Instructions: Respond to the three discussion posts.
1. What is the “Open View” of God? ( ref. p. 79 -103, and p. 123-140)
The “Open View” of God that I understood from the reading, is that because God loves us, He desires that we freely choose to reciprocate His love. Because of His love for us, God has made His knowledge and plans the future conditional upon our actions. That means that God does not know what we will freely choose in the future even though He is omniscient.
2. How do you respond to this “Open Theology”? Please elaborate on areas you strongly support and feel encouraged by, and areas with which you strongly disagree and feel are dangerous, if any.
I agree in that God is not substance, but He is person. I also agree that God does sometimes changes His plans for us because of His love. Yet I do not agree that He does not know the future because of the free will He gave to us.
I do feel that “Open Theology” is very dangerous theology. I feel that “Open Theology” overly tried to explain who God is to fit into human logics and perception. God is God. We are His creation. We cannot as a creation explain and understand everything about our Creator. Jesus always proclaim who God the Father is and of Himself. He then declared who God is. Jesus did not elaborate to explain who God is.
1. What is the “Open View” of God? ( ref. p. 79-103, and p. 123-140)
I believe an open view of God is the term the writer has chosen to convey the relational side of God. This view allows the reader to consider God more relationally. The open view sees love as the essence of God’s being and not just an attribute of God. It, therefore, would lead to the understanding that God enjoys loving communion with us. This intimate communion does not replace the sovereignty of God but allows for a less restrictive and distant way of defining Who God is.
2. How do you respond to this “Open Theology”? Please elaborate on areas you strongly support and felt encouraged by, and areas with which you strongly disagree and felt are dangerous, if any.
I support the relational model and components of Open Theology. Being that in scripture we learn the attributes and working of – the essence of – what love is as described in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, and being that God is love then one would surmise that these attributes and workings not only are the model for us to strive towards but are, in fact, the description of who God is. I believe that the many references used in scripture that refer to Father are good examples in understanding a loving God. Just as a father loves hopes and plans for his children, he does not control the outcome. This is also true of God. I do not belief it is a subtraction from, but rather should be viewed as an addition to.
My concern with the Open Theism is that it would be easy to get out of balance and therefore dangerous. I believe that a different, theology would need to be developed that fully encompasses the relational side of God balanced with the Sovereign side. The Holy Spirit is a key to a balanced theology of God. Having an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit provides the balance needed. Through this relationship, the full understanding of “Who God is” can be possible.
Clark H. Pinnock describes the theology of “Open View” as God a triune, loving person, reliable and flexible, sensitive and resourceful, patient and wise, everlasting and all-knowing (Oinnck, 2000, p. 79). It is an evangelical theology with the purpose of portraying God with a dynamic temperament versus immutable, impassible, or controlling the universe and His creation.
It is a shift from absolutist terms into a more personal God. As a personal God, He emphasizes His very nature: love as the primary proxy between Him (the Creator) and humanity (the creation). Love requires action, and the apostle John states, “The one who does not love does not know God because God is love. By this, the love of God was revealed in us, that God has sent His only Son into the world so that we may live through Him.” [i] If love requires action, God reacts based on our actions toward Him.
2. How do you respond to this “Open Theology”? Please elaborate on areas you strongly support and felt encouraged by, and areas with which you strongly disagree and feel are dangerous, if any.
Have you been taught that questioning God is forbidden and eventually exposes us to God’s wrath? I was, and I put it to the test because I have a strong will. Looking back, If I had known the God I know today, I would have given God complete lordship of my life. For my journey as a believer, “Open theology” is an amicable conversation about the nature of God and God’s relationship with us. These words’ sounds are provocative because they diverge the religious spirit among all religions, notably Christianity.
It is always tricky to agree or disagree with the entirety I hear from theologians and spiritual leaders because no one has entered a place of complete knowledge of God. If they do, my mom used to say: “God takes them home because they are no longer earthly good.” Mainly, she was right.
I could go in various directions to elaborate on groundwork areas of “Open Theology,” but I want to stay on one topic: Love. This is where the rubber meets the road, and Christianity failed merely to represent the main characteristic of God, which is love! How can we boast about ourselves to the world as His children, and we don’t illustrate God’s true beauty? What is the main reason people reject faith? Maybe it is the fact that they don’t see God’s unfailing love for humanity in us.
Here is a stimulating question: Do we know the love of God for us, and in that knowledge, we transpire the main attribute of God to those around us? We live in a society that rejects God and finds alternatives to satisfy the very need of humanity: LOVE. He portrays himself as love which requires one to love someone and be loved back. By sovereignty, He chose to love us, but it leaves a sizable question on the table: how does God react if we don’t love Him back? In this case, the pendulum swings toward “open theology.”
I agree with “Open Theology” that God has changed His methods based on history (Ex 32:14, Jer 26:19), but it is a dangerous concept. For example, one point is regarding God’s omniscience. We all agree that God is omniscient and knows everything, but I don’t agree that God cannot know precisely what free agents will do in advance (Oinnck, 2000, p. 100). This point is the most challenging factor in understanding the mind of God. I believe God knows all that to be known, and He also knows what decision we will make at the end. If he didn’t, we would be surprised. Ultimately, He would have to make decisions at the last minute. In Genesis, God had plan “B” in place after the fall. Is it fair to say we are part of plan “B” and plan “A” was for Adam and Eve to have a happy life ever after? Something to ponder, isn’t it?
Another factor is Bible prophesy. Bible prophesy is not guaranteed if we agree that God moves based on our behavior. God knows everything, even before the beginning of creation. The New Testament confirms what the prophets testify even hundreds of years before it happened. God still fulfilled every prophecy; what changes are the participants in His story, not necessarily God’s plan. One story that is fascinating in the Bible is the interaction between Balaam and his donkey. The Bible says that God opened the donkey’s mouth, and the donkey spoke to Balaam (Numbers 22). For the lack of humans around Balaam, God used the donkey. God is resourceful in any and all circumstances. Here is where the pendulum swings back to the Calvinist approach.
If we don’t understand God’s character, which is unchanging, we will not be able to accept God’s methods of dealing with us, which can be unpredictable, which means He can change His ways of dealing with us. God, in His essence, is a loving God and relates to us in loving ways. We must accept that God is not indifferent to our human responses. (Oinnck, 2000, p. 83). Our lack of response to Him results in consequences. “I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference”. [ii]
The open nature of God gives us valid insights and explains why God allowed evil on this earth. Is it God’s plan to have a society of murderers, rapists, thieves, etc.? As the Body of Christ, we must find a balance to live a life that reflects God’s attributes in and through us. I agree with the following:
· God is a personal God: “Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you (Isaiah 42:3), loving: “Beloved, let us [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience] (1 John 4:7)
· God wants to commune with us: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (1 Corinthians 13:14).
· God is faithful, reliable, and true to himself (Oinnck, 2000, p. 85).: “ The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
· God desires an intimate relationship with us: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
· As a Creator of the universe, God is the sovereign Lord, and the most powerful lesson we can learn from His unchangeable love is responding to Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. Jesus declared: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.”
When we understand His attributes, God delightfully shares His power to be His agents on Earth, take dominion, and establish His kingdom on Earth.
[i] https://biblehub.com/1_john/4-8.htm, New American Standard Bible
[ii] Revelation 3:19 (biblehub.com), New Living Translation