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godrulz
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The Contender
CivilianName295
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Models of Providence: Is Open Theism biblical and coherent?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/7/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 364 times Debate No: 100644
Debate Rounds (4)
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godrulz

Pro

The main models of providence (how God governs) in Christian theology are Calvinism, Arminianism, Open Theism, Molinism, Process Thought.

Calvinism is a non-starter with its decretal determinism that impugns the character and ways of God (especially in relation to evil).

Arminianism is a popular free will relational theism that assumes simple foreknowledge based on eternal now (timelessness).

Molinism is convoluted philosophical sophistry that relies on middle knowledge/counterfactuals of freedom and is deterministic in the end.

Process Thought limits the omnipotence of God with panentheism, etc.

Open Theism is a more biblical, coherent free will relational theism. It is often misunderstood and misrepresented by detractors. It affirms libertarian free will/LFW (vs compatibilism of Calvinism) and A vs B theory of time (endless time/sequence/succession/duration vs timelessness). The logical conclusion is that exhaustive definite foreknowledge (EDF) is not logically possible with LFW. God is still omniscient knowing all that is knowable and knowing reality as it is (the future consists of possibilities and is known as such....modal logic). It affirms two motifs with some vs all of the future unsettled/open/indeterminate. It focuses on God's omnicompetence (not problematic omnicausality). It provides an emphasis on love, free will (we are significant others with a say so), cogent theodicy, etc.

What is Open Theism (Dr. John Sander's summary): http://drjohnsanders.com...

Dr. Gregory Boyd: http://reknew.org...
CivilianName295

Con

I will be arguing that open theism is not biblical and that its heresy because the bible predicts the future many times and there are many verses that support the doctrine of predestination. Now i agree with (Pro) that Calvinism and arminianism are heresy since Calvinism is incompatible with a good god and arminianism is refuted by scripture because of its verses on predestination. What i will be defending is molinism since middle knowledge is taught throughout the bible and if God is all knowing then he would have to know what "Would happen in any circumstance" and that i will argue that molinism is not deterministic and that it affirms the doctrine of libertarian free will.

(1) http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
Debate Round No. 1
godrulz

Pro

Thank you for your interest in this important subject. I respect William Lane Craig, but disagree with his Molinistic views (that I am familiar with, but not an expert on). I know it affirms LFW (as does Arminianism), but I do not think it explains EDF (vs some specific foreknowledge).

I agree with you that God does predict the future many times and that it does teach predestination, omniscience, sovereignty, free will, etc. The problem is that we all define or understand or qualify these things differently. Many books, technical articles, debates, etc. exist on this subject that are beyond our expertise and the limitations of this debate. The issue is whether some examples of foreknowledge, predestination, etc. can be extrapolated to exhaustive definite foreknowledge of future free will contingencies. I do not believe this is logical or biblical (cf. Calvinistic meticulous sovereignty is problematic to theodicy compared to providential, responsive control).

I agree that Calvinism limits the love of God and makes His goodness arbitrary vs impartial. It negates libertarian free will which is necessary for love, relationship, image of God, cogent theodicy, moral responsibility, etc.

Arminianism would affirm aspects of predestination, but would agree with Open Theism that God predestines some vs all things. e.g. He predestines to have a people (Israel/Church), corporate election, not individual election (but would say He knows by simple foreknowledge who will believe vs Calvinist decretal determinism; Open Theism would say God does not predestine or foreknow who will make up the elect individually in advance).

Open Theism affirms two motifs that God predestines, knows, settles some of the future (Is. 46 and 48 shows that it is specific things like future judgments that He brings about by His ABILITY, not supposed prescience), while other verses/motif show that much of the future is unsettled, indeterminate, open. Because the future consists of contingencies/possibilities, God knows this reality as it is (modal logic distinguishes possible, necessary, certain, probable, etc.). God's omniscience is dynamic, not static/fixed (in relation to the future).

I would be interested in specific e.g. of middle knowledge in life and Scripture. The few that we might agree on does not mean we can extrapolate this to EDF of LFW. Proximal knowledge of what Peter would do in his situation before Christ's death is based on predictable character and some orchestration (rooster), not eternal foreknowledge before he even existed (remote FK). It cannot be the basis for supposed EDF of all chess games ever played from eternity past before they are freely played.

