"Trusting God gives no assurance"

This is from a QnA that is up on Greg Boyd's site

"How can people who believe the open view trust a God who doesn't control the future and doesn't know for sure what will happen?

It's true that according to the Open view things can happen in our lives which God didn't plan or even foreknow with certainty (though he always foreknew they were possible). In this view, trusting in God provides no assurance that everything that happens to us will reflect his divine purposes, for there are other agents who also have power to affect us, just as we have power to affect others. This is admittedly a scary thought. [...]"

Aren't both true?

That the future is up to free will, but that it's also part of a plan? Remember, time is not a constraint for God the way it is for us. I think we have free will, and God knows what is going to happen, but it is all part of a great plan. What are contradictions to us aren't to God.

??

(Lot of reading to catch up on in the other thread.)

And?

That's an obvious question for Armianians and open theist's alike.

I fully believe that there isn't purpose in everything, there isn't meaning in everything. It isn't neccesarily God's will that his missionaries get butchered, it isn't neccesarily God's will that people are raped or murdered. Infact, I would go further and say these things, even "natural" events are sometimes diametrically opposed to the will of God and searching for meaning in the actual events will prove fruitless.

This is not to say that God won't use this suffering for the best end result of course.

"What are contradictions to us aren't to God. "

Calvinist's and Arminian's propose alike. God cannot do the logically impossible and to say so is not to take away from his omnipotence.

For example:- He cannot create a rock so big that he cannot lift it.

Besides it gives eternal assurance, just not earthly assurance.

"How can people who believe the open view trust a God who doesn't control the future and doesn't know for sure what will happen? "

A question from a confused man.

How can a child trust his parents if they don't know everything?

Surely a more pivotal question is "how can people who believe in traditional view trust in a God who openly lies to them about what he plans to do?"

What's the lie, Siamang?

Well, if God says to Moses and Aaron "I am going to destroy the israelites" with no conditions and clauses to the agreement, it would be him lying if (As classical theists/calvinists suppose) he infact never intended to destroy the israelites, but wanted to hear Moses and Aaron pray for mercy on their people.

If that was the case, he said he was going to destroy them knowing all the time that he wasn't going to. Which is lying, something that God doesn't do.

In the open view, at that particular time God was completely sure he would exterminate the israelite's but was so shocked and moved by the depth and meaning in moses and aaron's prayers that he changed his mind.

So, in this particular instance you're left with a simple choice - a) he lied

b) He changed his mind.

Well, we know God's regretted things and changed his mind, right?

We also know that God's inspired people to grievious, then severely punished them and others for their errors.

Your poviding a false set of alternatives doesn't help matters either. God said he'd have a descendent of David on the throne forever. How good has that one panned out?

All agree that God did not express an exception when he said, "I am going to destroy the Israelites."
But, all agree that there was an implicit exception: "I am going to destroy the Israelites, unless you pray."

Boyd denies that God knew whether Moses and Aaron would fulfill the implicit exception. Historic Christianity affirms that God knew that Moses and Aaron would fulfill the implicit exception.
Boyd says that it would have been disingenuous of God to say that the Israelites where going to die if He knew that Moses and Aaron would fulfill the implicit exception.

But Boyd's own view also seems to make God disingenuous. Is God telling the truth when he says, " I am going to destroy the Israelites" when he really means, "I might destroy the Israelites, but won't if you pray"? Boyd's criticism of historic Christianity applies to himself as well.

But it is not true that one must always express explicitly the exceptions to the threats one gives or the predictions one makes in order to be honest. One reason for this is that there can be a general understanding in a family or group of people that certain kinds of threats or warnings always imply that genuine prayer will be met with mercy.

Therefore, we do not need to jump to the conclusion that every exception to every warning needs to be expressed especially where there is an understanding that genuine prayer will be met with mercy. Moses and Aaron 's earnest prayer for mercy seems to indicate that they did not assume there was no escape clause even though none was expressed. They seemed to assume that mercy may well be given if they prayed.

I posted this on the other thread:

Greg Boyd refers to Isaiah's prophecy to Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:1, "Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live." Then Hezekiah weeps and prays. To which the Lord responds, in verse 5, "I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life." Boyd argues that this change in God's expressed intention shows that God did not know what Hezekiah would do when he threatened to end his life. But when God saw Hezekiah's (unforeknown) sorrow and heard his (unforeknown) prayer, God changed his plan and added fifteen years to his life.

