Apologetics Thursday – On God’s Knowledge and Open Theism

The Cenacle Christian Ministry claims:

Open theism is a model that insists that true human freedom requires that God cannot know in advance human choices and actions.

This statement is only true when using non-standing definitions of knowledge.

The Google standard definitions are as follows:

1. facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
2. awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.

Meriam Webster defines Knowledge as:

1 a (1): the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association
(2) : acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique
b(1) : the fact or condition of being aware of something
(2) : the range of one’s information or understanding
answered to the best of my knowledge
c : the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : COGNITION
d : the fact or condition of having information or of being learned
a person of unusual knowledge
2a : the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind
b archaic : a branch of learning

Neither of these sets of standards definitions quite mean what Cenacle means when it uses the word “knowledge”. In effect, they are performing a bait and switch, relying on our standard understanding of what it means to have “knowledge” and substituting it with something else. In this case, the knowledge they ascribe to God is not “learned” or “acquired”. It is not simple acquaintance with information or a logical deduction. Instead, this knowledge is eternal, unfalsifiable, and ungenerated. This is not typically what people think of by knowledge.

Whereas normal people can “know the future”, it is not in the same sense as when theologians claim “God knows the future”. In the first, the future can “change”. The future is not set. The knowledge is independent of the events that occur. In the later, the future is 100% fated. Not even God can change what He knows will happen. While the knowledge does not necessarily cause the events, the existence of the knowledge proves all things are fated. That type of knowledge only exists if all things are eternally fixed.

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