Open theism: a test case for evangelicals

Open theism: a test case for evangelicals August 23, 2010

In the January 9, 1995 issue of Christianity Today I reviewed the then new book The Openness of God and ended by raising a question about the maturity of evangelicalism: “How do American evangelical Christians handle theological diversity? Have we come of age enough to avoid heresy charges and breast-beating jeremiads in response to a new doctrinal proposal that is so conscientiously based on biblical reflection rather than on rebellious accommodation to modern thought? This may be the test.”  Needless to say, the next decade proved that to a very large degree significant segments of American evangelicalism had not yet come of age in that sense. 

The controversy has largely died down now.  But there are many stories yet to be told about it.  I believe much of the controversy over open theism among evangelicals was fueled by misinformation, misrepresentation and down right demagoguery.  In many places and at many times open theism and open theists did not receive a fair hearing.  And I know of cases in which evangelical critics knowingly misrepresented open theism in order to create fear of it among the untutored (i.e., people who would enver pick up and read a book by an open theist).

As I look back on that decade long controversy now, my heart is heavy for evangelicalism.  I was profoundly disillusioned by the dishonesty and lack of sincerity of many evangelical luminaries who I know read books by open theists and often talked with open theists about their views and nevertheless went public with blatant misrepresentations.  I was also profoundly disillusioned by the heat of the controversy in which some evangelical scholars and leaders hurled accusations and charges against open theists that were completely out of proportion to the amount of time and effort they had spent in dialogue with their fellow evangelicals who either were open theists or sympathized with them.

One of the most common charges from conservative evangelicals was that open theism simply amounted to process theology.  At one conference I attended a well-known and highly regarded evangelical theologian who had the podium stated simply and baldly that “open theism is just process theology.”  This is a man who should know better; he is widely read and intelligent and a prolific evangelical author.  I stood during the discussion time to explain to him and the audience why it is not “just process theology.”  Before I could say much he told me to sit down because he and I were never going to agree about this.  He was simply rude and closed-minded.  (About two years later he apologized to me and for that I am grateful, but the damage was already done.  I would rather that he publish something rescinding his publicly stated view that open theism is process theology.)

Another well known evangelical theologian and apologetics writer wrote that “neotheists [his term for open theists] admit not only that this is a diversion from the historic theistic position but that it is influenced by process theology.”  He sought to support his accusation by quoting evangelical open theist philosopher William Hasker: “It will no doubt have been noticed that the conclusions we have reached agree, on an important point, with the conception of God’s knowledge developed in process theology.” Even a quick glance at Hasker’s book (from which that quote was taken) reveals that Hasker does NOT admit influence by process theology and in fact goes to great lengths to distance open theism from process theology.

So what are the differences?  All open theists affirm creatio ex nihilo while process theology denies it.  All open theists affirm God’s omnipotence while process theology denies it.  All open theists affirm the supernatural and miracles while most, if not all, process theologians deny them.  Open theists all say that God limits himself; process theology represents God as essentially limited and finite.  The only point on which they agree is about God’s knowledge of the future, but even there one finds profound differences.  For example, according to open theists the openness of the future even for God is due to God’s self-limitation in creation.  According to all open theists, God could know the future exhaustively and infallibly IF he chose to create a world with a closed future (as in divine determinism).

Anyone who doubts or questions these differences MUST read the edited book Searching for an Adequate God: A Dialogue between Process and Free Will Theists.  There the differences come out very clearly; the dialogue breaks down over the points mentioned above.  The two sides start out and end up rejecting each other.  The differences are vastly greater than the minor similarities.

Other accusations against open theism and open theists amounted to pure demagoguery (in my opinion).  One leading evangelical (whom I would rather categorize as a fundamentalist) wrote that open theism’s God is an “ignorant God” without explaining the open theist viewpoint on God’s knowledge or lack of it with regard to the future.  The same man wrote that the open theist God “gives bad advice” without noting that for an open theist God’s advice is always good even if later, because of a creatures’ misuse of free will, that same advice would be bad.  No open theist says that God gives bad advice or that God is ignorant of anything.

Now some may balk at that last statement.  But I ask them: Does God know the DNA of unicorns?  The only honest answer is that he does not because unicorns don’t exist.  (Some have tried to cavil that of course God knows the DNA of unicorns because he knows what it would be if he created them.  But that is simply a cavil.)  Similarly, open theists say God’s lack of knowledge (if one can even speak that way) of parts of the open future lies in the fact that there is nothing to know.  God knows everything it is logically possible to know.

