Divine Foreknowledge – Four Views
I just finished Divine Foreknowledge – Four Views, and have been processing through my thoughts on the discussion. The book presents four counter-positions on the topic of how much God knows the future (and how He does it). The book has four essays, one from each of the different perspectives, and then allows for each author to respond to the other authors’ essays. This creates a balanced discussion and helps us to remember that nobody’s salvation is hanging on this one and we can discuss this as believers in a healthy way without any dissension. For whatever reason, this is probably my favorite of the nonessential issues of Christianity. After reading the book, my official stance on God’s foreknowledge is a Neo-Molinist. I like this title, because it avoids the stereotypes associated with phrases like open-theist or Calvinist, and most people have no idea what it means so they have to listen to the explanation before judging it. (To get a further explanation, you’ll have to either ask me about it or read this book). Most Christians talk like they believe God knows everything about the future (as it is a comforting thought). However, we often don’t think through what this means. If God knows everything, then why pray? Are there some things God chooses not to know? Can God change His mind? All of these questions and more are what fuel this conversation. Here are a few quotes from Gregory Boyd in the book that I liked:
“The motif that celebrates Gods control and foreknowledge of a partially settled future is complemented by an equally strong motif that celebrates God’s wise and creative responsiveness to a partly open future.” “Which of the following three chess masters would you admire most? The first chess master is confident of victory in a given match because she is playing a computer that she personally programmed. She foreknows every move her ‘opponent’ will make because she programmed its moves. The second chess master is confident of victory because she too is playing a computer. While she didn’t personally program this computer, she possesses a manual with exhaustive information of exactly how the computer will respond during this match. A third chess master is confident of victory even though she is playing a real person, not a computer. Though she cannot be certain of how her opponent will move, for her opponent is a free agent, she is also certain she can wisely out-maneuver him. This chess master does not foreknow exactly what moves her opponent will make, but she perfectly anticipates all the moves her opponent might make. And on the basis of this superior intelligence, she is confident of victory.” “But for a God of infinite intelligence, there is virtually no advantage in anticipating settled story lines versus possible story lines.”
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