Throughout the centuries scholars have gone to great lengths to understand the relationship between God’s foreknowledge and man’s freedom. Biblical scholars, theologians, and philosophers have concluded from thousands of years of systematic study of the Scripture that God does indeed know the future. Predictive prophecy of past events which have been fulfilled and future events which have yet to realize their fulfillment, clearly show that God knows the future. In fact, the very test of a prophet was his ability to predict the future with certainty.1 Yet the problem remains of how to reconcile God’s exhaustive foreknowledge of the future with the freedom of His creatures.
Over the centuries several models have been put forth to explain this apparent tension in a cogent way.2 Most of the models uphold divine foreknowledge in some way. The problems arise when libertarian freedom is thrown into the equation. The result is the sacrificing of either man’s liberty, or God’s foreknowledge.
Does God in fact know the future exhaustively? What exactly does God know about the future and when does He know it? This paper will attempt address these questions by examining in closer detail some of the proposals of open theists, and by determining biblically the nature and content of God’s foreknowledge of the future.
Divine Foreknowledge in the “Open” View
The tenets of open theism find their origin in classical Arminian theology.3 However, finding the classical Arminian position unsatisfactory at reconciling man’s freedom with God’s sovereignty caused the open theists to re-examine Scripture in a different light.4 Thus, in open theist thought mankind has been endowed with an indeterministic, libertarian freedom allowing him to make free decisions which affect the course of the future. In their view God has created a world in which the future is open, thus God’s foreknowledge is limited to only that which can be known and known truly.5 Their reasoning for such thinking is based primarily upon three basic understandings: First, since future decisions have not been made, they do not exist, and therefore cannot be known even by an omniscient God; second, that libertarian freedom and exhaustive divine foreknowledge of the future are incompatible; and third, from their understanding of the Scripture itself.6 These three beliefs will be explored in detail in the following sections.
Is the Future Really Real?
While open theists do not deny the omniscience of God,7 they do deny His exhaustive foreknowledge of the future, seeing God’s knowledge as perfect and comprehensive in the past and in the present, yet rejecting the notion that God knows perfectly that which has yet to be determined via the freewill choices of His creatures.8 The main reason for this denial lies in the belief that if man were truly a free moral agent, then his future free choices would not be predetermined in any way, and thus unknowable.9 Said another way, there are “settled realities” and “partly unsettled realities” in the “open” scheme of the future.10 Thus, what is really being debated in the opinion of the open theists is not God’s omniscience, but the content of reality that God perfectly knows.11
Can Exhaustive Foreknowledge and Libertarian Freedom Coexist?
Open theists are forced to reinterpret many important doctrines because of their theological grid.12 Hermeneutics play a large role in many of these reinterpretations.13 In fact, open theists see the love of God as the greatest of His attributes and this influences their hermeneutics significantly.14 Pinnock argues, “If future choices are real and freedom significant, future decisions cannot be exhaustively foreknown. This is because the future is not determinate but shaped in part by human choices…God’s foreknowledge does not include the undecided.”15 It is thought that such libertarian freedom allows man, like a bride, to freely participate in God’s love.16
Biblical Support for an “Open” Future
Open theists hold to the belief that biblical passages constituting a “motif of future openness should be taken just as literally as the passages that constitute the motif of future determinism.”17 This approach causes them to reconsider biblical passages in which God seems to be the recipient of new information or appears to be surprised by the outcome.18 Passages in which God grieves or changes His plans are used to show that God somehow regrets past decisions because He was unable to predict the outcome or willingly forfeited His rights to such knowledge.19 Such passages are taken at face value, implying that God’s knowledge of the future is not perfect, and that the future has many “possible” endings.20 God takes risks in His providential control of all things out of His desire to enter into genuine relationship with His creatures. Still, He is considered very wise and resourceful; He has to be, because the world is an “open project.”21
What’s Wrong with this Picture?
Having looked at some of the proposals of the open theists, it will now be shown why this model of God’s foreknowledge is unacceptable by examining some of the positive affirmations of God’s exhaustive foreknowledge in both the Old and New Testaments. The sheer volume of Scriptures which affirm the past, present, and future comprehensive knowledge of God is irrefutable.
Biblical Support of Exhaustive Foreknowledge
In reviewing several Old Testament passages cited by the open theists, it seems that they contradict their own affirmations that God knows the past and present perfectly.22 This is seen clearly in the so-called growth-in-knowledge passages and divine ignorance passages.
