Open Theism

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Churinga

Active member
Nov 12, 2018
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#1
Basically means God is limited is this backed up with scripture?
 

Sipsey

Well-known member
Sep 27, 2018
826
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#2
This is an article from “Got Questions” - I think it sums it up nicely- that anyone who chooses to see God as limited, does so at their own peril.

The word omnipotent comes from omni- meaning “all” and potent meaning “power.” As with the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence, it follows that, if God is infinite, and if He is sovereign, which we know He is, then He must also be omnipotent. He has all power over all things at all times and in all ways.

Job spoke of God’s power in Job 42:2: “I know that you can do all things and that no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Job was acknowledging God’s omnipotence in carrying out His plans. Moses, too, was reminded by God that He had all power to complete His purposes regarding the Israelites: “The LORD answered Moses, ‘Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.’”

Nowhere is God’s omnipotence seen more clearly than in creation. God said, “Let there be…” and it was so (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, etc.). Man needs tools and materials to create; God simply spoke, and by the power of His word, everything was created from nothing. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6).

God’s power is also seen in the preservation of His creation. All life on earth would perish were it not for God’s continual provision of everything we need for food, clothing and shelter, all from renewable resources sustained by His power as the preserver of man and beast (Psalm 36:6). The seas which cover most of the earth, and over which we are powerless, would overwhelm us if God did not proscribe their limits (Job 38:8-11).

God’s omnipotence extends to governments and leaders (Daniel 2:21), as He restrains them or lets them go their way according to His plans and purposes. His power is unlimited in regard to Satan and his demons. Satan’s attack on Job was limited to only certain actions. He was restrained by God’s unlimited power (Job 1:12; 2:6). Jesus reminded Pilate that he had no power over Him unless it had been granted to him by the God of all power (John 19:11).

Being omnipotent, God can do anything. However, that doesn’t mean God has lost His omnipotence when the Bible says that He cannot do certain things. For example, Hebrews 6:18says that He cannot lie. That does not mean He lacks the power to lie, but that God chooses not to lie in accord with His own moral perfection. In the same way, despite His being all-powerful and hating evil, He allows evil to happen, according to His good purpose. He uses certain evil events to allow His purposes to unfold, such as when the greatest evil of all occurred—the killing of the perfect, holy, innocent Lamb of God for the redemption of mankind.

As God incarnate, Jesus Christ is omnipotent. His power is seen in the miracles He performed—His numerous healings, the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:30-44), calming the storm (Mark 4:37-41), and the ultimate display of power, raising Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter from the dead (John 11:38-44; Mark 5:35-43), an example of His control over life and death. Death is the ultimate reason that Jesus came—to destroy it (1 Corinthians 15:22; Hebrews 2:14) and to bring sinners into a right relationship with God. The Lord Jesus stated clearly that He had power to lay down His life and power to take it up again, a fact that He allegorized when speaking about the temple (John 2:19). He had power to call upon twelve legions of angels to rescue Him during His trial, if needed (Matthew 26:53), yet He offered Himself in humility in place of others (Philippians 2:1-11).

The great mystery is that this power can be shared by believers who are united to God in Jesus Christ. Paul says, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9b). God’s power is exalted in us most when our weaknesses are greatest because He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). It is God’s power that continues to hold us in a state of grace despite our sin (2 Timothy 1:12), and by His power we are kept from falling (Jude 24). His power will be proclaimed by all the host of heaven for all eternity (Revelation 19:1). May that be our endless prayer!
 

Hevosmies

Well-known member
Sep 8, 2018
3,612
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#3
open theism definately got some scripture behind it, as do all other systems. The ones that say "I know now" (God speaking) or God changing His mind or giving someone extra lifetime or the case of Nineveh etc.

The problem with it is that there are scriptures DIRECTLY contradicting it.
For example we are told Paul was chosen from birth, and the psalmist says God knew him before he was born, HOW could that be possible with open theism? Where God doesnt really know anyone until they are born and God "learns about them" by what they do in time?

