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Open Theism:

Challenging the Omniscience of God

Summary statements from a book, “God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God” by Greg Boyd, college professor at Bethel College. This summary is from an article, “Southern Seminary journal critiques ‘open theism’ as false doctrine, by Jeff Robinson.


What is the teaching of “Open Theism”?

  1. God is ignorant of future events.

  2. He is impotent in the face of evil.

  3. Sometimes God repents for being unable to control His creation.

  4. God repents = God really and truly changes his mind.

  5. God has imperfect knowledge.

  6. God does not know in advance the future free actions of his creation.

  7. Tragic events occur over and through which God has neither control nor purpose.

  8. God sometimes gives guidance, only to later realize that his “will” has led to unintentional hardship and suffering in the lives of his people.

  9. God is unable to bring even some good from suffering because he is always uninvolved in its origin.

  10. God is as grieved as you are about the difficulties and heartache you are experiencing, and he, too, wishes that things has worked out differently.

  11. Because God does not (and cannot) know, much less control, much of what the future holds, we must not blame God for the evil things that happen in our lives.


What does the Bible say?

  1. Scriptures setting forth the fact of God’s Omniscience

    1. In General – Job 11:7-8 – Can you learn what God knows in his perfection?

    2. Isaiah 40:28 – There is no searching his understanding

    3. Psalm 147:5 – His understanding is infinite

    4. 1 John 3:20 – God knows all things

    5. Romans 11:33 – Unsearchable are his judgments; His ways are past finding out.

  2. His knowledge is absolutely comprehensive

    1. Proverbs 15:3 – Eyes of Lord in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good

    2. Proverbs 5:21 – The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord

  3. God has a perfect knowledge of all that is in nature

    1. Psalm 147:4 – He knows the number of stars, calls them all by name

    2. Genesis 15:5 – Man cannot know the number of stars

    3. Matthew 10:29 – He knows when one sparrow falls to the ground

  4. God has a perfect knowledge of all that transpires in human experience

    1. Proverbs 5:21 – God ponders all our doings

    2. Psalm 139:3 – God knows our downsitting and uprising; He knows our thought afar off

    3. Psalm 139:4 – God knows every work in our tongue

    4. Exodus 3:7 – I have seen the affliction; heard the cry; know the sorrows

    5. Matthew 10:29 – Hairs of our head are numbered.

  5. God has a perfect knowledge of all that transpires in human history

    1. Daniel 2 – World history written in advance

    2. Acts 15:18 – Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

  6. God knows from all eternity to all eternity what will take place

    1. Isaiah 48:5-8 – I have declared it unto thee

    2. Isaiah 46:9-10 – God declares the end from the beginning
      ”My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”

Strong’s Theology notes

Omniscience = God’s perfect and eternal knowledge of all things which are objects of knowledge, whether they be actual or possible, past, present or future.

God Knows:

  1. His creation – Psalm 147:4 – knows the stars by name

  2. Birds – Matthew 10:29 – Not one falls without his knowledge

  3. Men and works – Psalm 33:13-15 – considers all their works

  4. Thoughts of men – Acts 15:8 – God, who knows the heart

  5. Past – Malachi 2:16 – book of remembrance

  6. Future – Isaiah 46:9-10 – declaring the end from the beginning

  7. Future free acts – Isaiah 44:28 – Cyrus, He is my shepherd and shall perform my pleasure

  8. Future evil acts – Acts 2:23 – delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God

  9. Incomprehensible – Psalm 139:6 – Such knowledge is too wonderful for me

  10. Every event of every person – Hebrews 4:13 – all things are naked and laid open before Him

Observations about God’s Omniscience

  1. The omniscience of God may be argued from his omnipresence, as well as from his truth or self-knowledge. [Since God is present with me, he knows my thoughts, actions, hair count, etc.]

  2. Since it is free from all imperfection, God’s knowledge is immediate, as distinguished from the knowledge that comes through sense or imagination; simultaneous, as not acquired by successive observations, or built up by processes of reasoning; distinct, as free from all vagueness or confusion; true, as perfectly corresponding to the reality of things; eternal, as comprehended in on timeless act of the divine mind.

  3. Since God knows things as they are, he knows the necessary sequences of his creation as necessary, free acts of his creatures as free, the possible as ideally possible.

  4. The fact that there is nothing in the present condition of things from which the future actions of free creatures necessarily follow by natural law does not prevent God from foreseeing such actions, since his knowledge is not mediate, but immediate.

  5. He not only foreknows the motive, which will occasion men’s acts, but he directly foreknows the acts themselves.

  6. Omniscience is not causative. It is not to be confounded with the predetermining will of God. Free actions do not take place because they are foreseen, but they are foreseen because they are to take place.

  7. Omniscience embraces the actual and the possible, but it does not embrace the self-contradictory and the impossible, because these are not objects of knowledge.


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