If the hermeneutical principles of openness theology were applied to a typical passage which presents God as ‘ignorant,” such as Genesis 3:9 where God asks Adam, “Where are you?” tremendous violence is done to the authorially intended meaning of the text. It is ridiculous to assume that God in this instance did not know where Adam was, yet openness hermeneutics would demand such an interpretation, if the straightforward meaning were assumed.23
Openness proponents apply their so-called straightforward reading to Genesis 22:12, where God says to Abraham, “now I know that your fear Me.” In doing so, they conclude that God learned something new about the faith which Abraham possessed.24 Several problems exist with such an interpretation. First, it calls into question God’s present knowledge of Abraham’s faith25 contradicting their own affirmations that God is omniscient in the past and the present. Second, not knowing specifically whether Abraham feared God would be an implicit denial of the content of God’s present knowledge.26 Third, given Abraham’s libertarian freedom, even if Abraham was faithful at this point, God would have no guarantee of future covenant faithfulness.27
God’s exhaustive foreknowledge of the future is seen most clearly in passages such as Isaiah 40-48.28 In these passages we find God’s past, present, and future knowledge affirmed by expressions such as “The former things,” “the things that will take place,” “the events that are going to take place,” etc. We also find that the predictions made by God, hinge upon the future free choices and actions of His creatures. Thus, God’s providence and sovereignty overrule any possible libertarian freedom on the part of man. There can only be one sovereign and He will not share his glory with another. From these chapters in the Book of Isaiah we see that God’s vindication of Himself lies in the fulfillment of predicted future events. When His predictions come true, people will look on them and testify that He alone is God, over and against all other pretenders.
Many other Old Testament passages such as Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 139; 1 Chronicles 5:26; 2 Chronicles 21:16-17; Proverbs 21:1; Isaiah 44:23; Daniel 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11, affirm God’s exhaustive foreknowledge of the future. Additionally, when one looks at the panorama of Scripture, as well as the circumstances which lead up to the unfolding of historical events in time and space, it is overwhelming to consider how many passages containing predictive prophecies involve the so called libertarian free choices of everyone from kings to average citizens within the commonwealth of Israel.29 It is preposterous to believe that any fulfillment of prophecy could be guaranteed at all if the future were “open” to such choices, even if God could anticipate well.
Many passages could be cited in the New Testament which positively evidence exhaustive foreknowledge of the future to God. Only three will be addressed here; Acts 2:23, 4:27-28; 17:22-31. In Acts 2:23, the apostle Peter attributes the death of Christ to the “predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.” He also goes on to describe the human agency employed to commit the crime by saying, “you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” The implications of this passage do severe damage to the proposals of the open theists. According to the apostle Peter, God not only knew the future, but He brought about His predestined plan using the so called libertarian freewill actions of men. The same can be said for Acts 4:27-28 which reads as follows:
“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur” (emphasis added).
This passage clearly implies that God placed in Jerusalem those whom He wanted there so that they could play a part in the execution of His Son. This was what God’s “hand and purpose had predestined to occur.” One must conclude from this passage that God knew about it prior to it happening in time and space. Additionally, one can only begin to imagine how many freewill choices were involved in the unfolding of this occasion.
In Acts 17:22-31, the apostle Paul clearly states that God “determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitations,” for the express purpose that men would “seek Him.” Additionally, in this passage, Paul indicates that God has “fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a man whom He has appointed (emphasis added).” In other words, God determined the appointed times of men, the boundaries of their habitations, and He has predetermined and knows exactly the day in which He will judge the world through Christ, His appointed Man. There can be no doubt from these passages that God not only knows the future, but has predetermined the outcomes.
In summary, despite the claims of open theists, it seems clear from the Scriptures that God’s foreknowledge extends to the future and that it is exhaustive in its scope. The Bible affirms that He knows every word before it is spoken (Psa. 139:4), the ordained number of days we have to live (Psa. 139:16), and the rise and fall of nations, governments, and alliances (Dan. 2:1-49). He even foreknows people by name centuries before they are born (i.e., Cyrus). Thus, one must conclude that the proposals of the open theists are unsatisfactory.
Implications of the “Open” View of Foreknowledge
Having looked at the proposals of the open theists, their biblical support for their position, and the evidences against such a position, it will now be shown how this position is harmful to Christian faith and practice. While many areas of Christian doctrine are affected, only three will be explored here in brief.
