Sunday, 29 March 2015

Open theism and you and me

Hi everyone - for anyone who has seen episode 80 of Trinities - this has lead me to two quite different types of objection.

Firstly, I did not even know about the open theism objection to classic predestination theologies before, and I warmed to it. I had never really taken time to question if there was any impact on our freedom to choose if God had perfect fore-knowledge of all the choices we would make, that the future was already completely "settled" in all its details. Discussing with my good friend D., I realised there were other unwanted implications too:

1. The God who expresses emotions seems to be genuinely responding to events as they unfold. There does not seem either to be any pretence there nor any sense of "going through the motions" to get to the perfectly pre-planned outcomes.

2. A perfect fore-knowledge of every single event from big to small requires no knowledge of all the alternative possibilities. (The open theist has grounds to claim that their God is actually larger - he has introduced choice and freedom outside of Himself, therefore there are things that He cannot perfectly foreknow until we make those choices. He is also remaining free to interact and intervene and inspire and draw toward Himself, which requires an infinitely more knowledgeable God than the Calvinist one)

Secondly, I have a counter-objection! The example  Dale Tuggy is exploring here concerns his possibility to lie tomorrow, that is to say, to sin. If God's foreknowledge is limited to the mega-events of creation and redemption history, or the "broad brushstrokes", where can little 'ol you and me fit in? In what sense was I not settled in advance? I am not referring to the 35-year-old John today, I am referring to the embryo 36 years ago. In order for any of us to come about, to be born, to exist today, is so incredibly unlikely that it begs the adjective "miraculous". If anything had turned out slightly differently (I already covered good from evil in this previous post), then I simply wouldn't be. If either of my parents (or grandparents...) had made the slightest different choice, then biologically I wouldn't be! The following does not seem to be simultaneously true:
- God leaves some things (like human choices) "open"
- God planned you.

This counter-objection becomes even stronger when we look at the rather horrid example of a baby born through rape or adultery. Theological mysteries surround this for both Calvinist and Open Theist perspectives. But since we are looking at Open Theist problems, how can God not know whether someone would choose to sin in this way and yet perfectly plan the resulting individual?

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