Ephesians 1 is also a great refutation of that idea because it says we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
 

Hungry

Senior Member
Nov 26, 2012
3,073
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#4
Basically means God is limited is this backed up with scripture?
It is nice to think that God is omnipotent. It gives us confidence in His sovereignty. However, I think there needs to be some intellectual honesty when addressing this aspect. Does He perform or orchestrate? He is no doubt omniscient, but He uses angels to deliver messages, perform punishments and rescues. If He has the physical capabilities to do His will on earth, He wouldn’t rely on us to be His hands and feet. We are His Body. It is clear He is the Head, but the brain doesn’t tie shoelaces, fingers do. Apart, the severed fingers are purposeless and inoperable. Our connection to God is the grafting of the limbs (us) to the brain (Him).

It would be similar to us at a computer. We have this limitless capability and connectivity to everywhere in the world, but it is reliant on the hardware and software. We can turn lights on in our house through a smartphone from around the world via data communication and satellites. We orchestrate.

I’m not suggesting God needs technology. His Spirit is the connection with living things, initiating His will. Like the strength of a magnet only has influence over the iron content in the material. His Spirit only has influence over us when we are “reborn”. This awakening quickens our soul with Him, spiritually binding, and empowering. It is the nervous system of His Body, joining all living things in Him. Connected He heals us, and strengthens us and teaches us. The hands will suffer burns, and cuts, and bruises, as will the feet, for the sake of the Head.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,565
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#5
open theism definately got some scripture behind it, as do all other systems. The ones that say "I know now" (God speaking) or God changing His mind or giving someone extra lifetime or the case of Nineveh etc.

The problem with it is that there are scriptures DIRECTLY contradicting it.
so when we read things like God asking Adam & the Woman 'where are you?' or 'what is this you have done?' in Genesis -- or Christ asking about Lazarus, 'where have you laid him?' or inquiring 'who do men say that I am?' -- we need to look at this with the understanding that He's not asking questions because He doesn't know the answers.

what, then? what's He actually doing? He does this for someone's benefit, someone who is watching or hearing, whether men or angels, to demonstrate something. to save. to work good; to reveal truth & establish His glory - things He always is doing. when He 'answered' Job He grilled him with a series of questions that made Job slap his hand over his mouth, questions that appear rhetorical, that by being voiced, humbled Job, who knew he couldn't answer them. is the same thing in principle what's going on when we read God & Christ, who knows all things, asking questions or making statements that could be read as though His omniscience isn't complete?

and omnipotence - is it a similar thing?
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,565
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#6
It is nice to think that God is omnipotent. It gives us confidence in His sovereignty. However, I think there needs to be some intellectual honesty when addressing this aspect. Does He perform or orchestrate? He is no doubt omniscient, but He uses angels to deliver messages, perform punishments and rescues. If He has the physical capabilities to do His will on earth, He wouldn’t rely on us to be His hands and feet. We are His Body. It is clear He is the Head, but the brain doesn’t tie shoelaces, fingers do. Apart, the severed fingers are purposeless and inoperable. Our connection to God is the grafting of the limbs (us) to the brain (Him).
intellectual honesty would be, i believe, recognizing that He is absolutely omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent yet He chooses to work among us in such ways -- and to ask 'why does He do this, what is He doing by this?' rather than question the absolute perfection of His nature, being, power or authority.
Christ with a single word, at any time, could have completely erased every Roman soldier and every unbelieving Jew who plotted against Him, but He didn't. instead He meekly laid down His life. why? does that indicate He lacked power or authority to reign over the world, or that He chose instead to become as a servant to us all? is it evidence of weakness or insufficiency, or is it demonstrating mercy or love?
 

Sipsey

Well-known member
Sep 27, 2018
826
433
63
#7
Is the term antrhropopathism the correct word for ascribing human characteristics and emotions to God? Might the term also be used to make Him appear limited in some way?

