On Open Theism


A Brief Critique of Open Theism


  • Logical/Philosophical Critique

–      Open theism maintains that the traditional view of God, as being outside the confines of time, does not arise from the testimony of Scripture, but rather comes to us through the influence of Greek philosophy.


–        Logically and philosophically, it seems clear that a God who is bigger than time is greater than a God who is within time and subject to its movement.


–        For a thinking Christian, it seems impossible that Greek philosophy could actually conceive of and present to mankind a bigger God than the one Christianity knows.


  • Biblical Critique

–      Open Theism admirably seeks to read the Bible in a simple manner, taking its claims about God and His actions at face value.

–      But significant problems arise, if we CONSISTENTLY read the Scriptures as the open theists do.

  • God’s knowledge is not only limited temporally, but also spatially (e.g. Gen. 1820-21)
  • God is short-sighted (Ex. 3211-14)
  • God seems to be caught off guard at times (Jer. 3235; Ps. 7836)

–      This manner of reading seems to be missing a broader understanding of biblical literature and the theological significance of biblical characters and events.

  • e.g.  Saul was never to be a success.  Rather, he was to have theological significance as a symbol of human failure in righteous rulership.


  • Systematic Theological Critique

–      In Open Theism, Some of God’s attributes are redefined, reduced, or even denied

  • God is everlasting, but not eternal
  • God knows everything, but not the future
  • God is not unchanging

–      This means that we can never know for sure whether we can fully rely on God.

–      We must concede that – logically, biblically, and theologically – the classic understanding of God is problematic.  But the supposed honest simplicity of Open Theism, in the end, is merely a choice to err on one side. 

  • Open Theism chooses to take a simple, literal view of biblical texts which seem to present God as “open.”  But it ignores or distorts other texts.  We must seek a balanced understanding.
  • Open Theism chooses to reject the idea of the MYSTERIOUS in the essence or character of God.




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