At a conference I heard an influential evangelical philosopher blast open theism for “limiting God.”  I asked him if he believes God can change the past to which he replied no.  Isn’t that limiting God? I asked.  He had no answer; he changed the subject.  My point is that everyone “limits God” in some way.  Even the most radical nominalists of the medieval and renaissance eras and even Luther acknowledged that there are things God cannot do.  (William of Ockham, who believed that God does not have an eternal, immutable nature or character that limits what he can or cannot do, said that God cannot do the logically impossible.  Most theists agree.)

One leading evangelical accused open theism of “Socinianism” which normally means denial of the deity of Christ and of the Trinity.

One criticism of open theism that particularly galled me was the ironic one from some leading evangelical Calvinists that open theism allegedly diminishes the glory of God.  What I want to know is how anything can diminish the glory of God if everything, without exception, is foreordained and rendered certain by God for his glory?  I asked a theologian who wrote a book that revolves around this criticism if he believes open theism was foreordained by God for his glory.  The answer was, of course, yes.  Then, I would like to know, how it can diminish God’s glory?

Throughout this controversy several evangelical thinkers, writers and speakers simply stated to their audiences that I am an open theist.  They had no ground or basis for this as I had never (and still have never) identified myself as an open theist and have always identified myself as a classical Arminian.  At least twice evangelical writers attributed quotes to me that I never said or wrote.  When challenged, they could not show where I said or wrote those things.  In one case, the man wrote me a letter of apology and in another case the man relentlessly defended his attribution in spite of being unable to show where I said it.

One of the worst tactics used by some opponents of open theism was attributing to open theists beliefs they consciously and publicly reject.  For example, some critics of open theism have stated publicly that open theists deny the atonement.  When pressed about that they have explained (too late) that what they MEAN is that open theism, if true, (in their opinion) would make the death of Christ impossible because God would not know in advance what the actions of free agents would be and therefore could not arrange Christ’s death.  Even if that were true, it falls far short of denying the atonement!

I believe this entire controversy proves my claim (made earlier here) that many conservative evangelicals are not really evangelicals in the post-fundamentalist, post-WW2 sense but really fundamentalists (which might be unfair to many fundamentalists!).

So why does all this matter now?  Because the whole controversy poisoned the atmosphere within the evangelical academy.  One open theist scholar was fired from his teaching position even thought the school hired him knowing he was an open theist.  I assume they fired him under pressure from constituents few of who probably understood open theism.

I know many people who are afraid of open theism but have no real knowledge or understanding of what it is.  They have only read (mostly Calvinist) critics of open theism and have closed their minds to it.  They rarely take the time or trouble to read open theists’ own writings.  (In case anyone reading this needs to read a good, brief exposition of open theism I recommend Greg Boyd’s The God of the Possible.  It is the clearest brief statement of open theism that clears up most, if not all, of the misconceptions about it.)

Many evangelical “scholars” and leaders have simply lumped people like me, who defend open theism as a legitimate evangelical option, into the same camp with the open theists–as dangerous subversives of the evangelical faith.  That’s fine; I’ll stand with my open theist friends in that camp over against the neo-fundamentalists who seem to be largely controlling the evangelical establishment today.  I have higher hopes for the future of the evangelical academy and there are hopeful signs (e.g., the new direction Baker publishers is taking).  But I know that many evangelical college and university and seminary administrators are so under the spell of the neo-fundamentalists’ fear factory that they are reluctant or totally unwilling even to consider hiring an open theist.

To me, open theism, though mistaken, is much to be preferred over five point Calvinism, with its belief that Christ died only for the elect.  By historical standards, that doctrine is a novelty.  I have found only one instance of it before Theodore Beza–the 9th century monk Gottschalk who was imprisoned for that teaching (and others similar to later Calvinism).  Even Calvin did not believe in it.  (See the excellent book on this subject by R. T. Kendall as well as the chapter by Kevin Kennedy in Whosoever Will: A Biblical and Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism.)  Not only is limited atonement a novelty in terms of church history; it represents a deep deviation from the biblical and historic Christian teaching about the love of God for all people. 

However–both open theism and five point Calvinism exist within the evangelical movement.  All talk about “evangelical boundaries” to exclude one or the other is futile.  There are no such boundaries and no magisterium to enforce them if they did exist.

