THE LORD REGRETS
Genesis 6:6-7 “The Lord was sorry that he made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart…I regret that I have made them.”
The question that logically flows from this is how can you sincerely regret something that you knew was going to turn out exactly as it did? In other words, God made man. When He made man he knew full well that men would become so wicked that He would have to destroy them. Then, when everything happens just as God foreknew He regrets making man in the first place? Should we consider this to be supremely wise? If the regret was genuine, does it not necessitate that even to God there was a possibility it could have turned out different? If the regret is not genuine, how do we not define it as bearing false witness?
THE LORD CONFRONTS IMPROBABILITIES
Isa 5:1-5 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill. 2 He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes. 3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. 4 What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it?Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes? 5 And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned;
So, can God genuinely say that He expected an outcome that He didn’t get if He eternally foreknew what the outcome would be?
Also consider Jeremiah 3:6-7, 19-20
Again, how can God say “i thought” you would do this…but instead you did that (3 times) if He was certain from eternity past about exactly what they would do?
…continued next post…
THE LORD GETS FRUSTRATED
Ezek. 22:30-31: ” I sought for anyone among them who would repair the wall and stand in the breach before me on behalf of the land, so that I would not destroy it: but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them…”
Can God genuinely search for something He has known from eternity past is not there? If God looks for someone to “stand in the breach” does that not imply the possibility that there was someone to do so? Does this not imply that the future is partly open?
GOD TESTS PEOPLE “TO KNOW”
Gen. 22:12: “Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son…”
Deut. 8:2: “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
Deut. 13:1-3: “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
In the case of Abraham, God gives the TIME and the CAUSE of His knowledge. The time being NOW (as opposed to eternity past) and the CAUSE, Abraham not withholding his son. Is God being disingenuous here? The meaning of the other passages seems so plain to me. I’m not sure how, using proper interpretation methodology, they could be taken any other way. The standard response I’ve heard my entire life is that God was testing so that the testee would know. That would be great if it is what the passage says. The passage says very clearly why He was testing…so that HE would know. Why should we take these passages to mean something other than what they plainly state?
THE LORD SPEAKS AND THINKS OF THE FUTURE IN SUBJUNCTIVE TERMS
Ex. 4:8,9: “Then it will be, IF they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. And it shall be, IF they do not believe one these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land”
Did God know that Israel would get out of Egypt? Yes, that was part of God’s will and intention…what He determined to happen and, clearly, had to exercise His omnipotence to achieve (in other words CAUSE IT TO HAPPEN). Within this plan though there is flexibility and openness. Otherwise, why does even God speak in terms of “IF”?
Ex. 13:17: “IF they face war they MIGHT change their minds and return to Egypt.”
The Lord decided against leading Israel along the shortest route to Canaan because Israel might have had to fight the Philistines which might have changed their minds. Why does God need to speak in such subjunctive terms? Doesn’t He know EXACTLY what will happen?
Ezek. 12:3: “Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house”
For God to tell Ezekiel “perhaps” they’ll understand, knowing full well that Israel would not and rebel, how is this not bearing false witness to Ezekiel? The only way I can see to vindicate God’s character here is that God was sincere in his hope that Israel would repent; something HE COULD NOT BE if He knew what Israel was going to do.
THE LORD CHANGES HIS MIND
Jeremiah 18:7-10: “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and plant it, if it does evil in my sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.”
When does God change His mind? “I WILL” (future) Why does God change His mind? Repentance. So how does God change His mind in the future about something He knew from eternity past? Are we to think that God is simply acting here? If God is simply acting then did He ever really intend anything He claimed? Or, are we getting a picture into the real, dynamic, living way that our personal God and Father, who created us to be His family, relates to His creation? How can there be a living dynamic relationship with God at all if God already knows the events of all eternity and therefore has already experienced everything that we will ever do?
I would just conclude by saying, if you haven’t watched Greg’s video series yet PLEASE DO! Stating that you disagree with His exegesis and leaving it at that is insufficient. I’m convinced that His arguments deserve an answer. I’m just not sure there is a good answer to His points that maintains that God’s knowledge of the future is exhaustive.
