What About Revelation?

On Facebook group Arminians and Open Theists in Open Dialogue, Richard asks:

Revelation 20:7-9 states: “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.”

How do Open Theists explain a future action such as this? The text doesn’t say that God determines their actions. Rather, it shows that God knows will they will do, and in turn, what God will do in response. One thing that I don’t find persuasive is when someone says, “Well, if what you are saying is true, then the other side has already won.” Hopefully that won’t be the answer. I’m curious, and I mean no ill intent. I’ve just always wondered how OT’s explain things such as this. Thanks in advance.

William Lance Huget responds:

I think Revelation can still be taken with a normative literal approach while recognizing the apocalyptic genre, figurative language, symbols, etc. This tends to lead to a futurist view, pre-trib, pre-mill. 4 corners is not literal, but recognized language. We can take things at face value unless context does not warrant it. Much of Revelation is general with more than one exact way for things to come to pass. God will consummate His project and can orchestrate these predictable things based on 1000s of years of human/demonic history. Note that it does not name specific names, dates, details, If it did, then I would question Open Theism. Since it does not, I will assume God can influence issues, persist in His plan, predict much of the future, etc. Regardless of view of Rev. 20, I don’t see a strong objection to Open Theism here. Boyd and others have dealt with the generic predictive prophecy objection, so there is literature out there to handle it.

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