Similarly Boyd refers to Jonah's prophecy in Nineveh. Jonah 3:4 says, "Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown." But the people and the king repented. So, Jonah 3:10 says, "When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it." So Boyd argues that God could not have foreknown this repentance or he would not have said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

But the fact is that both Boyd and I would say that in both cases (Nineveh and Hezekiah) God's first prediction contained an implicit condition. Both of us solve the problem of the apparent untruthfulness of the first prediction ("You will die." "You will be overthrown in forty days.") in the same way: God was saying in his own heart: "This I will do unless you repent." The difference between Greg and me is that he thinks God was thinking implicitly, "I will do this unless you repent, and I don't know if you are going to repent." And I think God was thinking implicitly, "I will do this unless you repent, and I know you are going to repent."

"Well, we know God's regretted things and changed his mind, right?
We also know that God's inspired people to grievious, then severely punished them and others for their errors.

Your poviding a false set of alternatives doesn't help matters either. God said he'd have a descendent of David on the throne forever. How good has that one panned out?
"

It may have been the case that AT THE TIME, God thought he would have a decendent on David on the throne forever, but- as happens with free agents- circumstances change and so did God's plans.

I have no problem with the idea that God "changed his mind" so I don't really see what you're getting at?

On the subject of God "inspiring" people to do wrong, then blaming them for it- I'd need particular examples to be able to deal with the point.

All agree that God did not express an exception when he said, "I am going to destroy the Israelites." But, all agree that there was an implicit exception: "I am going to destroy the Israelites, unless you pray."

All? Who is all?

If that's what God meant, why didn't he say it? Instead he gave then a direct statement, no "if's", no "but's" ...."I'm going to" was the flavour of the day.

1. Even if it was the case that open theology claims that God implicitly wants them to pray, it would be a tu quoque. While Open theologian's would be claiming God is lying, it would be their claim AS WELL as reformed theologies claim, not independently.

2.It's not a neccisity that God held in his mind that their repentence would affect him in any way , you assume that, because to hold your belief in God's control you simply must.

When I say I will do my college work, I hold in my mind the possibility that something independent could happen which would affect my later decision over whether to do my college work. My cat could die, my house could burn down, I could be struck down with illness. Any number of things beyond my control COULD happen that would affect whether or not I could later do my college work- despite knowing this, this does not affect the fact that AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME, I fully intended to do my college work. When I say "I am going to do my college work" I know that certain things could happen which would stop me, but that is not to say I implicitly wanted it to happen, I merely accepted them as possibilities when I claimed I was going to do my college work.

Much like with God in this example, he says he will destroy the israelites and has every intention to despite knowing that certain things out of his control may affect his later decision more difficult.

So I would say God is not saying "I will do this unless you repent, but I don't know whether or not you will repent" but is instead saying "I AM going to do this - I accept that certain events may occur which could change my decision - but that does not mean I want them to happen".

So God may not have wanted to hear their pleas, he may have been completely opposed to hearing their cries at the time - but was genuinely shocked at their pleas and forced by his good nature to change his mind.

But the fact *still* remains that *both* Boyd and I would say that God's threat contained an implicit condition!

In fact, both of us solve the problem of the apparent untruthfulness of God in the same way: God was saying in his own heart: "This I will do *unless* you pray."

You said, "So, in this particular instance you're left with a simple choice - a) he lied or b) He changed his mind."

But if God said "I am *GOING TO* kill the Israelites!", and God didn't, and here is the important part, *even if* He later changed His mind he *still* lied! You are only dealing with why God didn't kill them. You are not dealing with how it is that God's saying He was going to do something and then not doing it isn't a lie. You say God did not say "I will do this unless you pray" and so when we say God doesn't change His mind and the Bible says that He doesn't do what He said He was going to do, you charge us with making God out to be a liar. But I submit to you, that if God says something and doesn't do it, *regardless of why*, He is still a liar! Unless, of course, God's threat contained an implicit condition.

Therefore, the *ONLY* difference between Greg and me is that he thinks God was thinking implicitly, "I will do this unless you pray, and I don't know if you are going to pray." And I think God was thinking implicitly, "I will do this unless you pray, and I know you are going to pray."

If the charge of lying sticks, it sticks to both of us. If Boyd thinks he can escape the charge by only explaining why God lied in saying that God simply changed His mind, then he is very mistaken. Greg avoids the charge by indicating an implicit condition and so do I. The only difference between he and I is the explanation of why God didn't follow through with His threat.

But I tell you that any view of God that leaves God "shocked" is a deviation of historical Christianity and is contrary to the Bible and (not that it matters in the least) wholly repugnant to me!

"But the fact *still* remains that *both* Boyd and I would say that God's threat contained an implicit condition! "

No! Not at all!

There is an incredible difference between me saying "I am going to do my college work although I know something beyond my control could stop me doing it" and "I am going to do my college work, but there are specific things that I WANT to do more than my college work which would stop me"

In this example, God wanted nothing more than to destroy the israelites, when he made that claim he knew that certain things could happen that would stop him, that doesn't mean he WANTED them to happen.