In all views, but Open Theism, the future is settled by foreknowledge or decree. What grounds ('grounding objection') the certain knowledge in Molinism before the agent even exists to settle the future?! The potential, anticipatory future becomes the fixed past (memory) through the actual present. WLC thankfully rejects 'eternal now' timelessness (though He does say God is timeless before creation, but temporal after creation. I agree more with Nicholas Wolterstorff, J.R. Lucas, etc. who affirm unqualified divine temporality =endless time/duration/sequence/succession). This has implications for this foreknowledge debate if time is unidirectional.
In all other views, you have effects settled before their causes. This is incoherent and EDF with LFW is a logical contradiction/conundrum.

Molinism talks about middle knowledge/counterfactuals of freedom/will vs will not obtain/actualize. William Hasker, Gregory Boyd, Alan Rhoda, etc. are right to point out a grounding objection and that there are also might/might not obtain/actualize counterfactuals of freedom that mean EDF is not possible.

Without having the expertise or time, I believe that it can and has been shown that middle knowledge cannot resolve EDF/LFW issues. It is convoluted sophistry that has limited application to proximal issues when the agent exists and makes choices, not from eternity past before creation, agents, contingent choices. Open Theism's two motifs allows us to take things at face value (while recognizing figurative when the context warrants it), affirm FK/predestination, etc. proof texts, but also embrace the openness/unsettled/indeterminate texts. Closer to Truth is an interesting series with Robert L. Kuhn (Jew; skeptic). He grasps Open Theism (even though he is agnostic) and has a blank look on his face when the Molinists try to explain their view. I share this puzzlement on a simple, intuitive, and technical level. I think Robert is right to think Molinism is fanciful and incoherent compared to clear Open Theism.

There is no providential advantage to EDF (He could not change the fixed future even if He wanted to), so there is no reason to cling to it or assume it is necessary for God to be maximally great.

Compatibilism moves the determinism back from incipiency of the will to desire. Molinism seems to move the determinism back from incipiency of the will/contingency to God deterministically actualizing a possible world where He would know what free agents would do in any given circumstance. This is mind blowing and nonsensical in the orchestration required for knowing what non-existent agents would do in the face of zillions of contingencies that are exponential after creation, let alone from eternity past. God is omnicompetent, not omnicausal, and can respond to actual contingencies and determine/bring things to pass based on power and intelligence and perfect knowledge. The future is fundamentally different than the past/present and I believe Open Theism is more robust, explanatory, less problematic than alternate views.

As to it being heresy (Roger Olson, Arminian, is right to debunk that myth in evangelical circles; usually strident Calvinists throw that one out): http://drjohnsanders.com...

Introduction to this debate (Mr. Con agrees with WLC; I agree with Gregory Boyd): https://www.amazon.com...

I believe Hasker and Boyd have responded well to WLC (and WLC is smart and has rebutted...so we will not win or lose by throwing around their links). If you have any questions about my imperfect wording, please ask for clarification.

I think you will at least need to respond to the might/might not vs will/will not counterfactual issue and the explanatory value of two motifs and what grounds FK since causes follow effects in your view (the contingent choices are settled in God's mind before the agent/choices even exist).

Thank you for your interest and time.
CivilianName295

Con

Here im going to give the biblical case for middle knowledge.
Now an objection to middle knowledge is that it's not biblical well it actually is biblical. Middle knowledge is If/then like statements or counterfactual

1 Samuel 13:13-14 King James Version (KJV)
13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.
John 15:22-24 King James Version (KJV)
22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
Luke 4:24-44 King James Version (KJV)
24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.
32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,
34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.
38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.
39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.
40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.
43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
Romans 9:29 King James Version (KJV)
29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
Jeremiah 38:17-18 King James Version (KJV)
17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house:
18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand.
John 21:6 King James Version (KJV)
6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
John 18:36 King James Version (KJV)
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Matthew 26:24 King James Version (KJV)
24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
1 Corinthians 2:8King James Version (KJV)
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Matthew 11:21-23 King James Version (KJV)
21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

So then middle knowledge is very biblical and if God is all knowing then he would have to know what "would" happen in any circumstance. (Pro) seems to think that molinism is ultimately deterministic and i disagree since in molinism God predestining things wouldn't be determinism but rather since he is all knowing then he would know what our free choices would be. Just because God knows what a creature would freely do doesn't mean that creature has no free will. God is sovereign since he is in control over what circumstances we are put in however external circumstances are not deterministic they are freely controlled by the creature.

