Boyd on 5 Ways the Bible Supports Open Theism


1. The Lord frequently changes his mind in the light of changing circumstances, or as a result of prayer (Exod. 32:14; Num. 14:12–20; Deut. 9:13–14, 18–20, 25; 1 Sam. 2:27–36; 2 Kings 20:1–7; 1 Chron. 21:15; Jer. 26:19; Ezek. 20:5–22; Amos 7:1–6; Jonah 1:2; 3:2, 4–10). At other times he explicitly states that he will change his mind if circumstances change (Jer. 18:7–11; 26:2–3; Ezek. 33:13–15). This willingness to change is portrayed as one of God’s attributes of greatness (Joel 2:13–14; Jonah 4:2). If the future were exhaustively and eternally settled, as classical theism teaches, it would be impossible for God to genuinely change his mind about matters.

2. God sometimes expresses regret and disappointment over how things turned out—even occasionally over things that resulted from his own will. (Gen. 6:5–6; 1 Sam. 15:10, 35; Ezek. 22:29–31). If the future was exhaustively and eternally settled, it would be impossible for God to genuinely regret how some of his own decisions turned out.

3. At other times God tells us that he is surprised at how things turned out because he expected a different outcome (Isa. 5:3–7; Jer. 3:67; 19–20). If the future were eternally and exhaustively settled, everything would come to pass exactly as God eternally knew or determined it to be.

4. The Lord frequently tests his people to find out whether they’ll remain faithful to him (Gen. 22:12; Exod. 16:4; Deut. 8:2; 13:1–3; Judges 2:20–3:5; 2 Chron. 32:31). If the future were eternally and exhaustively settled, God could not genuinely say he tests people “to know” whether they’ll be faithful or not.

5. The Lord sometimes asks non-rhetorical questions about the future (Num. 14:11; Hos. 8:5) and speaks to people in terms of what may or may not happen (Exod. 3:18–4:9; 13:17; Jer. 38:17–18, 20–21, 23; Ezek. 12:1–3). If the future were exhaustively and eternally settled, God could never genuinely speak about the future in terms of what “may” or “may not” happen.


  1. Thanks. Having the Scriptural support is so important! Countering the response that Calvinism gives to these passages, saying that they are just anthropomorphic, is also very important. Either God means what He clearly says in narrative/historical passages about Himself, or He was deceiving His readers about Himself, only to reveal the “truth” to smart philosophical theologians later!

    If you can not trust the literal truth of those narrative passages, how can you trust any historical truth recorded in the Scriptures. Thus people stop reading the Bible for themselves and trust the false theology of Calvinism based on the smoke and mirrors of Scholasticism.

    I would add one more set of Scriptures in favor of Open Theism… 6. those that state clearly that God has been making decisions/choices since creation and will make more in the future forever. Therefore they could not all have been decided before creation, or else He is deceiving us in these Scriptures.

    Best verses that show God makes choices, decisions of His will and plans after creation.

    Deut. 12:5 But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses…
    2 Chr. 6:5 ‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city … nor did I choose any man …. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem… and I have chosen David
    Psa. 25:12 Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
    Psa. 47:4 He will choose our inheritance for us…
    Psa. 65:4 Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple.
    Psa. 75:2 When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly.
    Isa. 14:1 For the LORD … will still choose Israel
    Ezek. 20:5 Thus says the Lord GOD: “On the day when I chose Israel
    Dan. 5:21 …the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.
    Jer. 18:11 …‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you.”
    1 Cor. 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

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