A more difficult case is Moses pleading for God to spare the people over the Golden Calf (Exodus 32:1-14). God flat out states his direct intent to annihilate the people for what they have done and to start again with Moses. He also makes the same promise to Moses he did to Abraham, indicating that his intent was to destroy the people and then see to prospering Moses as part of fulfilling the promise to Abraham. The passage is also clear that God changes his mind after Moses appeals to him.
The same thing occurs in even more direct fashion in Numbers 14 where Israel rejects the words of Joshua and Caleb regarding the Land and indeed they were ready to stone Moses, Joshua and Caleb when the Lord came forth and flatly declared to Moses he would destroy them, disinherit them and start anew with Moses. Moses again interceded and God states he has pardoned per Moses request, but that there will still be consequences (the forty years in the wilderness).
Both of these are more difficult as God makes very direct statements that if we try to say he never really intended to do make him not truthful it would seem. That does not mean Open Theism but does indicate something more is going on here than our theological thinking may be allowing for.
it also doesn’t sit right with me any longer the idea of God being outside of time, as we’ve all been taught our entire lives as well. God begetting the Son in order for Jesus to be the creator absolutely demands sequence. how can we have sequence without time, a beginning and end? this is just one example of the difficulty about this view.
God being “outside of time” is another statement or belief we are assuming to be true, another presupposition that we are applying to this debate of open theism…is it not?
Also, I think we must be very careful to distinguish between what is “fair” and what is “just.” The Bible teaches that God is absolutely just. The standard of justice that He ultimately uses for each person is His impeccable character. However, He tempers that by taking into account how much revelation we have. Thus, “where there is no law, there is no transgression.” This is not because the standard of justice changes, but because God shows mercy to the ignorant. There are also other factors that God considers when being merciful in judgment. The Sermon on the Mount teaches that when He sees us being merciful to others, and forgiving others, He is then more merciful and forgiving towards us. God also resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. In other words, while our sins demand our utter destruction based on God’s justice, God shows different levels of mercy to each individual based on these kinds of criteria. Also, these kinds of criteria are things that only God can know and determine, since He knows every thought and intent of the heart.
However, nowhere does the Bible indicate that God is “fair” — giving everyone equal opportunity or equal reward. In fact, Jesus taught just the opposite in the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matt. 20:1-16. Some of the workers complained that they were not being treated fairly (equitably). Jesus pointed them back to what they had agreed to, even though that agreement was not the same for all of the workers. God was just in this case because He delivered what He promised. Jesus also taught this in the parable of the minas in Luke 19:11-27. Notice how Jesus responded to the charge of inequity in this case: “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
The point is, we must make a clear distinction between “justice” (which is measured vertically, every man judged against God’s just nature, plus God’s taking into account our knowledge when we made our choices), vs. “fairness” or “equity” where people are compared horizontally, to each other. What we consider “fair” is always based on how things appear to humans. But for God, who knows every heart, who hates certain traits like pride, but loves certain traits like humility and a forgiving spirit, He alone can determine to whom He will show mercy.
Finally, since God knows the hearts of all, including motives, and since He alone is able to make allowances for how much we know, and since ALL have sinned and the entire human race has been condemned to death, God is just to destroy us all, PERIOD, no questions asked. However, it by His MERCY that we are not all consumed. Because of this principle, Paul writes that “who are you to reply against God? Shall the thing formed say to the one who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”
We also need to remember that God created MANKIND as a unit. He gave them a free will, and the capacity to reproduce, but with strict guidelines and limitations. MAN has continued to reproduced by his own choice to have sexual relations. God can CHOOSE to have mercy on a child produced by pagans who refuse the knowledge of God. But He is not under any obligation to show mercy to that child. God’s justice does not DEMAND that He show mercy to ANYONE EXCEPT those to whom He has made specific promises. God can “prune” a specific people group just like we might prune a bush in our yard. He can cut it down if it does not serve His purpose. God has made NO promises of life and happiness to every child born. He only created Adam and Eve, two people with the ability to reproduce. Of Adam’s descendants, He has chosen to show mercy on many by offering covenant relationships to those who choose to enter those covenants, and abide by the conditions. Apart from that, NO ONE (infant or otherwise) can charge God with injustice unless they can point to a specific promise that He made to THEM that He has broken.
The open view better maintains man’s and Jesus’ free-will because the very fact that the future is NOT settled is a necessary prerequisite to free-will.
these were but a few posts gathered from the following discussion page