Ephesians 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

What is verse is saying is that God predestines EVERYTHING and not some things. In molinism this would mean hat God is in control over all circumstances. Now (Pro) objects to molinism by the grounding objection which has been refuted by WLC

http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

All criticisms of molinism has been adressed by molinist proponents and so there is no need to assume that its not true. Now the problem with Open theism is that God wouldn't know all of the future and thus the prophecies in the bible wouldn't be absolute and based on subjective creature freedom. If open theism is true then God is not truly sovereign or all knowing but bases his knowledge on creatively freedom something that is not taught in the bible.

Psalms 147:5 - Great [is] our Lord, and of great power: his understanding [is] infinite.

1 John 3:20 - For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

God KNOWS ALL THINGS not some. So open theism is refuted by scripture.
Debate Round No. 2
godrulz

Pro

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. "If...then" conditions do exist (in Greek, there are ? 4 classes with not all being certain). Your isolated e.g. relate to proximal knowledge that would be predictable for a God who knows the past and present perfectly. It cannot be extrapolated in an explanatory way for EXHAUSTIVE definite foreknowledge of ALL future free will contingencies from eternity past before agents exist to establish predictable patterns. You did not deal with the effect preceding actual causes in your view. I do not think you addressed the issue of might/might not counterfactuals (uncertainty until choice made in real space-time) vs will/will not obtain ones. You have contingent things being settled and foreknown trillions of years before any of the myriads of agents, circumstances, choices exist (which is why your sovereign/circumstance view just sounds like a deterministic Matrix....Calvinistic compatiblism moving determinism back from will to desire and Molinism moving it back from will to circumstance...God leaves the will, but controls circumstance and desires?!). An insurance company, weather forecaster, sports bet, etc. is based on past/present/predictable factors. They could not predict centuries before the actual events. God is not a guesser, but the issue is the nature of the future (different than past/present) as partially open, indeterminate, unsettled, known as possible vs actual (nature of reality) vs closed, settled, determinate, known. The first motif is seen in Scripture (some things predicted/foreknown), but so is the second motif (Open Theism literature gives many open theme verses that are wrongly dismissed as figurative to retain a closed view). To extrapolate these isolated counterfactual proof texts to EDF of LFW does not deal with the rest of the biblical evidence and the philosophical/logical problems. God knowing specific proximal things does not give a basis to know all random coin tosses, dice rolls, sports events, zillions of moral and mundane choices before they happen or the agent even exists (absurd). Why would God put someone in a circumstance to rape and murder a child in order to know this? Could the person falsify this by using free will to not do it at the last moment? Determinism alone could explain EDF. Any free will theism should logically see that the future consists of possibilities and is known as such. In the noble desire to preserve a wrong view of omniscience, convoluted ideas are developed with Molinism being convoluted sophistry in rarified philosophical ivory towers. Prophecy is not always predictive (s. 46 and 48 shows that God can predict some aspects of the future because of His ability to bring it to pass, unlike idols; this cannot be proof texted to EDF). It can be declarative, conditional, unconditional. If...then shows open future, not foreknown or fixed. Reality unfolds in unidirectional time, so not knowing the non-existent future is not a limitation on omniscience. I do not see how controlling circumstances is not deterministic. How a person would choose in any circumstance is far fetched in light of countless changing contingencies, ability to act out of character/impulsively,

WLC brief response to grounding objection is not shared by those who feel there is a problem, so we can pit him against Boyd and Hasker, etc. It is beyond the scope of this debate or likely our personal ability to truly engage it technically.

Eph. 1:11 is often translated and interpreted with a Calvinistic twist. The context is Christ's relationship to the Church and corporate vs individual election. It is not a proof text of EDF, static vs dynamic omniscience, etc. Other verses and philosophical thinking are needed to avoid sheer eisegesis of a preconceived paradigm. http://reknew.org...