Divine Glory/Human Significance
It is unacceptable to say that God is some sort of chess master, who can predict with reasonable accuracy, the next move of His opponent.30 The open view puts the sovereign Lord and His plans at the mercy of human decisions. If the Arminian position is illogical as the open theists suggest, why not err on the side which ascribes more glory to God and less to the creatures? Nowhere do the Scriptures affirm that man has libertarian freedom. Yet there are multiple passages which extol God’s sovereignty over His creatures and even His election of individuals unto salvation (e.g., Ephesians 1:3-14). As has been shown, God’s foreknowledge of all that shall come to pass is evidence of His unique deity among all the gods.31 Thus, open theism robs God of the glory that is uniquely due Him and puts it into the account of man.
In addition to the diminishing of God’s glory and the elevation of human significance, the open theist view of foreknowledge does serious damage to the Christian understanding of prayer. Open theism either fails to recognize or purposely distorts the actual workings of the nature of our relationship with God in prayer.32 God, in the open scheme, relies on the petitions and intercessions of His people before He can act. He no longer providentially controls all things and provides for his children as He sees fit (Matt. 6:25-34), but instead is dependent upon the prayers of His people for the information He needs in order to provide for them. This reduces the Holy One of Israel to nothing more than a cosmic errand boy. The partnership which God seeks with us through prayer is not one of determining the course of our lives33 but in accomplishing his purpose for our lives.34 He knows our needs before we ever voice the words or think the thoughts.
Tragically, because open theists believe that God cannot know the future until it happens; He is not always able to prevent unwanted suffering, despite His love for us. Additionally, the open theist belief that God may even inadvertently contribute to suffering at times, and that we must accept the reality of pointless suffering as part of human life,35 causes one to come away with a sense of hopelessness. If open theism were correct, the promises of Romans 8:28, 32 would be completely obscured if not obliterated altogether. It would no longer be a certainty that God is working all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. Instead God would simply being doing His best to work things out for good, but with no promises or guarantees of the outcome.
The suffering of the saints throughout the ages is only explainable in the traditional view, for God has a plan and purpose which He is working toward. The open view has nothing of comfort to offer the Christian who is undergoing persecution or suffering, because they have a God who is unable to change the course of events, being at the mercy of human decisions.
The proposals of the open view as related to God’s exhaustive foreknowledge of the past, present, and future have been explained and assessed. In examining the Biblical evidence for both the traditional and the open views, it is the opinion of this writer that the open view is found not only to be unacceptable and fraught with difficulties, but destructive to Christian faith and practice. In this writer’s opinion, the traditional view best explains the extent, nature, and content of God’s foreknowledge.
This article is copyright 2006 by Vincent Nicotra. This article may be quoted, in part or in whole, without permission.
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Basinger, David. The Case for Freewill Theism: A Philosophical Assessment. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
__________. “Practical Implications.” In The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God. Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger, 155-76. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1994.
Beckwith, Francis J. “Limited Omniscience and the Test for a Prophet: A Brief Philosophical Analysis.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 36:3 (September 1993): 357-62.
Body, Gregory A. “The Open-Theism View.” In Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views, eds. James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
Boyd, Gregory A. God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000.
Caneday, A. B. “Veiled Glory: God’s Self-Revelation in Human Likeness – A Biblical Theology of God’s Anthropomorphic Self-Disclosure.” In Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, eds. John Piper, Justin Taylor, and Paul Kjoss Helseth, 149-200. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2003.
Charnock, Stephen. The Existence and Attributes of God. Reprint of 1853 ed.; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000.
Clark, David K. To Know and Love God. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2003.
Craig, William L. Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom: The Coherence of Theism: Omniscience. Leiden, Netherlands, E. J. Brill, 1991.
__________. The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1987.
Craigen, Trevor. “Isaiah 40-48: A Sermonic Challenge to Open Theism.” The Master’s Seminary Journal 12/2 (Fall 2001), 167-77.
Erickson, Millard J. What Does God Know and When Does He Know It? The Current Controversy over Divine Foreknowledge. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2003.
Feinberg, John S. No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2001.
Frame, John M. “Open Theism and Divine Foreknowledge.” In Bound Only Once: The Failure of Open Theism, ed. Douglas Wilson, 83-94. Moscow, Idaho, Canon Press, 2001.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.
Hall, Christopher A. and John Sanders. Does God Have a Future? A Debate on Divine Providence. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2003.
Hasker, William. “A Philosophical Perspective.” In The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God. Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger, 126-54. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1994.
__________. “God, Time, and Knowledge.” Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, ed. William P. Alston. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1989.
Mayhue, Richard L. “The Impossibility of God of the Possible.” The Master’s Seminary Journal 12/2 (Fall 2001), 203-220.
Pettegrew, Larry D. “Is There Knowledge in the Most High?” The Master’s Seminary Journal 12/2 (Fall 2001), 133-148.
