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What is God Like? Does God Change? Is Everything Predetermined/Predestined by God? Has God Settled the Future? – Greg Boyd
Does God change?
Does God know the future?
In most churches today, if you would answer in the affirmative to the first question and negative to the second, you’d likely be branded a heretic or “liberal”. Many people seem to be so set in his or her ways that they won’t even carefully consider a different opinion or viewpoint about God or other theological matters. But it makes sense – for many, his or her view of God that they’ve grown up with or have adopted over the years, they’ve formed a close, emotional (not just psychological or spiritual) bond to it that’s hard to let go.
The very notion of entertaining the thought of God NOT knowing the future or that he can experience new things, or that he is NOT in absolute, complete control of everything (his omniscience, omnipotence, etc.) can be quite (emotionally) unsettling to even consider. (As a criticism of open theism, it may seem to anthropomorphize God a bit too much.)
Much of theology these days (and same goes to a vast majority of the view of God that is communicated through pulpits every week on any given Sunday) seem to be stuck in medieval or Reformation times, and seem to be unwilling to budge. As you know, much of history, science, technology, etc. has changed and progressed since that time, and the Church has had a hard time (or a very stubborn reluctance in) catching up to the rapid changes that are happening in our modern world, so it faces a crisis of remaining relevant to future generations if the Church continues on this trend I believe.
Perhaps our theology and understanding of God need to be updated.
Interesting viewpoints on God’s nature and action according to open theism.
From the website:
Does God know all future events? Only if the future is in some real sense already determined. God, to be God, must know every true proposition, including all about the future. But if the future is truly ‘open’, not even God could know the future because there are no true facts about the future to know. Why is this disturbing?
Gregory A. Boyd’s profile and an interesting series on God and theology below his profile.
“God does not play dice with the universe.”
– Albert Einstein
“Einstein, stop telling God what to do.”
– Niels Bohr, in reply to Einstein
In Gerald L. Schroeder’s book, The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom, he describes the blind forces of nature that lie behind much of human grief:
“An earthquake shakes a bridge from its foundation, dropping it onto a crowded bus passing beneath. A chance cosmic ray smashes into an ovum, produces a free radical which in its natural drive to establish electrical balance tears and mutates a chromosome. As a result, a crippled child is born. The same Creator that produces the beauty of a sunrise and the colors of a flower must be credited with these horrors as well.” (p. 168)
Last year, while I was attending classes at a city college, I would always pass by a cerebral palsy center. From time to time, I would see patients from that center lined up outside, mostly in their motorized wheelchairs, waiting to be assisted upon by their caretakers or be helped unto a transport truck.
For some reason, thoughts and questions would run through my head each time I would see these patients –
What if I were them? What made me so special that I was born normal – even though my mother had a complicated pregnancy with me, I came out relatively normal? But what about these patients afflicted with cerebral palsy? Was God directly involved in contributing to their physical and mental conditions? Or was it by pure, random chance, with no discernible reason whatsoever that they were in the condition that they were in? Didn’t God have the power to divert the cosmic ray from hitting the ovum and mutating the chromosome perhaps? Did he do that for me? Why me then and why them?
Or perhaps there’s just no reason or purpose whatsoever in all this.
It was by pure random, blind chance that I was born this way and not another.
And you can run a billion what-if scenarios in your head and ruminate what your life would’ve been like if you made this decision or that, etc.
Did we even have a choice to begin with?