Denying Calvinistic sovereignty as meticulous control is not denying biblical sovereignty (providential control; macro vs micromanage). Denying absolute foreknowledge is not denying biblical omniscience. Omnipotence is being able to do the doable. It is not limiting God or denying omnipotence for Him to not be able to make square circles (logical absurdity). Likewise, omniscience is qualified by the knowable. Not knowing where Alice in Wonderland is or not knowing the unsettled future is not a denial or limitation of God or omniscience. The issue is the nature of creation as open vs closed, not whether He is omniscient (He is).

Ps. 139 refers to past/present knowledge, not EDF.

Ps. 147:5 is poetic, not didactic. It is a statement of God's great intelligence, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, NOT supposed EDF of LFW (that would be eisegesis and reading far too much into a word or text; we need to make a cumulative case argument based on all evidence in relation to omniscience, nature of the future, predestination, free will, etc.). A propensity to proof text beyond the text is not how we formulate complicated theology/philosophy.

I Jn. 3:2 The context of God knowing all things relates to the heart which is fully possible as to exhaustive past/present knowledge. This is knowable and certain. Using it as a proof text for zillions of not yet contingencies by non-existent agents who must settle the possible into actual is again eisegesis/proof texting, not making an argument in support of EDF. Another e.g. of this would be people who think the verse about all things being possible for God vs impossible for man (Lk. 18:27) is in a context of saving the greatest of sinners, NOT being able to make married bachelors, rocks too heavy to lift, square circles, etc. There is a hermeneutical issue. The strength of Open Theism is that it can take things at face value (God changing His mind), while other views that will not change their preconceived ideas must resort to dismissive figurative assumptions (there are anthropomorphisms, but the context should warrant it). Oxford Swinburne is one who is helpful here with coherence of theism (he is Open Theist and cringes at Molinism as a careful thinker would): https://www.amazon.com...

Too many traditional ideas are not truth and are tainted by Platonic (a perfect being cannot change without being better or worse)/Augustinian ideas. The attributes of God need qualifying and clarifying to be biblical/coherent. Impassibility is not the personal revelation we have of God. Weak vs strong immutability is defensible (changes in some ways, but not in other ways). Omniscience is dynamic because of God's voluntarily limitation to not create a deterministic universe. Everlasting time vs eternal now timelessness has implications on foreknowledge. Creating significant others with a say so means God cannot have EDF. This is no providential disadvantage since God could not change the fixed, foreknown future even if He wanted to (so prayer becomes powerful in Open Theism).

I think you still need to deal with the robust, explanatory power of two motifs (some vs all of future settled/foreknown) that captures both sets of biblical data (not given here since Open Theism books go into detail and my original Boyd/Sanders links provide some). Your view and Calvinism can embrace one motif (as I can), but must do mental gymnastics with the other one.
The will/will not (you affirm) counterfactual is insufficient to prove Molinism if it cannot account for might/might not obtain counterfactuals (which make EDF impossible).

I would say Calvinism and Arminianism are the more common detractors to Open Theism. Molinism is more in the ivory towers apart from the anomaly of prominent WLC embracing it (not without strong challenge from equally great, godly thinkers). An emphasis on God's omnicompetent wisdom, knowledge, intelligence, ability/power, character is sufficient to feel no insecurity about not having impossible EDF.
CivilianName295

Con

My opponent has proposed what he calls "proximal knowledge" which is defined as God NOT knowinging everything but instead he wouldn't know the future decisions of human freewill. Knowledge and causality are not the same and God is also timeless so this wouldn't effect any freewill. Ow I agree with (Pro) that God only knows things that are logical what I mean is that Gods knowledge is knowledge of everything that could logically happen. (Pro) says

"You did not deal with the effect preceding actual causes in your view. I do not think you addressed the issue of might/might not counterfactuals (uncertainty until choice made in real space-time) vs will/will not obtain ones. You have contingent things being settled and foreknown trillions of years before any of the myriads of agents, circumstances, choices exist (which is why your sovereign/circumstance view just sounds like a deterministic Matrix....Calvinistic compatiblism moving determinism back from will to desire and Molinism moving it back from will to circumstance...God leaves the will, but controls circumstance and desires?!)".

