Morrell’s Chart of Prophecy Types

Jesse Morrell

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6 comments

  1. In all seriousness how can you resolve within this rubric the following:

    God can have an absolute prophecy that involves and absolutely free man.

    Implication 1: God can’t have absolute prophecy do to lack of knowing what “free man” will do.

    Implication 2: God in order to have absolute prophecy involving man must by necessity decree their actions. (For example the Cross)

    Implication 3: Portions of scripture referencing God’s plans before the foundation of the world must be omitted, for according to 4, God can know nothing for certain. Thus He is left impotent and extrapolating.

    Grace and Peace
    -Anon

    1. Sir,

      I for one do not believe “guarantees” are how prophecy works. I am not speaking for all Open Theists (there is a wide diversity on prophecy mechanics), but here is what I think is the most Biblical.

      All prophecies are not “guaranteed” in any sense of the word:

      In this link I lay out predictions on how the Bible would show prophecy if the future was closed versus if it was open.

      An Open Future:
      1. Prophecies by God would be contingent on current knowledge, predictable events, or even God’s own power to make things happen.
      2. When the Bible describes the methodology about how God knows the future, it would describe one of these three methodologies.
      3. It would not describe God knowing the future in the ways predicted by the closed view of God.
      4. Some prophecies would be subverted by the actions of human beings, new conditions changing prophecy.
      5. Some prophecies would downright fail.

      A Closed Future:
      1. Prophecies by God would be contingent on God seeing the future (timelessness), God inherently having all knowledge, or God controlling all events (sovereignty).
      2. When the Bible describes the methodology about how God knows the future, it would describe EXCLUSIVELY one of these three methodologies.
      3. It would not describe God knowing the future in the ways predicted by the open view of God.
      4. No prophecies would be subverted by the actions of human beings.
      5. No prophecies would fail.

      When we survey prophecy in the Bible, the case for a closed future comes up short on all predictions. This can be illustrated best in the strange case of failed prophecy.

      Several prophecies fail throughout the Bible, and some for no apparent reason:

      1. The destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar.
      2. God being defeated by chariots (Jdg 1:19) when prophesied to prevail (Jdg 1:2).
      3. The reunification of Israel and Judah. I write about this here.

      There are plenty more. This is not to mention “conditional prophecy”, which brings up several more problems for a closed future.

      When God uses prophecy fulfillment as proof of His being the One True God, the context is always about power. What takes more power:

      1. Just knowing what will happen.
      2. Making everything happen.
      Or
      3. Working with free will creatures to effect what will happen.

      The God of Calvinism is impotent. It is not a very powerful God who just sees the future or who just controls people like robots. God never even suggests either as His method of knowing the future. God knows things because God has the power to effect them. See Isaiah [link].

      When see how God effects His will on mankind, it is always through convincing, manipulation, coercion, and other relational means. See How God Names Babies.

      I think prophecy is a very strong issue against the Augustinian Christians and works very much in the favor of Open Theism. The revealed prophecy mechanics in the Bible are the opposite of the classical predictions.

      On “before the foundation of the world”, see Howard Elseth on this phrase.

      1. “The God of Calvinism is impotent. It is not a very powerful God who just sees the future or who just controls people like robots. God never even suggests either as His method of knowing the future. God knows things because God has the power to effect them.”

        This demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of what Calvinism affirms. Anyone serious about reformed theology would never accept that description, teach or practice such a misguided thoughtless straw-man.

        I tried to show within the explanations of that chart some implications or problems that could arise. That is all.

        If you are striving to rally the troops against the evil Calvinism then I get it. However if you are actually trying to advance an argument against the theology then this is not adequate.

        -Anon

        1. Thank you. Can you please demonstrate the straw man. What do Calvinists believe the mechanism is for how God knows the future. The explain how I misrepresented it. Then explain how that is more powerful than a God working with creation to effect His ends.

          1. I am first going to broaden the scope of the conversation. I will from the outset affirm the doctrines contained within the T.U.L.I.P. However this is merely a part of a much larger theology. I will reference and hold to the conclusions of the following confessions and catechsims. This is very important to understand as within these you will find all of the stated beliefs from which this acronym rises.

            The three forms of unity: 1. Belgic Confession 2. Heidelburg Catechism. 3 Cannons of Dort. In addition I will affirm the WCF and its longer and shorter catechisms. This will embody the whole of what I believe.

            No where in any of these is there ever an affirmation that we are robot or that God merely “sees the future”. Indeed this god you describe is impotent. However it is not the God that is represented in the confessions and catechisms listed above. That is a caricature or straw-man if you will.

            From Ch 3 of the WCF:
            I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

            II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

            No robots, no violation of the will, no informing. From chapter 5 of the WCF

            I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold,direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge,and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

            II. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

            III. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means,yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.

            Lastly, your idea of power begs the question. What is power? Who defines it? What are its attributes? Power take many forms, it is a vague word. I will attempt to satisfactorily define and answer.

            Power ultimately is about response. For example, man with gun solicits a response thus He has the power. Most powerful army causes surrender to prevent death thus they are more powerful. Whoever does the responding is ultimately subject and inferior. Thus if God is bound by our actions the He is responding and thus not as powerful as us superior free creatures.

            I will stop here as this has turned into a post. This especially your question about the mechanism has caused me to reflect carefully. For that I am grateful for the interaction.

            Grace and Peace
            -Anon

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