co-create the future. We need to unite and incarnate Christ (“For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray” Mt. 24:5 ), in order to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth (“My kingdom is not of this world.” Jn. 18:36).


#25

Dave your syllogism is simple logic. I’m going to connect the conclusion in line 10) to the premise in line 1) understanding “God infallibly believed” as tantamount to “God knew.” So the whole argument may be summed as as

If God knew you would answer the phone at 9 A.M. tomorrow then you did not act freely in answering the phone at 9 A.M. tomorrow.

What would follow from this, is that if God knows in advance what all of our actions are, then we have no free will at all.

However, the contrapositive of the bolded statement above (which is logically equivalent to the bolded statement) is:

If you did act freely in answering the phone at 9 A.M. tomorrow, then God did know know you would answer the phone at 9 A.M. tomorrow.


#26

Don - I said it was not unassailable! Nor did I say it is my stance on Open Theism - I’m not going to enter the arena in that debate.
I posted it only for those who have an interest in an unbiased approach to clarity. I suggest you take a couple of hours to read the entire presentation if you are interested; the full argument does NOT come to a conclusion as to this issue because, imo, the question cannot be answered in such a way that it is unassailable, no matter what side one is on.


#27

REALLY?

I see it as a logical proof (“logical” is the sense used in the study of formal logic) of the impossibility of knowing in advance what a free-will agent will choose. And though people may assail the proof, they cannot logically present a valid argument to the contrary, that is, than anyone can know in advance what a free-will agent will choose—for to know such is a logical contradiction in terms.


#28

Really, Don, I said what I think. I’m not going to the mat on this because I do not see what is at stake other than another of the 99.99% of OT issues (@Holy-Fool-P-Zombie - I did the research, and it is actually more like 98.9275%! The research to be honest was done while I was watching “Cheerleader Summer Camp 14” on Nflix. lol) that just cause name-calling without solving a thing.
I have agreed with you in the past on your contention that God cannot know what has not yet happened. I stand with that.
I AM saying here, though, that to understand why it is not as simple as you seem to think, we have to go beyond interpretation of texts into a dis-interested philosophical discussion, which I provided a link to. I can’t summarize it here and if I could it would just bore people anyway.
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have anything else to contribute.


#29

I realize that the argument was used to prove that we do NOT have free will. And it is valid IF we assume that God knows in advance what we will choose.


#30

Understood!!


#31

Clearly Hermano you cannot answer my simple question to your very straightforward claim, and as such this demonstrates your claim is FALSE, i.e., that… “God changing His mind is an anthropomorphism” — WRONG!

ALL your arguments AND TEXTS given to MY question over your spurious claim have been directed to your contention over whether God is omniscient, or not. I’ve made no claim in this thread either way on that score, at all — I simply wanted your justification for your claim that… “God changing His mind is an anthropomorphism” — you have failed to do so and any amount of unnecessary padded out posts of waffle hasn’t changed that at all.

No need to respond further here to me Hermano on this issue as you won’t and can’t answer my very basic question to your very emphatic claim… which in itself speaks volumes.


#32

I find this quite interesting. In some sense, I think this has to do with how we define God. From what I understand, the Jewish concept of God wasn’t what it is now. It wasn’t omni-everything. It was more like Zeus. It wasn’t that others Gods didn’t exist, it was just that Jehovah was only one that mattered. He was the King of the other Gods.

In this sense, then I think Open Theism is very, very possible. But if God is omni-everything, then I don’t think that is possible.

My personal opinion is that I don’t think God is omni-everything. I think he has limitations, but that he is far beyond any of us. So, with that, I think open theism is very rational.


#33

WHAT!?! With all due respect to family trees, I can only go by trusting what you yourself HAVE indeed previously stated… which WAS my point to Hermano back HERE where I was surprised Hermano needed to reiterate to you a position you yourself have shown you already agree with. As per for example these posts where you pretty say in kind…

How then from your very own words can I NOT conclude that you assert most vociferously… the likes of Jeremiah misheard, misreported and thereby misrepresented God. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


#34

Is it a given that we have the actual words of the prophet Jeremiah? I’m not completely sure that the OT is the kind of book we can depend on for that kind of precision. Yeah I’ve read Enns and others that have given reason for that stance and I kind of lean that way now. But I’m not dogmatic about it.


#35

I know what your point is—that I reject any part of the Old Testament that I find emotionally repugnant. That is untrue. I reject only the parts that depict God as someone other than the One whose essence is LOVE as the apostle John stated, and whose kindness is meant to lead people to repentance, and who is kind to unthankful and evil people, as Jesus stated. That is why I gave you the analogy of the “family history book.” I had imagined that you might see the analogy and understand my position better. Apparently you haven’t.


#36

My ONLY point was to point out the FACT that you have and DO call into question aspects of certain biblical authors (where it suits), to use your nuance, words you find emotionally repugnant — and don’t you just hate that your own quotes above PROVE the case; your words NOT mine — that’s all.


#37

So Paidion… as your own words show, you reject certain words of the likes of Moses and Jeremiah & co. when they don’t meet a certain criteria determined by you, so how and on what basis do you claim the likes of John heard correctly when you affirm as true certain words attributed to him, i.e., HOW do you know, or on what basis is your textual rule determined that assumes John heard correctly about God? IOW… how do you justify these arbitrary switching of positions?


#38

I accept the teachings of Jesus and His apostles They are consistent with the character of God. I reject any concepts from the Old Testament which state that God has acted contrary to that which Jesus and the apostles indicated—such as God killing people, or commanding His people to kill people—even whole nations. Jesus said that God is “is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” (Luke 6:35). He didn’t say that God would kill them.

Jesus, who is the Son of God never killed people or instructed His apostles to kill people. In fact, He indicated that anger or hate toward people has the same heart origin as murder, and will have the same or similar consequences:

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
(Matthew 5:21,22 ESV)


#39

So you can accept the likes of Jesus and Paul making accurate representation in saying…

Jesus

Mt 15:4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’

Mk 7:10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’

That is… Moses spoke as Yahweh’s mouthpiece — oddly enough that’s what to OT says.

Rev 2:22-23 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

Rev 2:27a ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

Rev 19:11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.

Rev 19:15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Paul

2Thess 1:6-9 …since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,…

2Thess 2:11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,…

Again, Paidion you said… “I accept the teachings of Jesus and His apostles They are consistent with the character of God.” — So you’re on board with the truth of these NT texts, a few among many, revealing the character of God? YES?


#40

FWIW, Perceptions of the Bible’s nature vary. But I share Paidion’s perception (and probably go farther) that Bible authors can reflect their era’s human view point which can be different from God’s. I think that what Davo calls an “arbitrary” selection of positions would be called a “Christocentric” hermeneutic in some traditions. It admittedly finds a more fundamentalist view of the Bible’s nature as not the kind of book it is, and is open to arguing that there are more criterion in evaluating what we should believe or do than simply citing Biblical texts with an assumption that they all are equally binding for our minds and consciences.


#41

Davo, you’ve provided no evidence or proof that Hermano’s claim is false. You merely asserted that. And Hermano already answered your question:

Evidently that is how he reaches his conclusion that “God changing His mind is an anthropomorphism ”.