Moments of Theological Stupidity
That's right, theological stupidity. While sitting in Prof. Chad Brand's class this week, I heard something that basically made me go "no freakin' way." Dr. Brand was telling us about a book he was editing on the doctrine of predestination. It's one of those "Four Perspectives" type books. Imagine my surprise when he stated that a well-known open theist was contributing to the book, giving the open theist view of predestination. For those of you reading this who simply don't know, or have been living under at theological rock, open theism is the idea that to God, the future is open (roughly stated). What that means is that God does not know the future. That's right, God does not know the future. Providence, by contrast, can be simply defined as God's sovereign direction of all things to accomplish His purposes for all eternity. Yes, this is also roughly stated. It can be included as part of the doctrine of predestination, because predestination teaches that God declared before the beginning of the world everything that would happen, and that He knew all these things would happen as the result of His declaration. (Yes, I know it sounds confusing. It takes a lot of study to grasp the nuts and bolts, though most of you would agree with the big picture) Think of providence and predestination this way. Ever had something happen to you that could only be from God? Like the money came to pay a bill, or someone showed up to help you just when you needed it, or you found yourself somewhere at the right moment to help someone else? Or maybe something terrible happened in your life that helped you make better choices later in life? That's what's meant by providence--God has worked to make the outcome He desires in our lives, and in history, happen. Furthermore, predestination is that God has decreed an end result for all the things in which He works His providence. The decree comes first, next God goes about getting the result He decrees. (Yes, there's more to it, as predestination is primarily about who gets saved, but bear with me here.) Now, if God does not know the future, why would He even attempt to declare, "I hereby declare in my royal divinenessness that all these peoplesesses will do these thingsesses at those timesesses," and expect it to happen? God is at the mercy of history! He is just like you and me, making plans and hoping nothing bad happens to upset them. Even worse, He (like us) is powerless to prevent His plans from being thwarted. He cannot guarantee an outcome. He has no way of knowing what you will do if He does this or that. He does not even know if you will accept Jesus as your savior! So hopefully now you can understand my incredulous gape when I heard an open theist was going to outline their view of predestination. What utter and total stupidity to have a doctrine about God deciding the future when God does not know the future to begin with! What a waste of God-given brain power. Imagine what Jesus' answer to the disciples about the end times would be if He really did not know the future: DISCIPLES: "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" (Matthew 24:3) JESUS: "Well, see here now...uh...umm...I'm not sure...which side of the tree is the moss growing on again? What's that? No moss on the tree? Dang. Let me go see Madame Faux again and get my fortune told, then I'll hurry back and tell you." Jesus scurries hurriedly to the tent of Madame Faux, the fortune-teller. And with that, another heretic bites the dust. And I didn't even try to wax theological.