I think it is part of our human condition to want to completely know or understand things, including God. If that were possible, there would be no need for faith.
 

John146

Senior Member
Jan 13, 2016
12,648
2,519
113
#8
open theism definately got some scripture behind it, as do all other systems. The ones that say "I know now" (God speaking) or God changing His mind or giving someone extra lifetime or the case of Nineveh etc.

The problem with it is that there are scriptures DIRECTLY contradicting it.
For example we are told Paul was chosen from birth, and the psalmist says God knew him before he was born, HOW could that be possible with open theism? Where God doesnt really know anyone until they are born and God "learns about them" by what they do in time?

Ephesians 1 is also a great refutation of that idea because it says we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
God knows those in the womb, before birth. That is knowledge to be known by an all knowing God. However, has God chosen to limit Himself when dealing with man’s future decisions? Or even His own knowledge? Scripture states our sins and iniquities He remembers no more.

There are a lot of “if” and “then” statements in the Bible. If you do this, then I will do this.
 

glf1

Active member
Jun 10, 2018
314
124
43
#9
Hey! churinga...
Ps 138:2 "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."

The Lord has limited himself according to his word.

PTL!
 

Hungry

Senior Member
Nov 26, 2012
3,073
1,035
113
#10
intellectual honesty would be, i believe, recognizing that He is absolutely omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent yet He chooses to work among us in such ways -- and to ask 'why does He do this, what is He doing by this?' rather than question the absolute perfection of His nature, being, power or authority.
Christ with a single word, at any time, could have completely erased every Roman soldier and every unbelieving Jew who plotted against Him, but He didn't. instead He meekly laid down His life. why? does that indicate He lacked power or authority to reign over the world, or that He chose instead to become as a servant to us all? is it evidence of weakness or insufficiency, or is it demonstrating mercy or love?
Why in Matt 26:53 would Christ not have testified to a greater miraculous defence than 12 legions of angels? I’m not dismissing the power of God, rather explaining the conduit of it. If I’m playing a video game, I can’t physically move things. I am in a different “realm”. I can influence things by way of injecting an avatar into the game. In this analogy, God is the programmer, and the fall is a computer virus. This concept to me seems more plausible...more like the Matrix.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
12,522
4,483
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#11
Ok I dont know all the 'isms' again its a mans philosophy trying to explain God.

But you see he sent His only Begotten son to us in the flesh as a MAN so he was limited in that he lived and died on earth those 33 years. He grew hungry, he suffered pain, he was tempted. He could only walk so far and reach the tiny nation of Israel. But by the power of the holy spirit he did amazing things. And when he ascended to heaven he gave us believers power to do even greater things.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,565
10,549
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#12
Why in Matt 26:53 would Christ not have testified to a greater miraculous defence than 12 legions of angels? I’m not dismissing the power of God, rather explaining the conduit of it. If I’m playing a video game, I can’t physically move things. I am in a different “realm”. I can influence things by way of injecting an avatar into the game. In this analogy, God is the programmer, and the fall is a computer virus. This concept to me seems more plausible...more like the Matrix.
a single legion was at that time ~ 5,000 trained fighting men. so the reference is to somewhere in the neighborhood of ~60,000 angels prepared for war.