Circumstances and desires are two different things when it comes to someone's desire the agent chooses which is the stronger desire since desires are mental things and thus be determined by the agent. We cannot control our circumstances since we are born in different places at different times. Life is like a game of cards you may not chose the cards you get but you chose how you play those cards that's what free will is and that's how God is sovern. He gives us the cards and we chose how to play them. Everyone's choices are different in life that is what circumstances are. They are not deterministic they can be freely played out.

(Pro) "Why would God put someone in a circumstance to rape and murder a child in order to know this?"

It depends since when molinist speak of circumstances it's circumstances about salvation and other issues. It's the choices someone's has in his life however the agent always has a choice to do the right thing in a circumstance. When the Bible speaks about predestination it's only talking about salvation and not necessarily all things that humans do so this argument your putting forth doesn't even make since in a biblical term.

When we talk about Gods attributes we say that God is greater than man. Man is powerful God is all powerful man has knowledge god has all knowledge etc. So then God would be greater than is in all logical possible ways and is the greatest being in existence. Open theism degrades God to subjective human standards this is false and illogical given the fact that the Bible says God is greater in all ways.

I don't feel the need to respond to the rest of your argument since I've pointed out the fundamental flaws in open theism and that it makes God weaker.
Debate Round No. 3
godrulz

Pro

I do not define proximal knowledge as God not knowing everything. I am suggesting that in both of our views that God knows everything knowable. You say the not yet future is knowable and I say it is not exhaustively definite if contingencies exist. Proximal/remote is not standard talk in my readings, but my personal distinction between knowing today that I will likely go to work tomorrow and bring it to pass by my ability and knowing this probable truth before I even existed and survived childhood. You have given e.g. that are explainable by God seeing and knowing in real time and have made a cosmic leap that this proves exhaustive definite FK of all future free will contingencies. God seeing Peter and Judas go down a path in real time is a far cry from seeing non-existent Superbowl plays and outcomes before the universe was even created. The film is not in the can, but being recorded now. Assuming that the future scenes of actors are recorded on film just like ones actually recorded years ago is blurring distinctions between past, present, future (the future is fundamentally different than the past and present and thus known differently).

It is a wrong assumption that God is timeless. WLC would say He is only timeless before creation and would not appeal to eternal now timelessness like an Arminian does with simple foreknowledge. This is another debate and if we can show that timelessness is Platonic, Augustinians, Boethius, Aquinas, Aristotle, etc. and not biblical, Hebraic, logical, then you would have to adjust your view. Check out Wolterstorff (with WLC second): https://www.amazon.com...
Time is not a created thing and it is not space. You are using a spatial analogy that God would see past/present/future like a timeline all at once. Time is duration/sequence/succession, unidirectional. The past is memory, the present is seen actually, and the future is simply not there to see. You have God seeing and knowing from zillions of years ago agents and their choices before they even exist?! This is not coherent and not biblical. Knowledge of seeing a bank robber stealing is not causal, but if you see it before he is born, you have the effect before the cause. God does not see the non-existent future and it is 2017 for Him and us. Appealing to 4th dimensions, etc. is sci-fi, not science.

To what degree does God orchestrate circumstances and on what basis would He certainly know what we would do in any given circumstance? What is the mechanism of this? God sees my life unfold from conception and the zillion choices, contingencies, random issues, etc. unfold in real space-time. To think God puts us in circumstances and knows what we will do, etc. is beyond comprehension and plausibility. Why cannot God respond to things actually unfolding than knowing them before they exist? This is a greater view of God who uses intelligence, knowledge, abiility, omnipresence, not crystal-ball like FK. God does not predestine individual salvation. Scripture portrays God reasoning and striving with us to change our mind, heart, and destiny. Our destiny is not fixed until death. Election is corporate. God does not predestine individual heaven/hell issues if it is based on love and relationship, not coercion/causation.

