The Openness of God

I do not like the Calvinist view of God’s omnipotence and omniscience. To believe that God knows everything because He has predestined it all requires us to dismiss many accounts in the Bible (such as God changing His mind and not destroying Ninevah) as “anthropomorphisms,” even though there is no textual evidence to do so. Not only that, a God who would arbitrarily decide who will be saved from eternal damnation and who will not be saved is capricious and not worthy of worship. Thus, I have always discounted the Calvinist view of God as unbiblical and incoherent.

Nevertheless, I have also always had a problem with the idea that God might not know something about the future. As a result, I have reluctantly conformed to the “traditional evangelical” view of God. In this view, God exists outside of time. As a result, he sees the entire history and future of the universe as if He is looking at the film of a movie. Each “frame” is an instant in the lifetime of the universe, and God sees all “frames” at the same time. Like a film editor, he can adjust specific frames in order to make the “movie” just what He wants it to be. Those are the instants in which God interacts with His creation.

Open Theism offers an alternative to both views of God. Because of that, it is worth considering. A Christian whom I respect a great deal suggested that I read The Openness of God by Richard Rice, Clark Pinnock, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger. Because I respect her as a Christian, and because I think that Clark Pinnock is one of the greatest theologians/thinkers of our time, I decided to read the book, and I am glad that I did. While I was familiar with the concept of open theism, I had never read a thorough, systematic description of it. Instead, I had just read what those who thought it was “heresy” said about it. As is typical, those who think it is heresy paint it in the worst possible light. As a result, I didn’t really understand open theism until I read this book. If you really want to know what open theism is, don’t read the propaganda from the National Association of Evangelicals or other such outlets. Instead, read this book.

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Myth of a Christian Nation

This book is filled with an enormous amount of insight and truth. It contains some nonsense as well, but overall, it is well worth the read. The author’s thesis is that it is IMPOSSIBLE for ANY nation to be a “Christian” nation, as worldly governments cannot possibly work the way the Kingdom of God works. Essentially, the author says, the Kingdom of God is simple – Love the Lord, and love others more than yourself. That’s it. No compromise. The Kingdom of the World, however, is exceedingly complex, with all sorts of compromises and tradeoffs. Because of that, you simply cannot say that ANY nation operates as a “Christian” nation. In addition, because the Kingdom of the World is so complex, Christians who use their Christianity to inform their politics can end up falling along all parts of the political spectrum. On these two points, the author is absolutely correct.

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What’s With the Name?

The Proslogion (English title: Discourse on the Existence of God) was written by Anselm of Canterbury in AD 1077-1078. It represented his finest attempt at presenting a rationale for his Christian faith. It is probably best known for laying down the ontological argument, which essentially states that since we can conceive of God, He must therefore exist. While typically only convincing to those who already believe, it has nevertheless fostered spirited philosophical debate throughout the centuries.

This Blog might represent my “Proslogion,” as it will be a discourse on my views regarding God and things of interest to the people of God. As a scientist, it is hard for me to fathom anyone who has scientific training and does not believe in God. The natural world, in my opinion, screams out His existence to anyone who examines it even in a cursory way. Indeed, it was science that brought me not only to a belief in God, but also to faith in Christianity. Unlike the Proslogion, however, I am not trying to convince you (the reader) of anything. I am simply hoping that you enjoy the discourse, and I hope to enjoy (and learn from) your comments.

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