John’s Gospel: Reflections on Chapter 9, Part 3.1 (Born in Time)

To set the mood —

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In the hills of mystery,
In the foggy web of destiny,
You can have what’s left of me,
Where we were born in time.

Bob Dylan’s song, performed by Eric Clapton

I love quest novels. You know, books like The Lord of the Rings where the hero is given a quest that requires great courage and strength. In the end, the quest is finally accomplished, and the readers are left to wonder whether the quest was predestined by the hand of fate. Continue reading

Searching for the Third Way: Open Theism, Part 2

threeThe hard question

And so, you see, I’m not exactly an Open Theist or Closed Theist. And most of the arguments simply don’t address what, to me, is the hard question. The hard question to me isn’t whether God can see the future or be surprised. It’s why God chose this past/present/future? Why Abraham? Why First Century Rome? Why Jerusalem?

God has free will, and he makes choices that affect the future. Those choices determine who gets to hear the gospel and what the world will look like. God could have changed the world any way he wished. That’s the nature of omnipotence. God has power without limit. Why aren’t we already in Paradise? Why is the world so ugly?

Neither Open Theism nor Closed Theism truly answer those questions. Under any theory, God knows the present and God could change the present. And yet he doesn’t. At least, he doesn’t change the present as much as we’d like. Continue reading

Searching for the Third Way: Open Theism, Part 1

threeIntroduction to Open Theism — Perhaps Over-Simplified

Open Theism has been a topic on interest in the comments lately. I thought I’d explain my understanding. Maybe it’ll make sense.

First, a definition

In the openness debate the focus is on the nature of the future: is it fully knowable, fully unknowable or partially knowable and partially unknowable? We [supporters of Open Theism]¬†believe that God could have known every event of the future had God decided to create a fully determined universe. However, in our view God decided to create beings with indeterministic freedom which implies that God chose to create a universe in which the future is not entirely knowable, even for God. For many open theists the “future” is not a present reality — it does not exist — and God knows reality as it is.

In other words, Open Theists believe that the future hasn’t been determined by God — except to the extent he chooses to intervene to cause something to happen. Therefore, God can be truly surprised by an outcome. Therefore, God is not morally guilty of all bad things that happen. Since he allows free will and doesn’t know the future perfectly, he does not cause the future. Continue reading