Open Theism does not make God humanized or lower. Do not confuse the omni God of OT with the finite godism of Mormonism (some OT critics try to say it lowers God or makes Him finite or humanizes Him...this displays their ignorance of the view). God is not ignorant of anything knowable. He knows reality as it is. Because the future consists of free will possibilities, God knows this reality. Molinism says God knows what we will or will not do. Open Theism also says that there are might/might not obtain issues and that God would have to know this reality as possible, probable, necessary, actual, etc. (modal logic). If God was ignorant of anything, then you would have a point. We see God limiting His power in the incarnation. By creating significant others with a say so, there is a logical/voluntarily limitation of EDF. He could have EDF if He made a deterministic universe. EDF is simply not possible nor necessary with LFW. God's power, intelligence, wisdom, knowledge is sufficient. EDF would give Him no advantage above His perfect knowledge since He could not change the future. It is simply a straw man argument to think that God actualizing and knowing a partially open vs closed creation reduces Him in any way. We both affirm omniscience, but disagree as to what objects are certain vs possible objections of foreknowledge. It is an issue about creation and reality, not His great attributes. You are defending Augustine, Aquinas, Anselm, etc., not an explicit biblical, philosophical view. Again, denying meticulous sovereignty is not denying biblical sovereignty. Denying EDF in favor of embracing dynamic omniscience (reality is dynamic and thus God's knowledge changes with changing contingencies) is NOT denying omniscience. Denying that God knows something objectively knowable would be a problem. Saying the future is not the same as the past or that possible is not the same as actual is the issue, not whether He is omniscient or not (He is). Traditional views need qualifying as I explained with omnipotence, impassibility, immutability, etc. (even anti-Open Theist classical theologians are agreeing with me on the other attributes vs omniscience).

I do not see how a God who is omnipresent, knows the past/present exhaustively (and knows much of the future, but not every mundane detail from eternity past), is omnipotent (voluntary or logical limitation on omnipotence is not a denial of omnipotence, so denying not knowing absurdities is not denying omniscience), intelligent, etc. limits God or makes Him weak or inferior. You totally underestimate the greatness of God from an Open Theism perspective and overestimate the need or value for EDF (He would have it in a deterministic universe, but the technical arguments about EDF/LFW have not even been touched on because they are over our heads).
As a paramedic and chess player, I respond to many contingencies in real life based on knowledge, ability, experience, etc. In Calvinistic (?and your view) views, the sports team, chess player, paramedic must know every move in advance and even control every move to give an advantage. The Cosmic Chessmaster (God) wins because of His ability to think, know past experience, predict possible responses, etc., NOT because He knocks the opponent out and moves for both sides or sees the played game in advance somehow so He can know what move to make based on what the other person would do.

It is actually the weaker view of God who must control everything to have His way (at expense of love) or know everything in advance to be able to respond. Humans do not need this to be superior, so it is your view that underestimates God.

I do not believe you really understand the claims or support of Open Theism or the problems with Molinism. It takes a life time to sort through these things with credible people on both sides. If the future was knowable in a contingent universe, God would know it. If a perfect being could make square circles, God could do it. Omniscience and omnipotence are qualified by the knowable/doable, so we agree that God is omni, but differ on what is knowable (certainty) and doable (some people are so committed to absolute omnipotence they will actually argue for square circles). I think you are heavily vested in thinking God cannot be God or omniscient if He does not know the future. I would say this is begging the question and circular and being recalcitrant to consider evidence against the tradition. There are many great thinkers in the past and present who do see Open Theism like views. Since EDF has never been a criteria for essential, salvific truth in any creed or Council, the heresy word should not be tossed around. The bigger fish to fry were Christological controversies, etc. in the past. Now, many thinkers inside and outside the church are considering the nature of time, eternity, God's attributes, etc. We should foster this thinking instead of pejorative attacks or dismissal. Few opponents of Openness do not misunderstand or misrepresent it. You have done so in a subtle, sincere way, not an arrogant, ignorant way, so I thank you again for your time and thoughts.
CivilianName295

Con

(Pro) "I do not define proximal knowledge as God not knowing everything. I am suggesting that in both of our views that God knows everything knowable. You say the not yet future is knowable and I say it is not exhaustively definite if contingencies exist."

yes you have since you've just admitted that your view states that God cant know what will happen in the future so then God cant know everything that can logically be known since his knowledge is congingent on human freewill. I am arguing that open theism fails from a biblical perspective because the bible teaches that God knows what will happen in the future. Now when it comes to libertarian freewill his knowledge does not determine the agents choice rather the agents choice determines Gods foreknowledge. So then freewill is totally compatible with God knowing what will happen in the future.