when the Jews revolted against Roman occupation in 66AD they did so with considerably less than 20,000 militia, and won some key victories. Gallus mustered the Syrian army and fielded about 30,000 to quash the rebellion, with some short-lived success. in 67-68, Vespasian & Titus invaded with approximately 60,000 Roman troops ((coincidence?)). this is the fighting force which ultimately under Titus' command ((Vespasian, his father, having returned to Rome to pursue political power, it seeming possible that he might be named Caesar)) laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the temple in 70 AD.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
31,565
10,549
113
#13
Why in Matt 26:53 would Christ not have testified to a greater miraculous defence than 12 legions of angels? I’m not dismissing the power of God, rather explaining the conduit of it. If I’m playing a video game, I can’t physically move things. I am in a different “realm”. I can influence things by way of injecting an avatar into the game. In this analogy, God is the programmer, and the fall is a computer virus. This concept to me seems more plausible...more like the Matrix.
why does He come in the flesh - like an avatar - instead of exerting His prerogative & rebooting the whole system with clean base code? there are any number of ways He could 'solve' the issue of sin, or make known His person, power and authority, but He chose to hide Himself in flesh, speaking in parables and demonstrating who He is through signs and mysteries, things uncovered through wisdom and faith, rather than in open & clear declaration of majesty. He opened the eyes of a few He chose, rather than all - saying ((why He taught in parable)) it is so that those who have, will have more, and those who do not have, even what little they do, to be taken away.

why this way? what is it about implanting Himself among the other avatars, like the king who spent a day disguised as a pauper in his kingdom, that makes this the divinely perfect work? it's not the way humans would choose as a solution, but i know it is perfect, in a way that's beyond unaided mortal comprehension


this doesn't show He *can't* just snap His fingers and *fix* everything; it shows He considers something else to be better - better for who? in what way?
 

Hungry

Senior Member
Nov 26, 2012
3,073
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#14
why does He come in the flesh - like an avatar - instead of exerting His prerogative & rebooting the whole system with clean base code? there are any number of ways He could 'solve' the issue of sin, or make known His person, power and authority, but He chose to hide Himself in flesh, speaking in parables and demonstrating who He is through signs and mysteries, things uncovered through wisdom and faith, rather than in open & clear declaration of majesty. He opened the eyes of a few He chose, rather than all - saying ((why He taught in parable)) it is so that those who have, will have more, and those who do not have, even what little they do, to be taken away.

why this way? what is it about implanting Himself among the other avatars, like the king who spent a day disguised as a pauper in his kingdom, that makes this the divinely perfect work? it's not the way humans would choose as a solution, but i know it is perfect, in a way that's beyond unaided mortal comprehension

this doesn't show He *can't* just snap His fingers and *fix* everything; it shows He considers something else to be better - better for who? in what way?
He could hit reset. In fact that might be coming. When it occurs our uploaded consciousness will be downloaded into a new avatar and begin anew.
 

Hevosmies

Well-known member
Sep 8, 2018
3,612
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#15
God knows those in the womb, before birth. That is knowledge to be known by an all knowing God. However, has God chosen to limit Himself when dealing with man’s future decisions? Or even His own knowledge? Scripture states our sins and iniquities He remembers no more.

There are a lot of “if” and “then” statements in the Bible. If you do this, then I will do this.
I got no problem with that.

If God chooses to limit His knowledge of man's future decisions thats His right to do so.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
15,545
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#17
If God chooses to limit His knowledge of man's future decisions thats His right to do so.
God cannot avoid knowing all things and all future decisions of mankind. That is why the Bible speaks of divine foreknowledge.
 

Laish

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2016
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#18
Well it comes down to this . Did God create time ? I believe yes . That leads me to understand that he is outside of time .( thinking about that 🤯 )
Still it’s apart of His good work and God is not subject to it . To think God limits his knowledge of the future is just saying God can’t trust himself with what he may know .
Blessings
Bill
 

John146

Senior Member
Jan 13, 2016
12,648
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#19
Well it comes down to this . Did God create time ? I believe yes . That leads me to understand that he is outside of time .( thinking about that 🤯 )
Still it’s apart of His good work and God is not subject to it . To think God limits his knowledge of the future is just saying God can’t trust himself with what he may know .
Blessings
Bill
God created time and works within the time He created as He deals with man.
 

John146

Senior Member
Jan 13, 2016
12,648
2,519
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#20
Open Theism is NOT backed up by Scripture. Quite the opposite. God had absolutely no limitations of any kind.
Did God know what it was to thirst and suffer bodily pain before He became flesh?