Debate over open theism is fine; I have no objection to it–so long as it is informed and civil.  But far too much of the debate over open theism in evangelical circles has been neither.

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  • W B McCarty

    Dr. Olson: ” the new direction Baker publishers is taking”

    I am ignorant concerning this and, because “Baker” is a ubiquitous term, Internet search engines are unhelpful. Would someone elaborate, please?

    • Baker Book House, Baker Publishing, BakerAcademic.

      • W B McCarty

        Oops! Thanks, but I’m sorry to have been unclear.

        What I meant is that references to Baker are ubiquitous due to the many bibliographies appearing on the web. Thus, I can’t use a search engine to discover the “new direction” at Baker.

        Thanks for any details!

  • W B McCarty

    Dr. Olson: “Even Calvin did not believe in [limited atonement]”

    Of course, Kendall’s work was not the final word. See, for instance: Roger Nicole, “John Calvin’s View of the Extent of the Atonement,” Westminster Theological Journal 47(1985): 198-225. The article, without footnotes, appears to be available on the web site A Puritan’s Mind.

    • Included in the recently released Whosover Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism, edited by David Allen and Steve Lemke, is an article addressing this very matter written by Kevin Kennedy. While the chapter was kept brief, Kennedy addressed several aspects of Nicole’s argument. Kennedy also presented a more extensive treatment of this matter while earning his doctorate, if I am not mistaken.
      Of course the matter is still in dispute however there is strong evidence that Calvin did not embrace what latter evolved out of his theological contributions at least with regard to particular atonement.

  • G P Frye

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”– Aristotle

  • Brandon Morgan

    Looks like I get to be first. There is no doubt that open theism has been misunderstood, even by myself on many occasions. I generally think the best thing we can do, which you have done well here, is to distinguish open theism from other versions of theism like process theology. The former spawns out of a high view of Scripture, while the late spawns out of a high view of Whiteheadian philosophy. To extend your list of differences, I would also include that open theists are not panentheists (God essentially and necessarily requires the world in order to exist). They are more akin to what I would call temporally revealed theists, in which God is described according to the temporal understanding of knowledge in which God reveals Godself. In this way, I think I can honestly say that open theists generally avoid discussing God in any way that does not assume God’s revelation in temporality.

    Here is where open theist’s other enemies come in. This does not simply include classical theists (although they would definitely reject open theism) but also any discussion of non-temporal theism or negative theology–describing what God is not. It seems to me that a number of theists, including most versions of Catholic theology and Barthian theology, would struggle with open theism’s overemphasis on the temporality of God almost to the point of neglecting to construct any notion of God as non-temporal. This is not to claim that all open-theists think God is essentially temporal. But the overemphasis seems to shirk discussion about the non-temporality of God in a way that I feel a well thought out theology should include.

    Another issue that perhaps any number of theologies of atemporality would have is the zero sum game often assumed by open theists and other theodicy centered theologies (like process theology and death of God theology). The claim of the self limitation of God’s knowledge and essence assumes a contrastive relationship between God and what God creates. Such a contrastive view requires that God give in order for creation to take and vice versa. There is always a zero sum relationship with God and creation that requires a view of the limitation of knowledge simply because the more God knows the less we are free or the more God is unjust. But if God is beyond our temporal categorization of differences and contrasts, beyond one’s ability to place God in a contrastive relationship of beings, then God’s knowledge or God’s essence would not require to be lessened because it would not be in conflict with the existence of creation. Placing God within the realm of contrasting with the immanence of beings often paints God as a being among other beings instead of existing beyond being.

    That being said, the issue of theodicy is really at the center of open theism. And I think it’s attempt at solving this problem is perhaps more appropriate for Christianity than the options of classical theism, monergism or process theology. For that it is to be commended and discussed with fervor and interest, especially in evangelical seminaries.

    • MikeK

      I would want to commend your observation regarding the difference between open theism and process theology: Pinnock, Boyd, and Sanders all demonstrate a keen interest in what the Bible has to offer regarding God, and Whitehead et al don’t have any sustained engagement with the Bible. The open theists all pursue their theological interests from their exegetical work; the allegations that align them with process theology fail to understand this crucial source of data for their theological method.

