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Featured Does open theism imply that God could ultimately lose the cosmic struggle?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Greenham, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. Greenham

    Greenham Saint and Sinner

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    If God experiences time in much the same way we do, and if he doesn't have complete foreknowledge of all that will come to pass, and if the enemy's machinations can take him by surprise (these are my characterizations of a doctrine called open theism -- which IS A DOCTRINE I DO NOT HOLD MYSELF), doesn't it follow that in the end he may not be victorious?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
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  2. 1213

    1213 Disciple of Jesus

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    Not necessary, it could just mean that path to win is not clear, but the result is. But I believe God knows all so well that He knows also what will happen.
     
  3. Greenham

    Greenham Saint and Sinner

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    I don't think that describes the position of open theism though.
     
  4. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him and Him for all Supporter

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    IOW...then He isn't omniscient? Nor is He consistent with scripture's description of Him.

    Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

    EPH 1:10 as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will,



    1CO 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.


    Doesn't it seem funny to think that "he must reign until all his enemies are under his feet". I mean, IF he IS reigning, wouldn't you think they already 'BE "under His feet"? Maybe all our differing monergism, synergism, theist, deist...'IDEAS of man, about God'....are just that. Ideas of carnal minded men, and somewhat of a waste of time.
     
  5. Greenham

    Greenham Saint and Sinner

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    Yes, I think open theism denies omniscience, though open theists would deny it. Are you familiar with the doctrine?
     
  6. alexandriaisburning

    alexandriaisburning Well-Known Member

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    I don't see why the one (God's "lack" of foreknowledge) would necessarily lead to the other (the defeat of God). There is an assumption that a lack of foreknowledge produces a lack of power; but this simply misunderstands a robust OT understanding of the actual nature of God's knowledge in relation to that which obtains in the universe.
     
  7. Greenham

    Greenham Saint and Sinner

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    It's not just the lack of foreknowledge, it's also the fact that open theism asserts that even though God will win the war he'll probably lose some battles because he doesn't always know what's coming. How is it that we can be assured he won't be outmaneuvered in the end if he can be outmaneuvered in the day-to-day?
     
  8. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    How could God lose if he's omnipotent? Or does open theism deny omnipotence as well?
     
  9. alexandriaisburning

    alexandriaisburning Well-Known Member

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    Certain strains might suggest that this is a possibility. I don't see that it's a necessary conclusion given OT's main propositions.
     
  10. Greenham

    Greenham Saint and Sinner

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    Can you elaborate?
     
  11. Greenham

    Greenham Saint and Sinner

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    Well I do think that open theism has a domino effect on the attributes of God, but I'll answer while doing my best to assume that omnipotence stays intact.

    Open theism says that all evil that happens in the world happens in contravention of God's will. (Virtually) no evil or sin happened because God permitted it, it happened because Satan is at work in the world and hasn't yet been bound. So God's angels are at war with the devil's angels.

    With that in mind, what exactly stops the world from being destroyed in a sudden nuclear war? What exactly stops Satan from deluding so many that the church dies out?
     
  12. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    OK, if omnipotence stays intact, then God, by definition, cannot lose.
     
  13. Greenham

    Greenham Saint and Sinner

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    As I say, I don't think open theism is internally consistent. I don't think God could be all-powerful without being all-knowing (though they would claim to affirm that he is both). So I think open theism has to reckon with questions like, "What if the devil surprises God with _____?" In that blank, I would put in "nuclear war" or "preventing the salvation of everyone." Yes, God is all-powerful, they say, but what do they say he would do in order to stave off such scenarios and remain true to his prophecies?
     
  14. Achilles6129

    Achilles6129 Veteran

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    I see. Well, open theism has never been something I've really been interested in, anyways.
     
  15. alexandriaisburning

    alexandriaisburning Well-Known Member

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    The notion of God being "outmaneuvered" tacitly suggests that the ones outmaneuvering God have more knowledge than God has (whereby the outmaneuvering is even a possibility). However, if God does not have knowledge of that which doesn't exist (e.g., no-thing), then neither does anyone (or anything) else, including those identified as the enemies of God. So in this sense, I think it's certainly possible (if not the most reasonable conclusion) to affirm that God does not have knowledge of that which does not exist, while still affirming God's sovereignty in that which does obtain. I simply don't see any particular inconsistency or danger, given such starting propositions.
     
  16. alexandriaisburning

    alexandriaisburning Well-Known Member

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    Theodicy is an issue in all theological frameworks, perhaps most specifically those that "fully affirm" the foreknowledge of God for future events. I'm not sure I see any particular problems in the theodicies that would be spawned by OT that wouldn't have equally troublesome issues in other theological frameworks.

    Nuclear war could not destroy the world; the sheer number of nuclear weapons that would be required to destroy an entire planet is mind boggling. Such a thing might make the planet quite uninhabitable for humans, but the "world being destroyed" is not really a particular danger.

    Regarding Satan, perhaps nothing in particular is stopping him? Perhaps Satan has a plan that includes the church? I'm not really sure what this has to do with the questions about OT.
     
  17. alexandriaisburning

    alexandriaisburning Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure why this is a legitimate question, given the starting propositions of Open Theism. If God does not know the future, then neither does anyone (or anything) else. The future is an open story to be written. As God is not contingent in any way to that which obtains in the universe, then there can be no sense in which that which obtains occurs as a "surprise" to God; after all, any thing that *can* obtain in the universe *will* obtain only because of the creative outworking of God's plans within creation. That God does not know no-thing (e.g., that which doesn't exist, e.g., the future) does not mean that God's hands are tied, that God is impotent in the face of God's own contingent creation.
     
  18. Greenham

    Greenham Saint and Sinner

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    Perhaps this is the rub. I thought that the whole open theism theodicy rested on the idea that God doesn't know and does not intend to allow the evil that happens. If God's enemies do what God 1) did not foresee, 2) did not intend to happen, and 3) did not prevent from happening, then isn't it fair to say he is "outmaneuvered" in that particular instance?
     
  19. alexandriaisburning

    alexandriaisburning Well-Known Member

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    Well, by this definition, it would be "the rub" for any perspective of divine omniscience. The existence of evil whatsoever would be damning to the attributes of God, for God is either inept in the face of evil, or evil's face itself.

    However, when it comes to OT specifically, it will ultimately depend on what one defines as a "victory" or "defeat" for God. If any occurrence of evil is an "outmaneuvering of God", then perhaps the suggestion is fair. However, if taken from the perspective of the whole of God's purposes in creation, it's worth wondering whether the same conclusion would be reached. We can't know that, of course, given that we can't see (nor ourselves bring about) the fulness of God's purposes in creation. So the criticism may turn out to be misplaced if the semblance of "evil" ultimately turns out to be turned to fulfill the greatest of God's good purposes in creation.
     
  20. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him and Him for all Supporter

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    No, I can't say that I remember anything about 'open theism'. But that doesn't mean I never knew anything. ;)

    I do remember a joke Jack Taylor once told, when we went to a conference in Dallas many years back. He said; "When man invented 'theology'...which is 'the study about God', I'm pretty sure God just looked down...rolled His eyes and said; "Oh boy, this ought to be good." He got a lot of laughs with the joke, but after walking this walk for 40+ years....it really is kind of funny-sad. :(
     
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