A Detailed Response to Closing the Door on Open Theism – Part 5

Martyn McGeown then makes a bad point and a good point:

In addition, a god who cannot predict the future cannot give us an infallible Bible, especially one replete with prophecies of future events. Stephen Wellum writes, “If God is ignorant of vast stretches of forthcoming history, then how can any of the predictive prophecies in Scripture be anything more than mere probabilities?”

What does “infallible” mean to McGeown? The Bible has plenty of time specific prophecies. Several do not come to past (like the prophecy against Nineveh) and some are inaccurate (like the time prophesied for Egyptian slavery or the time prophesied for Babylonian captivity). Timeframes often work like rough estimates in prophesy. This would be expected from the Open Theist perspective, and would render the Bible false in the Calvinist perspective. Prophecy is flexible. God even says that it can be adverted. God can say something or think something, and that something can change.

In this sense, it is true that all prophecy work with probabilities. As discussed earlier, even the crucifixion was not a fixed event, not from the Biblical perspective. In order to claim prophecy is fixed, extra-Biblical standards must be imposed on the text. And those standards are generated by the completely unsubstantiated claims that the future is exhaustively known.

McGeown then turns to omnipotence (another word not used in the Bible except for a vague reference in the book of Revelation):

Open theism rejects God’s omnipotence and replaces it with something called “omnicompetence.”

However much Boyd wants to spin it, the fact is that his god does not “perfectly anticipate” the moves of his creatures. Sometimes, as we have seen with Saul and others, he fails to anticipate what his creatures will do.

The omnicompetent god of open theism has the added attribute of resourcefulness. “Sometimes the desires of God are stymied,” writes Sanders, “but God is resourceful and faithfully works to bring good even out of evil situations.”

McGeown seems to take it as a granted that diminishing what McGeown personally values in sovereignty is some sort of affront to God. He does not refute any arguments, but seems to believe they are self-refuting. In lack of any real arguments against the Open Theistic concept of God’s power and ability, a quote by Roger Olsen will have to suffice to counter McGeown:

There is no “sovereignty” in human experience like the “sovereignty” Calvinists insist we must attribute to God in order “really” to believe in “God’s sovereignty.” In ordinary human language “sovereignty” NEVER means total control of every thought and every intention of every subject. And yet it has become a Calvinist mantra that non-Calvinists “do not believe in God’s sovereignty.” I have a tape of a talk where R. C. Sproul says that Arminians “say they believe in God’s sovereignty” but he goes on to say “there’s precious little sovereignty left” (after Arminians qualify it). And yet he doesn’t admit there (or anywhere I’m aware of) that his own view of God’s sovereignty (which I call divine determinism) is not at all like sovereignty as we ordinarily mean it. That’s like saying of an absolute monarch who doesn’t control every subject’s every thought and intention and every molecule in the universe that he doesn’t really exercise sovereignty. It’s an idiosyncratic notion of “sovereignty.”

A Detailed Response to Closing the Door on Open Theism – Part 1 [link]
A Detailed Response to Closing the Door on Open Theism – Part 2 [link]
A Detailed Response to Closing the Door on Open Theism – Part 3 [link]
A Detailed Response to Closing the Door on Open Theism – Part 4 [link]
A Detailed Response to Closing the Door on Open Theism – Part 5 [link]


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