A Brief Chapter Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Note: You can access the entire chapter here.
Gregory Boyd argues that God does not know the future. If he did, according to Boyd, then he would be morally responsible for permitting the tremendous evils that occur in the world. Focusing on the atrocities that one individual has experienced is emotively powerful, and this can both help and hinder a proper evaluation of the issues. Openness theology does not get God off the hook when it comes to atrocities: even if he doesn’t know about them in advance, he certainly knows when they are occurring or ongoing (like the Holocaust). Openness thinking also seems to make God no longer in control of events in the world in any meaningful sense. In history, the vast majority of Christian thinkers—regardless of their view on the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human freedom—have held that God has foreknowledge of the future. Open theology takes God’s love and makes it his central attribute.
There are five distinct ways that the Bible talks about the love of God. First, there is a unique love that exists between the persons of the Trinity. Second, God has a providential love for his creation. Third, he takes a gracious, salvific stance toward the world. Fourth, he has a particular love for his elect. Fifth, there is a conditional love towards his own people, which they are encouraged to remain in. It is important to recognize that God loves as a person—he is a personal being, not a force. As a person, he loves things in different ways (there are a large variety of nuances in the word “love” and a lot of ways it can be applied). Openness theologians tend to talk as if the classical view denies human responsibility or elevates God’s sovereignty over his personhood, but this is a distortion of the classical position. Classical theology has not embraced fatalism, and it has understood that there are different levels of causation and responsible willingness. Middle knowledge, antinomy, compatibilism, and God’s eternal perspective have all been appealed to in order to support the position that God does know the future. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
Buy the books
GOD UNDER FIRE: MODERN SCHOLARSHIP REINVENTS GOD, edited by Douglas S. Huffman and Eric L. Johnson