McCormack on Open Theism

Tom Belt shares a summary of a chapter by Bruce McCormack. An excerpt:

Underneath it all, open theism is a rather narrowly defined project. What open theist theologians are interested in is two things: the will of God as it relates to free rational creatures and the question of what God knows and when he knows it. So open theism has to do above all with the doctrines of providence and divine foreknowledge. It is to a large degree parasitic upon classical theism in that it draws its life from the negations it registers over against aspects of the latter.
The basic intuition is that the future is ‘open’ not only to us but also for God—‘open’ because God has chosen not to control the decisions made by free rational creatures. Open theists hold that an exhaustive divine foreknowledge is logically incompatible with human freedom, and so they conclude that God’s foreknowledge is limited. What is most basic to open theism is not its position with regard to divine foreknowledge but rather its take on the divine concursus. The doctrine of consursus, or “cooperation,” is that aspect of the doctrine of providence which addresses itself to the question of how God interacts with rational creatures in order to ensure that his will is done. The result is a view of God’s providence which is quite similar to that found among process theists; God’s will is a work-in-progress.
Other implications include the rejection of divine timelessness and impassibility. But this is sufficient introduction. What we need to do now is examine how open theists seek to support these conclusions with arguments drawn from the spheres of biblical studies, systematic theology, and philosophy.


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