Friday, June 16, 2017

My Take on Open Theism

Does God know what will happen in the future? Christians have traditionally affirmed that he does. Today, however, many are embracing open theism.

Open theists believe that while God has a very good idea about what will happen in the future, he does not know for sure. They argue that since God does not predetermine the future, but allows his creatures genuine freedom, he cannot know with certainty what his creatures will do.

The problem here is that the open theist is assuming that God’s knowledge of the future must be understood on the analogy of human knowledge. While I may not be able to know the future unless I can somehow determine that future, God is not subject to such a limitation. Since God is omniscient, he simply knows the truth value of all propositions, even propositions concerning the future.

Here the open theist may object that, while God knows the truth value of all propositions, propositions concerning the future do not have a truth value. In other words, statements about the future are neither true nor false, because they concern a state of affairs that does not yet exist.

However, the notion that propositions concerning the future do not have a truth value is demonstrably false. We can think of hundreds of statements about the future that we know to be true (e.g. “Tomorrow God will not sin”) and hundreds of statements about the future that we know to be false (e.g. “Tomorrow I will meet a married bachelor”). Thus, even though we do not know the truth value of statements about the future which involve contingencies, we are not justified in concluding that such propositions do not have a truth value.

In summary, I see no reason to reject the traditional view that God knows the future.

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