Through an examination of relevant biblical passages, this theologian-pastor presents an alternative "open view" to the classical doctrine on God's foreknowledge of the future.
Gregory A. Boyd is professor of theology at Bethel College and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church (Baptist General Conference) of St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of seven books, including Letters from a Skeptic, which won a Gold Medallion Award.
This exceptionally engaging and biblically centered text defends a theological
claim that is generating heated controversy among evangelicals: that from God's
perspective, the future is partly open, a realm of possibilities as well as
certainties. Boyd, professor of theology at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.)
and author of Letters from a Skeptic and God at War, displays a remarkable
ability to make "open theism" accessible to a wide audience. Open theism
usually receives a cool reception among evangelical theologians, whose views of
divine foreknowledge often echo Augustine, Aquinas and Calvin, as well as
Hellenistic philosophical theology. This classical tradition interprets God's
perfection as eternal changelessness, ruling out the possibility that God could
learn new information, or that God's intentions could change. Boyd sidesteps
the more abstruse theological debates surrounding this issue in favor of a
patient, but not pedantic, exposition of a "motif of future openness" in
biblical narrative and prophecy. These biblical texts repeatedly portray God as
changing plans in response to human decisions, viewing future events as
contingent and even being disappointed at how events turn out. Boyd clearly
believes the debate over open theism has gotten off to an unfortunate start, as
disagreements about the "settledness" of the future have unnecessarily been
interpreted as challenges to God's omniscience or sovereignty. This convincing,
clear book promises to raise the caliber of argument in the controversy. (May)
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