How I arrived at Open Theism

I arrived at Open Theism via the back door. I had never heard the term and had never heard the concept expressed. However, I was struggling in understanding how free will and God already knowing everything that was going to happen could possibly co-exist.

My first conclusion was to embrace paradox. That is, I concluded that God somehow blinded himself to the choices he already knew people were going to make and dealt with people accordingly. As you can imagine, that was not a very satisfying conclusion.

Meanwhile, I wrestled with the whole purpose of prayer. Was I just praying what God already knew I was was going to pray, in fact, what he intended me to pray since the creation of the world? Or, was I actually dealing with God? Did Abraham really intercede for the wicked cities, or did God orchestrate the whole thing?

Finally, I struggled with what appears to be a “learning God,” especially in the book of Genesis. God’s statement to Abraham that “now I know” was a real challenge to me. On one hand, I believed that he already knew everything, but I found several examples in Genesis of God learning something. I felt I was somehow being disrespectful of God to wonder if he could not know something at one point and then know it later on.

My conclusion to all this was pretty much kept to myself because I feared I had drifted from orthodoxy in concluding that God learns and adjusts how he deals with humanity based on what people do.

When I started hearing about Open Theism I realized that there was an approach to understanding God that allowed me to plug all this stuff in.

I don’t think any of this makes me a better Christian than I would be otherwise, but it does give me a handle on some of the more perplexing aspects of how God works in this world and in our lives.