      I like your proposal about the fruitfulness of open theism for theodicy. Where I would tweek your “center of open theism” would be a consideration of two different centers- an ellipse, perhaps?- of temporality and passibility. Bruce McCormack has an interesting (read: Barthian) solution for the open theists in his essay in this book on the doctrine of God.

      • Brandon Morgan

        Yes. I commented on temporality, but passibility is also common in discussions of open theism. I actually don’t think you can be an open theist and be an impassibilist with any consistency. But, of course, the debate about passibility is also included in the debate about temporality and the zero sum game of contrastive views of God and creation. But I think theodicy is really the only reason that open theists write their books. They are obsessed with how to get God’s hands clean of evil. That’s not to say that theodicy isn’t a worthwhile pursuit (some would say it’s not). But I think you have to have more reasons and more elaboration to formulate a truly workable theology. Right now, open theism looks like a really elaborate theodicy.

        • DWK – thinking layman

          As I read open theology I do see compelling insights concerning theodicy but more importantly I see scriptural interpretations that strongly correlate with my developing relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Maybe I am missing something but the most beautiful aspect of an open theist biblical world view is the realtime and deeply personal understanding 0f walking with Christ the loving, sacrificing, and patient Lord.

  • Aaron

    If something is true why do people feel the need to defend their own view with the use of such fear tactics and attack everything else?

  • Thank you for this! Irrespective of my own position on the matter, I have been alarmed and disillusioned at the lack of integrity and amount of misrepresentation that goes into rebuttals to open theism.
    The difference is at its core a philosophical one – not a denial of any Biblical doctrines. It can open the door for someone to migrate toward process theology, but the two cannot be equated.

  • Thank you for your thoughts on Open Theism. I have only recently come across the ideas present in open theism after reading one of the books that the late Clark Pinnock was a contributor to. Although I have just been introduced to the ideas held within this school of thought, I find that it has the potential of solving many philosophical as well as theological problems, not the least of which is theodicy. I have previously been studying some of the components of Molinism for the theodicy problem, but I find the middle knowledge idea to be quite a stretch biblically. Open Theism, at least at first glance, seems to be a better approach.

  • Alan Cassady

    Thank you Dr. Olson for this post. I am a Wesleyan-Arminian who has read much in the area of open theism. I have heard and read other speakers and teachers who have said some the things you have pointed out. Every time I have come to the conclusion that the speaker (or author) has never read anything by an open theist. For me theology is enriched by dialogue not knee-jerk dogmatism. I have had my understanding of Calvinism corrected because I took the time to listen to a Calvinist long enough to learn and correctly present their views.
    Thank you for venturing into the blogosphere!

  • Nate Renfro

    Thank you, Dr. Olsen, for your guidance on such a testy subject.

  • Hi Dr Olson,

    The first time I heard of open theism it was misrepresented as you describe. Although I’m not an open theist, I no longer find the view offensive or threatening. Arminians and open theists have much in common. As you have pointed out before, Calvinist arguments against open theists often apply to Arminians as well.

    Thomas Oord argues that the primary difference between open theism and process theology is the matter of coercion. Process theologians say God is never coercive (either he can’t be or won’t be). In Open Theism God is coercive any time the future is “settled”. In this matter open theists and Calvinists are actually in agreement. Greg Boyd states it like this:

    “If, in order to fulfill specific prophecies, God needed to providentially orchestrate things so that certain people with evil characters played out their evil intentions in specific ways, he could easily do this, and do so with impunity.” (source)

    That statement sounds an awful lot like Calvinism! This matter of coercion is what troubles me most about open theism, not the system’s understanding of the future. And while God can theoretically be coercive in Arminianism, he is not necessarily so. In Arminianism God can “know” the future without causing it.

  • Vance

    I’m pleased to see an evangelical who accepts exhaustive divine foreknowledge accurately represent open theism. I don’t think open theists have really and truly redefined the nature of the Creator; they’ve simply offered some interesting new thoughts about the nature of the creation. They believe the omnipotent God is capable of creating a world with a partly open (unsettled) future–and that He did create such a world. They hardly deserve to be anathematized for that!

  • I”m interested in what you mean Calvin didn’t believe in 5 point calvinism…interesting , very interesting.

    • Brandon Morgan

      5 point Calvinism didn’t start until Beza, one of Calvin’s followers, started wrestling with the Arminians.

      • W B McCarty

        Brandon: “5 point Calvinism didn’t start until Beza”

        That’s a bit like claiming the Trinity didn’t start until Nicea.

