“Open Theism” Is Theological Heresy And Cosmic Treason

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Open theism holds that because God loves us and desires that we freely choose to reciprocate His love, He has made His knowledge of, and plans for, the future conditional upon our actions. God does not know what we will freely do in the future.  Thus, purveyors of this doctrine deny that God is omniscient.

Isaiah 46:9-10 declares “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not yet been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’.”

Paul repeats this doctrine in Ephesians 1:11, declaring that “we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.”

Paul Helm is a wonderful theologian and philosopher with whom I have spent many hours (at least by reading his books).  He is also a wonderfully nice man with whom I have exchanged email.  In his book “Eternal God,” he states the following.

For if there are creatures with the power of indifferent or agent-causal freedom then the existence of their choice will change God by increasing His knowledge.  God will know more after His creatures have acted than He did before.  The existence of such creatures would be sufficient to deny to God both omniscience and changelessness.

The argument: open theism claims that man’s actions are not under the control of God or foreordained by Him.  Thus, there are things that God cannot and does not know since He doesn’t currently know how those creatures will respond.  If there is a future to be known by God even if unknown to His creatures, then there is a future that is unchangeable and thus His creatures aren’t really free.

Open theism is in a dilemma.  They must deny the omniscience of God in order to hold to their position on the ultimate freedom of man, that God is not in control.  Philosopher Richard Swinburne, who holds this view, even admits that his views limit God’s knowledge.  He is a smart man, regardless of his false view.  He knows that he must jettison at least one core doctrine of the faith in order to hold to open theism.

But since God is omniscient and His knowledge cannot change or increase, there is a future, and God has ordained it.  Therefore, this is a hope and comfort to the believer since God is most wise and holy, knowing what is best for His purposes and His elect.


Comments

  1. On January 15, 2021 at 8:37 am, Ned said:

    Man’s struggle for more relevance. Sad.

  2. On January 15, 2021 at 9:05 am, Fred said:

    I don’t know what “open-theism” is but it sounds new age hip and cool and very enlightened. It sounds like the people who make a religion from John 3:16 while ignoring 18 and 19. It sounds like a grotesques love child of the Jesus hippy movement, and lazy American Churchianity. It doesn’t sound like aggressive and Holy Spirit led men of Christ carrying out the commission we’ve been assigned.

    I also know a lot people, whole denominations, that tell themselves “it” is God’s will but they are really just too lazy to turn off the tv, get off the couch, and fix their country.

  3. On January 15, 2021 at 9:41 am, Fred said:

    I wrote a big long thing, I’m not going to post it, can’t square it in my mind. But one more thought.

    “Open theism holds that because God loves us and desires that we freely choose to reciprocate His love, He has made His knowledge of, and plans for, the future conditional upon our actions. God does not know what we will freely do in the future. Thus, purveyors of this doctrine deny that God is omniscient.”

    I believe that God does love us, and wants our love in return, that we can and do love of our own free accord. He loved us first. But the rest of your opening statement about open-theism, if that’s what they beleive, simply isn’t true if they are speaking of the God of the Bible. Those who God forordained are saved. I’ve no idea who they are; so my job, yay the job of every believer, is to tell them all, everywhere we go.

  4. On January 15, 2021 at 9:52 am, Herschel Smith said:

    @Fred,

    This discussion (Q&A) would be a great video to watch. Lengthy, but good for your devotions today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibTMWUxPr8E

  5. On January 15, 2021 at 11:54 am, bob sykes said:

    Just because God knows the future does not mean He ordains it, mandates it, nor that He approves it. Otherwise, you are in the position that God mandates evil.

  6. On January 15, 2021 at 1:02 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @bob,

    I understand that this is a “hard teaching” from Scripture. But you must anchor what you believe from the Word rather than a fabricated problem that doesn’t really exist.

    If this “problem” doesn’t exist to God, it doesn’t exist at all. So for example, see 1 Kings 22:20-23. Clearly … CLEARLY … what’s happening here is that God sends a demon to be a deceitful spirit to “entice Ahab.” He tells him to go and do it, and succeed. And yet, God does not sin.

    Similarly, you must deal with Paul in Romans chapter 9, an equally difficult passage for people to grapple with. Grappling with it is a personal issue for most people, not a logical issue. No laws of logic are violated.

    Isaiah 46 doesn’t say that he foresaw the future and let it happen. It says that he declares the end from the beginning. That’s something completely different.

    Some helpful reading is below.

    WCF Chapter III:

    https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/westminster-confession-faith/

    I. God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass:(a) yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,(b) nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.(c)

    (a) Eph. 1:11; Rom. 11:33; Heb. 6:17; Rom. 9:15, 18.
    (b) Jam. 1:13, 17; I John 1:5.
    (c) Acts 2:23; Matt. 17:12; Acts 4:27, 28; John 19:11; Prov. 16:33.

    II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions,(d) yet hath He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.(e)

    (d) Acts 15:18; I Sam. 23:11, 12; Matt. 11:21, 23.
    (e) Rom. 9:11, 13, 16, 18.

  7. On January 15, 2021 at 3:12 pm, Fred said:

    I watched the vid. I agree with what was said. I’d have said some of it differently or cited verses or different verses, but ok. Something still unsettling. Probably a corner of mine that needs to be swept out, but might be something else.

  8. On January 16, 2021 at 1:12 pm, Old Bill in TN said:

    Many of our theological conundrums come from a misunderstanding of Eternity. Time, linear time, has such a hold on our thinking that we cannot conceive an existence outside of (and therefore unlimited by) time. God created Time, has His existence outside of it as well as inside it, and is not limited by it as we are. Many seemingly insolvable problems vanish when this is kept in mind; not that we can fully understand Him, but we can understand the limitations imposed by Time don’t apply to Him.
    Does that make sense to anyone?

  9. On January 16, 2021 at 1:14 pm, Mack said:

    Herschel,

    It’s my belief that America has gone under. We are a Pagan culture. We are in Exile.

    Where is our King Cyrus?

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This article is filed under the category(s) Religion and was published January 14th, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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