Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
This study has looked at and compared three possible interpretations of the foreknowledge of God and four possible interpretations of a passage of Scripture in accordance with them. It takes note that the effects of Reformed differ substantially from the effects of Closed and Open Theologies, most notably the doctrine of individual salvation.
In considering Reform’s teaching of having everything predestinated, does this not make men mere puppets? Is to create man and make him believe you, make him love you without a free will choice really believing, really loving? If the knowledge of today; DNA, Chromosomes, Genes, etc., was known at the time this theology was reasoned out would it not have made a significant difference? Is it not a philosophical conception thought up to fill in the gaps of something that was not completely known at the time.
In considering Closed Theology, can it be said it conforms to all Scripture? Are its assertions fraught with confusion? Did God just let what happened happen? Or is he guiding, directing, and making things happen?
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
God does not have to see what has been done to know what men will do, he knows their hearts and minds. If history is all laid out and God merely looks ahead, then there is no reason for God to search and know the hearts and thoughts of men.
As stated earlier, the things God does he reveals to men making his doings comprehensible to them in his time according to his purpose.
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
“God is not the author of confusion,” and being the author of our salvation, our faith, the Bible, and all creation the answer to this question has to be understandable and make sense. Again, would the knowledge, the light, of today have altered the reasoning of the past in forming these understandings? Is not Close Theology also a philosophical conception put in place due to the lack of the knowledge necessary to understand God’s revelation at the time?
Open Theology’s assertions conforms to all Scripture, that time is flowing, that the future has not yet been but that God is directing historic events to his predetermined end and in accordance with his judgments upon men. God is dealing with the hearts of men as they come into existence through God’s created system of pro-creation. All men came into this world and began their lives by “time and chance.”
Ecclesiastes 9:11 …time and chance happeneth to them all.
The foreknowledge of the Bible presents God’s elections, how he has chosen to do things. That they can be spoken of as future, present, or past according to God’s perspective at the time he is speaking is due to the fact that the events are written in stone, immutable. They will come to pass on time as planned, nothing in heaven or earth can prevent them. This is what Satan has been attempting to do from the beginning of his rebellion—break God’s word. If God is operating on what has already happened, an unchanging future, there is nothing for Satan to break.
One possible analogy can be made to a supercomputer playing chess. At all times it knows every move the pieces can make and every change in the possible moves that happens when any of those moves are made. The computer may figure things out to 3, 4, or more moves ahead. It also knows every response it can make per each possible move made and the changes to possible moves they make. It can also, in making moves, force its opponent to make moves. The moves are also restricted to the rules of movement for each piece and the game board as all things are by God’s plan and blueprint.
God knows everything there is to know at any given time and every possible move to be made by six billion plus men, Satan, creatures, and nature, etc. He knows all the possible moves and all his possible responses, etc., how far ahead he takes it who knows! He knows the hearts and minds of men and their propensities, frailties, weaknesses, strengths, etc. He is also dealing with men’s hearts seeking to save. God allows men a limited amount of free will in the moves they make. If God is not at the time purposely directing an event, man's free will choice can make a time and chance event. As an example, let’s say a man decided of his own free will to quit or retire from a job. This would make a time and chance job opening for someone else. On the other hand, God could use his free will desire to retire for his purpose according to his timing so as to provide a job for a particular individual in answer to prayer.
God's direction, man's free will, and time and chance, all work together under God's guidance and control. He is not having any difficulty controlling events to suit his purposes in having mercy or judgment upon the earth and leading all things to his predetermined end.
Open Theology’s first option, in relation to Romans 8:29–30, would deal with men as a group or set of men that will be saved at some point in history. They are predestinated to several things including a future change.
The second option is that the verses are describing salvation in accordance with the context of the seven chapters that came before and the verses that follow them.
Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In the second option the first "whom" is someone that God did foreknow, himself in the form of the Word which was predestinated to be conformed to the image of a man to be his Son and that the second "whom" and the "them" of verse 30 are the many brethren predestinated as part of the Son's predestination in verse 29.
Either option of Open Theology recognizes that God is in control of history, guiding and directing it as it pleases him. The judgments of God on men and the answering of many prayers actually entail God changing history and redirecting it to fulfill his purposes.
Except for Reformed Theology, which of the three alternatives one chooses does not change the effect on salvation as being open to all, nor force any particular doctrinal teaching upon the Scriptures other than how God did and is doing things. Nevertheless, the end results can be significantly different between history being closed or open. The indirect consequences must also be considered. The wrong option might possibly be a little leaven that has been leavening the whole lump. This study has shown that the Reformed and Closed Theology view of foreknowledge is virtually the same as Islamic Theology which, in these present days could be troublesome.
Another consideration would have to be is God “limited” by history being closed, unchanging, finished, completed and not open, flowing under God’s guidance, direction, and control?
Psalms 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
It is to each and every one of us to take the time to diligently study God's word and determine for ourselves what option corresponds best with Scripture. Let us not be as those who learn something the wrong way and stick to it no matter what, refusing to yield to the truth.