If I claim I want to do my college work, and 100% do want to do it at that time- if something occurs which stops me from doing it against my will and forces my hand to stop me doing it, I was not lying when I first claimed I was going to do it.

However, if I claim I wanted to do my college work, and know that I don't really want to do it, because I would rather one of my friends rings me up to go out on the town then I was lying when I said I was going to do my college work.

The second was me implicitly saying "i'm going to do my college work unless anything better comes along, in which case I will choose to do different" and the first was me saying "I'm going to do my college work unless something beyond my control stops me".

Do you see the difference?

"But I tell you that any view of God that leaves God "shocked" is a deviation of historical Christianity "

Couldn't care less, protestantism was a deviation of historical Christianity. Calvinism (or the Catholic form of it) was condemned as herecy....

" is contrary to the Bible "

Which is why it plainly says it several times........

"[I]f something occurs which stops me from doing it against my will and forces my hand to stop me doing it, I was not lying when I first claimed I was going to do it."

So not only does your god not know the future but he can be forced to do something aganst his will? This gets worse and worse! Don't you see what you are saying?

Look, if you say you are going to do something and don't do it when clearly you could have (yes I am ignoring your having said that god was forced not to) you are a liar.

I am going to give you 100 bucks! Oops sorry, I changed my mind! I am going to give you my car! Oops sorry, I changed my mind! I am going to wipe out the Israelites! Oops sorry I changed my mind! Your god is fickel.

People that make statments and don't follow through are liars. Unless, of course, their statment contained an implicit condition. If you give me a kiss I'll give you 100 bucks! What, no kiss, well then, no 100 bucks!

That is the only way that either of us can avoid the charge!

Therefore, the *ONLY* difference between Greg and me is that he thinks God was thinking implicitly, "I will do this unless you pray, and I don't know if you are going to pray." And I think God was thinking implicitly, "I will do this unless you pray, and I know you are going to pray."

And BTW I said "historical Christianity", not protestantism. And for the record I am glad you have stated that your views are not the views of protestantism.

"So not only does your god not know the future but he can be forced to do something aganst his will? This gets worse and worse! Don't you see what you are saying? "

I can undedstand how that would sound bad but God being "forced" to do something isn't quite like we invision it. He is being forced by HIS OWN good nature that he has chosen to follow.

We agree that God has different Characteristics, Justice, Mercy etc.... Well, in this case he avidly wanted Justice, yet when something beyond his control happened, it appealed to his mercy in a way he could not have foreseen. Calvinist's and Aminians alike agree that for God to act in a way that betrays his nature is an intrinsic impossibility. For God to be "bad" for example, is an "intrinsic" impossibility - in this example for God to value Judgement over mercy was an "intrinsic" impossibility.


"Look, if you say you are going to do something and don't do it when clearly you could have (yes I am ignoring your having said that god was forced not to) you are a liar. "

Ok, so therein lies the dilemma.

You say God could act in any way he wishes.

I say (and yes, traditional Christianity is with me on this) that God is not capable of acting out of his character he has decreed that he would follow. The absolute power of God extends to all that is not intrinsically impossible, while the ordinary power is regulated by the Divine decrees.

If God has said he will forever be merciful, no matter how much it angers him at the time - He will be merciful. His freedom is limited by a previous decision to limit his own freedom.

To go back to my previous analogy, if I had previously said to a sick person that if they are in dire need of help they should call me, then just as I'm about to start my college work I get a call from them asking me to come over - it is not that I lied when I first said I was going to do my college work unless something forces my hand, because the fact I made a free will decree that I would help this person means that at this particular date, the previous decision is forcing me to go and see them even if I don't want to, even if I just want to do my college work.

Of course this analogy fails slightly in that I, could always choose to ignore my previous decree that I would help this woman, which would be a sin. God however, could not break his own decree because to do so would be a failure in keeping his decree, which is an intrinsic impossibility. So as you see, in a round about way and by his own free will, God's hand was forced at this time.

To sin," says St. Thomas, "is to be capable of failure in one's actions, which is incompatible with omnipotence" (Summa, I, Q, xxv, a. 3). (it is an intrinsic impossibility)


http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11251c.htm

This is pretty intellectual stuff now.....

My head is spinning...

"Couldn't care less, protestantism was a deviation of historical Christianity. Calvinism (or the Catholic form of it) was condemned as herecy.... "

When I said this I didn't mean that I was a Catholic- although reading it back I can appreciate that it looks that way. I was trying to illustrate that several things have been an offense to the "traditional christianity" of it's day that you fully embrace, which is why such an appeal to authority is not valid.

I'm actually protestant and attend a church of england church, where they teach free will christianity but have never touched on the openess of the future at hand.