Everyone’s an Open Theist!

Every once in a great while, an aspiring intellectual has a neat idea that he sees a real intellectual say or defend after the apprentice has already thought of it.  There are few moments of this, but they can be an encouragement to the novice like myself (unless i later think that i was wrong!).

Anyway, i had a moment like this today.  I was reading the current theologian Greg Boyd’s website, and he advanced an argument in favor of Open Theism that i had thought of and had been using for a while now. 

Boyd maintains that everyone is an open theist b/c everyone lives there life that way.  In every decision we make, we deliberate, and in order to do that, we have to assume that there are any # of possibilities that we can choose within certain boundaries.

For example, when deciding how i am going to get to work i have a # of possibilities to deliberate from (eg public transportation, my car, walking, or my wife’s bike) within certain parameters (i can’t turn myself into a frog and hop to work or sprout wings and fly).  I will then deliberate between my possible choices and choose the best one (so far my car has won every time).

This everyday common sense act is the position of the open theist.  However, how could a Christian who believed that their choice was an eternally settled fact do this?  How can one live a meticulously controlled life?  Boyd doesn’t see how, and i don’t either.  To live in correspondence with reality, one must either do the impossible (classical view), or be “open” to the possibility that the basic makeup of our mind reflects in some small way the nature of reality, as well as the Imago Dei (the open view).  Maybe the way we think in some small way is a reflection of being made in God’s Image, who in an open paradigm thinks this way? 

Finally, it is important to note that Jesus saw belief and practice as fundamentally interconnected.  I learned this from James Sire.  If Jesus, the fullest revelation of God, links belief with practice (obedience would be a better word), then as Christian we have to let that inform our worldview (cf Mt 7:24-25).  It was this insight that brought me to realize that everyone is really an open theist (i guess i can’t take much credit after all!).  The bottom line is this: what you believe is shown by what you do, b/c orthodoxy and orthopraxis are intertwined in Scripture. 

There is much more to say regarding this last point, but i have to be done as this is getting too long and taking more time than it i planned.  So to everyone who doubts open theism, “thinks” it heretical, or “thinks” that we are crazy, let me playfully challenge you to align your beliefs with what you believe reality to be.  Remember, as you have deliberated on my post and on Boyd’s you have already revealed your hand!


4 responses to “Everyone’s an Open Theist!

  1. Nice blog you have here, Derek. Regards from a fellow open theist. Keep up the good work.


  2. Thanks Alan. That means a lot coming from you.

  3. Well written and thoughtful. I always wonder about the enemies of Open Theism–particularly when they say they believe all actions, choices and decisions stem soley from the Meticulous Mind of an All Controlling God. Then I marvel that they have the nerve, monumental gall and audacity to write things like:
    “How Open Theism Helps Us Conceal OUR Hidden Idolatries. . .” If God is responsible for all acts and all thoughts it is HE and HE ALONE who is even responsible for the thought, appearance and spread of Open Theism. I need Classicists to explain me why they suppose GOD is doing this? What is HE getting out of it? And why are they so over something HE is causing to happen??

  4. Oops~! GOD “made” me make a typo! In the last sentence I meant to write: “ANd why are they so angry over something HE is causing to happen??” I might add that It appears to me that James 1:13-14 refutes what Classical Theists assert. It reads, “Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God’: for God cannot be tempted with evil, NEITHER TEMPTEH HE ANY MAN: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his OWN LUST, and enticed.”

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