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Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Postby Homer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:17 pm

From Grudem's Systematic Theology, "Misunderstandings of the Doctrine of Election", pp 674-79:
The idea that God's predestination of some to believe is based on foreknowledge of their faith encounters still another problems: upon reflection, this system turns out to give no real freedom to man either. For if God can look into the future and see that person A will come to faith in Christ, and that person B will not come to faith in Christ, then those facts are already fixed, they are already determined. If we assume that God's knowledge of the future is true (which it must be), then it is absolutely certain that person A will believe and person B will not. There is no way that their lives could turn out any differently than this.


I have contended for some time that God's knowledge of future events does not remove free will, God simply knows what the person will freely choose to do in the future. In the past the same argument as Grudem's has been made here by open theists about God knowing future choices.
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Re: Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Postby crgfstr1 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:08 pm

I agree with your conclusion. I arrive at the same, but I think I see it slightly differently. God is omnipresent. This can be a very difficult concept to grasp with the human brain but this means he is not only simultaneously experiencing all places, he is also experiencing all times. If you think about the relationship between space and time it would seem both "omiplace" and "omitime" would be required for either one to be possible.

Just because I know and experienced what someone did yesterday doesn't mean I have any control over it. I could merely have been a witness.
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Re: Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Postby Singalphile » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:31 pm

Agreed. I think there is probably some truth to open theism, but the author there seems to be overlooking or blurring the difference between God knowing what we will freely choose and God determining what we will freely choose. I can't say I fully understand either, but the former option at least makes sense. (Maybe he explained himself elsewhere. I wish someone could explain his view to me in a way that made sense to me!)

crgfstr1 wrote:I agree with your conclusion. I arrive at the same, but I think I see it slightly differently. God is omnipresent. This can be a very difficult concept to grasp with the human brain but this means he is not only simultaneously experiencing all places, he is also experiencing all times. If you think about the relationship between space and time it would seem both "omiplace" and "omitime" would be required for either one to be possible.


That, I also do not understand. The main trouble I have with it is that it seems to turn God into a big, static, frozen machine-like thing (hard to even think of that as alive, frankly). How can He make any decisions, how can He have a relationship with anyone, how can He do anything, if He's everywhere/everytime at the time place/time? Of course, it may just be beyond my understanding. It doesn't seem to be a necessary view, in any case, I think.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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Re: Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Postby psimmond » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:26 pm

I think Arminians often tout CS Lewis's thought experiment about God being outside of time and seeing past present and future simultaneously. Lewis just threw this out as an idea and said reject it if it doesn't maker sense. And I don't think it makes sense and should therefore be rejected. I'm not an open theist but I agree with them that it makes no sense to say God sees the future. The future hasn't happened and therefore cannot be seen. (Similarly, the past no longer exists.) However, I depart from Open theists when it comes to God's knowledge of future events because I believe God knows each person so well he knows exactly what they will do in the future (even though they haven't done it yet).
Let me boldly state the obvious. If you are not sure whether you heard directly from God, you didn’t.
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Re: Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Postby Timios » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:25 pm

I depart from Open theists when it comes to God's knowledge of future events because I believe God knows each person so well he knows exactly what they will do in the future (even though they haven't done it yet).


How would your belief fit with this?

"I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return." (Jeremiah 3:7 NASB)

If God knew beforehand that she would not return to Him, why would He think before hand that she would return to Him?
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Re: Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Postby psimmond » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:47 pm

Timios, you can find that kind of language in several places in the Old Testament: God changes his mind, is wrong about certain things, needs people like Moses to help him see that he's overreacting, etc. I don't think these passages are to be taken literally but instead reflect the various writers' perspectives of God. I think the Bible shows a development of Yahweh, which I chalk up to progressive revelation.
Let me boldly state the obvious. If you are not sure whether you heard directly from God, you didn’t.
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Re: Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Postby Timios » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:16 pm

Homer wrote:I have contended for some time that God's knowledge of future events does not remove free will.


I can see that. But if the future is known by God (or by anyone else), wouldn't that mean that the future is settled, and therefore couldn't be otherwise?
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Re: Grudem on Election and Open Theism

Postby psimmond » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:23 am

Timios,
I'd recommend you check out William Lane Craig's work on free will. He repeatedly makes the point that God knows all future events because he knows what we will freely choose to do:
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/free-will
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