Acts 4.24b-28 – The Heresy of Open Theism.
Posted: 4 March 2014 in Acts

Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Whilst I do not make a habit of labeling a heretic anybody I disagree with, it hardly seems too strong a word in the case of the Open Theism. If open theists are right, then the above, taken directly out of the pages of the Bible, must be so much poppycock. If they are right, and God does not know the future, then he could have had no clear idea of why Jesus came to Earth, he could not have foreseen the crucifixion, and the Resurrection must have been a desperate attempt to put right something which was unintended by him. All of the prophets would have been lying through their teeth, when, in predicting the future, they claimed divine authority for their words. Alternatively, and even worse, God himself would need to have been lying. It is difficult to imagine that the new atheists could come up with anything more destructive of a whole 2,000 years of Christian theology.

It would be more honest of open theists if they admitted that they don’t like the implications the above, and similar passages of scripture, have for the limited nature of human freedom, and so they are going to abandon historic Christianity, in order to start their own religion. In that religion, absolute and unfettered human freedom would be the guiding presupposition, and any doctrine of God they had would need to be fitted in around that. One thing is for sure, a god who could be surprised by the course of events, and who could see his plans come awry as surely as any of his creatures could, that God would not be the God of Christianity. For that matter, he wouldn’t be the God of Judaism or Islam either.

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isaiah 46.9-10)

The God who speaks there seems to have no doubts about the extent of his omniscience. His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. Well, he couldn’t very easily be sure of that, if he cannot foresee the future. If God’s omniscience goes out the door, his omnipotence soon follows it.

2 Comments

2 Responses to  Acts 4.24b-28 – The Heresy of Open Theism.
  • Tim says:

    God could have predestined Christ’s death without pre-destining the specific parties involved.

    Worth looking at:

    http://reknew.org/2008/01/what-about-acts-223-and-428/

  • Tim says:

    “If they are right, and God does not know the future, then he could have had no clear idea of why Jesus came to Earth, he could not have foreseen the crucifixion, and the Resurrection must have been a desperate attempt to put right something which was unintended by him.”

    Open Theists do believe that God knows the future. They believe it is partially made up of possibilities (and He knows all those possibilities) and also part of it is certain – the parts that He has decided upon in advance to bring about. The incarnation was part of His plan and also Christ’s death. The resurrection also – to bring all who died in Christ – raised to life.

    You predict the future all of the time, without knowing it comprehensively in fixed terms – ‘I will drive to work today’ -and then you find that actually that takes place, ‘I will put mustard on my hotdog’ – and low and behold, that actually happens. God similarly can make plans and execute them without the knowledge of the future in fixed terms (I use the term without very reluctantly – because the future isn’t knowable in fixed terms in its totality by anyone, because it has happened yet – hence it is logically impossible to know).

    Blessings.

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