Picirilli, Robert E. “Foreknowlege, Freedom, and the Future.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43/2 (June 2000), 259-271.
Pinnock, Clark H. “Systematic Theology.” In The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God. Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger, 101-25. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1994.
__________. Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God’s Openness. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001.
Piper, John. “Grounds for Dismay: The Error and Injury of Open Theism.” In Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, eds. John Piper, Justin Taylor, and Paul Kjoss Helseth, 371-385. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2003.
Pyne, Robert, and Stephen R. Spencer. “A Critique of Free Will Theism, Part One.” Bibliotheca Sacra 158 (July-September 2001): 259-86.
Rice Richard. “Biblical Support for a New Perspective.” In The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God. Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger, 11-58. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1994.
__________. “Divine Foreknowledge and Freewill Theism.” In The Grace of God and the Will of Man: A Case for Arminianism. Clark Pinnock, ed. 121-40. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1989.
Roy, Steven C. How Much Does God Foreknow? A Comprehensive Biblical Study. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2006.
Sanders, John. “God as Personal.” In The Grace of God and the Will of Man: A Case for Arminianism. Clark Pinnock, ed. 165-80. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1989.
__________. “Historical Considerations.” In The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God. Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger, 59-100. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1994.
__________. The God Who Risks: A Theology of Providence. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
Thomas, Robert L. “The Hermeneutics of ‘Open Theism’” The Master’s Seminary Journal 12/2 (Fall 2001), 179-202.
Ware, Bruce A. God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2000.
Francis Beckwith, in defending the traditional view of God’s omniscience, argues that the “limited omniscience view of the open theists is logically inconsistent with the Biblical test for a prophet” in, “Limited Omniscience and the Test for A Prophet: A Brief Philosophical Analysis,” JETS 36:3 (September 1993): 357-62. See also, Richard Rice, “Biblical Support for a New Perspective,” in The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God
, Clark Pinnock, Richard Rice, John Sanders, William Hasker, and David Basinger (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1994, 11-58, for a helpful discussion of the “open” view of “conditional prophecy.”
For a helpful discussion of the various models such as “present” knowledge, “simple” knowledge, and “middle” knowledge, see John Frame, No One Like Him (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2001), 735-76, and Steven C. Roy, How Much Does God Foreknow: A Comprehensive Biblical Study (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2006), 9-26. On middle knowledge in particular see, William Hasker, God, Time, and Knowledge” Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion,ed. William P. Alston(Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1989), as well as William Lane Craig, Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1991), and The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1987).
Open theists affirm certain “control beliefs” which are rooted in Arminianism. Such as viewing God as personal (as opposed to absolutist), significant (libertarian) human freedom, and attributing initiating and responsive love as the most important quality we can attribute to God. John Sanders sees control beliefs as “paradigms and ultimate presuppositions” which influence other beliefs. “God as Personal,” in The Grace of God, the Will of Man: A Case for Arminianism, ed. Clark Pinnock (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Academie Books, 1989), 168.
A summary of the five basic characteristics of open theology can be found in the writings of David Basinger, who describes them as follows: “(1) God not only created this world ex nihilo but can (and at times does intervene unilaterally in earthly affairs. (2) God chose to create us with incompatibilistic (libertarian) freedom – freedom over which he cannot exercise total control. (3) God so values freedom – the moral integrity of free creatures and a world in which such integrity is possible – that he does not normally override such freedom, even if he sees that it is producing undesirable results. (4) God always desires our highest good, both individually and corporately, and thus is affected by what happens in our lives. (5) God does not possess exhaustive knowledge of exactly how we will utilize our freedom, although he may well at times be able to predict with great accuracy the choices we will freely make” – See, “Practical Implications,” in The Openness of God, 156.
Clark Pinnock, “Systematic Theology,” in The Openness of God, 121.
A helpful explanation and summary of these three basic understandings may be found in the introduction of Steven C. Roy’s book, How Much Does God Foreknow?, 9-26.
The debate, from the open theist perspective, is not over God’s omniscience, but over the nature of the future. Omniscience in open theism does not include exhaustive knowledge of the future because it is not settled. Gregory Boyd, God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000), 17.
Clark Pinnock, “Systematic Theology,” in The Openness of God, 123.
Richard Rice, “Biblical Support for a New Perspective,” in The Openness of God, 11-58.
“If God does not foreknow future free actions, it is not because his knowledge of the future is in any sense incomplete. It’s because there is, in this view, nothing definite there for God to know!” Thus the future is a “realm of possibilities, not certainties.” Boyd, God of the Possible, 15-16.