        There’s good scholarship on both sides of the question but the issue really didn’t arise in Calvin’s lifetime. So the claims and counterclaims concern what Calvin’s position _would have been_ had he spoken directly to the issue. I say this notwithstanding small quotes from Calvin used by each side in the attempt to argue its position.

        Personally, I think the other points of Calvinism logically demand the fifth point (limited atonement/particular redemption). And, since Calvin was a logical man who strove for consistency, I’m convinced he would have recognized that and would have propounded all five points, just as the Synod of Dort later did. But I do concede that my argument is somewhat hypothetical.

  • Hi Roger,

    When you write, “However–both open theism and five point Calvinism exist within the evangelical movement. All talk about “evangelical boundaries” to exclude one or the other is futile. There are no such boundaries and no magisterium to enforce them if they did exist,” I am apt to agree given Evangelicalism’s allegiance to Sola Scriptura. But this strikes me as a problem for Evangelicalism. For, without an authoritative teaching magisterium to render an authentic interpretation of the Christian faith, it loses its determinate content and coherence. Would you agree with this assessment and how do you deal with this problem, if you consider this a problem at all?


  • Vance

    “This matter of coercion is what troubles me most about open theism, not the system’s understanding of the future.”

    I’m not sure we can get around it. God, knowing Pharaoh’s heart, knew what effect His action of causing and lifting plagues would have on the king, and He used both the king’s hardness and surrender in accomplishing His purpose for Israel. He also seems to have been a secondary cause in the evil actions of Joseph’s brothers. They meant it for evil; God meant it for good. Even if He just knew what they would do, His choice to permit it was purposeful–and wouldn’t purposeful divine inaction, in a case like this, be a form of coercion? Is He not using force (not His own, in this case) to set off a chain of events that would eventually get Israel in Egypt so He can demonstrate His power for the world to see? Can that not be defined as a form of coercion? Of course, God is not the cause of evil hearts, but He certainly puts them to good use. Perhaps that’s in accord with Calvinism and open theism, but I think it’s biblical, too.

  • Tim

    Thanks for the Article Roger. It is incredibly helpful. As an Open Theist myself (since the early 80’s before there was a term for it!), what I would like is a civil dialogue with other Evangelicals. I am not seeking to ‘lead people astray’. It becomes so tiresome to be accused of heresy, as if ones position on the nature of the future was anything to do with ‘Orthodoxy’. The nature of God’s knowledge of the future is never a tenant of one of the ancient creeds.

    All Open Theists want is to regarded within the acceptable bounds and range of Orthodox belief. And be treated civilly in the conversation with our brother and sisters in Christ. Normally most evangelicals have acceptance of people with different views on Baptism, Church Government, Gender roles in Church leadership. We then wonder why there is this acrimony when dealing with the nature of the future.

    All Open Theism does is question if the future can be known in fix terms by anyone. They would define the future as made up of settled items eg the Second Coming of Christ and also Possibilities. God therefore knows that part of the future as possibilties. He can’t know them as fixed outcomes because they haven’t happened yet. Just like God can’t make square circles, He can’t know a future in fixed terms that isn’t fixed and is open to human choice.

    A related view is the nature of time and is it a ‘thing’? If it is a ‘thing’ then God created it (since He created everything) and therefore can be outside it. Not all Open Theists would take the following position, but I believe that time isn’t a thing. It is merely the description of progression ie this happened, then that happened etc etc. You can’t go out and buy a bucket of time. Having said that some Open Theists believe that God can be outside of time, but that He has chosen to limit his knowledge of future choices. (As I say I don’t hold that to position, preferring the earlier position that time isn’t a thing).

  • John

    I for one believe open theism is pure heresy. Its fine that Mr. Olson can point out homework errors of some anti-open theists, and that theyve made their mistakes. But, that does nothing to exonerate this damnable monster from its errors.

    Ive read boyds stuff, listened to Pinnock on you tube, Ive read dozens and dozens of arguments for open theism and in every case, they are errant and deceived. Tossing about demogoguery and other such terms again doesnt prove the validity of this heresy, it only sidesteps the issue.

    Open Theism limits the omnipotence of God by reason of limiting his omniscience. If God does not have power to know all, then God lacks power as well as knowledge.
    I dont feel sorry for this heresy or for its proponents, I do believe that its the will of God it be condemned and cast out.

