Apologetics Thursday – Fortuneteller God

In an article on the The Case Against Open Theism, Ron Nash writes:

The theory in question [that statements about the future are neither true nor false] seriously limits the knowledge of God and conflicts with the Bible’s account of God’s ability to predict the future. If propositions about the future are neither true nor false, it is logically impossible for God to predict the future. The belief that God does predict the future presumes that God knows what he is talking about.

Reading this passage, one might see the author’s view of God as of one of a fortuneteller. God is a mystic and peers into the future to “predict” events that will happen. Where does God do this in the Bible? Usually, God’s statements about the future throughout the Bible are linked to God’s power. God will punish. God will judge. And sometimes these events that God “predicts” fail to happen, as is the case when God “predicted” that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days and that event never happened. Sure, there were “reasons” it did not happen, but the author of the article would treat God’s prediction as a false statement, if future events must have a truth value. If it is true that Ninevah would not be overthrown in 40 days, God’s prediction that it would be overthrown in 40 days (a prediction believed by all actors involved) was just a lie.

In the Bible, God is not a fortuneteller, predicting in a crystal ball what people’s future’s hold. Instead, we see God’s knowledge of the future woven with God’s power to act. God’s predictions are not so much “in 20 years you will find true love” but “in 20 years I will punish you for your wickedness.” Where we do see God’s predictions, often God wants His predictions to fail (Israel’s continued disobedience) and sometimes God admits His predictions of Israel’s actions do fail:

Jer 3:7 And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.

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