Two such “reinterpretations” come in the areas of prophecy and providence, however this reinterpretation is said to “enrich, rather than detract from, the idea involved.” Richard Rice, “Divine Foreknowledge and Freewill Theism,” in The Grace of God, The Will of Man, 134.
For a comparison of open theist and traditional hermeneutical approaches, see the helpful article by Robert L. Thomas, “The Hermeneutics of Open Theism,” TMSJ 12/2 (Fall 2001): 179-202.
Pinnock, Most Moved Mover, 81-96.
Pinnock, “Systematic Theology,” in The Openness of God, 121.
Clark Pinnock believes that “God gives us real freedom because of His desire for loving relationships. This ‘real freedom’ is another expression for libertarian or contra-causal freedom. Thus, a free action is one in which a person is free to perform an action or refrain from performing it and is not completely determined in the matter by prior forces – nature, nurture, or even God.” See, Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God’s Openness (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001), 126, emphasis added. See also, Richard Rice, “Biblical Support for a New Perspective,” in The Openness of God, 15-16.
Boyd argues that the “straightforward meaning” of a text should be taken as the “intended meaning.” Boyd, God of the Possible, 54. “Determinism” simply means that the future is settled and unchangeable.
Boyd in particular turns to passages such as God’s testing of Abraham (Gen. 22:12) and Hezekiah (2 Chron. 32:21) to prove that God grows in His knowledge of individuals by testing their hearts. In such passages “God only finds out how people will choose when they choose.” Boyd, God of the Possible, 64-65, emphasis added.
Gregory A. Boyd, “The Open-Theism View,” in Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views, eds. James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 26-28.
Boyd sees the classical view of God’s foreknowledge as problematic because if the future is full of “static certainties,” God never sees things as “possibly this way or possibly that way.” Instead he sees God as a God of the “possible” who works with us “to truly change what might have been into what should be.” Boyd, God of the Possible, 17-18.
Pinnock, Most Moved Mover, 102-04.
Boyd, God of the Possible, 152.
John Frame gives five helpful principles for interpreting many of the Old Testament passages cited by the open theists, summarized as follows: 1) Typically passages in which God “finds out” something occur in judicial contexts, 2) God’s “remembering” and “forgetting” are also judicial categories in Scripture, because they are covenant categories, 3) When God says that something “never entered my mind” (Jer. 7:31, 19:5, 32:35) He is not confessing ignorance, but describing His standards for human behavior (still another judicial point), 4) Some passages do say that God changes His mind in response to circumstances, and 5) There are some ways in which God does experience change when He enters the temporal world. See, “Open Theism and Divine Foreknowledge,” in Bound Only Once: The Failure of Open Theism, ed. Douglas Wilson (Moscow, Idaho, Canon Press, 2001), 88-92.
While he agrees that we should insist on the straightforward meaning of Scripture, Bruce Ware suggests that we should ask whether or not “the straightforward meaning,” in certain cases, is “the authorially intended meaning of the texts.” God’s lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2000), 66-67.
Scripture indicates that the Lord “searches all hearts and understands every intent of the thoughts” (1 Chr. 28:9; 1 Sam. 16:7). Ware, God’s Lesser Glory, 67-68.
Ware argues that other passages such as Rom. 4:18-22 and Heb. 11:8-12, 17-19 give credence to the fact that God knew Abraham’s heart. Ibid., 67.
For a fuller exposition of these chapters of Isaiah see, Ibid., 102-121. Also Trevor Craigen, “Isaiah 40-48: A Sermonic Challenge to Open Theism,” TMSJ 12/2 (Fall 2001): 167-77.
Steven C. Roy cites his own doctoral dissertation in estimating that of the 4,017 predictive prophecies in canonical Scripture, 2,323 of them relate in one way or another to free human decisions. This dissertation appears to be the foundation for his book, How Much Does God Foreknow, 34. Bruce Ware provides a more detailed summary of the breakdown of those findings in his book, God’s Lesser Glory, 100, n 2.
For the analogy of God as a master chess player see, Boyd, God of the Possible, 152.
John Piper, “Grounds for Dismay: The Error and Injury of Open Theism,” in Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity, eds. John Piper, Justin Taylor, and Paul Kjoss Helseth (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2003), 373.
Bruce A. Ware, God’s lesser Glory, 166.
John Sanders, The God Who Risks: A Theology of Providence (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 277.
Interestingly this is true of Jesus as well. He did not seek to determine the course of His life in partnership with the Father. Rather, He came to do the will of His Father. Roy, How Much Does God Foreknow?, 256.
Ware, God’s Lesser Glory, 194.