    Finally equating this leviathan with Calvinism…which is a parting shot from an Arminian….is par for the course as well. But please while your shooting down what you really dont like and thats Calvinism, making friends with devilish doctrines to do it will only prove you to be bigoted and not biblical.

    What’s the advantage of toning down the language against the open theist? Its because it softens the mindset against open theism and leaves room for this error to find footholds in weak and untrained minds. Mr. Olson seems he would rather protect us from the Calvinists than from the open theists…and that speaks volumes about a mindset that is already contrary to biblical truth.

    • “Open Theism limits the omnipotence of God by reason of limiting his omniscience.”
      Open Theism doesn’t limit God’s omnipotence, it limits what there is to know. God also doesn’t know about what my talking albino moose named Joey who is shaped like a Circle and Square at the same time likes to eat for Breakfast on the second Tuesday of each week. Because Joey the talking albino moose isn’t real and doesn’t exist, and there aren’t Circle Squares and weeks only have one Tuesday in them… is God limited because he doesn’t know about this?

      “If God does not have power to know all, then God lacks power as well as knowledge.”

      He doesn’t lack the power to know all, and He doesn’t even lack power to know the future… it’s not about the Power He has, it’s about the Power He uses. He knows everything there is to know. Open Theism simply teaches that nothing exists aside from what has been Proclaimed to be by God… and then He “watches over His word to perform it.” Secondly, the God of Open Theism is even Greater you could say… because He is able to be Sovereign over the future without having to know it! So He has to be a greater God because He has a greater challenge you could say! How can He do it? I don’t know… and that’s part of why I’m not God.

  • Johnabc

    I don’t understand the issue with coercian, vis a vis open theism. A lack of coercian is necessary for true love and true moral accountability and to ground punishment. Hence in those cases where God coerced someone’s choices, the result would be an action for which the person would not be morally accountable, which could not be punishable, and which could not be loving. Furthermore, coercian is a issue that we recognize in our criminal justice system and for which we allow diminished moral responsibility and less or no punishment.


  • Vance

    “Open Theism limits the omnipotence of God by reason of limiting his omniscience. If God does not have power to know all, then God lacks power as well as knowledge.”

    Does God have the power to create creatures whose future free choices are not exhaustively known by Him? Or is He incapable of creating such creatures?

  • Matt

    “To me, open theism, though mistaken, is much to be preferred over five point Calvinism, with its belief that Christ died only for the elect.” Isn’t this statement inconsistent with the bulk of the critique? Dr. Olson complains that people oversimplify Open Theism, claiming it is essentially Process Theology, yet isn’t this statement a similar oversimplification, presenting Doctrine of Limited Atonement espoused by Calvinism and Doctrine of Limited Atonement espoused by Hyper-Calvinism as essentially the same thing?

  • “Open Theism limits the omnipotence of God by reason of limiting his omniscience. If God does not have power to know all, then God lacks power as well as knowledge.”

    I know the password to my wife’s e-mail account. I have the power to log in and see her communications. The fact that I choose not to do that does not take away from my posession of that power.

    If God chooses not to exhaustively know the future, I don’t see how that reduces his omnipotence. Nothing else is limiting God. He is limiting Himself.

    If you say that God MUST exhaustively know the future, then you’re saying that there is some rule or law that forces God to know all future events, and YOU are the one limiting God’s omnipotence.

  • Constantine

    Brian Roden writes, “If you say that God MUST exhaustively know the future, then you’re saying that there is some rule or law that forces God to know all future events, and YOU are the one limiting God’s omnipotence.”

    There’s no “rule or law” forcing God, just His Divine Will. I think that ‘s what He means in Isaiah 46:10:

    “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

    Not only does God “know” the end from the beginning, he creates it.

    So there’s no outside influence on God – or rule or law – only His divine will.


  • Jefferson

    I stumbled upon this blog and thought your readers would appreciate reading an excellent online debate between Knox Theological seminary professor, Dr. Samuel Lamerson and an open theist pastor. It’s the most entertaining debate on open theism I have ever read or listened to:

  • John I.

    Those interested in understanding a bit about the different varieties of open theism may read Generic Open Theism and Some Varieties Thereof Religious Studies 44 (2008): 225–234. It is online at Alan Rhoda’s blog, at:

    John I.

  • Ryan C.

    Dear Dr. Olson,


    A Free-Will Theist.

  • Jacob

    Such an excellent post!!!!