Answered Questions – Knowing Words Beforehand

From Ben on Thomas J Oord’s post concerning Paths to Open Theism:

“Psalm 139:4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.”

As an honest question, how does open theism describe this verse? It seems that the author of this verse insists that God “knows”- “before” human action takes place. Before he speaks “a word is on my tongue” ‘O Lord, you know it altogether’. Here, it seems that the future (before human action occurs) can be known by God.

Answer – Psalms 139 is a chapter describing King David’s special relationship with God. It would be a mistake to read this out of context, diluting the meaning. To say that all statements in Psalms 139 applies to all people or even all Christians defeats the point that King David is trying to stress: “That King David has a special and unique relationship with God.”

It is in this context that David says “before a word is on my tongue, you Lord, know it.” The meaning is that God knows David so well that God knows what David is going to say. Just like in the modern world, people state that some couples finish each other’s sentences. This does not mean each one can see the future, but that they know each other so well that their words can be anticipated.

For this statement to mean “God sees the future and as a result knows people’s words”, this would also defeat the meaning trying to be communicated. There is nothing special or relational about just merely using mundane powers to see things that will happen in order to know them. There is something special about knowing someone so well that their future free choices can be anticipated.

In other words, Psalms 139:4 only makes sense in light of Open Theism.

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