(Pro) "It is a wrong assumption that God is timeless. WLC would say He is only timeless before creation and would not appeal to eternal now timelessness like an Arminian does with simple foreknowledge. This is another debate and if we can show that timelessness is Platonic, Augustinians, Boethius, Aquinas, Aristotle, etc. and not biblical, Hebraic, logical, then you would have to adjust your view. Check out Wolterstorff (with WLC second): https://www.amazon.com......
Time is not a created thing and it is not space. You are using a spatial analogy that God would see past/present/future like a timeline all at once. Time is duration/sequence/succession, unidirectional. The past is memory, the present is seen actually, and the future is simply not there to see. You have God seeing and knowing from zillions of years ago agents and their choices before they even exist?! This is not coherent and not biblical. Knowledge of seeing a bank robber stealing is not causal, but if you see it before he is born, you have the effect before the cause. God does not see the non-existent future and it is 2017 for Him and us. Appealing to 4th dimensions, etc. is sci-fi, not science."

i agree with you that time is not a created thing in fact time is relevant thanks to Einsteins general relativity and time is an illusion. So then God would know what fre creatures would do in any circumstance. the circumstance doesnt determine the agents choice it only gives them a number of possible choices. (Think back to my card game analogy you may not chose what deck of cards you get but you can chose how you play the cards)
(1) http://www.space.com...

VERSES ON OMNISCIENCE

Psalms 147:5 - Great [is] our Lord, and of great power: his understanding [is] infinite.

1 John 3:20 - For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

Isaiah 40:28 - Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding.

Jeremiah 1:5 - Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jeremiah 23:24 - Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

Psalms 147:4 - 127:5 - He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by [their] names. (Read More...)

Psalms 139:1 - 127:6 - (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.) O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known [me]. (Read More...)

Romans 11:33-36 - O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Read More...)

Hebrews 4:13 - Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Isaiah 42:9 - Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Job 28:24 - For he looketh to the ends of the earth, [and] seeth under the whole heaven;

1 Chronicles 28:9 - And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

Matthew 10:30 - But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Isaiah 40:13-14 - Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or [being] his counsellor hath taught him? (Read More...)

Acts 1:24 - And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

1 Corinthians 2:11 - For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

"God knows every future action. The fact that God gave prophets the capability to predict accurately very specific events in the distant future is one of the great evidences for the inspiration of the Bible (Thompson, 1999, p. 19). God has emphasized repeatedly that He knows the future, perhaps never more emphatically than when Jesus Himself prophesied (see Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 8:31; John 2:19-22). The fact that God knows the future does not imply that humans somehow lose freedom of choice. Just because God knows that something will happen, does not mean that He causes it (see Bales, 1974, p. 49). God cannot be taught anything about the future (Acts 17:31; John 14:3)."
http://www.apologeticspress.org...

The bible is very clear that God knows what will happen in the future and i dont need to quote bible verses to prove that fact. Open theism is heresy and shouldn't be taken seriously in the church.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by godrulz 10 months ago
godrulz
Do people actually read these things? Do people have to have had a number of debates and be a member here to vote?
Posted by CivilianName295 10 months ago
CivilianName295
thanks for your time now its up to voters to see who won
Posted by godrulz 10 months ago
godrulz
Thank you for the interesting debate. I affirm your last post verses about omniscience, but believe the context is often about past and present knowable knowledge. God certainly does know some of the future in relation to what He brings to pass by His ability vs prescience (Is. 46; 48). I would say it is sheer eisegesis and ignoring the open future verses/passages to extrapolate this to EDF of LFW (so merely begging the question/circular reasoning). When a JW talks about the humanity of Christ or the one God, they think they are refuting the Deity of Christ/trinity. This is why cumulative evidence of all relevant verses is needed, not the prooftexts that I agree with about omniscience (qualified that knowing the possible future is not identical to knowing the fixed past/present if the future is fundamentally different in reality than the past/present).

I trust we can continue to wrestle with these things (it is the glory of a king to search out a matter-Proverbs).
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